Falconers welcome revised regulations

by Tom Goldsmith | May 11, 2021
red-tailed hawk perched on a fencepost
Red-tailed hawk perched on a fence post. (Photo by Tracy Smith)

Ontario’s licensed falconers are welcoming recent changes to provincial regulations that simplify the process of trapping and hunting with a raptor that was captured from the wild.

Previously, licensed falconers, who wanted to trap and train an indigenous raptor, needed to enter a Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) draw process. Winners received one of only 25 authorizations to take a hatch-year red-tailed hawk, Cooper’s hawk, sharp-shinned hawk or merlin, for falconry purposes. 

Live capture species

On March 1, after a period of public consultation, the MNRF put in place more streamlined regulations that allows a licensed falconer (including licensed apprentices) to take one of the four species annually from the wild during the designated time of year. Also, licensed falconers (not licensed apprentices) will now be able to take a northern goshawk from the wild, if they enter and are chosen in, a draw process. Currently, the number of successful applicants on that draw is limited to five.

The Ontario Hawking Club (OHC) and the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters were strong advocates for the changes and worked hard to make the case. 

Louise Engle, president of the OHC said, “Wild raptors have always played an essential role in falconry throughout the world. Successfully capturing a wild raptor requires skill and an understanding of raptors in nature; while successfully training a wild bird sharpens a falconer’s skills and deepens their appreciation of wildlife. The new regulations acknowledge the importance of traditional falconry practices and the addition of goshawks will present exciting new opportunities for falconers in Ontario.”

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