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Falconry, Wildlife Rehab, Tracking Dog Exams Set
New York Ag Connection - 07/08/2020

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced that exams for individuals seeking a license to practice falconry, become a wildlife rehabilitator, or use leashed tracking dogs to find wounded or injured big game animals are scheduled for Aug. 7 and Aug. 14, depending on location. The deadline to register is July 24.

This year, following Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's NY Forward guidelines and in order to maintain safe social distancing, DEC will be offering the exam from 10 a.m. to noon and again from 2 p.m. to 4.pm. on Aug. 14, at most DEC Regional Offices across the state.

Due to the anticipated number of exam registrants, DEC Region 1 (Long Island) is holding the exams from 10 a.m. to noon on Aug. 7 and Aug. 14. DEC Region 3 (New Paltz) is offering the exams on Aug. 7 and Aug. 14 at 10 a.m. to noon, and 2 to 4 p.m. both days. A list of DEC Regional Offices can be found on the DEC website. Those interested in taking any of these free exams must register by the June 24 deadline. Exam registration forms can be found at DEC's website.

Apprentice Falconry License

Falconry has a rich history and tradition throughout the world and requires a significant commitment of time and effort. Apprentices are limited to possessing one bird, either an American kestrel or a red-tailed hawk. A falconry study guide and examination manual are available at no cost from DEC. The cost of a five-year falconry license is $40.

To qualify for the Apprentice Falconry license, applicants must:

- score 80 percent or higher on the written exam;

- be at least 14 years of age;

- possess a valid New York State hunting license; and

- maintain DEC-approved facilities for housing falconry raptors.

Wildlife Rehabilitator License

Wildlife rehabilitators provide for the care of injured, sick and orphaned wild animals for the purpose of returning rehabilitated animals to the wild. Prospective applicants are encouraged to gain experience by serving as an assistant to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. A wildlife rehabilitator study guide and examination manual are available at no cost from DEC. There is no cost for the license, which is good for five years.

To qualify for the Wildlife Rehabilitator License, applicants must:

- score 80 percent or higher on the written exam;

- be at least 16 years of age; and

- be interviewed by DEC regional wildlife staff.

Leashed Tracking Dog Handler

Leashed tracking dog handlers use their dogs to track and recover dead, wounded or injured big game. Leashed tracking dog handlers provide a valuable service by aiding hunters in locating wounded big game that otherwise may go unrecovered. A leashed tracking dog study guide is available at no cost from DEC. There is a $50 license fee for the five-year license and a $25 non-refundable application fee.

To qualify for a Leashed Tracking Dog Handler License, applicants must:

- score 80 percent or higher on the written exam; and

- possess a valid New York State hunting license.

To apply for any of these exams, visit the NYSDEC Special Licenses Unit website and fill out an exam registration form. You can mail, fax or email the completed form to: NYS DEC Special Licenses Unit, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY, 12233-4752; Phone: 518-402-8985; Fax: 518-402-8925; Email: SpecialLicenses@dec.ny.gov.

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