Is It Legal to Have a Pet Falcon?

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It is illegal to own a falcon in the United States without the proper state and federal licenses. To obtain these permits, an aspiring falconer must apprentice under a sponsor for at least two years and pass a written examination. Once this is complete, and an inspection has been made of the facilities where the bird will be kept, a person can legally acquire a falcon.

As per state and federal law, raptors require specialized facilities to live in as well as specialized equipment. Owners must feed falcons their natural diet of fresh raw meat, preferably from the same game animals they would hunt in the wild. In addition, an aspiring falconer must have regular access to open land in which to train and hunt with the bird. Those interested in pursuing falconry as a hobby should contact their state wildlife department for more information on local requirements. Those interested in falconry should also contact specialized organizations in their state dedicated to those already involved with the sport.

The practice of falconry goes far back into ancient times. It is the only sport in America that makes use of a trained wild animal. Falconry requires a high level of commitment and dedication, as it can take at least seven years to reach the status of Master Falconer.