It is unlawful for any person to possess a raptor or to train a raptor in the practice of falconry without either a falconry license or a raptor propagation license. Raptor means all birds of the orders falconiformes and strigiformes, commonly called falcons, hawks, eagles, ospreys, and owls. The only owl authorized under a falconry license to be used in the practice of falconry is the great horned owl (Bubo virginianus).
There are three classes of falconry licenses: the apprentice class, the general class, and the master class. In order to apply for an apprentice falconry license, you must first obtain a sponsor who is a general or master falconer and will take responsibility for your two years of training as an apprentice. You must also satisfactorily pass an examination concerning falconry (80% or more of the questions must be correctly answered) and satisfactorily construct a facility to hold raptors. Only then can one obtain the actual apprentice falconry license. First time apprentice licenses may be obtained for $50. The standard license application fee for everyone else is $125. If the examination and inspection of facilities has been satisfactorily completed, a 3 year falconry license will be issued. Applicants less than 18 years of age must have a co-signature by a parent or guardian assuming legal responsibility for falconry activities. After 2 years as an apprentice falconer, a general falconers license may be obtained. A master class falconers permit may be issued only after an individual has at least 5 years experience as a general falconer. An apprentice falconer is limited by Federal regulations and Montana regulations as to what species of raptor they may possess as an apprentice. There are other limitations concerning the species of raptors that may be possessed and/or taken from the wild as replacement birds for the general falconer and master falconer classes.
Some species of raptors possessed by falconers must be banded for individual identification. Bands are obtained from Montana FWP.