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Simplified falconry regulations proposed

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently proposed a number of changes in
falconry regulations. The changes will simplify and update the agency's
regulations to reflect current practices in the traditional use of raptors
for sport hunting.

"Falconers care deeply about wild raptors and have been very interested in
their preservation across the country," said Service Director Steve
Williams. "At the request of State fish and wildlife agencies and falconers
nationwide, the Service proposes to streamline the permitting process for
falconers and clarify what are acceptable falconry practices."

The proposed changes to falconry regulations include:

  • Eliminating the Federal permit in favor of State or Tribal falconry
    permits. The States, with few exceptions, already administer falconry
    permitting programs. Dual State/Federal permitting no longer will be
    necessary.

  • Transferring permitting of falconry activities with golden eagles to
    the States.

  • Establishing electronic reporting of acquisition, transfer or loss of
    raptors held for falconry, to replace the current paper reporting system.

  • Allowing experienced falconers to assist Federal and State-permitted
    wildlife rehabilitators in conditioning raptors for release to the wild.

    Under the proposal, after the final rule on the regulations is published,
    the States will have five years to change their regulations, if needed, to
    come into compliance with the new Federal regulations. Many States will
    not need that long to comply with the new regulations.

    The proposed regulations are available via links from the migratory birds
    web page at http://migratorybirds.fws.gov or write to the Division of
    Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 4401 North
    Fairfax Drive, Mail Stop 4107, Arlington, Virginia 22203-1610 to ask for a
    printed copy of the proposed rule.

    Please send comments to FalconryRegulations@fws.gov or the address above by May 10, 2005. The
    Service anticipates publication of a final rule in about one year. Please
    call 703-358-1825 for more information.