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Falconry In Tennessee

Falconry

Hunting with falcons is the second oldest form of hunting with the aid of animals. Most historians and archaeologists agree that the sport of falconry originated in China. The first tangible evidence of falconry appears in 4,000 year old artwork from Persia.

Falconry is the sport of taking wildlife by means of a trained raptor. A person may not practice falconry in Tennessee without obtaining a proper TWRA permit.

The modern Tennessee falconer must be able to trap, train and provide care for their own hawks under strict guidelines provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and TWRA. The average falconer may spend as long as two years training a bird of prey before it is ready to hunt.

Training a “raptor” is a continuous process that requires a daily commitment throughout the life of the bird. For every hour spent in the field, the falconer will spend a hundred hours devoted to the care and training of the hawk.

The rewards of hunting with raptors is not measured with the success of the hunt since the average hawk takes 30 to 50 flights before it will take prey. The real thrill of hunting with these magnificent birds is watching them fly in pursuit of game and sharing time with them in the fields and forests.

How To Apply For A Falconry License

A falconry permit may not be issued until the applicant has answered correctly at least 80 percent of the questions given on a supervised examination provided by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The exam is administered regionally by the TWRA. A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service permit is required for each person within the State of Tennessee to possess a raptor for the purposes of falconry.

If you are interested in becoming a licensed falconer in the State of Tennessee, there are three classes of permits for which you may apply: Apprentice Class, General Class, or Master Class.

Apprentice Class

Applicants must be at least 14 years old and must have a sponsor who holds a General or Master Falconry Permit. A Falconry Apprentice must have a sponsor for a minimum of two years. The sponsor may not have more than three apprentices at any one time. An Apprentice may not possess more than one raptor and may only possess the American Kestrel, Red-tailed Hawk, or Red-shouldered Hawk. They may not obtain more than one raptor for replacement during any 12-month period.

General Class

Applicants must be at least 18 years old and have at least two years of experience in the practice of falconry at the Apprentice Class level, or its equivalent. A General Class Falconer may not possess more than two raptors and may not obtain more than two raptors for replacement during any 12-month period. A General Falconer may not take, transport or possess any species listed as threatened or endangered in federal regulations published pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

Master Class

Applicants must have at least five years of experience in the practice of falconry at the General Class level, or its equivalent. A Master Class Falconer may not possess more than three raptors and may not obtain more than two raptors for replacement during any 12-month period. A Master Falconer may not take, transport or possess any species listed as threatened or endangered in federal regulations pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973 unless authorized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Other Requirements

A non-refunable $10.00 fee to the TWRA is due when an applicant takes the 100 question examination. An additional $10.00 fee is charged if the applicant must re-take the examination. A $25.00 fee to the US Fish and Wildlife Service must accompany the Federal Application Form 3-200 (OMB No. 42-R1670).

How To Obtain A Falconry Application Package

Request by E-mail

walter.cook@tn.gov
(include your mailing address and put "Falconry Application" in the subject line.)

Request by Phone

(615) 781-6652

Request by Mail

TWRA Boating and Law Enforcement Division
P.O. Box 40747
Nashville, TN 37204
Attention: Walter Cook