Q. How old do I have to be to apply for an apprentice
A. The minimum age is 12.
Q. What kind of bird am I allowed to have as an
A. Federal and state law limits you to a red-tailed hawk,
red-shouldered hawk, or the American kestrel. All (except the
kestrel) must be trapped as a passage (immature bird).
Q. How many raptors can I have?
A. As an apprentice falconer, you are only allowed to possess one
raptor at a time. If you lose this raptor, you can only replace it
once per season. A general class falconer may possess two raptors,
a master class falconer, three.
Q. What kind of hunting license do I have to
A. You have to purchase a Sportsman's license.
Q. What is the best choice of raptor for an
A. A good bird to start with is the red-tailed hawk. It
is the best choice for the apprentice falconer that has access
to land that holds cottontails and/or squirrels.
Even waterfowl and upland game birds can be taken by this
versatile species. Kestrels should be left to the more experienced
Q. What steps do I need to take to become an apprentice
A. First, find a sponsor. Sponsors are falconers of either Master
or General class. Contact the MDWFP and we will try to assist you
in contacting one. Second, take and pass your falconry exam. Next,
have your facilities and equipment inspected. Finally, get your
permit, trap a bird, and start your two-year apprenticeship.
Q. How do I find a sponsor?
A. First and foremost, find a way to spend time with other
falconers. For some, this is easier than for others. It depends on
your location and personality. Falconers are spread thin
everywhere in the contiguous lower 48 states, so if you live
in an outer-lying area, you might have to do some driving. Please
understand, YOU have to take the initiative. Spend an entire season
flushing game for current falconers. Study how they handle and
manage their birds. Show them that you are a serious student of
falconry and you want to learn more. If you will do this for an
entire hunting season, you will likely have a sponsor. Friendship
first, sponsorship second.
Q. How long is an apprenticeship?
A. You can apply for your general class falconry license after
completing two, four-month-long hunting seasons, or basically two
Q. What books do you recommend I read?
A. The best book for pre-apprentices is: North American Falconry
and Hunting Hawks by Hal Webster and Frank Beebe. After reading
that, a few other good books to have are: Buteos and Bushytails by
Gary Brewer, The Red-Tailed Hawk - A complete guide to training and
hunting North America's most versatile game hawk by Liam
McGranaghan, The Falconer's Apprentice - A Guide to Training the
Red-Tailed Hawk by William Oakes, and Falconry Equipment by Bryan A
Kimsey and Jim Hodge. Check
out our literature link.
Q. What should I study for my test?
A. In addition to the books above, your mentor and the falconry
coordinator can help provide you with additional study