Florida currently operates under the old Federal Rules until January 2014 when our new falconry rules will go into effect.
Florida Falconry Rules
(1) No person shall possess any raptor for falconry purposes without a joint state-federal permit from the executive director, approved by the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, except as provided in paragraph (9)(e) of this rule. No falconry permit shall be issued to any person failing to qualify on a written examination, nor to any person under 14 years of age. No person may take a golden eagle without special federal authorization.
(2) Permit conditions:
(a) A permittee may transfer a raptor to another permittee in the State without special authorization. A permittee may trade or transfer a raptor to another permittee in an interstate transaction if the prior written approval of the state agency which issued the permit is obtained and no money or other consideration is involved in the transaction.
(b) By July 31 of each year, each permittee shall report the following information to the Commission:
1. A listing of all raptors in his possession on July 31 of the year in which the report is filed by species, marker number, sex, age and the date and source of acquisition.
2. A listing of all raptors possessed or acquired since the previous annual report but no longer possessed, including the same information as indicated in subparagraph (b)1., the disposition and the date of disposition.
(c) A permit is valid when issued and expires December 31 of the third calendar year after it is issued unless a different period is specified on the permit.
(d) No raptor may be taken, possessed or transported in violation of this section.
(e) Feathers that are molted or feathers from deceased captive birds may be retained and exchanged by permittees only for imping purposes.
(3) Falconers examination and classification:
(a) An applicant shall make written application and will be notified of the time and place of the next scheduled falconry examination. Those applicants scoring at least 80 percent on the examination shall be classified according to the following criteria:
1. Apprentice class.
a. Permittee shall be sponsored by a holder of a General or Master falconry permit for the first two years in which an Apprentice permit is held. A sponsor may not have more than three apprentices at any one time.
b. Permittee may possess one raptor and may not obtain more than one raptor for replacement during any 12-month period. The permittee may possess only a red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) or a red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus).
2. General class.
a. Permittee shall be at least 18 years old and shall have at least two years’ experience in the practice of falconry at the apprentice level.
b. Permittee may possess two raptors and may not obtain more than two raptors for replacement birds during any 12-month period; and may not possess any golden eagle or any raptor listed as “threatened” or “endangered.”
3. Master class.
a. Permittee shall have at least five years’ experience in the practice of falconry at the general class level.
b. Permittee may possess three raptors, and may not obtain more than two raptors for replacement birds during any 12-month period.
(b) A permittee may not possess any raptor listed as “endangered”; or possess any golden eagle for falconry purposes unless authorized in writing by the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; or possess as part of his three-bird limitation more than one raptor listed as “threatened” and then only in accordance with prior written approval by the director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
(4) Facilities and equipment:
(a) Before a falconry permit is issued, the applicant’s raptor housing facilities and falconry equipment shall be inspected and certified by Commission representatives as meeting the following standards:
1. Outdoor (weathering) facilities shall be required and be fenced and covered with netting, wire or roof. The enclosed area shall be large enough to ensure the bird can not strike the fence when flying from a perch. Adequate perches and protection from excessive sun, wind and inclement weather shall be provided for each bird.
2. Indoor facilities or mews (optional) shall be large enough to allow easy access for caring for the raptors housed in a facility. If more than one raptor is to be kept in the mews, the raptors shall be tethered or separated by partitions and the area for each bird shall be large enough to allow the bird to fully extend its wings. There shall be at least one window protected by a grating spaced narrower than the width of the bird’s body and a secure door that can be easily closed. The floor of the mews shall permit easy cleaning and shall be well drained. Adequate perches shall be provided.
(b) Equipment; minimum standards – The applicant shall possess:
1. Jesses – One pair of Aylmeri jesses or similar type, constructed of pliable, high-quality leather or suitable synthetic material.
2. Leashes and swivels – One flexible, weather-resistant leash and one strong swivel of acceptable falconry design. Snap-type swivels, such as harness snaps, shall not be considered adequate.
3. Bath container – One suitable container two to six inches deep and wider than the length of the raptor.
4. Outdoor perches – One weathering area of acceptable design for each raptor.
5. Weighing device – A scale graduated to increments of not more than 1/2 ounce.
(5) Temporary holding facilities: A raptor may be transported or held in temporary facilities for a period not to exceed 30 days. Such facilities shall be provided with an adequate perch and protected from external temperatures and excessive disturbance.
(6) Standards for maintenance and sanitation requirements: All facilities and equipment shall be kept in a serviceable, safe and sanitary manner. Clean water shall be provided for bathing and drinking. Tethering areas shall be free of obstructions that might entangle the raptor.
(a) A Commission representative shall inspect the applicant’s facility for keeping the raptor prior to the issuance of a falconry permit and shall report the conditions observed. Periodic inspections thereafter shall be made and the inspector shall make written reports thereof to the executive director. Refusal to permit inspection of facilities may result in denial of issuance or revocation of the raptor permit.
(b) In the event an inspection report indicates mistreatment or lack of adequate facilities to properly care for any raptor and if, following notice, the permittee fails to correct the deficiency within 48 hours the executive director may revoke the raptor permit and confiscate any raptors in possession.
(a) A falconer may not possess for falconry purposes any peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), gyr falcon (Falco rusticolus), or Harris’ hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus) unless such bird is banded either with a seamless numbered band provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or a permanent nonreusable band provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
(b) The alteration, counterfeiting or defacing of a marker is prohibited except that permittees may remove the rear tab on markers and may smooth any imperfect surface provided that integrity of the marker and number are not altered.
(9) Capturing raptors; restrictions:
(a) Up to two young birds not yet capable of flight (eyasses) may only be taken by a general or master falconer during the periods of March 17 through April 30 and May 17 through June 30.
(b) First year (passage) birds may be taken only during the periods of September 15 through October 31 and December 1 through January 12.
(c) A marked raptor may be retrapped at any time.
(d) Only great horned owls (Bubo virginianus) may be taken when over one year old, except that any raptor (other than endangered or threatened raptors taken under depredation or other special permits) may be used for falconry by general and master falconers.
(e) Residents of a state other than Florida who hold valid falconry permits in their state of residence may take raptors in Florida, and possess and transport raptors so taken, under authority of a permit issued by the executive director. Requests for raptor take permits from nonresidents shall include a copy of the applicant’s joint state-federal falconry permit; a list of the species, number, and age of raptors proposed to be taken; a list of all other raptors held under the applicant’s joint state-federal falconry permit; and a description of the general area where raptors will be taken. Permit issuance will be based on consideration of the population status of the species requested; whether or not the species requested is listed by the Commission or U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as threatened, endangered, or of special concern; the number of raptors to be taken; and the permit class of the applicant. Applicants for nonresident raptor take permits shall adhere to the restrictions on take and possession limits for Florida residents as provided in this rule section, and shall submit to the Commission a list of all raptors taken and the location(s) where they were captured.
(f) The take of peregrine falcons is prohibited except as authorized by permit from the executive director and consistent with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Final Environmental Assessment and Management Plan for Peregrine Falcons, dated August 2008 (incorporated herein by reference). The Commission shall randomly select applications and issue permits annually. Priority for receiving a permit shall be given to Florida residents. Only one application may be submitted per applicant.
Rulemaking Authority Art. IV, Sec. 9, Fla. Const. Law Implemented Art. IV, Sec. 9, Fla. Const. History–New 8-1-79, Amended 6-21-82, 7-1-84, Formerly 39-9.05, Amended 4-14-92, 7-1-94, Formerly 39-9.005, Amended 1-19-10.