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Amerocan Kestral

American Kestrel
- Photo by Kathy Munsel, ODFW-

The Falconry Program

Thank you for your interest in falconry in Oregon.

Becoming a licensed falconer is a rigorous process that requires substantial dedication, patience, and time on the part of the falconer. It is a 365-day-a-year commitment, and therefore not a sport that can be undertaken casually. However, the restrictions and requirements are intended to insure that only knowledgeable and dedicated individuals are licensed.

Several steps are involved before a first-time falconry license can be issued. Please review the information and requirements as it is important for prospective falconers to be aware of the involvement necessary to participate.

What’s New?

Important: Reporting Requirements

Federal regulations require all licensed falconers to report all acquisitions, captures, purchases, gifting, sales, transfers releases, banding, escapes, losses by death, and all other changes in status and possession of falconry birds MUST be reported to the USFWS by online filing of Form 3-186A.

Instructions for Federal Form 3-186A (pdf)

Important Changes in 2012

Beginning in January, 2012, the US Fish and Wildlife Service Form 3-186A, Migratory Bird Acquisition and Disposition Report (the form you use for reporting of raptor acquisitions, transfers, dispositions, etc.) will change to an electronic filing system. You will no longer submit a paper version of the 3-186A but will complete and submit the information on-line. We are here to assist you with any questions you may have during this transition.

  What is Falconry?

Red-tailed Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
- Photo by Mark Nebeker, ODFW -

Falconry is caring for and training raptors for pursuit of wild game, and hunting wild game with raptors. Falconry includes the taking of raptors from the wild to use in the sport; and caring for, training, and transporting raptors held for falconry. (50 CFR § 21.3) 

Raptor means birds of prey, including hawks, eagles, falcons and owls.

Falconry was known as the “Sport of Kings” and dates back over four thousand years in the Middle East, Europe, North Africa and Asia. It is the oldest field sport known to mankind. This ancient art is a very demanding endeavor, requiring a serious dedication of time and energy from the falconer.

Since World War II, falconry has dramatically increased in popularity in the United States and is legal in every state except Hawaii. Farsighted conservation-minded American falconers encouraged and helped formulate federal and state regulations by which all falconers must abide.

Raptors are protected under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 as well as other state laws. The conservation of all migratory birds is a cooperative effort between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and individual states. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act, under strict regulations, makes allowances for the sport of falconry.

To obtain a falconry license in Oregon requires an aspiring falconer to study for and pass a written exam, have falconry equipment and housing facilities reaching or exceeding a defined standard inspected, and serve a minimum of two years at an apprentice level under a currently licensed Oregon falconer.

After an individual has been licensed by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, they can engage in the sport of falconry with a wild-caught or captive raised raptor.

  Falconry in the State of Oregon

Red-tailed Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
- Photo by Kathy Munsel-

All activities regarding possession of raptors, licenses and permits are governed by federal regulation under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (1918, as amended). In Oregon, falconry regulations were first adopted in 1977. General revisions and amendments were made in 1990, 2002 and 2011. Amendments specifically addressing peregrine falcon nestling and fledgling “take” have been made annually from 2008 to 2011.

In August, 2011, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted administrative rule amendments to OAR Chapter 635, Division 55, Falconry Licenses, Permits and Requirements. The new rules which were approved by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in November 2011, qualified Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife for certain delegated responsibilities to regulate falconry within the national framework and removed the need for a separate federal falconry license in Oregon.

As of January, 2012, 25 states have been approved and certified for compliance by the USFWS.

It is very important for people practicing falconry in Oregon to be familiar with both Oregon Division 55 (pdf) rules and Federal 50 CFR 21.29 (pdf) regulations. The Oregon falconry rules incorporate the federal regulations by reference and also provide extra specificity and/or are more restrictive in some areas.

  Applications and References




U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

For Assistance or Questions
Telephone: (503) 947-6301


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