So, You Want to be a Falconer?

Becoming a falconer….

So you want to become a falconer? What is Falconry?

We define falconry as the active pursuit and taking of wild quarry (hunting)  with a trained raptor – a hawk, falcon, eagle or owl (in its wild habitat).  A falconer is a person who hunts with a bird of prey. If you’re not actively hunting wild quarry with a trained raptor, with the intent of taking said quarry, then you are not practicing Falconry. There are other options to work with birds of prey, such as rehabilitation and education.

It takes extreme time, commitment, and dedication to become a falconer.

Here in the Commonwealth there are specific requirements one must have to become a licensed falconer:

• You must be 15 years of age (with consent of parents or guardian) or older
• You must possess a valid state hunting license (you will have to take hunter         education classes before being issued a hunting license.)
• You must have a sponsor – a licensed General or Master class falconer who will act as a source of guidance and information for your two year apprentice period.
• You must pass a written examination administered by Mass Fisheries & Wildlife
•You must build your hawk house/mews and pass an inspection by the state and have all necessary equipment, i.e. glove, bath pan, leashes, swivels, scale, etc.
• You must fill out your paperwork and pay $25.00 for your state falconry permit.

To request an information packet contact State Falconry Coordinator at:


Mass Div of Fisheries and Wildlife
Attn: Erik Amati Coordinator
Field Headquarters
One Rabbit Hill Road
Westboro, MA 01851
(508) 389-6300

68 Responses to So, You Want to be a Falconer?

  1. Jill says:

    What if we just like to fly the hawks for fun but don’t necessarily want to catch critters with them?

  2. You can contact our liason, William Johnston

  3. Chris Catalano says:

    Where can I find a sponsor/mentor? And will I be using his bird or can I tame my own? (These are probably stupid questions, but i am completely new to falconry even though ive been hunting for 3 years.)

  4. troy says:

    Hi I was wondering once everything is done and said where do I get a falcon or a hawk and how much thank you

  5. Cris Lett says:

    If I were interested in pursuing falconry, who should I contact?
    Thanks, Cris

  6. Brian Abatiello says:

    How does one go about getting a sponsor?

  7. Braden Froehlich says:

    Is the internship mandatory

  8. Elena Gatti says:

    Hi, my father is a retired falconer and has moved into a nursing home. I have several falconry books, hoods, paintings and bells for sale. Anyone in your club interested. I think my father came to a couple of your meetings. Elena Gatti

    • Elana…Can you please send me an e-mail to and I can forward anything you’d like to sell to our members. Thank you and well wishes for your father

      • Saray Lorn says:

        Hi, I was wondering if there is a tour of some sort where I partake in seeing how things are done or see trainers with birds. I am very interested in Falconry and would love to pursue this if I am able to. Or is there someone I can call and talk to that can give me full details from beginning to end? Would be very helpful. Thank you.

      • Unfortunately with the current pandemic, all public events are cancelled until further notice. We typically hold info sessions at different events, but all are on hold for now.

  9. I have a child who is interested in falconry, and would like to learn more about it, to get her feet wet, so to speak. Do you have any suggestions of someone in the Eastern ma, RI area that does falconry that would let her visit, ask questions, see if she wants to pursue this further? Thanks in advance, Jamie Duponte

    • Jamie, I would suggest her reading up on the sport….this is a hunting your daughter interested in hunting with a bird or working with birds of prey for education? There is also an age requirement so not sure how old she is…
      You can try New England falconry….a falconry experience opportunity

  10. Brian says:

    Is it legal to use a species of owl such as a great horned owl for falconry in MA? If so, can they be considered in perfect health and captured, or do they have to be rescued birds with injuries preventing them from being released?

    • There are 3 different levels of being a falconer and with each level you are allowed different species of birds….some species are illegal to use period….great horned owls are used for falconry but rarely….falconry is the sport of hunting with a trained bird of prey on quarry….you can not use non-releasable birds to hunt with….you can rehabilitate injured birds of prey with a federal and state permit for rehabilitation. Adult breeding birds for falconry are not allowed to be captured due to the fact they are part of the breeding population.

  11. Aidan M. says:

    I am looking to contact your Rhode Island equivalent; do you have any ideas on how to contact them?

  12. John Frigon says:

    What are the three levels of falconry called? For the first “level” can you use the red tailed hawk? And how much are classes and normally how long does the process take

    • Apprentice (before you become an apprentice there is a written test, facilitly inspection, hunters ed course and finding a sponsor–2 years under a sponsor/mentor)
      General (after 2 years of apprenticeship, writtten exam, field exam)
      Master (after 5 years of general, written exam, field exam)

      There are no paid classes and the process takes everyone different amounts of time…falconry takes a HUGE time commitment and does cost money for your facility and equipment

  13. bri says:

    I am twelve and a half and I am intrigued in falconry is there any way I could get a hunting license
    and begin my training. Or will I have to be fifteen to get a hunting license and then get to start training?

  14. courtney Sepeck says:

    Hi i looked at the link for the mass wildlife and it says there is an error. where can i be directed to or what is the contact i must email, call, etc. to get my informative falconry packet

  15. matt says:

    were would i find a sponse?

  16. Ivaloe says:

    Hello, I have been very interested in falconry for quite some time and I have a question I did not find in the above post. I am 13 years old as of August so I know that it is probably way too early to start but is there a list of websites or books that are commonly available to the public that I could read up on?
    Thank you for your time.

  17. ntieu22 says:

    Hi there

    I’m looking to get into falconry, I am from Dartmouth ma. Who around me I can meet and experience this as first hand and seeing these birds in person

    Any info would be greatly appreciated

  18. keith says:

    Good morning,
    I’m very interested in becoming a falconer
    Is there a place where I can find more information? And who could I talk to about getting a sponser?

  19. Emma G. says:

    Hello. I am currently 14 years old and am interested in pursueing falconry. What would I need to know for the examination? Also, are there any other requirements other than what is listed above?

    Thank you for your time.


    (p.s. merry christmas/happy hanukkah)

  20. Molly says:

    Hello there. Young couple from Western MA/Berkshires. My fiance has been a long time lover of birds of prey having done volunteer work with Tufts and other programs. Now that our careers are established he is looking to do an apprenticeship (he is already licensed to hunt). My question is: how difficult is it to find a sponsor? How might someone go about doing that? We’re new to the area and have yet to build any relationships related to this. Additionally, is there a specific number of hours a week you must commit to? He works in medicine so has a decent amount of availability. Any answers related would be awesome! Thank you 🙂

  21. Tammy merenda says:

    I can not find Mchael H. Contact info anywhere. Can you post it here please?
    Thank you.

  22. Lc says:

    My son has done everything nessacery in order to try to be an apprentice got his hunting license read every book sent letters emails for a master or general falconeir to work under what do you do when you get no responses ? Can you please tell me that

    • One reason: Falconry is a time consuming sport and full time dedication. Some falconers can barely find time to hunt themselves. Taking on an apprentice (a young one even more) is a big responsibility and more time dedication. I can assume that is why no responses as some do not have time to train a new person. Second reason: I suggest having your son come to our summer picnic or one of our field meets this season to meet potential sponsors. Falconers like when interested people come and see falconry in action to learn about it first hand at the field meets and meet falconers a few times before accepting them as their apprentice. Writing a letter is not enough for someone to sign on for the huge commitment without meeting them first. Please email the secretary for further details thank you

  23. Cherie Paine says:

    Its my dream to work with raptors, Falconry rehabilitation work etc. I was wondering what would be a good standing point for volunteering. Would much enjoy getting a insight with working with them. Thank you

  24. Luke Lea says:

    Im 15 and have my hunting license. What is the next step towards falconry and getting a license?

  25. Lion says:

    Can you hatch and raise a falcon or do you have to get one from a breeder

  26. Stephen Joyce says:

    My name is Stephen Joyce and I am a den leader for a cub scouts group. I was wondering if there would be anyone willing to do a demonstration of falconry for the scouts. We are in Quincy Ma.

  27. Caren Tackett says:

    Hi there. I’m a licensed apprentice falconer in CO, a member of the CO Hawking Club and NAFA. I may be moving to MA within the next few months and am wondering if I need to
    take the test all over again in MA and start from the beginning? I’m at the end of my 2 yr apprenticeship. Thanks for your help.

  28. Deborah Daniels says:

    I do not have a hunting license. I do not have sponsor.. I am a 66 year old woman with a love of all animals & would love to be considered for an opportunity to become a falconer

  29. Michael Lepore says:

    Does your sponsor have to be from your state? I live in Massachusetts, but recently met someone that is a general in New Hampshire.

  30. Bonnie Ford says:

    Pleas tell me is it legal to train a hawk in the town cemetery in the center of town with lots of abutters?

  31. 1221Brook says:

    Is it possible to get a peregrine falcon when you first start falconry.

  32. Roy says:

    Where can I find a sponsor or someone to talk to to get the ball rolling. I already received the packet from the state.

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