Falconry is the art and sport of using trained raptors (birds of prey) to hunt game. The sport requires long hours, constant devotion, finesse, subtlety and skill. The falconer must train a bird of prey to fly free, hunt under the guidance of a human being and then accept a return to captivity. Falconers may use different species of raptors to hunt different types of game. Falconry is not an overnight achievement. Becoming a master falconer takes at least seven years.

The beginner must learn about the various gaming birds, their stages of life, characteristics, prey, care, feeding and suitability for the falconer and the hunting environment. Learning about proper housing for the birds and knowing how to use the equipment also is necessary. A falconer must know the rules and regulations that affect the sport and the laws that apply to birds of prey. Because all raptors are protected by state, federal and international law, all potential falconers must obtain necessary permits before obtaining a hawk or practicing falconry. This includes taking a written falconry exam, inspection of facilities and being sponsored by an experienced falconer. Falconers are required to follow Nebraska’s game laws, and are not allowed to hunt out-of-season or hunt protected species.

For more information on falconry, contact Joel Jorgensen, Nongame Bird Program Manager, at 402-471-5440 or by email. You can also learn more by visiting the North American Falconers Association website

Downloadable falconry resources: