Falconry is a sport employing the use of a raptor to take wild game in place of a firearm. The sport has been romanticized in many books and movies in recent years, but falconry is actually a demanding sport that requires a great deal of patience, time, dedication and money. It also requires daily devotion to the care of the raptor(s). The sport is licensed and regulated by the ODNR, Division of Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Should you decide to become an Ohio Falconer, you will first need to locate a sponsor who is already a general or master class falconer. It is recommended that you review the Ohio Falconry Association’s website to obtain information on sponsorship, as the Division of Wildlife does not maintain a list of falconers who will consider being a sponsor. Once you have attained a sponsor, at their direction, an appointment may be made to take the Ohio Falconry Exam. A $75 fee is required to apply and take the examination which is administered at our Central Office in Columbus. A passing grade of 80% is required and those who fail the exam must wait six months to take the test and must pay the $75 fee again.
Once you have successfully passed the falconry exam, a mew and/or weathering area(s) are constructed and proper equipment is purchased or made with input from your sponsor. At this time, you will also need to successfully pass a Hunter Education course and purchase a hunting license, if you have not already done so. Once the facilities are completed, an inspection is conducted by the permit office and a permit application can be made to the Ohio Division of Wildlife for a Falconry Permit. At the same time, you may apply for a Raptor Capture Permit to acquire your first bird. Falconry permits are issued on a three year basis at a cost of $75 ($25 per year).
For additional information, and to find other falconers, you should contact the Ohio Falconry Association or the North American Falconry Association. Recommended reading for the exam is North American Falconry and Hunting Hawks by Beebe and Webster. If you have any questions, please contact the Permit Coordinator.