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Falconry, Wildlife Rehabilitation, Tracking Dog Licensing Begins Soon

Some get a start on falconry and animal rehabilitation young: this youngster is holding a North American kestrel. Somewhat older New York residents can get falconry and wildlife rehab licenses.
Some get a start on falconry and animal rehabilitation young: this youngster is holding a North American kestrel. Somewhat older New York residents can get falconry and wildlife rehab licenses. Photo Credit: The Raptors Facebook page

If you've ever wanted to take up falconry, be a volunteer wildlife rehabilitator, or use leashed tracking dogs to find wounded or injured big game, you'll have a chance soon. The free exams are in early April -- and the registration deadline is Friday, March 18.

To get any of these licenses, you have to pass the relevant exam.

apprentice falconry license -- Falconry has a rich history and requires a significant commitment in time and effort. Apprentices are limited to a single bird, either an American kestrel or a red-tailed hawk. A free falconry study guide is available here. A five-year falconry license costs $40. Applicants must score at least 80 percent on the exam, be at least 14, have a valid New York state hunting license and have DEC-approved facilities for the bird.

wildlife rehabilitator license -- Wildlife rehabilitators care for the care of injured, sick and orphaned wild animals, in order to return them to the wild. Would-be applicants are encouraged to get experience, working with a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. A free study guide is available here. The five-year license is free. Applicants must score at least 80 percent on the exam, be at least 16, submit two character references with the application and be interviewed by DEC Regional wildlife staff.

leashed tracking dog handler -- Leashed tracking dog handlers use their dogs to track and recover dead, wounded or injured big game. Handlers provide a valuable service, by helping hunters locate wounded big game that otherwise might go unrecovered. A free study guide is available here. The five-year license costs $50, plus a $25 non-refundable application fee. Applicants must score at least 80 percent on the exam and have a valid New York state hunting license.

The exams are Friday, April 8, and will run from 10 a.m. to noon at most DEC Regional Offices across the state. Find the local ones here.

Fill out the registration form for the exams here. Mail it to the NYS DEC Special Licenses Unit, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4752, fax to 518-402-8925 or email to SpecialLicenses@dec.ny.gov.

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