Are you interested in Falconry, Wildlife Rehabilitator, or Leashed Tracking Dog Handler? The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is holding licensing exams soon.

The DEC has scheduled licensing exams from 10 am - 12 noon, Friday, August 11, 2017, at most regional offices. The deadline for registering to take any of these free exams is Friday, July 21. Registration Forms can be found on DEC's website.

Apprentice Falconry License
Falconry has a rich history and tradition throughout the world. Falconry is a demanding sport that requires a significant commitment of time and effort. Novice falconers must be prepared to accept the responsibilities that are part of the sport. 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 on DEC's website. The cost of a five-year falconry license is $40.
To qualify, applicants must:

  • Score 80 percent or higher on the written exam.
  • Be at least 14 years of age.
  • Have a valid New York State small-game hunting license,
  • Have a DEC-approved facility for housing falconry raptors.

Wildlife Rehabilitator License
Wildlife rehabilitators care for injured, sick and orphaned wild animals in order to return 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 on DEC's website.
To qualify, applicants must:

  • Score 80 percent or higher on the written exam.
  • Be at least 16 years old.
  • Submit two character references with application
  • 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 an invaluable service in aiding hunters in locating wounded big game that otherwise may go unrecovered. A leashed tracking dog study guide is available at no cost on DEC's website. 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.
  • Have a valid New York State big-game hunting license.

To apply for these exams, visit the NYSDEC Special Licenses Unit website and complete an exam registration form. 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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