Examinations for individuals seeking an apprentice license to practice the sport of falconry, to become a licensed volunteer wildlife rehabilitator or those interested in obtaining a license to use leashed tracking dogs to find wounded or injured big game animals are scheduled for Friday, April 19.
The exams will run from 10 a.m. to noon at New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Regional offices across the state. The list of Regional Offices can be found at www.dec.ny.gov/about/50230.html. The deadline for registering to take any of these exams is April 5.
Falconry has a rich history and tradition throughout the world. In the United States, recognition and acceptance of falconry as a sport is promoted primarily through the efforts of dedicated enthusiasts. In New York State, the tradition is continued by more than 250 licensed falconers. Falconry is a demanding sport which requires a significant commitment in time and effort. The novice must be prepared to accept the responsibility that is part of falconry. For more information about falconry visit www.dec.ny.gov/permits/359.html.
There is no charge to take the written falconry apprentice exam. To qualify for the DEC Apprentice Falconry license, applicants must be at least 14 years of age, possess a valid New York State hunting license which authorizes the hunting of small-game and maintain DEC-approved facilities for housing the raptors. Apprentices are limited to possessing one bird, either an American kestrel - a falcon also known as a "sparrow hawk" - or a red-tailed hawk. The cost of a five-year falconry license is $40.
After two years as an apprentice falconer, a licensee may qualify for a general falconry license. To become a master falconer, the licensee must have a minimum of five years experience practicing falconry at the general falconry level.
Wildlife rehabilitators provide the selfless service of caring for injured, sick and orphaned wild animals with the ultimate goal of wildlife rehabilitation being to prepare the animals for their return to the wild.
A wildlife rehabilitator study guide and examination manual are available to applicants for $15 a set. The study materials will also include the application necessary for registration. The materials were developed by wildlife rehabilitators, veterinarians and biologists to teach applicants about the practice of wildlife rehabilitation, including technical requirements for licensed volunteers.
Wildlife rehabilitators applicants must be at least 16 years of age, submit two character references along with their application, have no convictions for violations of the State Environmental Conservation Law and be interviewed by a DEC regional wildlife staff person.
They should understand a degree of technical skill and a significant commitment in time, money and effort is required to be a wildlife rehabilitator. Prospective applicants are encouraged to gain experience by serving as an assistant to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. For more information on the wildlife rehabilitation program, visit www.dec.ny.gov/permits/359.html.
For a Leashed Tracking Dog Handler License, a score of 80 percent or higher on the written exam and a valid New York State Big Game hunting license are mandatory requirements. There is a $50 license fee, and a $25 non-refundable processing fee associated with the license, which expires five years from the date of issuance. More information regarding the leashed tracking dog license can be found at www.dec.ny.gov/permits/25020.html.
To apply for any of these exams, contact DEC's Special Licenses Unit by calling (518) 402-8985, visiting www.dec.ny.gov or by writing to NYS DEC, Special Licenses Unit, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4752 or firstname.lastname@example.org.