Falconry is the sport of taking wildlife by means of a trained raptor. A person may not practice falconry within the state unless he/she first obtains a falconry permit from the Department of Natural Resources. The first step in the process is to submit a completed application form, provided by the Department.
A falconry permit may not be issued until the applicant has answered correctly at least 80 percent of the questions given on a supervised examination administered regionally by the DNR's Wildlife and Heritage Service.
If you are interested in becoming a licensed falconer in the State of Maryland, there are three classes of permits for which you may apply: Apprentice Class, General Class, or Master Class.
Applicants must be at least 14 years old and must have a sponsor who holds a General or Master Falconry Permit. A Falconry Apprentice Permittee must have a sponsor for a minimum of two years. Also, an Apprentice may not possess more than one raptor (and may only possess the American Kestrel, Red-tailed Hawk, or Red-shouldered Hawk) and may not obtain more than one raptor for replacement during any 12-month period.
Applicants must be at least 16 years old and have at least two years of experience in the practice of falconry at the Apprentice Class level, or its equivalent. A General Class Falconer may not possess more than three raptors and may not obtain more than two raptors for replacement during any 12-month period. A General Permittee may not take, transport, or possess any species listed as threatened or endangered in federal regulations published pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973.
Applicants must have at least five years of experience in the practice of falconry at the General Class level, or its equivalent. Also, a Master Class Falconer may not possess more than five raptors from the wild and may not obtain more than two raptors for replacement during any 12-month period. A Master Class Falconer may possess any number of captively-produced raptors. A Master Permittee may not take, transport or possess any species listed as threatened or endangered in federal regulations pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973 unless authorized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
A $25.00 non-returnable fee, made payable to MD DNR, is due with the application for a Falconry Permit and with each subsequent annual report.
There are laws and regulations in place that govern facilities and equipment, inventory and marker requirements, transportation and transfers, open season dates for taking raptors from the wild, release of raptors into the wild, propagation of raptors, annual reporting requirements, and hunting regulations and seasons. Here is the link for Maryland’s falconry regulations:
Procedures for Obtaining a Falconry Permit
- Make sure you are familiar with Federal regulations 50 CFR 13 - General Permit Procedures, §21.28 and §21.29 - Falconry Permits and Maryland regulations 08.03.09.07.
- Fill out the Maryland Falconry Application. If you are applying as an apprentice, you must first locate a licensed falconer who will agree to be your sponsor.
- Contact the Permits Coordinator, Wildlife Service at 301-478-2690 when you have completed the application and are ready to take the examination. You will be scheduled for a date and time that is convenient to you.
- After you have passed the test, a site inspection of your completed mews will occur. When you pass the mews’ inspection your State of Maryland permit will be issued. Please contact the Permits Coordinator (301-478-2690), for any necessary bands and several copies of the Federal Acquisition and Disposition form. This form must be completed as directed each time you acquire, trap or release a raptor, or in the event a bird escapes or dies, or you must enter the required information into the federal online falconry database.
Here is the link to create an account and to get a federal ID for the USFWS database: https://migbirdapps.fws.gov/Falconry/prg/frmFalreg.aspx
- A separate raptor propagation permit is issued by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service for any person who wishes to breed raptors.
Please refer to the following:
Request by E-mail:
(include US Mailing Address)
Request by Phone:
Toll-free in Maryland:
1-877-620-8DNR , Extension 8540
TTY: Maryland Relay via 1-800-735-2258 or 711
Request by Mail:
Wildlife Permit Coordinator
MD DNR- Wildlife and Heritage Service
580 Taylor Ave., E-1
Annapolis MD 21401