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.
The falconry license application fee is $125. Fee for a first time apprentice falconry license is $50.
A successful falconer who obtains a peregrine must report the take as soon as possible through standard reporting requirements to MT FWP, preferably within 5 days of take. Calling the reporting hotline is not required during the 2020 and 2021 take seasons. The season closure will be determined based on reporting through timely submission of the Montana 3-186. It is in the interest of all falconers to report take as soon as possible so that adequate tracking of take is accomplished. In addition to the 3-186 form, you can call us Monday through Friday 8am-5pm at 406-444-2452 to inform us of your take. Any “TAKE” over the 10-bird limit could influence take in future years.
The regulations will guide allowable take of young peregrine falcons from 2020-2021.
Beginning in 2012, the capture of raptors from the wild will be allowed in Montana for non-residents who are licensed in their state, by the USFWS, or both for the sport of falconry. Capture of raptors will be limited by quota and species of raptor and only one raptor will be allowed to be captured by any falconer who is successful in applying for a non-resident capture permit. Capture permit applications are due to the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks by March 15th and applications must specify which single species of raptor is requested and must also be accompanied by a $5 non-refundable application fee. Capture is limited to a total of three raptors of each species available with the exception of peregrine falcons. Only one non-resident capture permit for capture of a peregrine falcon will be allowed every two years and only to a falconer that has applied for a peregrine take permit through a separate peregrine take drawing. That successful applicant will need to purchase the $200 non-resident capture permit.
Drawings for non-resident capture permits will be held in late March and successful applicants will be notified by April 1. A capture permit fee of $200 must be received by May 1 at Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to obtain the capture permit. If the $200 fee is not received by the deadline, the applicant will be nullified and the permit made available to an applicant who had previously been unsuccessful in obtaining a non-resident capture permit.
Permits are valid from June 1 through March 31 and allow for capture of either a nestling or a first year passage bird. Each successful applicant must report to the department the capture of a raptor and must obtain a raptor export permit from MFWP prior to transporting the raptor back to their home state.
All non-residents must comply with the Montana falconry regulations and the USFWS falconry regulations while engaged either in the take of raptors or the use of raptors in the sport of falconry while in Montana.
Successful applicants will need to purchase a $200 non-resident capture permit.