Falconry regulations change in 2012
by Wyoming Game & Fish
January 4, 2012
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department is reminding falconers about significant changes to the falconry regulations that took effect on Jan. 1, 2012.
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service is in the process of transferring the authority for regulating falconry to the states. In order for Wyoming to comply with USFWS rules, it was necessary to rewrite and develop detailed falconry regulations. The Game and Fish Department held public meetings across the state in May to inform falconers of upcoming changes and to take public comments.
Federal falconry permits issued to Wyoming residents expired on Dec. 31, 2011. Beginning in January, current falconers will receive a new paper permit from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, along with a wallet-sized permit and a copy of the new regulations.
Highlights of the changes to the regulations include the addition of an application process for acquiring a falconry permit. An application for a falconry permit shall include proof of successful completion of a falconry examination administered by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, or proof of a previously held falconry permit for the class applied for. A process has also been outlined to document the take, purchase, acquisition, or disposal of raptors. The time period to report transfer of raptors to the Game and Fish Department has been changed from five to 10 days.
A Wyoming falconry permit or a falconry permit from another state, tribe, or territory shall be required before any person may take, possess, or transport any raptor for falconry purposes or practice falconry in Wyoming. State falconry permits will be valid for five years.
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department shall issue three classes of falconry permits: Apprentice, General, and Master. The regulations identify requirements for each of these class permits. The age limit of apprentice falconers has been lowered from 14 years to 12 years of age, and apprentice falconers have been given more latitude with the types of raptors they may possess. The age requirement for a general falconry permit has been lowered from 18 to 16 years of age.
Language has been added to require reporting of any unintentional take of federally listed threatened or endangered species. Falconers must report these takes to the USFWS within five days. A falconer may allow a raptor to feed on a prey animal taken unintentionally, provided the prey animal is not taken into the falconer’s possession.
There are several other changes, including general raptor capture licenses; facilities care and equipment requirements; acquisition, transfer, and release of falcons; banding, tagging or micro-chipping raptors; and assistance to rehabilitators, among others. Falconers can find the complete regulations on the WGFD website at http://gf.state.wy.us. Falconers can also contact the Wyoming Game and Fish Department at 307-777-4600 for more information.