Falconers in possession of an Eagle Permit may possess up to 3 eagles of the following species: golden eagle, white-tailed eagle, or Steller's sea eagle. Falconers may not possess bald eagles under a falconry permit. With an eagle permit for falconry, eagles count toward a falconer's raptor possession limit.
Requirements for an Eagle Permit:
- Only Master Falconers in good standing may apply for an Eagle Permit
- A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Eagle Permit Application must be submitted
- Documentation must be submitted and verified demonstrating
- the applicant's experience in handling eagles and large raptors, including
- information about the species they have handled, and
- the type and duration of the activity in which they gained the experience.
- The applicant must submit at least two letters of reference from people with experience handling and/or flying eagles.
- Each letter must contain a concise history of the author's experience with eagles, which can include, but is not limited to, handling of eagles held by zoos, rehabilitating eagles, or scientific studies involving large raptors.
- Each letter must assess the applicant's ability to care for eagles and fly them in falconry.
- Each letter must recommend the issuance or denial of the permit.
- For eagles already in possession, attach a copy of the permit or other documentation authorizing possession.
- Facilities must be constructed of a type and size suitable for housing an eagle.
Golden Eagle Allocation Procedure
Under the Golden Eagle Allocation Procedure (created by the Flyway Councils and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), up to six golden eagles may be taken and assigned to falconers for falconry through an annual random drawing process for nationwide allocation. The process for golden eagle distribution and application to become a recipient of a golden eagle through this process are as follows:
- Permitted falconers with an eagle permit (above) may apply to the Falconry Coordinator to be included in the annual golden eagle allocation drawing. The Falconry Coordinator will evaluate applications for submission. Requests to participate in the golden eagle allocation program must be received by the Falconry Coordinator by October 1. Applications after this deadline will not be eligible to be included in that year's drawing.
- The Designated State Wildlife Agency, as assigned by the National Flyway Council, will have the responsibility of implementing the golden eagle allocation procedure for falconry. A certified list of valid applications must be submitted to the Designated State Wildlife Agency by November 1 annually from each state's Falconry Coordinator in order to participate.
- The Designated State Wildlife Agency will conduct a random drawing by December 31 to establish a drawing order from the applicant list. The first ten falconers and their Falconry Coordinator will be notified so they may prepare for the possibility of trapping a golden eagle or traveling to accept a rehabilitated golden eagle that year.
- The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service will determine whether certain eagles that are (1) under a depredation permit or are (2) releasable rehabilitated eagles may become candidates for reallocation to falconry (up to six birds) starting January 1 of each calendar year. Golden eagles in Minnesota are not part of this program.
- The Service will offer the first eagle opportunity to the first falconer in the drawing. The falconer will have five business days to accept the eagle opportunity. If the falconer does not respond within five business days, cannot be contacted, or declines, the eagle opportunity will be offered to the next falconer in the drawing order. The process is repeated until a falconer agrees to accept the eagle opportunity or all names are exhausted.
- A falconer's name is only removed from the drawing list for the calendar year when they accept an eagle opportunity for that calendar year or they request to have their name removed from the list.
- Golden eagle take from a depredation area: After accepting the opportunity, the falconer will be provided with the contact information and timeframe for trapping. The falconer will be responsible for coordinating with the Eagle Depredation Permit holder. A selected falconer may designate one agent (either an authorized agency or another falconer) to obtain the eagle on their behalf. The falconer and agent must obtain all necessary agency authorization to obtain the eagle in that jurisdiction. All authorizations to take the eagle must be in possession while taking and transporting the eagle. The Eagle Depredation Permit holder is not required to cover any costs incurred by the falconer/authorized agent.
- Transfer from rehabilitation: After accepting the opportunity, the falconer will be provided with the rehabilitator's contact information. The falconer must take possession of the eagle within 15 business days after receiving notice of availability or request and receive approval for an extension from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and rehabilitation facility to delay transfer. The falconer is responsible for any costs associated with the transfer.
The above information is a brief summary of the state and federal falconry regulations. For complete falconry regulations, consult Minnesota Rules Chapter 6234.0800, Chapter 6238, and Federal Regulations 50-CRF 21.29 and 50-CRF 21.30.