Thursday, April 1, 2021

DEC Announces Online Falconry, Wildlife Rehabilitator, and Leashed Tracking Dog Exams

Online Exams Scheduled for Friday, April 30

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today that examinations for individuals seeking a license to practice the sport of falconry, become a volunteer wildlife rehabilitator, or use leashed tracking dogs to find wounded or injured big game animals are scheduled for Friday, April 30. To ensure access to the examinations, and prevent the spread of COVID-19, DEC is offering exams online this year instead of in-person. The exams will be available from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. on April 30. Registrants will have two hours to take each exam.

To register for any of these exams, click on the exam registration link and follow the directions provided. An email will be sent acknowledging registration.

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 on the DEC website at no cost. 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 care for 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 on the DEC website at no cost. There is no cost for the five-year wildlife rehabilitation license.

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 on the DEC website at no cost. There is a $50 license fee for the five-year leashed tracking dog 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 register for these exams, visit the DEC Special Licenses Unit webpage. The link to the registration web page is provided on each of the individual license web pages. For questions or assistance, please contact the Special Licenses Unit at: NYSDEC Special Licenses Unit, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-4752 Phone: 518-402-8985, Fax: 518-402-8925, Email: [email protected].

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NYS DEC

Information attributed to NYSDEC is taken from press releases and news announcements from New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation.




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