DEC gives tests for falconry, dog-tracking, wildlife rehab

Examinations for people 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 13, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, which gives the tests.

The exams are scheduled for 10 a.m. to noon at most DEC Regional Offices across the state. Region 4, which includes Albany county, is headquartered at 1130 North Westcott Road in Schenectady. The deadline for registering to take these free exams is Friday, March 16, and exam registration forms can be found at the DEC website.

Apprentice Falconry License

Falconry has a rich history and tradition throughout the world and requires a significant commitment in time and effort, according to a DEC release. 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 from DEC. 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 for the care of 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 at no cost from DEC. There is no cost for the license, which is good for five years.

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. Handlers provide a valuable 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 from DEC.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; and

— Possess a valid New York State hunting license.

To apply for any of these exams, visit the DEC Special Licenses Unit website at and fill out 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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