[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 196 (Wednesday, October 8, 2008)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 59447-59477]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-23226]



[[Page 59447]]

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Part IV





Department of the Interior





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Fish and Wildlife Service



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50 CFR Parts 21 and 22



Migratory Bird Permits; Changes in the Regulations Governing Falconry; 
Final Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 196 / Wednesday, October 8, 2008 / 
Rules and Regulations

[[Page 59448]]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Parts 21 and 22

[FWS-R9-MB-2008-0039] [91200-1231-9BPP]
RIN 1018-AG11


Migratory Bird Permits; Changes in the Regulations Governing 
Falconry

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, change the regulations 
governing falconry in the United States. We have reorganized the 
regulations and added or changed some provisions in them. In 
particular, we have eliminated the requirement for a Federal permit to 
practice falconry. The changes will make it easier to understand the 
requirements for the practice of falconry, including take of raptors 
from the wild, and the procedures for obtaining a falconry permit. This 
rule also adds a provision allowing us to approve falconry regulations 
that Indian Tribes or U.S. territories adopt. State, tribal, or 
territorial laws and regulations governing falconry must meet the 
standards in these regulations by January 1, 2014, at which time the 
Federal permit program will be discontinued.

DATES: These regulations are effective November 7, 2008.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dr. George T. Allen, Division of 
Migratory Bird Management, at 703-358-1825.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the Federal agency with the 
primary responsibility for managing migratory birds. Our authority is 
based on the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) (16 U.S.C. 703 et seq.), 
which implements conventions with Great Britain (for Canada), Mexico, 
Japan, and the Soviet Union (Russia). Raptors (birds of prey) are 
afforded Federal protection by the 1972 amendment to the Convention for 
the Protection of Migratory Birds and Game Animals, February 7, 1936, 
United States--Mexico, as amended; the Convention between the United 
States and Japan for the Protection of Migratory Birds in Danger of 
Extinction and Their Environment, September 19, 1974; and the 
Convention Between the United States of America and the Union of Soviet 
Socialist Republics (Russia) Concerning the Conservation of Migratory 
Birds and Their Environment, November 26, 1976.
    The taking and possession of raptors are strictly prohibited except 
as permitted under regulations implementing the MBTA. The regulations 
govern the issuance of permits for activities with migratory birds. 
They are in title 50, Code of Federal Regulations, parts 10, 13, 21, 
and 22. Raptors also may be protected by State, tribal, and territorial 
regulations.
    Our authority also is based on the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection 
Act (16 U.S.C. 668-668d). The Eagle Act extends additional protections 
for bald eagles and golden eagles, and addresses some human activities 
that may affect these species. The Act specifies circumstances under 
which falconers may take golden eagles from the wild.
    We proposed revisions to the regulations governing falconry on 
February 9, 2005 (70 FR 6978-6992). We did so to address changes in the 
practice of falconry and to respond to a request from the Association 
of Fish and Wildlife Agencies that we consider eliminating duplicative 
Federal/State falconry permitting. The rule was open for comment for 90 
days.
    Regulations for falconry schools are not covered under this rule. 
We have concluded that falconry schools are most appropriately 
addressed under regulations governing education with migratory birds, 
and these regulations are under development.

II. Changes in the Regulations Governing Falconry

    We have rewritten the regulations in plain language and have 
changed or added some provisions. The following are notable substantive 
changes. In this SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section, ``States'' refers 
to States, the District of Columbia, and territories under the 
jurisdiction of the United States.
    1. After adoption of these regulations, a State, tribal, or 
territorial falconry permit will suffice for the practice of falconry. 
A dual State/Federal permitting system has been in place since 
implementation of Federal regulations governing falconry. Every State 
government except that of Hawaii has now implemented regulations 
governing falconry. The government of the District of Columbia has not 
implemented regulations governing falconry. To allow falconry, States, 
tribes, territories, and the District of Columbia must operate within 
the bounds of the Federal regulations. We have concluded that with 
State, tribal, and territorial permitting in place (if tribes or 
territories choose to do so), we can reduce the paperwork burden on 
permittees and the Service, and can eliminate the cost of a Federal 
permit for falconry permittees. No tribe or territory has sought to 
establish falconry regulations, but this rule makes it clear that they 
can do so.
    2. This rule implements electronic reporting of acquisition, 
transfer, or loss of raptors held for falconry. Electronic reporting 
will eliminate the need for permittees to send us paper reports for 
these actions, though some may still have to mail completed forms to 
their State or tribal governments if those entities require signed 3-
186A forms. Implementing electronic reporting for transactions under 
the falconry regulations will reduce permittee expenses and the time it 
takes to report. We will maintain the 3-186A reporting system. The 
States, tribes, or territories will need to regularly update 
information on falconry permittees. We will not allow submission of 
paper 3-186A forms after these regulations are in effect in a State or 
territory or by a tribe. However, the States, tribes, or territories 
may choose to accept paper 3-186A forms. If a State, tribe, or 
territory chooses to do so, it will be responsible for entering the 
data into the electronic 3-186A system.
    3. We will allow Apprentice Falconers to possess additional species 
of Falconiformes and Strigiformes taken from the wild.
    4. Apprentice Falconers may possess non-imprinted captive-bred 
raptors of the species they are allowed to possess.
    5. The regulations add requirements for capture and possession of 
golden eagles to use in falconry for Master Falconers with sufficient 
experience. Previously, they were covered in 50 CFR 22.24. We 
simplified the regulations in 50 CFR 22.24 to account for this change, 
which will facilitate permitting by the States, tribes, and 
territories. We will no longer require Federal permitting of falconers 
for possession of golden eagles.
    6. The regulations allow Master Falconers to keep up to 5 wild 
raptors to use in falconry. Currently, Master Falconers are allowed to 
keep 3 raptors for falconry. Allowing the possession of 5 wild raptors 
does not change the allowed annual take of 2 raptors from the wild each 
year (Sec.  21.29 (e)(2)).
    7. A Master Falconer may possess any number of captive-bred raptors 
if they are used in falconry. Allowing the possession of captive-bred 
raptors does not change the allowed annual take of 2 raptors from the 
wild or the level of care we require (Sec.  21.29 (e)(2)).
    8. General Falconers may keep 3 raptors to use in falconry. 
Allowing the

[[Page 59449]]

possession of 3 raptors does not change the allowed annual take of 2 
raptors from the wild.
    9. Each State, tribe, or territory may develop and administer the 
required examination for Apprentice Falconers and new residents. 
Changes in the examination a State, tribe, or territory administers 
will require our approval (Sec.  21.29 (b)(4)(ii)).
    10. A new resident of the United States can qualify for a falconry 
permit appropriate for his or her level of experience. The applicant 
must correctly answer at least 80 percent of the questions on the 
supervised examination for Apprentice Falconers. The State, tribe, or 
territory under which the applicant wishes to obtain a falconry permit 
administers the examination. If the applicant passes the test, the 
State, tribe, or territory may decide what level of falconry permit he 
or she may hold, consistent with the guidelines set forth in these 
regulations (Sec.  21.29 (c)(6)).
    11. We rewrote and simplified the facilities and equipment 
requirements to make them easier to understand (Sec.  21.29 (c)). We do 
not intend to require rebuilding of existing facilities if a State has 
approved them.
    12. Possession of facilities for housing raptors will not be a 
prerequisite for obtaining a permit. However, a permittee must have 
facilities that pass State, tribal, or territorial inspection before he 
or she may obtain a raptor for use in falconry. This change will allow 
former falconers who no longer can keep falconry raptors to get a 
falconry permit and assist Apprentice Falconers in learning about the 
practice of falconry (Sec.  21.29 (c)(5)(ii)).
    13. We removed the 180-day-per-year limit on take of raptors from 
the wild. Raptors may be taken for falconry during periods specified by 
the States, tribes, or territories. The 180-day restriction 
unnecessarily limits the governance of take by States, tribes, or 
territories. We believe it is reasonable for them to be able to 
regulate take from the wild when different raptor species are present. 
The 180-day restriction limits the ability of a State, tribe, or 
territory to do so.
    14. When flown for falconry, a hybrid raptor must have two attached 
radio transmitters that will allow the permittee to locate it. We 
prohibit intentional permanent release of hybrids to the wild (Sec.  
21.29 (e)(8) and (e)(9)(iv)).
    15. Falconers will be responsible for treatment and rehabilitation 
costs of falconry raptors injured in trapping efforts.
    16. This rule requires banding or microchipping of all goshawks 
taken from the wild. We eliminated the requirement to band golden 
eagles taken from the wild. Goshawk numbers in parts of the country and 
law enforcement concerns over take and transport of goshawks have led 
us to require banding of goshawks taken out of the wild. However, very 
few golden eagles are taken from the wild each year, and we deem 
banding them unnecessary at present (Sec.  21.29 (c)(7)(i)).
    17. The rule allows temporary release of falconry raptors to the 
wild (``hacking'') for both wild-caught birds and captive-bred birds 
(Sec.  21.29 (f)(2)).
    18. General and Master Falconers may use suitable raptors in raptor 
propagation if the propagator has a raptor propagation permit. The 
raptors do not need to be transferred from the falconer's falconry 
permit if they are used temporarily in propagation.
    19. A falconer may transfer most raptors captured from the wild 
under a falconry permit to a propagation permit only after they have 
been used in falconry for at least 2 years (Sec.  21.29 (f)(5)(i)). 
Previously, raptors taken for falconry could be transferred to another 
permit type immediately after capture. With this change, we are 
addressing State concerns over take under falconry permits and 
immediate transfer to propagation permits. This has been used to 
circumvent State review of take of raptors for the wild for use in 
propagation. The 2-year restriction and the limits on possession 
together will mean that falconers will be limited in their abilities to 
take birds from the wild for use in propagation.
    20. General and Master Falconers may use suitable raptors they 
possess in conservation education programs without an additional permit 
(Sec.  21.29 (f)(8)(i)). An apprentice falconer may present 
conservation education programs and use a raptor he or she possesses if 
he or she is under the supervision of a General or Master Falconer when 
presenting the program (Sec.  21.29 (f)(8)(ii)). The raptors must be 
used in hunting; they may not be held under a falconry permit to be 
used primarily for conservation education purposes. Falconers can serve 
a role in educating the public about the roles raptors play in the 
environment and their legal protections. Any bird held primarily for 
education must be held under a Special Purpose education permit.
    21. We lowered the age for Apprentice Falconers from 14 to 12 
(Sec.  21.29 (c)(3)(i)(A)).
    22. A visitor to the United States with a falconry permit from his 
or her country may practice falconry in the United States if the State, 
tribe, or territory allows it (Sec.  21.29 (f)(14)).
    23. We added a provision for immediate restoration of revoked 
permits. This change is to make it clear that restoration of an 
individual's permit after the end of a revocation period is at the 
discretion of the State, tribe, or territory (Sec.  21.29 (i)).
    24. We revised the definitions of the terms ``falconry'' and 
``raptor,'' and added definitions of the terms ``hacking,'' ``hybrid,'' 
and ``imprint.''
    25. General and Master Falconers may assist Federal- and State-
permitted migratory bird rehabilitators in conditioning of raptors for 
permanent release to the wild. A falconer may work with a rehabilitator 
without being a subpermittee of the rehabilitator (Sec.  21.31 (e)(3)).
    Because it will take time for States to change their falconry 
regulations to comply with these regulations, the final compliance date 
for these regulations is January 1, 2014.
    Each State, tribe, or territory that wishes to allow the practice 
of falconry must work with us to ensure correct operation of electronic 
reporting of take of raptors from the wild, and must then certify to 
the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that it is in 
compliance with the new regulations. Any State certified to allow 
falconry under the Federal falconry regulations in Sec. Sec.  21.28, 
21.29, and 22.24 of this part prior to the effective date may continue 
to allow falconry under those provisions until we approve that State's 
recertification, or until January 1, 2014. Falconry shall not be 
permitted in a State or territory or by a Tribe after January 1, 2014, 
until that State, tribe, or territory develops a permitting program 
that the Director has certified to be in compliance with these 
regulations.

III. Changes from the Proposed Rule

    We made many wording changes and small organizational changes from 
the proposed rule. Major changes from the proposed rule are limited.
    1. We added territories to those entities that may promulgate 
falconry regulations.
    2. We changed the possession limit for General Falconers from 2 
raptors to 3.
    3. We deferred to numerous comments about the provisions for review 
of State, tribal, or territorial permitting and suspension of 
permitting. We changed the language about the reviews to allow the 
States, tribes, and territories to work with us to correct permitting 
deficiencies, should they occur.

[[Page 59450]]

    4. Many commenters suggested that the proposed change in the 
regulations that would require more experience to advance to General 
Falconer was not warranted. We agreed with the prevailing comments on 
this point, and revised the amount of experience required to advance to 
General Falconer.
    5. We added a facilities inspection requirement for falconers who 
spend 120 days or more at another location with any of their falconry 
raptors.
    6. Some commenters were opposed to the annual reporting each year 
on golden eagle trapping activities required in addition to 3-186A 
reports. We agreed with their argument, and deleted the requirement 
from these regulations. We will compile information on take of eagles 
through the electronic reporting system.
    7. Some commenters felt that the language in 50 CFR 13 does not 
provide sufficient protection for falconry birds, and suggested that 
inspections be allowed only in the presence of the permittee. We added 
this language to these regulations.
    8. Some commenters suggested that we allow implanting of microchips 
in lieu of required bands. We added the use of International 
Standardization Organization- compliant microchips to these 
regulations.
    9. Many commenters asked for a provision allowing a falconry bird 
to feed on prey that the falconer did not intend to have the raptor 
hunt. We added a provision covering this issue to these regulations.
    10. Some commenters suggested that the question and answer format 
in the proposed rule did not work well, or that issues were addressed 
in more than one section of the rule. We changed the wording of these 
sections whenever we received suggested changes, reorganized the 
regulations to address the concerns about regulations in multiple 
sections, and changed from the question/answer format.
    11. We clarified language in this final rule about trapping raptors 
for falconry on public lands.
    12. We added language to this final rule stating that take of birds 
under a depredation order can include take by falconry birds, unless 
the Depredation Order specifies methods of take that do not include 
falconry.
    13. In a separate rule we have revised Sec.  21.21 to simplify the 
regulations governing import and export of migratory birds. The 
proposed changes to Sec.  21.21 are deleted from this rule.

IV. Comments on the Proposed Rule

    We received 967 comments from individuals and organizations, 
including 30 from States and 3 from other government entities, on the 
proposed rule published on February 9, 2005 (70 FR 6978-6992). We have 
reviewed the comments, and respond here to the most significant issues 
raised.
    Issue. Authority over captive-bred birds. A number of commenters 
asserted that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has no authority to 
regulate captive-bred raptors.
    Response. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act does not distinguish 
between wild and captive-bred birds. In addition, case law has 
established that the MBTA does govern activities involving captive-bred 
raptors.
    Issue. Elimination of the Federal falconry permit. This change was 
requested by the States through the Association of Fish and Wildlife 
Agencies on behalf of the States, and would simply eliminate the 
Federal permit. All States that are expected to allow falconry have now 
implemented regulations governing the practice, and all have approved 
falconry regulations in place. The majority of those who commented on 
this issue agreed with the proposal to have falconry permits 
administered by the States.
     ``... this decision because of the shift from national to 
local standards has the potentially [sic] to significantly affect 
raptor populations at a local and national level and therefore requires 
an Environmental Impact Statement under the provisions of the National 
Environmental Policy Act.''
    Response. This assertion is incorrect. The take of raptors from the 
wild by each permittee each year for use in falconry is not altered; 
falconers are still limited to take of no more than two raptors from 
the wild each year. Thus, the change to falconry permitting 
administered by the States has no environmental impact. Further, in our 
assessment of the effects of take from the wild for falconry and raptor 
propagation (U.S.F.W.S. 2007), we found that the take of wild raptors 
for falconry is very unlikely to have a significant detrimental effect 
on wild raptor populations. All States must still maintain regulations 
at least as restrictive as the Federal regulations. The revised 
regulations require the States to be diligent in regulating falconry 
for the sport to continue to be allowed. Further, Federal authority for 
enforcement of most aspects of the falconry regulations is not 
diminished by the regulations change.
    Issue. Federal oversight.
     ``... federal oversight of permitting brings a different 
level of expertise and enforcement level to the sport of falconry. 
State fish and wildlife agencies do not necessarily have the staff, 
funding, expertise, or enforcement capabilities that FWS is able to 
provide. An effective permit program for falconry requires a strong 
federal presence and federal resources.''
     ``I strongly approve of eliminating the Federal permit OR 
changing it to a one time issued permit for life.''
     ``The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service should transfer 
management of falconry programs to States that comply with federal 
falconry standards. We agree that, in the future, there should be no 
federal falconry permit. The mandates and obligations of the Service 
under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) require the Service to 
continue to regulate the sport of falconry. Therefore, the Service 
should work to correct all administrative issues that arise regarding 
States' compliance with the changes in the falconry regulations. It 
took 3 decades to develop the current system and no arbitrary change-
over period should be imposed that could potentially leave any State 
behind. Any State that modifies its regulations to be in compliance 
with the new federal falconry regulations should be allowed to operate 
immediately under the new regulations.'' (State comment)
     ``GADNR [Georgia Department of Natural Resources] supports 
the proposed change to the licensing procedures for falconry and the 
elimination of duplicative licensing. Once State regulations have been 
reviewed and addressed, we do not foresee any significant additional 
workload in managing these licensees.'' (State agency)
     We agree that the current dual permitting system should be 
revised to shift falconry permit administration to the individual 
States. This will relieve staff of all agencies of an extra 
administrative step in the permitting process.'' (State agency)
     ``The most substantive proposed change in the revised 
regulations is the elimination of the federal falconry permit once a 
State is certified to be in compliance with the federal regulations. 
The WDFW [Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife] has supported 
that action and the retention of a single State permit requirement.'' 
(State agency)
     ``The proposed revisions appear to not only reduce permit 
process duplicative efforts - as USFWS suggests -but to relax Federal 
oversight of migratory bird take - an oversight that has been valued 
for almost thirty years. CDOW [Colorado Division of Wildlife] 
recognizes the benefit that Federal guidelines and regulations bring to 
the management of migratory birds, and the

[[Page 59451]]

MBTA's role in governing all harvest in order to prevent over-
utilization. CDOW contends that relaxation of Federal oversight could 
result in undesired impacts to wildlife populations, due in part to an 
increased dependency on already insufficient State resources, and due 
additionally to the loss of a national perspective of the ecological 
and cultural values that guide management decisions. Like the USFWS, 
most States and tribes are continuing to ``do more with less.'' In 
addition, concern has been raised that loosening of Federal oversight 
suggests a retreat from the hard won progress made toward managing 
wildlife and habitats on an ecosystem or biome level. While the USFWS 
proposed revisions continue to allow that States and Tribes enact more 
restrictive regulations, in practice, States commonly revert to the 
federal regulatory scheme - publics sometimes demand it. Management of 
such a highly valued wildlife resource may best be undertaken in a 
strong partnership.'' (State agency)
     ``... federal oversight is necessary to ensure that 
regional impacts to raptor populations from the sport of falconry are 
identified and addressed in the permitting process. Only by tracking 
permits at the regional level can potential direct impacts to 
individual raptor species and raptor populations in general be 
adequately understood. It is critical that FWS track the number of 
permits issued and the number of each species taken in each region in 
order to prevent negative cumulative impacts as required under the 
Migratory Bird Treaty Act.''
    Response. Only the Federal falconry permit is eliminated - not 
Federal oversight of falconry or Federal databases. These regulations 
will simply transfer all falconry permitting to the States. States that 
certify to the Director that their regulations are in compliance with 
these regulations will receive prompt consideration, and will be able 
to operate under these revised regulations. All falconers must comply 
with these regulations, though the State or tribal regulations may be 
more restrictive. The Service will still have law enforcement authority 
over most aspects of the practice of falconry, and will compile and 
evaluate information on all reported take of raptors from the wild for 
use in falconry. Inspections of falconry records, facilities, and birds 
will be the responsibility of the States, tribes, or territories. 
Because we will collect the same information we have collected in the 
past and will retain enforcement authority, except the authority for 
inspections, we do not believe that the changes in these regulations 
relax Federal oversight of falconry. Our 2007 NEPA analysis (U.S.F.W.S. 
2007) confirmed the minimal impact of falconry on wild raptor 
populations.
    We have implemented electronic reporting that will allow assessment 
of take of all raptor species taken from the wild for use in falconry. 
We will be able to assess take at the regional or State level. With 
this system, we will track the number of permits issued and the number 
of each species taken, and will evaluate the effects of take for 
falconry on raptor populations (see U.S.F.W.S. 2007). We expect that 
electronic reporting will facilitate summarizing and analyzing the 
effects of take of raptors for use in falconry.
    Issue. National permit system.
     ``...a national permitting system allows individuals who 
may have had their falconry permit [sic] revoked to be identified 
should they reapply. Moving to a state permitting system, creates the 
potential for an individual to move from State to State and reapplying 
without recognition of past problems in the event of a permit 
revocation.''
    Response. Each State, tribe, or territory will be able to access 
the national permittee database for information on an applicant from 
another State, so there is no new potential for problems such as the 
one suggested by the commenter. See Sec.  21.29 (l) below for 
information about data the States, tribes, or territories must keep.
    Issue. Federal standards.
     ``...a federal permitting program ensures that there will 
be a standard baseline level of care and expertise required before an 
individual is allowed to remove protected wild raptors from the wild 
for the sport of falconry. Going to a State permitting system creates 
the potential for disparities in the rigor and substance of permit 
requirements administered by individual states.''
    Response. All permittees must comply with the Federal facilities 
and care requirements. A State, tribe, or territory-only permitting 
system does not alter this requirement. States, tribes, and territories 
have implemented, and will be able to implement, more restrictive 
regulations (Sec.  21.29 (b)(1)(iii)).
    Issue. State workloads.
     ``No reduction in paperwork will occur. The State of Iowa 
will continue to require paperwork and reporting requirements for 
licensed falconers. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's proposed 
paperwork reduction appears to simply shift most, if not all, of the 
falconry program's administrative burden to participating State 
agencies.'' (State agency)
     ``This section [Unfunded Mandates Reform Act] states that 
``Though states may have to revise their falconry regulations to comply 
with the proposed revisions, nearly every State already has falconry 
regulations in place. Therefore, revisions of the State regulations 
should not be significant.'' If adopted these regulations will increase 
administrative enforcement burdens on State government.'' (State 
agency)
     ``The department is concerned about the cost of operating 
this program and the apparent unfunded mandate being placed on states 
by the federal government. We suggest the Service consider ways to 
cost-share part of the state's programs and develop a co-management 
rather than the proposed federal oversight approach.'' (State agency)
     ``The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing a 
significant portion of falconry permitting, record keeping and banding 
shift to State agencies. This change will significantly impact our 
department's administrative resources including staff hours, material, 
and equipment costs.'' (State agency)
     ``The proposal is of concern to Maine because it seeks to 
shift sole burden to the States... We recommend that the Service modify 
its current proposal to simply authorize the States to develop their 
own, individual regulations governing the practice of falconry without 
the requirement [and the burden and cost to the States] that they must 
operate under Federal requirements and Federal oversight.'' (State 
agency)
     ``Given that the relatively small number of falconers in 
the U.S. (~ 4,000) are spread across the entire country and their 
movements and transactions routinely criss-cross State and 
international boundaries, it would certainly seem most appropriate and 
most efficient for the FWS to continue to fulfill its responsibility to 
administer a nationwide system capable of permitting, tracking and 
overseeing use of raptors by falconers - especially in light of the 
fact that the value of individual birds renders falconry susceptible to 
black market endeavors.''
     ``For the FWS to abdicate its current national role and 
require states and tribes to absorb new responsibilities to develop and 
administer new permitting procedures, develop additional expertise with 
issues related to falconry, develop new database and tracking systems, 
administer falconry tests and assume responsibility to monitor falconer 
activities and enforce falconry regulations feels like a major unfunded

[[Page 59452]]

mandate to us. The proposed rules would entail new operational expenses 
and would also exacerbate our workload problem... Finally, should these 
proposed rules be approved, there would be considerable cost to states 
to set up systems that could be considered duplicative of the systems 
currently maintained by the FWS. Both monetary and manpower costs of 
such an undertaking and the inefficiencies associated with interfacing 
50+ individual falconry permitting/tracking systems come at a time when 
government budgets are being stretched to the limits. The proposed 
five-year time period intended to allow for an adequate transition time 
could be rendered moot by the lack of new funding to establish new 
State programs with internal as well as inter-jurisdictional 
capabilities.'' (State agency)
    Response. State concerns on this point are surprising, because the 
proposal to eliminate the Federal permit was presented to us by the 
Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies with support from every 
State. Though some States may have to change their regulations and 
their permitting procedures, there should be associated reductions in 
paperwork and coordination with our permits offices. We do not believe 
the regulation changes put a significant additional burden on the 
States. Therefore, we do not believe that this change is an unfunded 
mandate. One State agency went on to state, ``The department agrees 
that there will be a benefit to falconers and a reduction in paperwork 
resulting from this regulatory change.'' We also intend to have 
sufficient flexibility in the database to allow States to eliminate 
duplicate work.
    Issue. Transfer of falconry birds when a permittee moves to another 
State may be restricted.
     ``Currently, Montana law does not allow possession of 
raptors without a Montana falconry permit or appropriate federal 
permit. For individuals moving to Montana, a resident permit may not be 
obtained until residency is established. Currently, birds may be kept 
under the existing federal permit until residency is established. 
Although interim licensing could be accomplished through recognition of 
permits issued by other jurisdictions, the absence of oversight 
currently provided by the FWS would reduce the level of confidence that 
one jurisdiction would have in permits issued by another.'' (State 
agency)
    Response. We agree that this is an issue each State must resolve. 
Each State, tribe, or territory must decide how to handle birds 
possessed by a falconer who moves into a new falconry jurisdiction. The 
database will help falconry permitting authorities to check and honor 
another State's, tribe's, or territory's permits. Further, all States, 
tribes, or territories must meet the standards in these regulations.
    Issue. Review of State permitting.
     ``Under the current falconry permitting process, all that 
is required for a state to have the authority to allow the use of 
raptors for falconry purposes is; 1) the Secretary's approval of the 
state permitting system, and 2) the addition of the state to the list. 
There are no penalties to non-compliance to the Federal Regulations, 
and to our knowledge, no state has had their [sic] authorities [sic] 
revoked. The states are the competent authority when it comes to all 
hunting sports, including falconry. This entire section of punitive 
measures against the states for non-compliance should be deleted.'' 
(State agency)
     ``We recommend that the regulations simply state that the 
Service and the states will work to correct all administrative issues 
as they arise and do not include program revocation. Given the positive 
performance record of the states in administering the joint falconry 
program for over 30 years and the state's effective handling of complex 
migratory bird issues such as waterfowl hunting, it is difficult to 
imagine a complicated falconry problem that would require the Service 
to ``suspend'' a state's falconry program certification.'' (State 
agency)
     ``Significant effort was spent to spell out the concise 
steps necessary for the Service to regulate the performance of the 
individual states' falconry programs, including revocation procedures. 
We believe that most of the Services's regulatory processes are 
unnecessary and could be simplified by stating that the Service and 
states will work cooperatively to address specific administrative 
issues.'' (State agency)
    Response. We do not expect this to be an issue. Falconry and 
falconry permitting have not been significant resource issues for the 
Service. We will work with the States to correct issues that arise. 
Under the current regulations a failure by a permittee to comply with 
the regulations or permit conditions can result in loss of his or her 
Federal falconry permit, and loss of the privilege of practicing 
falconry. Without some assurance that permitting jurisdictions are 
maintaining the falconry standards, the Service may be viewed as 
failing to fulfill its obligations under the MBTA.Issue. Suspension of 
a State's, tribe's, or territory's certification. ``Please consider 
having the Service take over the falconry program in a State that fails 
to meet the certification requirements. Releasing, transferring, or 
euthanizing falconry birds because a State fails some aspect of the 
Service's certification program seems overly harsh on the affected 
falconers. It is unrealistic to think that these actions would proceed 
under those circumstances.'' (State agency)
    Response. The elimination of the Federal permit was considered at 
the request of the States. We cannot afford to support permitting 
positions just for States that fail in their permitting programs. This 
provision remains in place in these regulations (Sec.  21.29 (b)(12)).
    Issue. Federal authority under revised regulations.
     ``The proposed rule offers little clarification on how 
enforcement might operate in the future. With additional regulatory and 
permitting burdens being placed on the states, we assume that there is 
a potential for federal law enforcement to diminish. Even if the state-
federal law enforcement of migratory bird regulations is envisioned to 
remain the same, the rule should state this in clear language.'' (State 
agency)
     ``Does the FWS retain the authority to suspend or revoke 
falconry permits under 50 CFR. If not, this should be stated. Exactly 
what authority does the Service (LE) retain under the proposed 
regulations, i.e. with no Federal permit. This should be clarified and 
stated in the regulations.''
    Response. We do not believe that the regulation change affects law 
enforcement substantially, or that there are additional regulatory or 
permitting burdens placed on the States, tribes, or territories. With 
one exception, Service enforcement of the provisions of the Migratory 
Bird Treaty Act and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (Eagle 
Act, 16 U.S.C. 668-668d) are not affected by the regulations change. 
The exception is that, because the Service will no longer issue 
falconry permits, Service law enforcement officers will not have the 
authority to conduct inspections of falconers' records and facilities, 
unless the Service officers also are delegated State law enforcement 
authority. The Service will not have authority to suspend or revoke 
permits issued by the States, tribes, or territories, but compliance 
with all provisions of these regulations remains under the purview of 
the Service, and falconry permittees are subject to Federal prosecution 
for failure to comply with the regulations.Issue. ``When capturing a 
golden eagle for falconry purposes the USFWS draft regulation indicates 
that the landowner,

[[Page 59453]]

which would include a land management agency (BLM, USFS, BR, State Land 
Departments, etc.), must authorize the activity. Neither the States nor 
the Service should be authorizing land managers to regulate wildlife. 
They do not currently have that statutory authority. Please delete this 
line item in its entirety.'' (State agency)
    Response. We simply intended to make it clear that these 
regulations do not authorize capture of a golden eagle for falconry if 
the capture is not allowed by the agency or if entry to private land is 
not allowed by the landowner. However, this does not mean that a land 
management agency must take special measures or otherwise authorize 
take of a golden eagle if the agency's regulations or other language 
already allow the take. In the interest of clarity, we changed the 
relevant language, which is now in Sec.  21.29 (f)(16).
    Issue. Moving birds between falconry and breeding projects.
     ``Movement of wild-caught raptors between falconry and 
propagation permits is a troublesome arena for the department. With the 
high desire to obtain wild Peregrine Falcons and Gyrfalcons in Alaska, 
this has proved to be a challenge to track. Temporarily allowing the 
movement of a bird from a falconry permit to a breeding program will 
negate a desire to keep these programs separated rather than 
intertwined. This problem is further confused by the proposed 
regulatory language that states - ``Regardless of the number of State 
or tribal permits that you have, you may possess no more than five 
raptors.'' Taking [changes] 15, 16, and the limit on five raptors in 
total, we find the intent of the Service to be unclear and confusing.'' 
(State agency)
     ``It should be permissible to use falconry raptors for 
propagation for less than 6 months out of the year, if a falconer has a 
raptor propagation permit.'' (State agency)
    Response. We changed the relevant language where it occurred to 
make it clear that we mean regardless of how many State, tribal, or 
territorial falconry permits one may possess, he or she may have no 
more than one raptor if an Apprentice Falconer and 3 raptors if a 
General Falconer. A Master Falconer will be allowed to possess 5 wild 
birds (3 eagles). We appreciate the States' concern about separation of 
falconry and propagation programs. However, allowing the use of birds 
already held for falconry in propagation in the off season will not 
mean that permittees who hold birds are exempt from either 
documentation of the birds or from inspections.
    Issue. 180-day trapping period.
     ``It is unclear what the impacts would be of changing the 
180-day-per-year limit on removing raptors from the wild to allowing 
states to set their own removal limits. This should be more clearly 
explained and analyzed.''
     ``We disagree with the removal of the 180-day season for 
trapping, as it would increase disturbance to nesting raptors. We also 
disagree with the removal of the restriction for the number of raptors 
a falconer may have during a one-year period sequentially. By removing 
this regulation, a falconer could harvest an unlimited number of 
raptors. This seems especially inappropriate for Apprentices.'' (State 
agency)
     ``We support removing the 180-day per year limit on take 
from the wild and agree that states will appropriately select their own 
trapping seasons.'' (State agency)
     ``The 180-day take period, during which raptors can be 
trapped or acquired for falconry, should be eliminated.'' (State 
agency)
     ``Colorado is not supportive of the potential year-round 
capture of raptors that could be permissible under this change. Take 
should be prohibited during biologically sensitive periods such as 
during courtship, incubation, etc.'' (State agency)
    Response. We do not believe that removing the 180-day-per-year 
restriction on take will have any measurable effect on take of raptors 
from the wild. We did not change the 2-birds-per-year allowed take from 
the wild by removal of the 180-day take period, and removing the 180-
day language from the regulation will allow each State to better 
regulate take as appropriate for the species found in the State and the 
times at which they are found there.
    We do not understand the assertion that ``a falconer could harvest 
an unlimited number of raptors.'' The rule allows a falconer to take no 
more than 2 raptors from the wild per year, as a falconer can now. 
Further, we do not believe that removing the 180-day take restriction 
will lead to increased disturbance of nesting raptors. The States have 
regulated take effectively within the 180-day restriction in place, and 
can continue to do so if the restriction is removed. Removing the 
restriction will allow a State, tribe, or territory to better regulate 
take of the species found there.
    Issue. Facilities and care of falconry raptors. ``The modified 
requirements for facilities and care of raptors held under a State 
issues [sic] falconry permit are insufficient. The level of detail 
regarding equipment and housing contained in the existing regulations 
was not confusing and did not need to be ``simplified.'' They simply 
ensured that falconers would have the minimum housing and equipment 
required to adequately provide for raptors in their care. These 
provisions should not be altered. The proposed changes are if anything 
more confusing for their lack of specificity.''
    Response. There were very few comments on this issue. We appreciate 
the concern for raptors held by falconers, but we believe that the 
revised regulations provide sufficient guidance for falconry 
permittees.
    Issue. Age to become an Apprentice Falconer. Comments on the 
proposed reduction from age 14 to age 12 to become an Apprentice 
Falconer were about evenly divided. Some people suggested that there 
should be no lower age limit; others suggested that the age to become 
an Apprentice should be raised.
     ``The proper maintenance of a raptor in hunting trim is a 
challenge to the capabilities of many adults. I don't believe that most 
12 year olds wanting to practice the sport (or even 14 year olds for 
that matter) possess the maturity, judgment, or refined sense of 
responsibility necessary to do justice to the raptor. And they also 
lack basic capacity (i.e. ability to drive) for transport of their 
feathered charges from residence to hunting area, or to medical 
attention.''
     ``If the age for apprentice falconry was lowered to 12, a 
great and positive experience with wildlife could begin.''
     ``The age of young falconers should be lowered to 12 
years. Lots of young lives can be steered toward conservation 
practices, respect for the habitat, and the concept of training a bird 
through positive rewards. What an idea for life in general!''
     ``My personal feeling is that if you are not old enough to 
drive how can you practice falconry?''
     ``I support lowering the minimum age for Apprentices to 12 
years of age, and the provision to allow Apprentices to use Harris 
Hawks.''
     ``Those who argue that few 12-year-olds are mature enough 
to succeed at falconry are correct; however, they miss the point that 
established falconers will be under no obligation to sponsor 12-year-
old applicants. The proposed change will be beneficial for those few 
youngsters (including children of falconers) who are sufficiently 
motivated and have the active support of a sponsor close by.''
     ``12 years of age is too young, and the current minimum 
age of 14 should remain in effect.'' (State agency)

[[Page 59454]]

     ``We do not support lowering the age of apprentice 
falconers to 12 as suggested in 21.29 (b)(3)(i)(A). We are concerned 
that a child at the age of 12 or 13 is not adequately equipped to pass 
the examination and to properly care for a raptor. Thus, the minimum 
age should remain as is. We are also concerned that a child this young 
may be less focused and therefore unable to properly train their bird 
or provide significant hunting opportunities for their bird. This is 
particularly troublesome if the requirements of an apprentice are 
changed to allow for possession of Harris's hawks and captive-bred 
raptors.'' (State agency)
     ``The GADNR disagrees with the proposal to reduce the 
qualifying age for apprentice falconry to 12 years. Generally we agree 
that some persons may be able to handle and care for a bird at age 12 
but would suggest that a far greater percentage of 12 year-olds would 
lack both the mental focus and physical strength to properly hold and 
care for a bird.'' (State agency)
     ``Our department's professional staff feel lowering the 
age to 12 would negatively impact the program. Most 12-year-old boys or 
girls have not developed the necessary respect and responsibility to 
trap a wild raptor and maintain the bird in a healthy environment. A 
person of this young age can become easily discouraged and frustrated 
with the challenges of feeding, flying and training a passage raptor. 
Unfortunately, falconry sponsors are often located miles away from 
their nondriving young apprentice and the lack of one-on-one training/
mentoring can spell failure for many young falconers. Ultimately, our 
primary concern should be the welfare of the wild (raptor) resource.''
    Response. We found merit in both arguments, but changing the 
minimum age to 12 (as in the proposed rule) leaves the decision for a 
younger person with his or her parents and with the sponsor, which we 
believe is appropriate. Further, any State, tribe, or territory may 
choose to limit apprenticeship to older individuals. This rule sets the 
minimum age to practice falconry at 12 years (Sec.  21.29 
(c)(3)(i)(A)).
    Issue. If you are under 18 years of age, a parent or legal guardian 
must sign your application and is legally responsible for your 
activities.
     ``We do support the addition of parental signatures and 
responsibility for individuals less than 18 years of age as suggested 
in 21.29 (b)(3)(i)(B).'' (State agency)
     ``We disagree with the requirement for a parent or 
guardian to co-sign the application of the falconer under 18 years of 
age. We should not dictate the parent/child relationship or attempt to 
set federal standards for the state's responsibilities (relating to 
liability claims).'' (State agency)
     ``Remove this section from the proposal. State authorities 
can handle legal issues locally.'' (State agency)
     ``We agree that a parent or legal guardian of a minor 
falconer should be required to document responsibility through 
affidavit.'' (State agency)
    Response. Permits language in 50 CFR 13.50 states that ``Except as 
otherwise limited in the case of permits described in Sec.  13.25(d), 
any person holding a permit under this subchapter B assumes all 
liability and responsibility for the conduct of any activity conducted 
under the authority of such permit.'' We believe that it is reasonable 
to make adults responsible for a minor aware that they could face legal 
liabilities associated with falconry. This requirement is left in the 
regulations.
    Issue. Possession of Harris's hawks by Apprentice Falconers. Some 
commenters opposed allowing Apprentice Falconers to possess Harris's 
hawks.
     ``The temperment [sic] of Harris Hawks makes them well-
suited for learning falconry; in fact, one complaint I have 
occasionally encountered in discussion of this provision is that Harris 
hawks are too easy, so easy that they will spoil Apprentices for other 
species of raptors. Since when does it make sense to prevent beginners 
to a sport - any sport - from trying something because it was ``too 
easy''? I have seen other, more valid objections, such as Apprentices 
possibly releasing Harris Hawks in areas well north of their natural 
range; I feel this is adequately addressed in the existing language 
detailing release of species in areas the species is not normally 
found.''
     ``Although advocacy groups have no problem with this 
privilege, TPWD [Texas Parks and Wildlife Department] feels it is the 
best interest of the resource to disallow possession of wild-caught 
Harris's hawks by the Apprentice Falconer. Their populations are not 
considered to be imperiled in Texas but Harris's hawks are prone to 
feather plucking and other psychoses if improperly cared for. 
Additionally, it is felt that the gentle demeanor (e.g. ease of taming, 
or ``manning down'') of this species compared to other apprentice 
raptors, such as red-tailed hawks, limits the apprentice's broader 
learning environment and training.'' (State agency)
     ``WDFW supports apprentices being allowed to possess 
Harris hawks, but only as passage birds.'' (State agency)
    Response. We believe that this question is most appropriately 
addressed by the sponsor and the permitting agency. States in which 
Harris's hawks occur adequately regulate take from the wild, so 
allowing Apprentices to have Harris's hawks should not affect wild 
populations.
    Issue. Need for a facilities inspection before one can obtain a 
falconry permit. We proposed allowing an experienced falconer who no 
longer has a facility to have a permit in order to sponsor Apprentice 
Falconers, while requiring a facilities inspection for an individual to 
house a raptor or raptors for falconry. Many commenters opposed 
allowing a person to get a permit without approved falconry facilities. 
Some individuals argued that facilities for housing a raptor or raptors 
must be a prerequisite for obtaining a falconry permit. Others agreed 
with the proposal.
     ``The department is concerned that new falconers will not 
need to have an approved facility in order to obtain a permit. 
Constructing an appropriate facility should be a prerequisite for a new 
falconer prior to obtaining a permit. Your proposed regulation 
indicates that this facility requirement may pose a problem because a 
senior, experienced falconer who no longer has a facility or birds 
should be able to possess a permit so he/she can sponsor a new 
falconer. It seems that you are mixing two different issues through 
this apparent simplification. We suggest that an experienced falconer 
could maintain a permit with no birds and no facility, but an 
apprentice must have an approved facility to obtain a permit.'' (State 
agency)
     ``We do not support allowing permits to be issued to 
individuals who do not have housing facilities. Issuing a permit to an 
individual without a housing facility puts an additional enforcement 
burden on the state. If a permit were issued with the understanding 
that the individual did not have housing and would therefore not have a 
bird in their possession then in theory there would be no reason to 
conduct an inspection or follow up visits. Consequently, these 
individuals would be in the best position to illegally obtain and house 
a bird in an inappropriate manner.''
     ``It is admirable for the Service to simplify falconry and 
equipment requirements. However, no person should be issued a falconry 
permit without first demonstrating that they possess proper 
facilities.'' (State agency)
     ``We currently require inspection of a facility prior to 
the issuance of a State falconry license and we would want to keep it 
that way. Issuing a license prior

[[Page 59455]]

to an inspection could be very problematic for new license holders - an 
apprentice or someone who has moved. The State should be allowed to 
require the inspection prior to the issuance of the permit. (State 
agency)
    Response. We accede to State concerns on this issue. This final 
rule requires that a new falconer have his or her facilities inspected 
before he or she may be granted an Apprentice permit (Sec.  21.29 
(d)(1)(ii)). However, an individual who can no longer fly raptors on 
his or her own and does not wish to obtain a falconry raptor should be 
able to get a permit without a facilities inspection. Every permittee 
must have his or her facilities inspected before he or she may get a 
bird, but only Apprentices will have to have their facilities inspected 
to get a permit.
    Issue. Facilities inspections and commercial trade.
     ``Some people without facilities who apply for a permit 
may be involved in the commercial trade of raptors. Allowing 
individuals without facilities to become licensed falconers would 
potentially add to the illegal trade in raptors.''
    Response. We disagree. If an individual's facilities have not been 
inspected, then he or she is in violation of the regulations if he or 
she possesses a raptor.
    Issue. Experience requirement to advance to General Falconer. Many 
commenters suggested that the proposed change in the regulations that 
would require more experience to advance to General Falconer was not 
warranted.
    Response. We accept the prevailing comments on this point, and this 
final rule is changed accordingly. To advance to General Falconer, an 
individual must be at least 16 years old with 2 years of experience as 
an Apprentice Falconer (Sec.  21.29 (c)(3)(ii)). This final rule lowers 
the minimum age to be a General Falconer from 18 to 16.
    Issue. Increase in the possession limit for Master Falconers. We 
proposed to increase the possession limit for Master Falconers from 3 
raptors to 5, though only 3 of them could come from the wild. Opinion 
was about evenly divided on this proposed change. Many commenters 
believed that no Master Falconer could capably handle more than 3 
raptors. Others argued that this change is welcome because some people 
have sufficient time to care for, and hunt with, more than 3 raptors. 
Some individuals argued that there should be no possession limit.
     ``I support the increase to 3 for generals and 5 for 
Master level falconers. The use of Harris Hawks in falconry makes this 
change especially useful, as unlike any other species of hawk, the 
Harris can be used in multiple numbers like a dog pack. This is the 
Harris's natural style of hunting, and should be preserved in the 
practice of falconry. Likewise, someone with an infinite amount of 
time, game fields and money should be able to fly as many of the other 
species of raptors as can be biologically allowed. I do not support the 
restriction of the number of wild-caught birds allowed on a general or 
Master Falconer's permit unless it is biologically supported.''
     ``CDOW opposes this proposed regulation. The subjective 
nature of this regulation states, ``Many individuals have sufficient 
time available to care for and train five raptors for use in 
falconry''. However, recent law enforcement action by CDOW indicates 
that many falconers, in fact, do not properly exercise the one or two 
raptors they currently possess. Based on this observation, the Division 
opposes possession of five raptors by any one falconer.'' (State 
agency)
     ``In relation to 21.29 (b)(3)(iii)(c), we do not see the 
need to allow Master Falconers to possess more birds. However, we are 
not opposed to this change so long as the falconer can properly 
maintain the bird and the housing facility is adequate, and they are 
required to use all birds for hunting purposes or to show reason why a 
bird is not being hunted.'' (State agency)
     ``There is no reason to increase the possession limit to 5 
raptors.'' (State agency)
     ``Our department's professional staff feel the increased 
possession from three to five falconry birds is unrealistic, and may 
compromise the birds health and well-being with inadequate attention.'' 
(State agency)
     ``Master Falconers should be held to possessing only three 
(3) raptors under permit. The public could perceive that we are 
unreasonably relaxing our protection of these species.'' (State agency)
     ``We strongly support maintaining the current three (3)-
bird limit for falconry rather than increasing it to a five (5)-bird 
limit. We disagree with the comment under ``Changes in Regulations 
Governing Falconry'' 5 that states ``many individuals have 
sufficient time available to care for and train 5 raptors for use in 
falconry.'' It is extremely time consuming to care for, train, 
exercise, and hunt three raptors in one person's possession. Increasing 
the possession limit may result in individuals acquiring additional 
raptors for collection and novelty purposes, resulting in decreased 
care and attention to all raptors in that person's possession. An 
increase in the possession limit could also facilitate illegal transfer 
of raptors and encourage violations of the possession limit of birds 
taken from the wild.'' (State agency)
    Response. Take from the wild and protection of the raptor 
populations are not significantly altered by this change. We find it 
implausible that individuals who cannot care for more raptors than 
allowed under the current regulations will get additional raptors just 
because they can do so. The regulations require that any bird held for 
falconry be well cared for and kept in good facilities. We do not 
believe that this possession limit change will do any more to 
facilitate illegal activities than does the current possession limit. 
This change is left in place in these regulations.
    Issue. Increase in the possession limit for General Falconers. Some 
commenters requested that we increase the possession limit for General 
Falconers.
    Response. Increasing the possession limit for General Falconers 
does not increase the allowed take from the wild, nor does it affect 
wild populations. We increased the possession limit for General 
Falconers from two to three raptors.
    Issue. Possession limit and take from the wild.
     ``Another major concern CDOW recognizes with this proposed 
regulation is that the statement ``Allowing the possession of five 
raptors does not change the allowed take from the wild or the current 
limit on possession of birds taken from the wild'' is misleading. 
Proposed Service Regulation 21.29 (d)(2)[ 6987, I] states, ``A falconry 
bird is considered to be taken from the wild only by the person who 
originally captures it; the bird is not considered to be taken from the 
wild by any subsequent permittee to whom it is legally transferred.'' 
This proposed regulation will allow a falconer to legally possess five 
wild birds, as long as the falconer is a secondary, or subsequent 
recipient of two of the wild-caught birds. CDOW contends that a wild-
caught bird be determined as any bird caught in the wild, regardless of 
legal transfer of ownership. Using the numbers that the FWS provides in 
this document, this proposed Service Regulation increased by 2 the 
number of raptors that each falconer could take from the wild, 
resulting in a net take of as many as 8,000 raptors. This issue of 
transfer and possession of birds ``considered to be taken from the 
wild'' must be clarified by the FWS. If the ``wild bird not being a 
wild bird'' if transferred applies to both the take and

[[Page 59456]]

possession restrictions, as applied to the subsequent licensee, then we 
believe it will lead to additional take problems as we have outlined 
above. If it applies to the take restriction only, then it may not have 
as severe an impact. Regardless of the interpretation, the CDOW 
believes the transferred ``wild'' bird must still count against the 3 
wild bird possession limit as applied to the subsequent licensee.''
    Response. The current regulations allow take of two raptors from 
the wild each year by each permittee, as do these regulations. They 
state that a bird taken from the wild is always considered a wild bird, 
so such a bird would count against the number of wild birds that a 
falconer can possess. The new regulations do not change the level of 
take that a falconer is allowed each year, but we recognize that, for a 
few years, they might lead to a slightly increased total of raptors 
taken from the wild.Issue. ``The state's coordination with the USFWS 
will increase as the regulations call for monthly transfer of state's 
falconry data.'' (State agency)
    Response. We disagree. These regulations require only that States 
submit information on new or changed falconry permits - the same 
information they have exchanged with our regional permits offices. We 
believe that providing updates on falconer information will require 
less work than do the current exchanges with our regional migratory 
bird permit offices.Issue. ``Coordination regarding out-of-State 
falconers will become more complex as, instead of 7 Regional USFWS 
offices, there will be an unknown number of state/tribal licensing/
administrative jurisdictions.'' (State agency)
    Response. We disagree. The electronic permits system will be 
accessible by every entity that issues falconry permits. We believe 
that checking the credentials of out-of-State falconers will be easier.
    Issue. Temporary care of falconry raptors by other individuals. 
Many commenters suggested that we should allow individuals other than 
the permittee or another falconer to care for falconry raptors 
temporarily. Doing so would allow family members to care for falconry 
raptors while the falconer is traveling, for example.
    Response. We agree with the prevailing comments on this point, and 
added this provision to the final regulations at Sec.  21.29 (d)(7).
    Issue. More time to submit 3-186A reports. Some commenters 
suggested that more time be allowed for submitting 3-186A forms 
reporting take from the wild. They noted that because falconers often 
must travel to capture a bird for falconry, the 5-day reporting 
requirement might not be practical, particularly in light of the 
requirement to report electronically.
    Response. We understand this concern. This final rule changes the 
reporting time to 10 days. However, this change does not mean that one 
can, for example, capture a raptor from the wild, keep it for 9 days, 
release it on the tenth day, and never report acquisition of the bird. 
A falconer must report acquisition, loss, or transfer of a falconry 
bird at the first opportunity to do so.
    Issue. Use of falconry birds in education programs. Most commenters 
who addressed this issue supported this addition to the regulations, 
but a few did not.
     ``We strongly oppose allowing falconers to utilize wild 
raptors held under a falconry permit for educational activities without 
first obtaining a Special Purpose Possession/ Education (Live) Permit 
from FWS. Falconry and environmental education are different endeavors 
and the qualifications for possessing live birds for each of these 
purposes are measured by different standards. By including this 
provision in the new regulations, FWS is essentially making the 
falconry permit a dual purpose permit for both falconry and education 
and abdicating responsibility for both to the states. Doing so 
eliminates entirely the scrutiny with which FWS reviews live bird 
educational permit applications including review of the types of 
presentations for which the birds will be used. Furthermore, the 
criteria listed in the proposed falconry regulations for using falconry 
birds for education are different and less stringent than those issues 
under a Special Purpose Possession/ Education Permit. For example, the 
falconry regulations do not include provisions that bird presentations 
may only be given at public facilities, that presentations in private 
homes and businesses is not allowed, that a minimum of 12 programs per 
year must be presented and that any presentation must be accompanied by 
a sign indicating that possession and exhibition is by permission of 
FWS. If falconry birds are to be used in educational presentations, 
falconers should have to meet the requirements for a Special Purpose-
Possession/ Education Permit.''
     ``The State of Indiana currently requires an educational 
permit in addition to the falconry permit if a bird is possessed under 
a falconry permit and used in conservation education programs. The 
State should have the ability to require this due to additional 
provisions that are needed to provide for the safety of the bird and 
the public, along with reporting requirements. We have several 
falconers who use their birds in conservation education programs.'' 
(State agency)
    Response. Falconers have been allowed to give educational 
presentations using their falconry raptors for many years. The care of 
their birds is spelled out in these regulations. Falconers can provide 
a service by educating the public about the biology, ecological roles, 
and conservation needs of raptors and other migratory birds. Further, 
the regulations state clearly that the falconer must use the bird 
primarily for falconry. We do not see that the requirements for another 
permit type are relevant here, because we are only allowing a secondary 
beneficial activity with falconry birds. We see no need to change this 
provision.
    Any State, tribe, or territory has the authority to require an 
additional permit to use falconry birds in education.
    Issue. Recouping presentation costs.
     ``We [I] oppose the provision that would allow falconers 
to charge for presentations using raptors held under a State issued 
falconry permit. It is one thing to allow professional environmental 
educators to charge for their services but entirely another to allow 
falconers who hold their raptors for an entirely different purpose to 
charge for these types of activities. FWS should limit the ability to 
charge for presentation to only those who have met the requirements of 
a Special Purpose - Possession/ Education (Live) Permit. This would 
include falconers who have chosen to meet this standard.''
     ``As stated in Section 21.29 (e)(8), we support allowing 
the use of falconry birds for conservation education programs but 
without a fee, so long as falconers are required to use the birds in 
hunting.'' (State agency)
     ``Falconers should be allowed to conduct conservation 
education talks with raptors and charge a fee for this service. 
Restrictions on commercial ventures should apply.'' (State agency)
    Response. Although we believe that falconers have generally not 
done so, we believe it is reasonable for them to be able to recoup 
costs associated with giving an educational presentation. Falconers are 
allowed to recoup costs for conservation education programs - not to 
engage in profit-making endeavors. This provision is left in place in 
these regulations (Sec.  21.29 (f)(8)(iv)).
    Issue. Money-making endeavors with falconry raptors. Many 
commenters objected to the provisions in the proposed rule disallowing 
most commercial activities with falconry

[[Page 59457]]

raptors. However, most States supported the prohibition.
     ``We support the prohibition of using birds for 
entertainment, advertisements, promotion/endorsement of products, 
merchandise, goods, services, meeting or fair, or as representation of 
any business, company, corporation, or other organization, for movies, 
commercials or commercial ventures.'' (State agency)
    Response. These regulations allow only commercial activities 
directly related to falconry. We may address the broader question of 
commercial use of migratory birds in the future.
    Issue. Regulation of take of golden eagles for falconry. Some 
commenters discussed the classification of eagles. Others requested 
that we allow take of golden eagles for falconry in broader 
circumstances.
     ``Golden eagles should be classified as raptors. The 
populations of golden eagles in western North America are large and 
stable. If there is no biological problem with the species, and there 
is no threat to human health or safety posed by trained golden eagles, 
they should be managed like every other species of raptor for which 
take or captive breeding is allowed under the falconry program. States 
should develop the administrative oversight for the take of wild golden 
eagles, not the Service nor land-management agencies.''
    Response. These regulations change management of take of golden 
eagles, largely as suggested by the commenter; they change management 
of golden eagles and take of them from the wild to be largely the same 
as other falconry take. Take of golden eagles for falconry is limited 
by the provisions of the Eagle Act, and can only occur in depredation 
areas delineated by U.S.D.A. Wildlife Services or a State 
governor.Issue. ``Will this encourage an increase in applications for 
depredation permits in order to allow more capture of golden eagles? 
More information on why this restriction has been generated is needed. 
If the purpose is to reduce take of golden eagles because of limited or 
declining numbers, or some other ecological factor, then this should be 
clearly stated.'' (State agency)
    Response. Under the Eagle Act, take of golden eagles for use in 
falconry can only occur in depredation areas (not with depredation 
permits). These areas are declared by the U.S. Department of 
Agriculture's Wildlife Services program, or at the request of a State 
governor. We foresee no change in the number of depredation areas 
declared because of a change in these regulations. We will continue to 
monitor take of golden eagles for falconry and may take appropriate 
action if we determine that take is not compatible with the 
preservation of the golden eagle.
    Issue. Reporting take of golden eagle trapping activities. Some 
commenters were opposed to the annual reporting each year on golden 
eagle trapping activities required in addition to 3-186A reports.
    Response. We agree with this argument. Information on take of 
eagles will be compiled through the electronic reporting system. This 
requirement is deleted from the final rule.
    Issue. Eagle trapping notification. Some commenters disagreed with 
the requirement that the appropriate Service law enforcement office be 
notified before an individual tries to capture an eagle in a 
depredation area for use in falconry.
     ``The draft allows the states to have more control over 
the use of golden eagles for falconry, however the proposed regulations 
present procedures for the falconer to take to advise the regional 
USFWS Law Enforcement Office, the U.S.D.A. Wildlife Services manager 
and receive a receipt of confirmation prior to capture, and then report 
on the number of birds captured, released, etc. We believe that this 
additional administrative oversight is excessive and needs to be 
deleted. Since the states are given the responsibility they should 
develop the administrative mechanisms of ensuring the activity is 
conducted in a legal manner and in the best interest of the resource.'' 
(State agency)
    Response. Under the final rule, an individual is simply required to 
notify the Service before trapping. Knowledge that a person will 
attempt to capture an eagle in a particular location could save a 
Special Agent considerable time and effort investigating a report of an 
individual attempting to capture an eagle. This notification 
requirement is left in place in this regulation, but the relevant 
language was rewritten to increase clarity.
    Issue. Transport of falconry raptors to Canada and Mexico. Many 
individuals who responded to the proposed rule suggested that we should 
implement a ``passport'' system as has been considered for Convention 
on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora 
(CITES) regulations (50 CFR 23).
    Response. A falconer can get a CITES passport (also called a ``pet 
passport'' for a falconry bird (see http://www.fws.gov/le/ImpExp/faqs.htm). There is no need to change the language in these regulations 
governing transport to Canada or Mexico.
    Issue. Posting bond for permit or regulations violations. Many 
commenters suggested that we change the regulations to provide for 
posting of bond for alleged regulations or permit violations.
    Response. We agree that bonding would be reasonable, but the MBTA 
does not allow posting bond in lieu of seizure. The relevant language 
in 16 U.S.C. 706 is ``All birds, or parts, nests, or eggs thereof, 
captured, killed, taken, sold or offered for sale, bartered or offered 
for barter, purchased, shipped, transported, carried, imported, 
exported, or possessed contrary to the provisions of this subchapter or 
of any regulation prescribed thereunder shall, when found, be 
seized...'' (italics added).
    Issue. Interstate issues.
     ``The areas of the falconry industry that need the most 
scrutiny are the interstate issues. Obviously, the FWS with its current 
permitting system is better equipped to regulate and enforce issues 
that encompass multiple states. In the absence of an overarching role 
by the FWS, enforcement activities related to falconry in the U.S. 
could be expected to become more piecemeal and time-consuming and 
ultimately less efficient and less effective.''
     ``No State should be allowed to interfere with the 
interstate transport of raptors legally held for falconry by licensed 
falconers.'' (State agency)
    Response. Any State may implement restrictions on take of raptors 
that are more restrictive than the relevant Federal regulations. We 
encourage them not to be more restrictive on transport of raptors.
    Issue. Transfer of falconry raptors to raptor propagation permits. 
Many commenters objected to the time restriction on transfer of birds 
taken under falconry permits to propagation permits. Some commenters 
were especially concerned about the restrictions on use of small 
raptors that this provision adds because small raptors may be useable 
in raptor propagation at age 1.
     ``Wild caught raptors taken under a falconry permit and 
then transferred to a propagation permit for sale of their progeny is a 
substantial primary commercialization of falconry raptors and should be 
prohibited.'' (State agency)
    Response. We agree that take from the wild under one permit type 
and prompt transfer to another permit type should not occur. However, 
for two reasons we disagree with the assertion that transfer of 
falconry birds to propagation permits should be prohibited. First, we 
have determined that the take of raptors for

[[Page 59458]]

falconry (and for raptor propagation) has no significant impact on 
raptor populations. Second, limiting such transfers would preclude use 
of raptors taken from the wild in breeding projects when they cannot be 
flown in falconry for some reason. We left the transfer provision with 
time restrictions in place in this final rule.
    The regulations need to ensure that birds taken from the wild for 
use in falconry are not immediately transferred to propagation. Even 
so, we understand the concerns about restrictions on use of small 
accipiters and falcons, and have changed the language in this paragraph 
to allow transfer of some species sooner than the 2-year restriction 
for most species (Sec.  21.29 (f)(5)(i)).
    We will maintain a nationwide falconer database and a database on 
take of wild raptors. Every falconry permittee must operate within the 
bounds of these regulations and his or her State or tribal regulations. 
We also will retain the authority for law enforcement actions, so we 
expect no reduction in the effectiveness of the governance of falconry.
    Issue. Facilities inspections. Many commenters objected to the 
added provision requiring that a person who allows a falconer to keep a 
mews on his or her property be made aware that the facilities can be 
inspected by law enforcement officers.
     ``Does being a ``permitted activity'' exempt permittees 
from the general body of search law?''
     ``Proposed section 21.29(c)(9) subjects falconry bird(s), 
facilities, equipment, and records to an unqualified right of 
inspection (referred to below as post-initial inspection) by government 
officers at any reasonable hour. The provision completely circumvents 
the protections of the United States Constitution against unreasonable 
search and seizure. But even outside of Constitutional considerations, 
a greater abuse of the citizenry by government is hard to imagine. This 
entire provision should therefore be eliminated along with the related 
provisions of section 21.29(c)(2)(iii).''
     ``The most important change I would urge you to consider 
is that inspection of private property without the proper warrants is 
always unconstitutional.''
     ``Without probable cause and securing a warrant, this 
violates the current search law.''
    Response. Every falconry permittee agrees to inspection of his or 
her facilities, records, and raptors when he or she applies for a 
falconry permit. Because the permittee has done so, we disagree with 
these assertions. Inspections provided for in this rule do not violate 
protections of the Constitution. The language about inspections was 
repeated in these regulations in part because of the added provision 
allowing falconry birds to be kept on property not owned by the 
falconry permittee. We have left it in place (Sec.  21.29 (d)(2)(ii)).
    Issue. Some commenters felt that the language in 50 CFR 13 does not 
provide sufficient protection for falconry birds.
     ``Most agents are inexperienced in the handling of 
raptors. The presence of the falconer [during an inspection] would 
prevent loss, injury or undue stress on the bird.''
    Response. We have added language to these regulations stating that 
falconry facilities and raptor inspections may only be done in the 
presence of the permittee (Sec.  21.29 (d)(2)(ii)).
    Issue. Use of microchips rather than, or in addition to, bands. 
Some commenters suggested that we allow implanting of microchips in 
lieu of required bands.
    Response. We agree that this is a viable option, and we added the 
use of ISO (International Standardization Organization) - compliant 
microchips in lieu of, or in addition to, required bands (Sec.  21.29 
(c)(7)(i), (ii)).
    Issue. Banding of some raptor species taken from the wild. Many 
commenters opposed the additional requirement to band goshawks taken 
from the wild and, in fact, opposed any banding of birds taken from the 
wild. A few commenters (including State agencies) suggested that all 
birds taken from the wild for falconry should be banded.
     ``The banding requirement is being pushed by people who 
think the sky is falling and that... raptors need to be protected from 
falconers. The sky is not falling, raptors do not need to be protected 
from us. There has never been a proven instance where bands have been 
removed and reused or birds have been trapped to replace one that has 
died. The banding process adds to the work load that many states 
complain about and should not be required at the federal level except 
for captive bred birds.''
     ``I support the idea of banding any wild raptors the 
Service feels are ``sensitive,'' so as to better keep track of these 
birds. Banding birds is really not that much of a hardship.''
     ``We would like to see the requirement that all birds used 
for falconry be banded.'' (State agency).
     ``[A]ll falconry, conservation education and propagation 
birds should be banded.'' (State agency)
     ``We support banding of all wild caught goshawks and would 
encourage banding requirements for all species under Section 21.29 
(b)(7)(i).'' (State agency)
     ``There may be some justification for tracking high-
profile species, like gyrfalcons, peregrines and golden eagles, which 
are taken from the wild. However, there is no biological reason to band 
any wild raptor species known to have stable populations within the 
United States. The Service has a 30-year history of problems with the 
bands that it provides for identifying raptors. These bands become 
brittle and break over time. They fall off raptors and they are known 
to damage the tarsus of individual raptors, which necessitates the 
bands being removed. This presents a challenge to enforcement and puts 
falconers in legal jeopardy through no fault of their own. At best, 
this is an archaic system of bird identification. Superior alternatives 
would be: micro-chip implants (PIT tags) for larger raptors; digitized 
photos of foot-scale patterns (individualized finger prints); tattoos; 
and blood samples for DNA marking. Any of this information could be 
stored electronically, along with all of the other pertinent 
information that documents the raptors being held under a person's 
falconry permit.''
    Response. Banding has been required of only 4 species for which 
there are management or law enforcement concerns: Harris's hawks, 
peregrine falcons, gyrfalcons, and golden eagles. This final rule 
requires banding of goshawks taken from the wild and removes the 
requirement for banding golden eagles. Very few golden eagles are taken 
from the wild by falconers, and that take is in very specific locations 
and circumstances. We do not believe there is any significant knowledge 
to be gained from requiring banding of these eagles.
    We view banding of goshawks, Harris's hawks, peregrine falcons, and 
gyrfalcons as a small burden for falconers, and the banding may be of 
help to law enforcement officers. Because take from the wild for 
falconry has no significant impact on raptor populations (U.S.F.W.S. 
2007), we do not require banding of other species. A State, tribe, or 
territory may require banding of any species taken from the wild for 
use in falconry (Sec.  21.29 (c)(7)(i)).
    Not all species are banded solely for biological reasons. Service 
law enforcement efforts may be aided by banding of some species. These 
regulations also have a provision for dealing with banding of species 
and individual birds for which the bands are a problem, and a band that 
is lost or broken is readily replaced. We agree

[[Page 59459]]

with the assertion that there are alternatives to bands available, and 
have added a provision for microchipping in lieu of, or in addition to, 
banding ((Sec.  21.29 (d)(7)(i), (ii))).
    Issue. Let-it-lay provision. Many commenters asked for a provision 
allowing a falconry bird to feed on prey that the falconer did not 
intend to have the raptor hunt.
    Response. We recognize that unintended take of other species may 
occur, and have added a provision covering this issue to these 
regulations.
    Issue. Electronic reporting. Many commenters asked that we allow 
paper reporting on 3-186A forms.
    Response. We have added this provision. At the discretion of your 
State, tribe, or territory, you may submit completed paper 3-186A forms 
to your permitting authority. The State, tribe, or territory must then 
enter the information from the forms into the electronic reporting 
system. Your State, tribe, or territory may require that you submit 3-
186A forms electronically or on paper.
    Issue. Electronic signatures on 3-186A forms.
     ``Electronic reports should have a provision indicating 
that information represented is true and correct, with some form of 
verifiable electronic signature. Electronic reports must have a 
narrative of the location of the capture or loss of a bird, not just 
GPS coordinates. By completing a form with a narrative of the take 
location, as well as UTM coordinates, and signing the document CDOW 
will have the ability to account for legal possession of birds and if 
necessary recourse for possible law enforcement investigations.'' 
(State agency)
     ``Electronic reporting by falconers brings up several 
questions. Are falconers responsible by law for false information 
reported? This is probably not true according to current Montana law. 
It is likely that assumption of current FWS responsibilities by states 
and tribes would require time-consuming and expensive legislative 
initiatives and administrative rule-making processes.'' (State agency)
    Response. The electronic reporting system merely implements an on-
line version of the current 3-186A form. The same provisions for 
reporting on paper with the current 3-186A form will still apply. 
However, we recognize State concerns about signed forms. To avoid the 
expense and complication of electronic signatures on 3-186A forms, we 
will either add a signature box to the forms, and direct the permittee 
to print the completed form, sign it, and mail it to his or her 
permitting agency if the agency requires a signed form; or we will add 
language to the 3-186A form telling the submitter that clicking on a 
submission button is the equivalent of signing the form.
    Issue. Restrictions on falconry activities in the vicinity of 
endangered species. Many commenters disagreed with this addition to the 
regulations. Some argued that this provision would virtually eliminate 
falconry in much of the country.
     ``The section on hacking birds in the ``vicinity'' of 
threatened or endangered wildlife should be omitted as it is so open to 
interpretation that it could lead to serious law enforcement issues and 
as written, would make falconry impossible to practice anywhere without 
risking breaking that rule.''
     ``Another issue that concerns me is the proposed 
restriction on hawking and hacking in the vicinity of threatened or 
endagered [sic] species. This regulation creates yet another law 
enforcement gray area that could potentially make it impossible to fly 
a bird anywhere. Requiring a falconer to be aware of the presence of 
such threatened or endagered [sic] species before flying his or her 
bird is far from practical and is not required of any other regulated 
sportsmen. Along similar lines giving that good falconry requires 
controlling as many variables as possible the falconer cannot always 
make sure his or her bird pursues only the intended quarry.''
     ``We acknowledge the practical limitations of monitoring 
such activities but would rather demonstrate our endorsement of 
scrupulous behavior by falconers by having such language in the 
regulations rather than risk an interpretation of implicit lack of such 
concern if the language were not here.'' (State agency)
    Response. We doubt that the need to exercise caution when 
conducting falconry activities or hacking falconry raptors will 
eliminate the practice of the sport. This requirement means only that 
you observe due caution when considering the practice of falconry - the 
same obligation faced by other citizens in their activities. It is left 
in place in these regulations (Sec.  21.29 (f)(17)).
    Issue. Apprentice examination development and administration.
     ``There is a need for uniform standards governing testing. 
The proposed rule would allow states to revise their falconry 
examinations without federal approval once the State is certified. No 
explanation is provided for this change. All falconers should have to 
meet a basic, standardized level of knowledge. Allowing states to 
modify falconry exams without federal review creates a potential for 
disparities in the rigor and substance of individual State testing 
approaches. At bare minimum we would recommend that FWS create a 
standard examination to which State could add but not reduce.''
     ``The exam should be standard, but administered by the 
States.''
     ``We support removing the need to approve revisions of the 
examination.'' (State agency)
    Response. Inasmuch as all States, tribes, and territories that 
allow falconry must meet the standards in these regulations, we do not 
believe that they will test to a less rigorous level. Further, we 
believe that because the species present in different locations vary, 
there is merit in letting each permitting authority test on relevant 
and current information. However, the regulations require our approval 
of changes in a State's, tribe's, or territory's falconry examination.
    Issue. Regulation of captive-bred birds. Some commenters argued 
that the regulations were more extensive than necessary for birds that 
do not come from the wild.
     ``I believe that captive raised raptors are not part of 
the wild resource and should not be regulated as such. I think that the 
seamless band and 3-186a form is proof enough that they weren't wild 
taken and should be exempt from these regulations.''
     ``For the most part, the effort to regulate captive bred 
raptors should be abandoned.''
     ``I also believe that captive bred birds should be allowed 
to be held in any number by and by any permit level of falconer since 
the captive bred birds were never wild, and that only wild-caught bird 
numbers should be limited when biologically necessary.''
    Response. We believe that regulation of captive-bred migratory 
birds is necessary for us to fulfill our mandate to protect migratory 
bird populations. However, we agree that possession of captive-bred 
falconry raptors has no impact on wild populations. Therefore, we will 
not limit the number of captive-bred birds a Master Falconer may use in 
falconry. However, we have not removed a falconer's responsibility to 
maintain captive-bred raptors under the same humane and healthful 
conditions as raptors taken from the wild.
    Issue. Captive-bred raptors for Apprentice Falconers. We proposed 
to allow an Apprentice Falconer to possess a captive-bred, non-
imprinted raptor. This issue also generated many comments. Most people 
who commented on this issue argued that we should require an Apprentice 
to trap a bird from the wild so that he or she

[[Page 59460]]

might be better able to trap a lost bird, and that the Apprentice 
should not be allowed to possess captive-bred raptors. Further, some 
commenters suggested that captive-bred raptors are inappropriate birds 
for Apprentices to handle and train. Some commenters opined that we 
should not regulate such possession. Others argued that Apprentices 
should be able to possess birds from any source.
     ``I also support the provision allowing Apprentices to 
have captive-bred, non-imprinted birds of the allowed species. While 
captive-bred birds are not ideal for an Apprentice, they will make the 
sport more accessible and expand the options available to beginners. 
Falconers who do not wish their Apprentices to fly captive-bred birds 
can enforce their wishes simply by refusing to sponsor an Apprentice 
who does not obtain birds in the desired manner; they should not 
attempt to use regulation to force all other Apprentices to fly only 
birds trapped from the wild. Although I do not yet sponsor Apprentices, 
I would consider captive-bred birds to be a last resort, not the 
first.''
     ``We disagree that Apprentice Falconers do not need to 
capture a raptor themselves [sic]. We understand the concern associated 
with the lack of trapping experience of an Apprentice Falconer, 
however, the proposed regulation is commonly known as party-hunting, 
and is illegal in most States. This action will also inhibit the 
sponsor-Apprentice training by eliminating an experience the Apprentice 
will need to become a knowledgeable falconer.'' (State agency)
     ``We do not support the change to allow Apprentice 
Falconers to possess captive-bred birds as listed in 21.29 
(b)(3)(i)(H). Unskilled falconers are the most likely group to 
improperly train or lose their bird [sic]. If they possess a wild 
caught passage bird such as a Red-tailed Hawk loss of the bird will not 
have a negative impact on wild populations and the bird is well 
equipped for survival in the wild. Wild caught raptors are typically 
the most appropriate birds for falconry because they are well suited to 
hunting and capturing local game species. Allowing individuals to 
choose from a wide array of species complicates their training efforts 
and may even make it more difficult for them to successfully train and 
hunt with their falconry bird. We do not see a need to allow 
individuals to have captive-bred raptors at the apprentice level.'' 
(State agency)
     ``Apprentice Falconers should be required to trap wild 
hawks native to North America. That is to say, flighted juvenile 
raptors independent of their parents. There is no logic in allowing an 
Apprentice to possess a captive-bred raptor when, under the proposed 
changes, they still cannot legally acquire a nestling raptor from the 
wild.'' (State agency)
     ``Apprentices should not possess captive bred raptors. 
They should continue to be restricted to capture of wild passage 
raptors. This is consistent with basic apprentice management whereby 
they possess wild caught raptors that are capable of surviving in the 
wild if/when they escape or are released.'' (State agency)
    Response. We understand the points made by those who were concerned 
about this change. However, captive-bred birds do not affect wild 
populations of raptors, so we believe it is reasonable to leave the 
decision on an appropriate bird for an Apprentice to the Apprentice and 
his or her sponsor. In addition, any State, tribe, or territory may 
further regulate possession of captive-bred raptors by Apprentices. We 
leave this provision in place in these regulations (Sec.  21.29 
(c)(3)(i)(E)).
    Issue. Species for Apprentice Falconers. Some commenters favored 
allowing Apprentices to possess any species that General Falconers may 
possess, arguing that the impact of take by Apprentices on wild 
populations would be extremely small.
     ``We disagree that an Apprentice can possess any species 
of captive-bred Falconiformes. This would allow Apprentices to have 
peregrines, which are more difficult to train for falconry than red-
tail hawks or American kestrels.'' (State agency)
     ``All species limitations applied through the apprentice/
general/Master classification should be eliminated even with respect to 
wild-caught raptors. [T]he delineation of some species as acceptable 
for certain license levels and some not is arbitrary and capricious and 
should be eliminated.''
     ``The framing of the recommended change is inconsistent 
with what the proposed regulations actually state and is not a 
representative statement of the change. The proposed change actually 
permits a substantial increase in the species which could be possessed 
by apprentices which is not reflected in this framing.'' (State agency)
    Response. Though Apprentices were allowed only one additional wild-
caught species in the proposed rule, we proposed that they be allowed 
many species of captive-bred raptors. We changed the language in this 
final rule to clarify this point and added to the species Apprentice 
Falconers may possess. There are only a few hundred Apprentice 
Falconers in the U.S. at any time. We believe that take of wild raptors 
by these individuals would be without discernible impact on any 
population, particularly since the abundant red-tailed hawk is 
considered by many falconers to be the best bird for an Apprentice to 
use in starting falconry. Having considered this issue, we have opened 
the list of species available to Apprentice Falconers to include all 
species except golden eagles and national species of conservation 
concern (Sec.  21.29 (c)(3)(i)(E)).
    Issue. ``We believe there needs to be a U.S. residency requirement 
for falconry permit applicants to harvest a wild raptor. Residency 
requirements are in place for hunting, trapping, and fishing licenses 
(i.e. permits) in all States. We believe that all new residents must 
first establish residency within the U.S. before they are issued a 
permit to harvest raptors for falconry purposes. If residency is not 
mandated, we encourage the development of an alternate permit for non-
U. S. residents to harvest a wild raptor.''
    Response. Take of raptors is well regulated by the States, and we 
see no need to invoke such a requirement.
    Issue. Hacking'' of raptors held for falconry.
     ``In accordance with long-standing Service regulations, it 
should be clearly stated that hacking is an approved method for 
falconers to condition raptors for falconry.'' (State agency)
     ``We do not support the practice of hacking falconry birds 
under Section 21.29 (e)(2). One of the primary concerns our Biologists 
have about the sport of falconry is the opportunity for a non-native 
bird to be released into the wild. Our agency is concerned that these 
birds may potentially introduce diseases to our wild raptors, may 
attempt to breed with local populations or may have a negative impact 
on wild raptors either through aggressive behavior or depletion of the 
existing prey base. For these reasons, we would be opposed to allowing 
a person to intentionally release their falconry bird into the wild for 
any period of time.'' (State agency)
     ``Good inclusion to specifically address `hacking' since 
this has been missing in current regulations and is being increasingly 
used. WDFW recently did an analysis of this to permit in Washington.'' 
(State agency)
     ``Release of hybrids, including short-term hacking, should 
be illegal.'' (State agency)
     ``We ask for a clearer definition of the term ``hacking.'' 
It's [sic] use here apparently refers to a hunting/training mechanism 
for the raptors. Normally,

[[Page 59461]]

the term hacking does not normally refer to a ``temporary'' release of 
a raptor, but conditioning for a permanent release back into the 
wild.'' (State agency)
    Response. The commenters are correct. The term ``hacking'' has been 
used to mean both preparing birds for release to the wild, and (in 
falconry) temporary release of a falconry raptor to the wild to force 
it to learn to hunt on its own. In these regulations, we are concerned 
only about the latter definition. Wild-caught raptors used in falconry 
would be unlikely to need hacking, but some captive-bred raptors may 
benefit from it, and we doubt that it would have a significant impact 
on wildlife populations or the environment. We believe that the 
safeguards for release of hybrid raptors (two transmitters are 
required) are sufficient to protect wild populations. However, any 
State, tribe, or territory may restrict hacking or the release of 
hybrid raptors.
    Issue. Non-native species. ``[W]e request that the USFWS consider 
the potential detrimental impacts to Colorado raptors through the 
importation of non-native species and the resulting spread of disease, 
as well as the commercialization of raptors.''
    Response. The regulations at 50 CFR 21.12 are regulations for 
import to, and export from, the United States. The import of raptors 
into a State may be further restricted by the State.Issue. ``The CDOW 
perceives that the proposed Service regulations could result in some 
negative impacts to wild raptor, including golden eagle, populations. 
The outcome of the cumulative impact of the proposed changes is 
unknown, but is likely to increase take. (These proposed changes 
include, are not limited to: increase in the number of birds each 
falconer may hold, a decrease in the minimum age for Apprentice 
Falconers, and a proposed change in the ``definition'' of ``bird taken 
from the wild,'' in which this classification is dropped once the bird 
has been transferred). The USFWS does not describe any analysis 
suggesting what the increased take would be or that is increased take 
would have no negative impacts. Native raptors are highly valued by 
many of our constituents, and we would find it difficult to defend an 
increase in take without an analysis of its impact.'' (State agency)
    Response. We disagree. The definition of ``wild'' raptor is 
intended to clarify these regulations, and has no effect on the number 
of birds taken from the wild. Further, the term ``wild'' raptor is not 
``dropped once the bird has been transferred (Sec.  21.29 (f)(1)).'' 
This rule states that a raptor taken from the wild ``is considered to 
be taken from the wild only by the person who actually captured it,'' 
but that any raptor removed from the wild is always considered a 
``wild'' bird. We believe that the changes in this rule will have very 
minimal impacts on raptor populations (see U.S.F.W.S. 2007, in which we 
determined that most take for falconry is a tiny fraction of what the 
populations could sustain). We also believe that the changes will be 
compatible with the preservation of the golden eagle.Issue. Clarity of 
the regulation. ``For some regulations the question and answer format 
does not work well, for example ``How may I take raptors from the wild 
for use in falconry?'' The answers are embedded in the various 
responses (i.e. by someone with a permit, by someone without a permit 
but in the presence of another person with a permit, etc ). In many 
instances the regulations would be more direct and clearly stated in 
bullets or a different format. To further complicate issues, regulatory 
information is found in multiple sections (for example, possession of 
eagles for falconry).'' (State agency)
    Response. We agree with these comments, and we changed the wording 
of many parts of this rule to respond to suggested changes. We also 
reorganized the regulations to address the concerns about regulations 
in multiple sections.
    Issue. Permission to trap golden eagles.
     ``Persons wishing to trap golden eagles should have 
permission from the landowner or land management agency to trap ANY 
bird.'' (State agency)
     ``Landowner permission must not be a condition to trap a 
golden eagle or any other raptor. This gives wildlife management 
authority to land management agencies with no statutory wildlife 
authority. Private lands access is another issue and is regulated by 
State trespass laws.'' (State agency)
     ``When capturing a golden eagle for falconry purposes the 
USFWS draft regulation indicates that the landowner, which would 
include a land management agency (BLM, USFS, BR, State Land 
Departments, etc.), must authorize the activity. Neither the States nor 
the Service should be authorizing land managers to regulate wildlife. 
They do not currently have that statutory authority. Please delete this 
line item in its entirety.'' (State agency)
    Response. We believe that this issue was made clear in paragraph 
(e)(14) of the proposed rule for all falconry, and in paragraph 
(b)(3)(iv)(F)(3) for eagle trapping. We simply intended to make it 
clear that these regulations do not authorize capture of a golden eagle 
for falconry if the capture is not allowed by the agency or if entry to 
private land is not allowed by the landowner. However, the relevant 
language is further clarified in this final rule (Sec.  21.29 (f)(16)); 
the regulations state that a falconer does not need special or written 
permission to capture, fly, or release a falconry bird on public lands 
if the action is authorized there. A land management agency need not 
take special measures or otherwise authorize take of a golden eagle if 
the agency's regulations or other language already allow the 
take.Issue. ``The State wildlife agency should also be notified prior 
to trapping golden eagles.'' (State agency)
    Response. Any State or tribal agency can require this notification 
of permittees.Issue. ``There needs to be a clear distinction who will 
be administering the propagation permits. As we understand it, the 
USFWS, not the states, will administer these permits.'' (State agency)
    Response. This rule does not change our administration of 
propagation permits; we will continue to issue them.Issue. Capture 
requirements. ``[Paragraph] (d)(3)(vi)(A) [6987,3] Sub-section (v) 
appears to be contradicted by (vi)(A) in that the disposition of the 
bird is at the discretion of the State Under (v) and appears to be 
specifically determined by the guidelines given under (vi)(A). One of 
these proposed changes needs to be changed to bring them into 
agreement.'' (State agency)
    Response. Paragraph (d)(3)(vi)(A) referred to initial capture of a 
raptor from the wild. Paragraph (v) referred to recapture of a lost 
falconry bird.Issue. ``Individual clutch size varies between species & 
the requirement for leaving birds in the nest should be set at a per-
species level for a biological basis.'' (State agency)
    Response. We believe that the commenter requests that we mandate 
how many young of any species must be left in a nest. Any State, 
territory, or tribe may further regulate take of nestlings. States have 
effectively restricted take conditions such as timing of take, 
locations of take, and leaving nestlings. We are not aware of any 
problems related to State regulation of take, but we will propose 
amendments to these regulations to address this concern if it becomes 
necessary to do so.
    Issue. State or tribal restrictions.
     ``The proposed regulations prohibit falconry raptors from 
being used for entertainment, promotion of any goods, etc., but allow 
charging a fee for presentations to conservation education programs. 
The regulation needs to defer

[[Page 59462]]

to State or tribal regulations which may further restrict falconry 
raptors use in these activities.'' (State agency)
     The regulations ``should explicitly state that State law 
may enact and enforce regulations and standards that are more 
restrictive than Service Regulations.'' (State agency)
    Response. We stated in paragraph (a)(4)(ii) of the proposed rule 
and in these regulations that ``State, tribal, or territorial laws may 
be more restrictive than these Federal standards but may not be less 
restrictive (Sec.  21.29 (b)(1)(iii)).''Issue. ``With the new 10(j) 
designation pending statewide in Arizona and New Mexico, would this 
regulation require Apprentice Falconers to have a sponsor at all times 
and at all locations in these two states? We believe Apprentice 
Falconers should have a sponsor [sic] with them while trapping 
regardless of which county they are in.'' (State agency)
    Response. No, the trapping restriction in aplomado falcon (Falco 
femoralis) habitats applies only to the counties listed in these 
regulations. In other circumstances, it is advisable for an Apprentice 
Falconer to have his or her sponsor present when trapping, but it is 
not required.Issue. Capture of raptors in some counties in Texas; 
restrictions due to concerns about aplomado falcons. ``TPWD prefers to 
leave the number of counties as is. The same ethical requirements for 
cessation of trapping activities would apply regardless of the county 
listed. The counties listed are those within which northern aplomado 
falcons have been observed and this is the only basis we have for 
establishing their range within Texas.'' (State agency)
    Response. This comment seems to endorse our regulations proposal. 
This provision is unchanged.Issue. Differing permit requirements. ``It 
is not consistent to have applicants for a General Falconry permit sign 
a letter: 1) certifying use of their raptors for falconry, 2) State 
their qualifications for the permit, and 3) for the states to conduct a 
review of raptors they possess, when this is not required of an 
applicant for a Master Falconry permit. It should be completed for both 
a General and Master applicant, or neither. We prefer neither.'' (State 
agency)
    Response. We believe it is appropriate to ask more about the 
qualifications of an Apprentice Falconer wishing to advance to General 
Falconer, than of a General Falconer wishing to advance. However, some 
of the certification requirements have been eliminated from this final 
rule.
    Issue. Certification language. ``[T]he certification example 
[should be clarified to avoid the general terminology (i.e., ``. ..the 
other applicable parts of subchapter B of chapter I of title 50...'') 
replacing it with the specific regulations to which the falconers are 
agreeing.''
    Response. We disagree. This is the standard language in 50 CFR 
13.12, which we do not change in this rule. Further, a change in the 
language could require that we change the falconry regulations if any 
change is made to the relevant regulations elsewhere. Therefore, we 
have not changed this language.
    Issue. Reinstatement of lapsed permits.
     ``The proposed changes clarify the requirements for 
reinstating permits that have lapsed. We support requiring the 
examination for permittees that do not renew for five years or more and 
requiring a facility inspection after 2 years or more as stated in 
21.29 (b)(5)(ii), 21.29 (b)(5)(iii) and 21.29 (b)(5)(iv).'' (State 
agency)
     ``Five years is a sufficiently long period to allow for 
lapsing of a permit. Any longer than that and we feel that experiences 
and skills may be significantly diminished.'' (State agency)
    Response. We received conflicting opinions on this issue. These 
regulations will allow reinstatement of a lapsed permit for up to 5 
years. An individual who has not had a permit for 5 years or more must 
have his or her facilities inspected before he or she may acquire a 
falconry raptor. Any State, tribe, or territory can invoke additional 
requirements for reinstatement of a lapsed permit (Sec.  21.29 (c)(5)).
    Issue. Housing requirements. ``In Section 21.29 (b)(5)(iii) the 
proposed changes preempt State housing requirements. We recommend that 
this section be reworded to read: If your permit has lapsed less than 2 
years, you must provide written verification to your State, tribal, or 
territorial agency that regulates falconry stating that your falconry 
facilities meet the standards in paragraph (c)(1) of this section and 
meet the standards of the permitting State or tribal lands.''
    Response. We disagree. These regulations require a statement about 
the individual's falconry facilities, but any State may establish 
additional requirements.Issue. Permittees with facilities in more than 
one location. ``Under Section 21.29 (c)(7) and Section 21.29 (c)(8) the 
issue of dual residency is addressed. Although we support allowing 
states to issue a permit it is not clear whether or not all states will 
be issuing resident permits. We would suggest that a resident permit be 
issued by the State where the falconer maintains a legal residence. All 
other permits would be non-resident, and would be required to meet all 
the same requirements as a resident permittee if the State so chooses. 
Suggested wording for Section 21.29 (c)(7): The State or Tribe in which 
you are not a legal resident may require that you obtain a non-resident 
falconry permit if you reside there for at least 30 days per year. You 
must contact the State or tribal agency that regulates falconry to 
determine whether you need a permit.'' (State agency)
     ``We recommend that Section 21.29 (b)(2)(iii) be reworded 
to read:
    If you have a residence in other states or on tribal lands other 
than the State or tribal lands in which you comply with legal residence 
requirements for more than 30 days a year, your falconry facilities at 
any other location must be inspected by the State or Tribe. The 
falconry housing facilities located in another State must meet the 
standards in paragraph (c) of this section, must meet the standards of 
the corresponding State or tribal lands and must be listed on your 
resident and nonresident falconry permits.'' (State agency)
     ``Suggested changes to Section 21.29 (c)(8) are similar to 
those in Section 21.29 (b)(2)(iii): If you live in a State or on tribal 
lands for more than 30 days a year other than the State or tribal lands 
in which you maintain your legal residence, your falconry facilities in 
the other states or tribal lands must be inspected by the State or 
Tribe. The facilities in all states and tribal lands must meet the 
standards in paragraph (c) of this section, must meet the standards of 
the corresponding State or tribal lands and must be listed on all 
resident and non-resident falconry permits.''
    Response. These are good suggestions. We have changed the relevant 
language to state that facilities away from the permittee's residence 
also must be inspected (Sec.  21.29 (d)(2)(i) and (ii)).Issue. Taking 
banded raptors taken from the wild. ``We do not support taking a raptor 
banded with a Federal Bird Banding Laboratory aluminum band from the 
wild as listed in Section 21.29 (d)(3)(vi). Any bird that has been 
banded or marked for the purpose of research should be returned to the 
wild immediately after capture. We recommend that this requirement 
apply to all species and not just peregrine falcons.'' (State agency)
    Response. We discussed this issue with the Federal Bird Banding 
Laboratory prior to publication of the

[[Page 59463]]

proposed regulations. The laboratory endorsed the position we took. We 
did not change the requirements in this final rule.
    Issue. Temporary possession of raptors while trapping.
     ``The AGFC opposes the draft regulation which would allow 
a falconer to take a raptor and keep it as part of their [sic] 
possession limit. This activity as proposed is in violation of the 
Arkansas Game and Fish Commission Code of regulations which defines 
``take,'' in part, ``to trap, capture or reduce to possession.'' If a 
raptor is ``taken'' it has been trapped and is in the falconer's 
possession and must become and remain part of the falconer's limit. We 
recommend the Service delete this section of the proposed regulations 
and allow the states to deal with it within their legal frameworks.'' 
(State agency)
     ``The draft regulations allow a falconer to take a raptor 
and hold it for several hours before they make the decision to keep it 
as part of their possession limit or not. This activity is in violation 
of the laws of most if not all states. If an animal is ``taken'' is has 
been reduced to possession and must remain part of the falconer's 
limit. Recommend deleting this section and let the states deal with it 
within their legal: frameworks.'' (State agency)
     ``Remove the proposal to allow a falconer to hold a 
captured raptor for several hours before reducing them to possession. 
If an animal is ``taken'' it has been reduced to possession and must 
remain part of the falconer's limit.'' (State agency)
     ``We agree that no falconer should be allowed to ``cull'' 
raptors taken, by holding them longer than time that would allow for 
immediate release. States will develop appropriate regulations within 
legal frameworks.'' (State agency)
    Response. We recognize the difficulty that this change would create 
for the States. We have removed this language from this final rule.
    Issue. Falconers assisting rehabilitators in conditioning raptors 
for release.
     ``We also support the option for General and Master Class 
falconers to assist wildlife rehabilitators in training young raptors 
prior to their release as stated in Section 21.29(e)(9).''
     ``Falconers should be allowed to assist with 
rehabilitation efforts. However, this begs the question >Why should a 
licensed falconer be permitted under an individual rehabilitator who 
likely knows less than they [sic] do about raptor health, behavior and 
management?'' (State agency)
    Response. Permitted migratory bird rehabilitators are knowledgeable 
about avian health and care, but may not be equipped to properly 
condition injured raptors for release. The rehabilitation regulations 
require that every individual working with a rehabilitator be a 
subpermittee, so we wrote the proposed falconry regulations to 
accommodate this requirement. However, we understand the issue raised 
by the State agency and other comments received. In this final rule we 
amend the rehabilitation regulations to exempt falconers from the 
subpermittee requirement ((Sec.  21.31 (e)(3))).
    Issue. Transfer of rehabilitated raptors.
     ``We do not however support the option for rehabilitators 
to permanently place a healthy raptor with a falconer under Section 
21.29 (d)(6). In the event that this activity is allowed the State, not 
the rehabilitator, should have sole discretion for allowing the 
transfer to occur. Allowing rehabilitators to transfer healthy birds to 
falconers for permanent use creates a number of concerns such as the 
appropriate circumstances that warrant the transfer, the time of year 
this would be authorized, at what age is the bird transferable and how 
does the State handle situations in which there appears to be abuse of 
this activity.''
     ``The State must be able to restrict the acquisition of a 
bird for falconry purposes obtained from a licensed rehabilitator. This 
change to 21.31: Rehabilitation Permits, should not allow the transfer 
of the bird from a rehabilitator to a falconer without approval from 
the State!'' (State agency)
    Response. Any State, tribe, or territory may restrict such 
transfers.Issue. ``Falconers should not be removing any bird from the 
wild that is listed as federally or locally threatened or endangered.'' 
(State agency)
    Response. Falconers can do so only with an appropriate permit or 
permits. This provision has long been in the falconry regulations, and 
we are not aware of issues with endangered or threatened species. This 
provision is left in place in this final rule.
    Issue. Foreign visitors practicing falconry.
     ``We support allowing visitors to the United States the 
opportunity to practice falconry as stated in 21.29 (e)(12). However, 
the State should have the option of issuing a non-resident permit or a 
temporary permit. In our State, we already have regulations allowing 
for a one year nonresident falconry permit.'' (State agency)
     ``This section did not address the case of foreign 
falconers who come to the U.S. for 6 months out of the year or who 
possess green cards, work visas, etc. If these individuals can legally 
secure a State falconry license, they should be allowed to trap and 
train a wild raptor.'' (State agency)
    Response. These regulations do not prevent a State, tribe, or 
territory from providing such a permit, and address doing so with 
``temporary'' permits. An individual who has resident status may, at 
the discretion of the permitting agency, obtain a falconry 
permit.Issue. Abatement with falconry birds. ``You do not address the 
use of birds possessed under a falconry permit for the control of 
nuisance, non-protected birds, such as feral pigeons and European 
starlings. This use of falconry birds is becoming more common and is 
becoming a source of income for several falconers in Indiana. While the 
long-term effectiveness of this use of a falconry bird is not currently 
known, it is becoming more and more common. Currently the regulations 
do not prohibit this activity since the bird is ``hunting'' or ``being 
trained'' to hunt. This issue needs to be addressed. The State of 
Indiana will pursue additional restrictions in this area, but it would 
be helpful if the USFWS also addressed the legality of this.'' (State 
agency)
    Response. We have a guidance memorandum for the use of raptors in 
abatement and a new application form. See 72 FR 69705-69706 (December 
10, 2007), and http://migratorybirds.fws.gov.

V. Required Determinations

Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Order 12866)

    The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has determined that this 
rule is significant and has reviewed this rule under Executive Order 
12866. OMB bases its determination upon the following four criteria:
    (a) Whether the rule will have an annual effect of $100 million or 
more on the economy or adversely affect an economic sector, 
productivity, jobs, the environment, or other units of the government.
    (b) Whether the rule will create inconsistencies with other Federal 
agencies' actions.
    (c) Whether the rule will materially affect entitlements, grants, 
user fees, loan programs, or the rights and obligations of their 
recipients.
    (d) Whether the rule raises novel legal or policy issues.

Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.)

    Under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq., as 
amended by the

[[Page 59464]]

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) of 1996 
(Pub. L. 104-121)), whenever an agency is required to publish a notice 
of rulemaking for any proposed or final rule, it must prepare and make 
available for public comment a regulatory flexibility analysis that 
describes the effect of the rule on small entities (i.e., small 
businesses, small organizations, and small government jurisdictions). 
However, no regulatory flexibility analysis is required if the head of 
an agency certifies the rule does not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities.
    SBREFA amended the Regulatory Flexibility Act to require Federal 
agencies to provide the statement of the factual basis for certifying 
that a rule will not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities. We have examined this rule's 
potential effects on small entities as required by the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act, and have determined that this action does not have a 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities 
because the changes we are proposing are intended primarily to clarify 
the requirements for falconry and the procedures for obtaining a 
falconry permit.
    This determination is based on the fact that we are proposing 
limited changes to the current requirements for falconry facilities 
(housing). To legally practice falconry in the United States, an 
applicant will be required to obtain a State, tribal, or territorial 
falconry permit. To do so, he or she must demonstrate knowledge of 
falconry and must have facilities for keeping falconry raptors that 
will protect them from weather extremes. The changes in the regulations 
will require minimal changes to the facilities of some falconers, but 
affect neither the information collected nor the fees required to 
obtain a permit. Consequently, we certify that because this rule does 
not have a significant economic effect on a substantial number of small 
entities, a regulatory flexibility analysis is not required.
    This rule is not a major rule under the SBREFA (5 U.S.C. 804(2)). 
It does not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small 
entities.
    a. This rule does not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 
million or more. If all falconry permittees had to rebuild their 
falconry facilities to comply with the regulations, at an estimated 
$2,000 each, the total cost to permittees would be $8,000,000. This 
highest-cost estimate for compliance with this rule by permittees would 
be a one-time expenditure.
    b. This rule will not cause a major increase in costs or prices for 
consumers, individual industries, Federal, State, or local government 
agencies, or geographic regions. The practice of falconry does not 
significantly affect costs or prices in any sector of the economy.
    c. This rule will not have significant adverse effects on 
competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the 
ability of U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based 
enterprises. Falconry is an endeavor of private individuals. Neither 
regulation nor practice of falconry significantly affects business 
activities.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    In accordance with the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 
et seq.), we have determined the following:
    a. This rule does not ``significantly or uniquely'' affect small 
governments. A small government agency plan is not required. Falconry 
is an endeavor of private individuals. Neither regulation nor practice 
of falconry affects small government activities in any significant way.
    b. This rule does not produce a Federal mandate of $100 million or 
greater in any year; i.e., it is not a ``significant regulatory 
action'' under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act. Though States may have 
to revise their falconry regulations to comply with the revisions, 
nearly every State already has falconry regulations in place. 
Therefore, revisions of the State regulations should not be 
significant.

Takings

    In accordance with Executive Order 12630, the rule does not have 
significant takings implications. This rule does not contain a 
provision for taking of private property. A takings implication 
assessment is not required.

Federalism

    This rule does not have sufficient Federalism effects to warrant 
preparation of a Federalism assessment under Executive Order 13132. It 
does not interfere with the States' ability to manage themselves or 
their funds. No significant economic impacts are expected to result 
from the regulation of falconry. However, this rule provides the 
opportunity for States to cooperate in management of falconry permits 
and to ease the permitting process for permit applicants.

Civil Justice Reform

    In accordance with Executive Order 12988, the Office of the 
Solicitor has determined that the rule does not unduly burden the 
judicial system and meets the requirements of sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) 
of the Order.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    We examined these regulations under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 
1995. OMB has approved the information collection requirements of the 
Migratory Bird Permits Program and assigned clearance number 1018-0022, 
which expires November 30, 2010. This regulation will eliminate the 
Federal falconry permit, and reduce the burden for both permittees and 
the migratory bird permit offices. It does not add to the approved 
information collection. Information from the collection is used to 
document take of raptors from the wild for use in falconry and to 
document transfers of raptors held for falconry between permittees. A 
Federal agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required 
to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a 
currently valid OMB control number.

National Environmental Policy Act

    This rule does not change the take of raptors from the wild allowed 
for each permittee each year, though it will allow a small increase in 
total take over a short term. The changes will delegate administration 
of falconry permitting and the practice of falconry to the States and 
tribes, and are otherwise largely to reorganize the regulations, make 
them clearer, and combine related sections. We have analyzed this rule 
in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), 42 
U.S.C. 432-437(f) and part 516 of the U.S. Department of the Interior 
Manual (516 DM). We completed a Final Environmental Assessment (EA) in 
June 2007 (U.S.F.W.S. 2007, 72 FR 31268) to assess establishment of 
regulations governing the take of raptors for falconry and raptor 
propagation. Based on our analyses in the EA, we concluded that the 
take of raptors from the wild for these purposes is not a major Federal 
action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. 
You can obtain a copy of the EA by contacting us at the address in the 
ADDRESSES section.
    We further evaluated the environmental impacts of the significant 
changes to these regulations. Within the spirit and intent of the 
Council on Environmental Quality's regulations for implementing the 
National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and other statutes, orders, 
and policies that protect fish and wildlife resources, we determined 
that these regulations changes do not have a significant effect

[[Page 59465]]

on the human environment. Under the guidance in Appendix 1 of the 
Department of the Interior Manual at 516 DM 2, we conclude that the 
regulations changes are categorically excluded because they ``have no 
or minor potential environmental impact'' (516 DM 2, Appendix 1 A (1)). 
No more comprehensive NEPA analysis of the regulations change is 
required.

Environmental Consequences of this Action

    The changes we propose are primarily in the combining, 
reorganizing, and rewriting of the regulations. The environmental 
impacts of this action are limited.
    Socioeconomic. We do not expect the action to have discernible 
socioeconomic impacts.
    Raptor populations. This rule does not significantly alter the take 
of raptors for falconry in the United States. This rule will have 
little change on the effects of falconry on raptor populations. Each 
General or Master Falconer will still be allowed to take only 2 raptors 
from the wild per year for use in falconry.
    Endangered and Threatened Species. The regulations have new 
provisions governing falconry in habitats important to those threatened 
or endangered species that may be impacted by falconry.

Government-to-Government Relationship With Tribes

    In accordance with the President's memorandum of April 29, 1994, 
``Government-to-Government Relations with Native American Tribal 
Governments'' (59 FR 22951), Executive Order 13175, and 512 DM 2, we 
have evaluated potential effects on Federally recognized Indian Tribes 
and have determined that this rule does not interfere with the tribes' 
ability to manage themselves or their funds or to regulate falconry on 
tribal lands.Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use (Executive Order 
13211)
    On May 18, 2001, the President issued Executive Order 13211 
addressing regulations that significantly affect energy supply, 
distribution, and use. Executive Order 13211 requires agencies to 
prepare Statements of Energy Effects when undertaking certain actions. 
Because this rule only affects the practice of falconry in the United 
States, it is not a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 
12866, and does not significantly affect energy supplies, distribution, 
or use. Therefore, this action is not a significant energy action and 
no Statement of Energy Effects is required.

Compliance With Endangered Species Act Requirements

    Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973, as amended 
(16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), requires that ``The Secretary [of the 
Interior] shall review other programs administered by him and utilize 
such programs in furtherance of the purposes of this chapter'' (16 
U.S.C. 1536(a)(1)). It further states that the Secretary must insure 
that any action authorized, funded, or carried out ``is not likely to 
jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered species or 
threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification 
of [critical] habitat'' (16 U.S.C. 1536 (a)(2)). The Division of 
Threatened and Endangered Species concurred with our finding that the 
revised regulations will not affect listed species.

VI. Literature Cited

    U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2002. Birds of Conservation 
Concern, 2002. Division of Migratory Bird Management, Arlington, 
Virginia.
    U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 2007. Final Environmental 
Assessment: take of raptors from the wild under the falconry and the 
raptor propagation regulations. Division of Migratory Bird Management, 
Arlington, Virginia.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 21

    Exports, Hunting, Imports, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements, Transportation, Wildlife.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 22

    Exports, Imports, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, 
Transportation, Wildlife.


0
For the reasons stated in the preamble, we amend parts 21 and 22 of 
subpart C, subchapter B, chapter I, title 50 of the Code of Federal 
Regulations, as follows.

PART 21--MIGRATORY BIRD PERMITS

0
1. Revise the authority citation for part 21 to read as follows:

    Authority: Migratory Bird Treaty Act, 40 Stat. 755 (16 U.S.C. 
703); Public Law 95616, 92 Stat. 3112 (16 U.S.C. 712(2)); Public Law 
106108, 113 Stat. 1491, Note Following 16 U.S.C. 703.

0
2. Amend Sec.  21.2 paragraph (b) by removing the words ``Federal'' and 
``standards.''
0
3. Amend Sec.  21.3 by revising the definitions of ``falconry'' and 
``raptor'' and adding definitions of ``hacking,'' ``hybrid,'' 
``imprint,'' and ``livestock depredation area,'' in alphabetical order, 
to read as follows:


Sec.  21.3  Definitions.

    * * * * *
    Falconry is caring for and training raptors for pursuit of wild 
game, and hunting wild game with raptors. Falconry includes the taking 
of raptors from the wild to use in the sport; and caring for, training, 
and transporting raptors held for falconry.
    Hacking is the temporary release of a raptor held for falconry to 
the wild so that it must survive on its own.
    Hybrid means offspring of birds listed as two or more distinct 
species in Sec.  10.13 of subchapter B of this chapter, or offspring of 
birds recognized by ornithological authorities as two or more distinct 
species listed in Sec.  10.13 of subchapter B of this chapter.
    Imprint, for the purposes of falconry, means a bird that is hand-
raised in isolation from the sight of other raptors from 2 weeks of age 
until it has fledged. An imprinted bird is considered to be so for its 
entire lifetime.
    Livestock depredation area means a specific geographic location in 
which depredation by golden eagles has been recognized. The boundaries 
and duration of a livestock depredation area are declared by U.S.D.A. 
Wildlife Services or by a State governor.
    * * * * *
    Raptor means a migratory bird of the Order Falconiformes or the 
Order Strigiformes listed in Sec.  10.13 of this chapter, including the 
bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) and the golden eagle (Aquila 
chrysaetos).
    * * * * *


Sec.  21.28  [Removed and Reserved]

0
4. Remove and reserve Sec.  21.28.
0
5. Revise Sec.  21.29 to read as follows:


Sec.  21.29  Falconry standards and falconry permitting.

    (a) Background.
    (1) The legal basis for regulating falconry. The Migratory Bird 
Treaty Act prohibits any person from taking, possessing, purchasing, 
bartering, selling, or offering to purchase, barter, or sell, among 
other things, raptors (birds of prey) listed in Sec.  10.13 of this 
subchapter unless the activities are allowed by Federal permit issued 
under this part and part 13 of this chapter, or as permitted by 
regulations in this part.
    (i) This section covers all Falconiformes (vultures, kites, eagles, 
hawks, caracaras, and falcons) and all Strigiformes (owls) listed in 
Sec.  10.13 of this subchapter (``native'' raptors), and applies to any 
person who possesses one or more wild-caught, captive-bred, or hybrid 
raptors protected under the MBTA to use in falconry.
    (ii) The Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (16 U.S.C. 668-668d, 
54

[[Page 59466]]

Stat. 250) provides for the taking of golden eagles from the wild to 
use in falconry. It specifies that the only golden eagles that may be 
used for falconry are those that would be taken because of depredations 
on livestock or wildlife (16 U.S.C. 668a).
    (2) ``Possession'' and short-term handling of a falconry raptor. We 
do not consider short-term handling, such as letting any other person 
hold or practice flying a raptor you possess under your permit, to be 
possession for the purposes of this section if you are present and the 
person is under your supervision.
    (3) Regulatory year for governing falconry. For determining 
possession and take of raptors for falconry, a year is any 12-month 
period for take defined by the State, tribe, or territory.
    (b) Federal approval of State, tribal, and territorial falconry 
programs.
    (1) General.
    (i) A State (including the District of Columbia), tribe, or 
territory under the jurisdiction of the United States that wishes to 
allow falconry must establish laws and regulations (hereafter referred 
to as laws) that meet the standards established in this section. To 
allow the practice of falconry on tribal lands by tribal members or 
residents, a tribe may either certify that it has adopted Service-
approved State laws if those laws are fully enforceable on tribal 
lands, or issue its own laws and request our approval.
    (ii) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) Director must 
determine that a State, tribal, or territorial falconry permitting 
program meets the requirements and standards of this section. The 
Director must certify no later than January 1, 2014, that a State, 
tribe, and territory willing to allow falconry meets the federal 
standards. At that time, all Federal falconry permits and the Federal 
permitting program will end. Falconry will not be permitted in a State 
or territory or by a tribe after this date until that State, tribe, or 
territory develops a permitting program the Director certifies to be in 
compliance with these regulations. Also see paragraph (b)(12) of this 
section.
    (iii) State, tribal, or territorial laws may be more restrictive 
than these Federal standards but may not be less restrictive. For 
instance, a State, tribe, or territory may choose not to allow 
possession of some species of raptors otherwise allowed in this 
section. State, tribal, and territorial laws must be consistent with 
the terms contained in any convention between the United States and any 
foreign country for the protection of raptors and the Migratory Bird 
Treaty Act.
    (2) State, tribal, or territorial submission for approval. A State, 
tribe, or territory that wishes to allow falconry must submit to the 
Director:
    (i) The data required by paragraph (b)(l) of this section;
    (ii) A copy of the State's, tribe's, or territory's Apprentice 
Falconer examination, which must at a minimum cover laws and 
regulations, raptor biology and raptor identification, trapping 
methods, facilities requirements, care of raptors held for falconry, 
and diseases and health problems of raptors, and training methods; and
    (iii) Copies of the laws and regulations governing falconry of the 
State, tribe, or territory, and certification that the laws and 
regulations meet the requirements of this section.
    (3) Electronic reporting. The State, tribe, or territory must work 
with us to ensure that the electronic 3-186A reporting system (http://permits.fws.gov/186A) for reporting take, transfers, and loss of 
falconry birds is fully operational for residents of that jurisdiction.
    (4) Federal approval and terms. If we concur that the regulations 
and the examination meet the requirements of this section, we will 
publish a rule in the Federal Register adding the State, tribe, or 
territory to the list of those approved for allowing the practice of 
falconry. We will terminate Federal falconry permitting in any State 
certified under these regulations on January 1st of the calendar year 
following publication of the rule.
    (i) An approved State, tribe, or territory must notify the Service 
Director of any substantive revisions of their laws governing falconry 
and certify that they meet the requirements of this section.
    (ii) We must approve the falconry examination any time it is 
revised.
    (5) Review of a State, tribal, or territorial falconry program. We 
may review the administration of an approved State's, tribe's, or 
territory's falconry program if complaints from the public or law 
enforcement investigations that indicate the need for a review, or 
revisions to the State's, tribe's, or territory's laws or falconry 
examination. The review may involve, but is not limited to:
    (i) Inspecting falconers' facilities to ensure that facilities 
standards in this section are met;
    (ii) Processing time of applications;
    (iii) Reviewing approved applications for completeness;
    (iv) Determining that permits issued are appropriate for the 
experience of the applicants;
    (v) Determining the adequacy of the State's, tribe's, or 
territory's recordkeeping for the needs of State, tribal, or 
territorial and Federal law enforcement;
    (vi) Reviewing laws to determine if they meet the requirements of 
this section; and
    (vii) Reviewing a revised falconry examination to determine if it 
meets the requirements of this section.
    (6) Suspension of a State's, tribe's, or territory's certification.
    (i) We may propose to suspend, and may suspend the approval of a 
State, tribal, or territorial falconry program in accordance with the 
procedures in paragraph (b)(6)(ii) of this section if we determine that 
the State, tribe, or territory has deficiencies in one or more items in 
paragraph (b)(5) of this section.
    (ii) When we propose to suspend approval of a State, tribal, or 
territorial falconry program, we will first provide written notice to 
the State, tribe, or territory. Any such notice will include the basis 
for our determination that suspension is warranted. We will identify 
the actions that would, if implemented by the State, tribe, or 
territory, allow us to cancel the proposed suspension of approval.
    (iii) The State, tribe, or territory will have 2 years from the 
date of our notification to correct the deficiencies. The State, tribe, 
or territory must respond in writing within that time to the proposed 
suspension, specifying the reasons why the certification should not be 
suspended. We will give due consideration to any objections and 
evidence raised by the State, tribe, or territory.
    (iv) If we continue to believe that suspension is warranted, we 
will provide written notice of suspension, including the rationale for 
suspension, and respond to any objections to the suspension.
    (A) The suspension of approval of the State's, tribe's, or 
territory's falconry program will be effective 180 days from the date 
of the Service's final notification of suspension.
    (B) The State, tribe, or territory must then inform all falconry 
applicants and permittees of the impending cancellation of permitting.
    (v) We will honor all falconry permits in that jurisdiction for 2 
years from the date of our final notification of suspension of 
certification. At the end of the 2 years, you must transfer all raptors 
(including captive-bred raptors) held under permits from the State, 
tribal, or territorial falconry program to other falconry permittees in 
other States or territories, or to Federal raptor propagation or 
education permittees,

[[Page 59467]]

institutions exempt from the Federal permit requirements, or 
permanently released to the wild (if it is allowed by the State, tribe, 
or territory and by this section), or euthanized. However, you may not 
permanently release hybrid raptors to the wild.
    (7) Appeal of a decision to suspend State, tribal, or territorial 
certification. The State, tribe, or territory may appeal a decision to 
suspend certification to the Director within 180 days of the date of 
the Director's decision. The Director will then respond to the State, 
tribe, or territory within 180 days of receipt of the appeal. The 
State, tribe, or territory certification will remain effective until 
the Director makes a final decision on the appeal.
    (8) Recertification of compliance with this section if a State's, 
tribe's, or territory's falconry permitting authority has been 
suspended. If a State, tribe, or territory has had its falconry 
permitting authority suspended but has corrected its problems, it must 
submit a request for approval of its permitting activities. We will 
then either recertify the program, or report in writing why we do not 
believe that earlier permitting problems have been rectified.
    (9) Authority to suspend or revoke a falconry permit issued by a 
State, tribe, or territory. Suspension or revocation of a falconry 
permit is the responsibility of the State, tribe, or territory. 
However, compliance with all provisions of these regulations remains 
under the purview of the Fish and Wildlife Service.
    (10) Standards in effect in your place of residence.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
       If your legal residence is in                   you may
------------------------------------------------------------------------
(i) [ - States, tribes, and territories in  practice falconry as
 compliance with these revised regulations   permitted in these
 - ],                                        regulations if you have a
                                             permit from your State,
                                             tribe, or territory.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
(ii) Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas,    practice falconry under the
 California, Colorado, Connecticut,          Federal regulations in
 Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho,          effect on November 7, 2008
 Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas,            (if falconry was allowed in
 Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland,       your State at that time)
 Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota,         until your State has
 Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska,   certified that it meets the
 Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New      requirements in these
 Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North     regulations or until
 Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon,             January 1, 2014.
 Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South
 Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas,
 Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West
 Virginia, Wisconsin, or Wyoming,
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (11) Compliance date for the regulations in this section. A State 
with existing Federally-approved falconry regulations wishing to 
continue to allow falconry after January 1, 2014 must certify to the 
Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service that it is in compliance with 
this section. This section will be applicable for a State upon 
publication in the Federal Register of our notice of approval of the 
State's certification. Any State certified to allow falconry under the 
Federal falconry regulations contained in Sec. Sec.  21.28 and Sec.  
21.29 in effect prior to November 7, 2008 may continue to allow 
falconry under those provisions until:
    (i) We publish a notice of our approval of the State's 
certification in the Federal Register; or
    (ii) January 1, 2014.
    (12) What will happen if a State with falconry regulations 
certified under earlier regulations does not come into compliance with 
this section by January 1, 2014? If a State does not come into 
compliance with this section by the compliance date, we will require 
that all raptors held for falconry in that State or (including captive-
bred raptors) be transferred to falconers in other jurisdictions, 
transferred to captive propagation programs, permanently released to 
the wild (if that is allowed by the State and by this section), or 
euthanized. However, you may not permanently release hybrid raptors to 
the wild.
    (c) Practicing falconry.
    (1) Practicing falconry where you reside.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                      because your place
 If your legal residence is in         you may           of residence
------------------------------------------------------------------------
(i) the District of Columbia,    not practice         has not met the
 Hawaii, on any tribal land, or   falconry             Federal falconry
 in any U.S. territory,                                standards or does
                                                       not allow the
                                                       practice of
                                                       falconry.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
(ii) any State other than        practice falconry    has met the
 Hawaii, in the District of       after you receive    Federal standards
 Columbia, on any tribal land,    your State,          and allows the
 or in any U.S. territory,        tribal, or           practice of
                                  territorial          falconry.
                                  falconry permit,
                                  if your State,
                                  tribe, or
                                  territory is in
                                  compliance with
                                  these regulations
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (2) Permits and inspections to practice falconry. You must have a 
valid falconry permit from the State, tribe, or territory in which you 
reside (or the tribe on whose land you wish to practice falconry if you 
reside on tribal land or are a tribal member), to take, possess, or 
transport raptors for falconry, or to hunt with them. Depending on the 
game you hunt as a falconer and where you hunt, you also may need a 
Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (a ``Duck 
Stamp''), and State, tribal, or territorial hunting permits or stamps 
to hunt with a raptor.
    (i) Some State, tribal, territorial, or local governments may 
require you to have additional permits or licenses to practice falconry 
or to take a raptor from the wild.
    (ii) You must comply with all regulations governing migratory bird 
permitting.
    (iii) If you reside for more than 120 consecutive days in a State 
or territory or on tribal lands other than the location of your primary 
residence, your falconry facilities in the second location must meet 
the standards in paragraph (d) of this section and of the corresponding 
State, tribal, or territorial lands, and your facilities must be listed 
on your falconry permit.
    (3) Classes of permit to practice falconry. We recognize 
Apprentice, General, and Master Falconer levels. Each State, tribe, or 
territory may have any number of permit levels, but the standards for 
them must be at least as restrictive as these Federal standards. Your 
State, tribe, or territory may have

[[Page 59468]]

more restrictive laws or regulations governing falconry.
    (i) Requirements and possession options for an Apprentice Falconer.
    (A) You must be at least 12 years of age.
    (B) If you are under 18 years of age, a parent or legal guardian 
must sign your application and is legally responsible for your 
activities.
    (C) You must have a letter from a Master Falconer or a General 
Falconer with a valid State, tribal, or territorial falconry permit who 
is at least 18 years old and has at least 2 years experience at the 
General Falconer level, stating that he or she will assist you, as 
necessary, in:
    (1) Learning about the husbandry and training of raptors held for 
falconry;
    (2) Learning and about relevant wildlife laws and regulations, and
    (3) Deciding what species of raptor is appropriate for you to 
possess while an Apprentice.
    (D) Regardless of the number of State, tribal, or territorial 
falconry permits you have, you may possess no more than one raptor for 
use in falconry.
    (E) You may possess a wild-caught or captive-bred raptor of any 
Falconiform or Strigiform species except the following: American 
swallow-tailed kite (Elanoides forficatus), bald eagle (Haliaeetus 
leucocephalus), white-tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla), Steller's 
sea-eagle (Haliaeetus pelagicus), northern harrier (Circus cyaneus), 
Swainson's hawk (Buteo swainsoni), ferruginous hawk (Buteo regalis), 
golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), 
prairie falcon (Falco mexicanus), flammulated owl (Otus flammeolus), 
burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia), and short-eared owl (Asio 
flammeus).
    (F) You do not need to capture a wild raptor yourself; it can be 
transferred to you by another falconry permittee.
    (G) You may not possess a raptor taken from the wild as a nestling.
    (H) You may not possess a bird that is imprinted on humans.
    (I) Your raptor facilities must pass inspection by your State, 
tribe, or territory before you may be granted a permit.
    (ii) Requirements and possession options for a General Falconer.
    (A) You must be at least 16 years of age.
    (B) If you are 16 or 17 years of age, a parent or legal guardian 
must sign your application and must be legally responsible for your 
activities.
    (C) You must submit a document from a General Falconer or Master 
Falconer (preferably your sponsor) to your State, tribal, or 
territorial wildlife agency stating that you have practiced falconry 
with wild raptor(s) at the Apprentice Falconer level or equivalent for 
at least 2 years, including maintaining, training, flying, and hunting 
the raptor(s) for least 4 months in each year. That practice may 
include capture and release of falconry raptors.
    (D) You may not substitute any falconry school program or education 
to shorten the period of 2 years at the Apprentice level.
    (E) You may take and possess any species of Falconiform or 
Strigiform except a golden eagle, a bald eagle, a white-tailed eagle, 
or a Steller's sea-eagle. You may use captive-bred individuals and 
hybrids of the species you are allowed to possess.
    (F) Regardless of the number of State, tribal, or territorial 
falconry permits you have, you may possess no more than 3 raptors.
    (iii) Requirements and possession options for a Master Falconer.
    (A) You must have practiced falconry with your own raptor(s) at the 
General Falconer level for at least 5 years.
    (B) You may take and possess any species of Falconiform or 
Strigiform except a bald eagle. However, you may take and possess a 
golden eagle, a white-tailed eagle, or a Steller's sea eagle only if 
you meet the qualifications set forth under paragraph (c)(3)(iv).
    (C) You may possess any captive-bred individuals or hybrids of 
species your State, tribe, or territory allows you to possess.
    (D) Regardless of the number of State, tribal, or territorial 
falconry permits you have, you may possess no more than 5 wild raptors, 
including golden eagles.
    (E) You may possess any number of captive-bred raptors. However, 
you must train them in the pursuit of wild game and use them in 
hunting.
    (iv) If you meet the requirements in paragraph (c) of this section 
for falconry you may possess up to 3 eagles of the following species: 
golden eagle, white-tailed eagle, or Steller's sea eagle.
    (A) Your State, tribal, or territorial agency that regulates 
falconry must document the following before approving your request to 
possess an eagle to use in falconry:
    (1) Your experience in handling large raptors, including 
information about the species you have handled and the type and 
duration of the activity in which you gained the experience.
    (2) At least two letters of reference from people with experience 
handling and/or flying large raptors such as eagles, ferruginous hawks 
(Buteo regalis), goshawks (Accipiter gentilis), or great horned owls 
(Bubo virginianus). Each must contain a concise history of the author's 
experience with large raptors, which can include, but is not limited 
to, handling of raptors held by zoos, rehabilitating large raptors, or 
scientific studies involving large raptors. Each letter must also 
assess your ability to care for eagles and fly them in falconry.
    (B) A golden eagle, white-tailed eagle, or Steller's sea-eagle you 
hold will count as one of the raptors you are allowed to possess.
    (4) Taking a test to qualify for a falconry permit. Before you are 
issued an Apprentice permit you must correctly answer at least 80 
percent of the questions on an examination administered by the State, 
tribe, or territory under which you wish to obtain a falconry permit. 
The examination must cover care and handling of falconry raptors, 
Federal, State or territorial, and tribal (if applicable) laws and 
regulations relevant to falconry, and other appropriate subject matter. 
Contact your State, tribal, or territorial agency that regulates 
falconry for information about permits and taking the test.
    (5) Reinstatement of a lapsed falconry permit if your State, tribe, 
or territory allows it.
    (i) If your permit has lapsed for fewer than 5 years, it may be 
reinstated at the level you held previously if you have proof of your 
certification at that level.
    (ii) If your permit has lapsed for 5 years or longer, you must 
correctly answer at least 80 percent of the questions on an examination 
administered by the State, tribe, or territory in which you wish to 
obtain a falconry permit. If you pass the exam, your permit may be 
reinstated at the level you previously held. Your facilities must pass 
State, tribal, or territorial inspection before you may possess a 
falconry bird.
    (6) Permit to practice falconry at an appropriate level if you have 
experience in falconry but are a new resident in the United States. You 
may qualify for the falconry permit appropriate for your experience. To 
demonstrate your knowledge of U.S. falconry laws and regulations, you 
must correctly answer at least 80 percent of the questions on the 
supervised examination for falconers administered by the State, tribe, 
or territory under which you wish to obtain a falconry permit. If you 
pass the test, the State, tribe, or territory will decide for which 
level of falconry permit you are qualified, consistent with the class 
requirements in paragraph (c)(3) of this section. To do so, the State, 
tribe, or territory should base its decision on your documentation of 
your experience. Your falconry

[[Page 59469]]

facilities must meet the standards in paragraph (d)(1) of this section 
before you may keep a raptor to use in falconry.
    (7) Banding or tagging raptors used in falconry.
    (i) If you take a goshawk, Harris's hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus), 
peregrine falcon, or gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus) from the wild or 
acquire one from a rehabilitator, you must band the raptor with a 
permanent, nonreusable, numbered Fish and Wildlife Service leg band 
that your State, tribal, or territorial agency will supply. If you 
wish, you may purchase and implant an ISO (International Organization 
for Standardization)-compliant (134.2 kHz) microchip in the bird in 
lieu of a band. You must report the band number and/or microchip 
information when you report your acquisition of the bird. Contact your 
State, tribal, or territorial agency for information on obtaining and 
disposing of bands. Within 10 days from the day on which you take the 
raptor from the wild, you must report take of the bird by entering the 
required information (including band number and/or microchip 
information) in the electronic database at http://permits.fws.gov/186A 
or by submitting a paper form 3-186A to your State, tribal, or 
territorial agency that governs falconry. You may request an 
appropriate band from your State, tribal, or territorial agency in 
advance of any effort to capture a raptor. Your State, tribe, or 
territory may require that you band other species taken from the wild.
    (ii) A raptor bred in captivity must be banded with a seamless 
metal band (see Sec.  21.30) or have an implanted ISO-compliant (134.2 
kHz) microchip. If you must remove a seamless band or if it is lost, 
within 10 days from the day you remove or note the loss of the band you 
must report it and request a replacement U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
nonreusable band from your State, tribe, or territory. You must submit 
the required information electronically immediately upon rebanding or 
microchipping the raptor at http://permits.fws.gov/186A, and by 
submitting a paper form 3-186A to your State, tribal, or territorial 
agency that governs falconry if your regulating agency requires a 
signed form. You must replace a band that is removed or lost, or you 
may implant an ISO-compliant (134.2 kHz) microchip in the bird and 
report the microchip information at http://permits.fws.gov/186A or by 
submitting a paper form 3-186A form submitted to your State, tribal, or 
territorial agency that governs falconry.
    (iii) If the band must be removed or is lost from a raptor in your 
possession, you must report the loss of the band within 5 days, and you 
must then do at least one of the following:
    (A) Request a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service nonreusable band from 
your State, tribal, or territorial agency that regulates falconry. You 
must submit the required information immediately upon rebanding the 
raptor at http://permits.fws.gov/186A or by submitting a paper form 3-
186A to your State, tribal, or territorial agency that governs 
falconry.
    (B) Purchase and implant an ISO-compliant (134.2 kHz) microchip in 
the bird and report the microchip information at http://permits.fws.gov/186A or by submitting a paper form 3-186A form to your 
State, tribal, or territorial agency that governs falconry.
    (iv) You must not alter, deface, or counterfeit a band. You may 
remove the rear tab on a band on a raptor you take from the wild, and 
you may smooth any imperfect surface if you do not affect the integrity 
of the band or the numbering on it.
    (v) If you document health or injury problems for a raptor you 
possess that are caused by the band, the State, tribe, or territory may 
provide an exemption to the requirement for that raptor. In that case, 
you must keep a copy of the exemption paperwork with you when 
transporting or flying the raptor. If your bird is a wild goshawk, 
Harris's hawk, peregrine falcon, or gyrfalcon, you must replace the 
band with an ISO-compliant microchip that we will supply to your State, 
tribe, or territory. We will not provide a microchip for a wild 
goshawk, Harris's hawk, peregrine falcon, or gyrfalcon unless you have 
demonstrated that a band causes an injury or a health problem for the 
bird.
    (vi) You may not band a raptor removed from the wild with a 
seamless numbered band.
    (8) Carrying your permit(s) when conducting falconry activities. 
You must have your permit(s) or legible copies of them in your 
immediate possession if you are not at the location of your falconry 
facilities and you are trapping, transporting, working with, or flying 
your falconry raptor(s).
    (9) Transporting a falconry raptor or raptors to other States or 
territories. If you have a valid falconry permit, you may possess and 
transport for falconry purposes a lawfully possessed raptor through 
other States or territories. However, any State, tribe, or territory 
may further regulate such transport.
    (d) Facilities and care requirements.
    (1) Facilities you must have and maintain. You must keep all 
raptors you hold under your falconry permit in humane and healthful 
conditions.
    (i) Whether they are indoors (a ``mews'') or outdoors (a 
``weathering area''), your raptor facilities must protect raptors in 
them from the environment, predators, and domestic animals. You are 
responsible for the maintenance and security (protection from 
predators) of raptors you possess under your permit.
    (ii) You must have raptor housing facilities approved by your 
State, tribe, or territory before you may obtain a bird to use in 
falconry. Your State, tribe, or territory may require that you have 
both indoor and outdoor facilities. A representative of your agency 
that regulates falconry, or its designee, must certify that your 
facilities and equipment meet the following standards:
    (A) For housing wild raptors indoors or outdoors, the facility must 
protect raptors from predators and domestic animals.
    (1) The facility must have a suitable perch for each raptor, at 
least one opening for sunlight, and must provide a healthy environment 
for raptors inside.
    (2) You may house untethered raptors together if they are 
compatible with each other.
    (3) Each raptor must have an area large enough to allow it to fly 
if it is untethered or, if tethered, to fully extend its wings or bate 
(attempt to fly while tethered) without damaging its feathers or 
contacting other raptors.
    (4) Each raptor must have a pan of clean water available.
    (B) An indoor facility must be large enough to allow easy access 
for the care and feeding of raptors kept there.
    (1) If raptors you house in this indoor facility are not tethered, 
all walls that are not solid must be protected on the inside. Suitable 
materials may include vertical bars spaced narrower than the width of 
the body of the smallest raptor you house in the enclosure. However, 
heavy-duty netting or other such materials may be used to cover the 
walls or roof of the enclosure.
    (2) Acceptable indoor facilities include shelf perch enclosures 
where raptors are tethered side by side. Other innovative housing 
systems are acceptable if they provide the enclosed raptors with 
protection and maintain healthy feathers.
    (C) You may keep a falconry raptor or raptors inside your place of 
residence if you provide a suitable perch or perches. If you house your 
raptor(s) inside your home, you do not need to modify windows or other 
openings of the structure. Raptors kept in your home must be tethered 
when they are not

[[Page 59470]]

being moved into or out of the location in which they are kept.
    (D) An outdoor facility must be totally enclosed, and may be made 
of heavy-gauge wire, heavy-duty plastic mesh, slats, pipe, wood, or 
other suitable material.
    (1) The facility must be covered and have at least a covered perch 
to protect a raptor held in it from predators and weather.
    (2) The facility must be large enough to insure that the birds 
cannot strike the enclosure when flying from the perch.
    (3) New types of housing facilities and/or husbandry practices may 
be used if they satisfy the requirements above and are approved by the 
State, tribal, or territorial authority regulating falconry.
    (iii) You may keep falconry raptors outside in the open if they are 
under watch, such as by you or a family member at any location or, for 
example, by a designated individual in a weathering yard at a falconry 
meet.
    (iv) You must inform your State, tribal, or territorial agency 
within 5 business days if you change the location of your facilities.
    (2) Falconry facilities on property you do not own.
    (i) Your falconry facilities may be on property owned by another 
person where you reside, or at a different location. Regardless of 
location, the facilities must meet the standards in paragraph (d)(1) of 
this section and those of the State, tribe, or territory from which you 
have a falconry permit.
    (ii) You must submit to your State, tribal, or territorial agency 
that regulates falconry a signed and dated statement showing that you 
or the property owner (if your facilities are not on property that you 
own) agrees that the falconry facilities, equipment, and raptors may be 
inspected without advance notice by State, tribal (if applicable), or 
territorial authorities at any reasonable time of day. Inspections must 
be in the presence of the permittee.
    (3) Equipment you must have and maintain. You must have jesses or 
the materials and equipment to make them, leash and swivel, bath 
container, and appropriate scales or balances for weighing raptor(s) 
you possess.
    (4) Facilities you must have for a raptor when you are transporting 
it, using it for hunting, or are away from your home with it. You must 
be sure that the bird has a suitable perch and is protected from 
extreme temperatures, wind, and excessive disturbance. A ``giant hood'' 
or similar container is acceptable for transporting or housing a raptor 
when you are away from your home.
    (5) Temporarily housing a raptor outside of your permanent 
facilities when you are not transporting it or using it for hunting. 
You may house a raptor in temporary facilities for no more than 120 
consecutive calendar days if the bird has a suitable perch and is 
protected from predators, domestic animals, extreme temperatures, wind, 
and excessive disturbance.
    (6) Care of falconry raptors by another falconry permittee. Another 
falconry permittee may care for a raptor or raptors for you at your 
facilities or at that person's facilities for up to 120 consecutive 
calendar days. The other person must have a signed and dated statement 
from you authorizing the temporary possession, plus a copy of FWS form 
3-186A that shows that you are the possessor of each of the raptors. 
The statement must include information about the time period for which 
he or she will keep the raptor(s), and about what he or she is allowed 
to do with it or them.
    (i) Your raptor(s) will remain on your falconry permit, and will 
not be counted against the possession limit of the person caring for 
your raptors.
    (ii) If the person caring for your raptor(s) holds the appropriate 
level falconry permit, he or she may fly your raptor(s) in whatever way 
you authorize, including hunting.
    (iii) This care of your raptors may be extended indefinitely in 
extenuating circumstances, such as illness, military service, or for a 
family emergency. The State, tribe, or territory may consider such 
instances on a case-by-case basis.
    (7) Care of falconry raptors by someone who does not have a 
falconry permit. Another person may care for falconry birds you possess 
at your facilities for up to 45 consecutive calendar days.
    (i) The raptor(s) will remain on your falconry permit.
    (ii) The raptors must remain in your facilities.
    (iii) This care may be extended indefinitely in extenuating 
circumstances, such as illness, military service, or for a family 
emergency.
    (iv) The person(s) caring for your raptors may not fly them for any 
reason.
    (8) Residence part of the year in another jurisdiction.
    (i) The State, tribe, or territory in which you live part-time may 
require that you obtain its falconry permit. You must contact the 
State, tribal, or territorial agency that regulates falconry to 
determine whether you need a permit.
    (ii) If you live for more than 120 consecutive days in a State or 
territory or on tribal lands other than where you maintain your primary 
residence, your falconry facilities in the second State must meet the 
standards in this section.
    (9) Falconry facilities, raptors, equipment, and records 
inspections. Falconry bird(s), facilities, equipment, and records may 
be inspected only in the presence of the permittee, during business 
hours on any day of the week by State, tribal, or territorial 
officials.
    (e) Taking, possessing, and transporting raptors for falconry.
    (1) Raptor species you may take from the wild to use for falconry.
    (i) You may not intentionally capture a raptor species that your 
classification as a falconer does not allow you to possess for 
falconry. If you capture a bird you are not allowed to possess, you 
must release it immediately.
    (ii) On some tribal lands and in some States there may be State, 
tribal, or Federal restrictions on the take or use of these species, 
and you may need a tribal or State permit or permits to capture a bird.
    (iii) State, tribal, or territorial regulations on take may be more 
restrictive than those in this section.
    (iv) Take of any species must be in compliance with these 
regulations.
    (v) If you are a Master Falconer and your State, tribe, or 
territory allows you to possess golden eagles, in any year you may take 
one or two golden eagles from the wild only in a livestock depredation 
area during the time the depredation area is in effect. A livestock 
depredation area is declared by U.S.D.A. Wildlife Services or upon the 
request of a State governor.
    (2) How and when you may take raptors from the wild to use in 
falconry. You may take no more than two raptors from the wild each year 
to use in falconry.
    (i) If you transfer a bird you take from the wild to another 
permittee in the same year in which you capture it, the bird will count 
as one of the raptors you are allowed to take from the wild that year; 
it will not count as a capture by the recipient, though it will always 
be considered a wild bird.
    (ii) If you are a General or Master Falconer, you may remove 
nestlings from a nest or aerie in accordance with tribal (if 
applicable), State, territorial, and Federal restrictions.
    (iii) You may not take raptors at any time or in any manner that 
violates any law of the State, tribe, or territory on whose land you 
are trapping.
    (iv) If you are responsible for reporting take of a raptor from the 
wild, you can report by entering the required information in the 
electronic database at http://permits.fws.gov/186A or by submitting a 
paper form 3-186A to your

[[Page 59471]]

State, tribal, or territorial agency that governs falconry. You must do 
this at your first opportunity to do so, but no later than 10 days 
after the capture of the bird.
    (v) If you are present at the capture site, even if another person 
captures the bird for you, you are considered the person who removes 
the bird from the wild. You are responsible for filing a 3-186A form 
reporting take of the bird from the wild. This would occur, for 
example, if another person climbs a tree or rappells down a cliff and 
takes a nestling for you and gives it to you at the tree or cliff.
    (vi) If you are not at the immediate location where the bird is 
taken from the wild, the person who removes the bird from the wild must 
be a General or Master Falconer, and must report take of the bird. If 
that person then transfers the bird to you, you must both file 3-186A 
forms reporting the transaction at your first opportunity to do so, but 
no later than 10 days after the transfer. The bird will count as one of 
the two raptors the person who took it from the wild is allowed to 
capture in any year. The bird will not count as a bird you took from 
the wild. The person who takes the bird from the wild must report the 
take even if he or she promptly transfers the bird to you.
    (vii) If you have a long-term or permanent physical impairment that 
prevents you from attending the capture of a species you can use for 
falconry, a General or Master Falconer may capture a bird for you. You 
are then responsible for filing a 3-186A form reporting take of the 
bird from the wild, and the bird will count against the take of wild 
raptors that you are allowed in any year.
    (viii) You must promptly release any bird you capture 
unintentionally.
    (3) Other restrictions on taking raptors from the wild for 
falconry.
    (i) If you are an Apprentice Falconer, you may take any species 
from the wild except the following: American swallow-tailed kite, bald 
eagle, white-tailed eagle, Steller's sea-eagle, northern harrier, 
Swainson's hawk, ferruginous hawk, golden eagle, peregrine falcon, 
prairie falcon, flammulated owl, burrowing owl, and short-eared owl.
    (ii) If you are a General or Master Falconer, you may take raptors 
less than 1 year of age from the wild during any period or periods 
specified by the State, tribe, or territory. However, you may take an 
American kestrel or great horned owl of any age from the wild during 
any period or periods specified by the State, tribe, or territory.
    (iii) If you are a Master Falconer authorized to possess golden 
eagles for use in falconry, you may capture an immature or subadult 
golden eagle in a livestock depredation area during the time the 
depredation area is in effect.
    (A) You may capture a nesting adult golden eagle, or take a 
nestling from its nest, in a livestock depredation area if a biologist 
representing the agency responsible for declaring the depredation area 
has determined that the adult eagle is preying on livestock.
    (B) You must determine the locations of the livestock depredation 
areas declared by USDA Wildlife Services, or the State that has 
established a livestock depredation area. We will not notify you about 
them.
    (C) Before you begin any trapping activities, you must inform our 
regional Law Enforcement office of your capture plans. You must notify 
the offices in person, in writing, or via facsimile or email at least 3 
business days before you start trapping. You may send an email to with 
your trapping plans to [email protected], or

------------------------------------------------------------------------
 If you plan to trap a golden eagle in           you must notify
------------------------------------------------------------------------
(1) California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon,  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
 or Washington,                         Special Agent in Charge - Law
                                         Enforcement
                                        911 NE 11th Avenue
                                        Portland, Oregon
                                        97232-4181
                                        503-231-6125
                                        facsimile 503-231-6197
------------------------------------------------------------------------
(2) Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, or   U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
 Texas,                                 Special Agent in Charge - Law
                                         Enforcement
                                        P.O. Box 329
                                        Albuquerque,
                                        New Mexico 87103
                                        505-248-7889
                                        facsimile 505-248-7899
------------------------------------------------------------------------
(3) Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky,  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
 Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio,   Special Agent in Charge - Law
 or Wisconsin,                           Enforcement
                                        P.O. Box 45
                                        Federal Building
                                        Fort Snelling, Minnesota
                                        55111-0045
                                        612-713-5320
                                        facsimile 612-713-5283
------------------------------------------------------------------------
(4) Alabama, Arkansas, Florida,         U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
 Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana,          Special Agent in Charge - Law
 Mississippi, North Carolina, South      Enforcement
 Carolina, or Tennessee,                P.O. Box 49226
                                        Atlanta, Georgia
                                         30359
                                        404-679-7057
                                        facsimile 404-679-7065
------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 59472]]

 
(5) Connecticut, Delaware, Maine,       U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
 Maryland, Massachusetts, New           Special Agent in Charge - Law
 Hampshire, New Jersey, New York,        Enforcement
 Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont,   P.O. Box 659
 Virginia, or West Virginia,            Hadley, Massachusetts
                                         01035-0659
                                        413-253-8274
                                        facsimile 413-253-8459
------------------------------------------------------------------------
(6) Colorado, Kansas, Montana,          U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
 Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota,  Special Agent in Charge - Law
 Utah, or Wyoming,                       Enforcement
                                        P.O. Box 25486
                                        Denver Federal Center
                                        (60130)
                                        Denver, Colorado
                                        80225-0486
                                        303-236-7540
                                        facsimile 303-236-7901
------------------------------------------------------------------------
(7) Alaska,                             U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
                                        Special Agent in Charge - Law
                                         Enforcement
                                        1011 East Tudor Road
                                        Suite 155
                                        Anchorage, Alaska
                                        99503-6199
                                        907-786-3311
                                        facsimile 907-786-3313
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (D) You also must meet all requirements of the State or territory 
in which you plan to trap, or the tribe on whose lands you plan to 
trap.
    (E) You must have permission from the landowner to capture an 
eagle; or if you wish to capture one on public land, the responsible 
agency must allow it.
    (iv) You may recapture a falconry bird you have lost at any time. 
We do not consider recapture of a wild bird to be taking a bird from 
the wild.
    (v) You may recapture a raptor wearing falconry equipment or a 
captive-bred bird at any time - even if you are not allowed to possess 
the species. The bird will not count against your possession limit, nor 
will its take from the wild count against your limit. You must report 
your recapture of the bird to your State, tribal, or territorial agency 
that regulates falconry no more than 5 working days after the 
recapture. You must return a recaptured falconry bird to the person who 
lost it, if that person may legally possess it. Disposition of a bird 
whose legal possession cannot be determined will be at the discretion 
of the State, tribe, or territory.
    (vi) You may take any raptor that you are authorized to possess 
from the wild if the bird is banded with a Federal Bird Banding 
Laboratory aluminum bandexcept that you may not take a banded peregrine 
falcon from the wild.
    (A) If a raptor (including a peregrine falcon) you capture is 
marked with a seamless metal band, a transmitter, or any other item 
identifying it as a falconry bird, you must report your capture of the 
bird to your State, tribal, or territorial agency that regulates 
falconry no more than 5 working days after the capture. You must return 
a recaptured falconry bird to the person who lost it. If that person 
cannot possess the bird or does not wish to possess it, you may keep 
it. Otherwise, disposition of a bird whose legal possession cannot be 
determined will be at the discretion of the State, tribe, or territory. 
While you keep a bird for return to the person who lost it, the bird 
will not count against your possession limit or your limit on take of 
raptors from the wild if you have reported possessing the bird to your 
State, tribal, or territorial falconry permit office.
    (B) If you capture a peregrine falcon that has a research band 
(such as a colored band with alphanumeric codes) or a research marking 
attached to it, you must immediately release the bird, except that if 
the falcon has a transmitter attached to it, you are authorized to 
possess the bird up to 30 days if you wish to contact the researcher to 
determine if he or she wishes to replace the transmitter or its 
batteries. If the researcher wishes to do so, or to have the 
transmitter removed, the researcher or his or her designee can make the 
change or allow you to do so before you release the bird. If the 
researcher does not wish to keep the transmitter on the falcon, you may 
keep the bird if you captured it in circumstances in which capture of 
wild peregrines is allowed.
    (C) If a raptor you capture has any other band, research marking, 
or transmitter attached to it, you must promptly report the band 
numbers and all other relevant information to the Federal Bird Banding 
Laboratory at 1-800-327-2263.
    (1) You may contact the researcher and determine if he or she 
wishes to replace a transmitter attached to a bird you capture. If so, 
you are authorized to possess the bird up to 30 days until the 
researcher or his or her designee does so, or until you can replace it 
yourself. Disposition of the bird will be at the discretion of the 
researcher and your State, tribal, or territorial agency that regulates 
falconry.
    (2) If you possess such a bird temporarily, it will not count 
against your possession limit for falconry raptors.
    (vii) You must leave at least one young from any nest or aerie from 
which you take a nestling.
    (viii) If you are an Apprentice Falconer, you may not take a 
nestling from the wild.
    (ix) If you are a Master Falconer with a permit to do so, you may 
take, transport, or possess up to three eagles, including golden 
eagles, white-tailed eagles, or Steller's sea-eagles, subject to the 
requirements in paragraph (c)(3)(iv) of this section and Sec.  22.24 of 
this part. A golden eagle, white-tailed eagle, or Steller's sea-eagle 
you possess counts as a bird to be included under your possession 
limit.
    (x) If you are a General or Master Falconer, you may take no more 
than one bird of a threatened species from the wild each year if the 
regulations in

[[Page 59473]]

part 17 of this subchapter allow it and if you obtain a Federal 
endangered species permit to do so before you take the bird. You also 
may need a State, tribal, or territorial endangered species permit to 
take a listed species.
    (4) Take of a species or subspecies that was recently removed from 
the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife to use in 
falconry. We must first publish a management plan for the species. If 
take is allowed in the management plan, you may do so in accordance 
with the provisions for take in the plan.
    (5) Raptors injured due to falconer trapping efforts. You have two 
options for dealing with a bird injured by your trapping efforts. In 
either case, you are responsible for the costs of care and 
rehabilitation of the bird.
    (i) You may put the bird on your falconry permit. You must report 
take of the bird by entering the required information in the electronic 
database at http://permits.fws.gov/186A or by submitting a paper form 
3-186A to your State, tribal, or territorial agency that governs 
falconry at your first opportunity to do so, but no more than 10 days 
after capture of the bird. You must then have the bird treated by a 
veterinarian or a permitted wildlife rehabilitator. The bird will count 
against your possession limit.
    (ii) You may give the bird directly to a veterinarian, or a 
permitted wildlife rehabilitator, or an appropriate wildlife agency 
employee. If you do so, it will not count against your allowed take or 
the number of raptors you may possess.
    (6) Acquisition, transfer, release, loss, or rebanding of a raptor.
    (i) If you acquire a raptor; transfer, reband, or microchip a 
raptor; if a raptor you possess is stolen; if you lose a raptor to the 
wild and you do not recover it within 30 days; or if a bird you possess 
for falconry dies; you must report the change within 10 days by 
entering the required information in the electronic database at http://permits.fws.gov/186A or by submitting a paper form 3-186A to your 
State, tribal, or territorial agency that governs falconry.
    (ii) If a raptor you possess is stolen, you must report the theft 
to your State, tribal, or territorial agency that regulates falconry 
and to your Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Law Enforcement office 
(see paragraph (e)(3)(iii)(C) of this section) within 10 days of the 
theft of the bird.
    (iii) You must keep copies of all electronic database submissions 
documenting take, transfer, loss, rebanding or microchipping of each 
falconry raptor until 5 years after you have transferred or lost the 
bird, or it has died.
    (7) Acquiring a bird for falconry from a permitted rehabilitator. 
You may acquire a raptor of any age of a species that you are permitted 
to possess directly from a rehabilitator. Transfer to you is at the 
discretion of the rehabilitator.
    (i) If you acquire a bird from a rehabilitator, within 10 days of 
the transaction you must report it by entering the required information 
in the electronic database at http://permits.fws.gov/186A or by 
submitting a paper form 3-186A to your State, tribal, or territorial 
agency that governs falconry.
    (ii) If you acquire a bird from a rehabilitator, it will count as 
one of the raptors you are allowed to take from the wild that year.
    (8) Flying a hybrid raptor in falconry. When flown free, a hybrid 
raptor must have at least two attached radio transmitters to help you 
to locate the bird.
    (9) Releasing a falconry bird to the wild. You must follow all 
applicable State or territorial and Federal laws and regulations before 
releasing a falconry bird to the wild.
    (i) If the species you wish to release is not native to the State 
or territory, or is a hybrid of any kind, you may not release the bird 
to the wild. You may transfer it to another falconry permittee.
    (ii) If the species you wish to release is native to the State or 
territory and is captive-bred, you may not release the bird to the wild 
unless you have permission from the State, tribe, or territory to 
release the bird. If you are permitted to do so, you must hack the bird 
(allow it to adjust) to the wild at an appropriate time of year and an 
appropriate location. You must remove its falconry band (if it has one) 
and report release of the bird by entering the required information in 
the electronic database at http://permits.fws.gov/186A or by submitting 
a paper form 3-186A to your State, tribal, or territorial agency that 
governs falconry.
    (iii) If the species you wish to release is native to the State and 
was taken from the wild, you may release the bird only at an 
appropriate time of year and an appropriate location. You must remove 
its falconry band and report release of the bird by entering the 
required information in the electronic database at http://permits.fws.gov/186A or by submitting a paper form 3-186A to your 
State, tribal, or territorial agency that governs falconry.
    (iv) You may not permanently release hybrid raptors to the wild.
    (10) Restrictions on transfers of falconry raptors from other 
falconers. We do not restrict the number of wild-caught or captive-bred 
raptors transferred to you, but you may not exceed your possession 
limit.
    (f) Additional information on the practice of falconry.
    (1) Raptors removed from the wild for falconry are always 
considered ``wild'' raptors. No matter how long such a bird is held in 
captivity or whether it is transferred to another permittee or permit 
type, it is always considered a ``wild'' bird. However, it is 
considered to be taken from the wild only by the person who originally 
captured it. We do not consider the raptor to be taken from the wild by 
any subsequent permittee to whom it is legally transferred.
    (2) ``Hacking'' of falconry raptors. Hacking (temporary release to 
the wild) is an approved method for falconers to condition raptors for 
falconry. If you are a General Falconer or a Master Falconer, you may 
hack a falconry raptor or raptors.
    (i) You may need permission from your State, tribal, or territorial 
wildlife agency to hack a bird you possess for falconry. Check with 
your State, tribal, or territorial agency that regulates falconry to 
determine if hacking is allowed.
    (ii) Any bird you are hacking counts against your possession limit 
and must be a species you are authorized to possess.
    (iii) Any hybrid you hack must have two attached functioning radio 
transmitters during hacking.
    (iv) You may not hack a falconry bird near a nesting area of a 
Federally threatened or endangered bird species or in any other 
location where the raptor is likely to harm a Federally listed 
threatened or endangered animal species that might be disturbed or 
taken by your falconry bird. You should contact your State or 
territorial wildlife agency before hacking a falconry bird to ensure 
that this does not occur. You can contact the State Fish and Wildlife 
Service office in your State or territory for information on Federally-
listed species.
    (3) Use of other falconry training or conditioning techniques. You 
may use other acceptable falconry practices, such as, but not limited 
to, the use of creance (tethered) flying, lures, balloons, or kites in 
training or conditioning falconry raptors. You also may fly falconry 
birds at bird species not protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act 
or at pen-raised animals.
    (4) Selling or trading raptors under a falconry permit.

[[Page 59474]]

    (i) If allowed by your State, tribe or territory, you may sell, 
purchase, or barter, or offer to sell, purchase, or barter captive-bred 
raptors marked with seamless bands to other permittees who are 
authorized to possess them.
    (ii) You may not purchase, sell, trade, or barter wild raptors. You 
may only transfer them.
    (5) Transfer of wild-caught raptors captured for falconry to 
another type of permit. Under some circumstances you may transfer a 
raptor to another permit type if the recipient of the bird (which could 
be you) possesses the necessary permits for the other activity.
    (i) If your State, tribe, or territory allows you to do so, you may 
transfer a wild-caught falconry bird to a raptor propagation permit 
after the bird has been used in falconry for at least 2 years (1 year 
for a sharp-shinned hawk, a Cooper's hawk, a merlin, or an American 
kestrel). When you transfer the bird, you must provide a copy of the 3-
186A form documenting acquisition of the bird by the propagator to the 
Federal migratory bird permit office that administers the propagation 
permit.
    (ii) You may transfer a wild-caught bird to another permit type in 
less than 2 years (1 year for a sharp-shinned hawk, a Cooper's hawk, a 
merlin, or an American kestrel) if the bird has been injured and a 
veterinarian or permitted wildlife rehabilitator has determined that 
the bird can no longer be flown for falconry.
    (A) When you transfer the bird, you must provide a copy of the 3-
186A form documenting acquisition of the bird to the Federal migratory 
bird permit office that administers the other permit type.
    (B) When you transfer the bird, you must provide a copy of the 
certification from the veterinarian or rehabilitator that the bird is 
not useable in falconry to the Federal migratory bird permits office 
that administers the other permit type.
    (6) Transfer of captive-bred falconry raptors to another type of 
permit. You may transfer captive-bred falconry raptors if the holder of 
the other permit type is authorized to possess the bird(s). Within 10 
days you must report the transfer by entering the required information 
in the electronic database at http://permits.fws.gov/186A or by 
submitting a standard paper form 3-186A to your State, tribal, or 
territorial agency that governs falconry.
    (7) Use of raptors held under a falconry permit in captive 
propagation. You may use raptors you possess for falconry in captive 
propagation if you or the person overseeing the propagation has the 
necessary permit(s) (see Sec.  21.30). You do not need to transfer a 
bird from your falconry permit if you use it for fewer than 8 months in 
a year in captive propagation, but you must do so if you permanently 
transfer the bird for propagation. The bird must then be banded as 
required in Sec.  21.30.
    (8) Use of falconry raptors in conservation education programs. If 
you are a General or Master Falconer, you may use a bird you possess in 
conservation education programs presented in public venues.
    (i) You do not need a Federal education permit to conduct 
conservation education activities using a falconry raptor held under a 
State, tribal, or territorial falconry permit.
    (ii) You may present conservation programs as an Apprentice 
Falconer if you are under the supervision of a General or Master 
Falconer when you do so.
    (iii) You must use the bird primarily for falconry.
    (iv) You may charge a fee for presentation of a conservation 
education program. The fee may not exceed the amount required to recoup 
your costs.
    (v) In conservation education programs, you must provide 
information about the biology, ecological roles, and conservation needs 
of raptors and other migratory birds, although not all of these topics 
must be addressed in every presentation. You may not give presentations 
that do not address falconry and conservation education.
    (vi) You are responsible for all liability associated with 
conservation education activities you undertake (see 50 CFR 13.50).
    (9) Other educational uses of falconry raptors. You may allow 
photography, filming, or other such uses of falconry raptors to make 
movies or other sources of information on the practice of falconry or 
on the biology, ecological roles, and conservation needs of raptors and 
other migratory birds, though you may not be paid for doing so.
    (i) You may not use falconry raptors to make movies, commercials, 
or in other commercial ventures that are not related to falconry.
    (ii) You may not use falconry raptors for entertainment; 
advertisements; promotion or endorsement of any products, merchandise, 
goods, services, meetings, or fairs; or as a representation of any 
business, company, corporation, or other organization.
    (10) Assisting in rehabilitation of raptors to prepare them for 
release. If your State, tribe, or territory allows you to do so, and if 
you are a General or Master Falconer, you may assist a permitted 
migratory bird rehabilitator to condition raptors in preparation for 
their release to the wild. You may keep a bird you are helping to 
rehabilitate in your facilities.
    (i) The rehabilitator must provide you with a letter or form that 
identifies the bird and explains that you are assisting in its 
rehabilitation.
    (ii) You do not need to meet the rehabilitator facility standards. 
You need only meet the facility standards in this section; your 
facilities are not subject to inspection for compliance with the 
standards in Sec.  21.31.
    (iii) You do not have to add any raptor you possess for this 
purpose to your falconry permit; it will remain under the permit of the 
rehabilitator.
    (iv) You must return any such bird that cannot be permanently 
released to the wild to the rehabilitator for placement within the 180-
day timeframe in which the rehabilitator is authorized to possess the 
bird, unless the issuing office authorizes you to retain the bird for 
longer than 180 days.
    (v) Upon coordination with the rehabilitator, you must release all 
releaseable raptors to the wild or return them to the rehabilitator for 
release within the 180-day timeframe in which the rehabilitator is 
authorized to possess the birds, unless the issuing office authorizes 
you to retain and condition a bird for longer than 180 days, or unless 
the rehabilitator transfers the bird to you to hold under your falconry 
permit.
    (11) Using a falconry bird in abatement activities.
    (i) If you are a Master Falconer, you may conduct abatement 
activities with a bird or birds you possess for falconry, if you have a 
Special Purpose Abatement permit. If you are a General Falconer, you 
may conduct abatement activities only as a subpermittee of the holder 
of the abatement permit.
    (ii) You may receive payment for providing abatement services if 
you have a Special Purpose Abatement permit.
    (12) Feathers that a falconry bird or birds molts.
    (i) For imping (replacing a damaged feather with a molted feather), 
you may possess flight feathers for each species of raptor you possess 
or previously held for as long as you have a valid falconry permit. You 
may receive feathers for imping from other permitted falconers, 
wildlife rehabilitators, or propagators in the United States, and you 
may give feathers to them. You may not buy, sell, or barter such 
feathers.
    (ii) You may donate feathers from a falconry bird, except golden 
eagle feathers, to any person or institution with a valid permit to 
have them, or to anyone exempt from the permit requirement under Sec.  
21.12.

[[Page 59475]]

    (iii) Except for primary or secondary flight feathers or retrices 
from a golden eagle, you are not required to gather feathers that are 
molted or otherwise lost by a falconry bird. You may leave the feathers 
where they fall, store them for imping, or destroy them. However, you 
must collect molted flight feathers and retrices from a golden eagle. 
If you choose not to keep them for imping, you must send them to the 
National Eagle Repository.
    (iv) We request that you send all feathers (including body 
feathers) that you collect from any falconry golden eagle and that you 
do not need for imping, to the National Eagle Repository at the 
following address: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Eagle 
Repository, Rocky Mountain Arsenal, Building 128, Commerce City, 
Colorado 80022. The telephone number at the Repository is 303-287-2110.
    (v) If your permit expires or is revoked, you must donate the 
feathers of any species of falconry raptor except a golden eagle to any 
person or any institution exempt from the permit requirement under 
Sec.  21.12 or authorized by permit to acquire and possess the 
feathers. If you do not donate the feathers, you must burn, bury, or 
otherwise destroy them.
    (13) Disposition of carcasses of falconry birds that die.
    (i) You must send the entire body of a golden eagle you held for 
falconry, including all feathers, talons, and other parts, to the 
National Eagle Repository.
    (ii) You may donate the body or feathers of any other species of 
falconry raptor to any person or institution exempt under Sec.  21.12 
or authorized by permit to acquire and possess such parts or feathers.
    (iii) If the bird was banded or microchipped prior to its death, 
you may keep the body of any falconry raptor except that of a golden 
eagle. You may keep the body so that the feathers are available for 
imping, or you may have the body mounted by a taxidermist. You may use 
the mount in giving conservation education programs. If the bird was 
banded, you must leave the band on the body. If the bird has an 
implanted microchip, you must leave the microchip in place.
    (iv) If you do not wish to donate the bird body or feathers or keep 
it yourself, you must burn, bury, or otherwise destroy it or them 
within 10 days of the death of the bird or after final examination by a 
veterinarian to determine cause of death. Carcasses of euthanized 
raptors could pose a risk of secondary poisoning of eagles and other 
scavengers. You must take appropriate precautions to avoid such 
poisonings.
    (v) If you do not donate the bird body or feathers or have the body 
mounted by a taxidermist, you may possess the flight feathers for as 
long as you have a valid falconry permit. However, you may not buy, 
sell, or barter the feathers. You must keep the paperwork documenting 
your acquisition of the bird.
    (14) Visitors practicing falconry in the United States.
    (i) A visitor to the United States may qualify for a temporary 
falconry permit appropriate for his or her experience.
    (A) The permit may be valid for any period specified by the State, 
tribe, or territory.
    (B) To demonstrate knowledge of U.S. falconry laws and regulations, 
the visitor must correctly answer at least 80 percent of the questions 
on the supervised examination for falconers administered by the tribe, 
State, or territory from which he or she wishes to obtain a temporary 
falconry permit. If the visitor passes the test, the tribe, State, or 
territory will decide for what level of temporary permit the person is 
qualified. The decision should be based on the individual's 
documentation of his or her experience.
    (C) If you hold a temporary falconry permit, you may possess 
raptors for falconry if you have approved falconry facilities.
    (D) A holder of a temporary falconry permit may fly raptors held 
for falconry by a permitted falconer.
    (E) A holder of a temporary falconry permit may not take a bird 
from the wild to use in falconry.
    (ii) For the duration of a permit from a State, tribe, or 
territory, a visitor may use any bird for falconry that he or she 
possess legally in his or her country of residence for that purpose, 
provided that import of that species to the United States is not 
prohibited, and provided that he or she has met all permitting 
requirements of his or her country of residence.
    (A) A visitor must comply with the provisions in this section, 
those of the State, tribe or territory where he or she wishes to 
conduct falconry, and all States through which he or she will travel 
with the bird.
    (B) The visitor may transport registered raptors. He or she may 
need one or more additional permits to bring a raptor into the United 
States or to return home with it (see 50 CFR part 14 (importation, 
exportation, and transportation of wildlife), part 15 (Wild Bird 
Conservation Act), part 17 (endangered and threatened species), part 21 
(migratory bird import and export permits), and part 23 (endangered 
species convention)).
    (C) Unless the visitor has the necessary permit(s) to bring a 
raptor into the United States and leave it here, he or she must take 
raptors brought into the country for falconry out of the country when 
he or she leaves. If a raptor brought into the United States dies or is 
lost while in this country, the visitor must document the loss before 
leaving the United States by reporting the loss to the State, tribal, 
or territorial agency that governs falconry where the bird was lost.
    (D) When flown free, any bird brought to this country temporarily 
must have two attached radio transmitters that will allow the falconer 
to locate it.
    (E )There also may be tribal or State restrictions on nonresidents 
practicing falconry or importing a raptor or raptors held for falconry.
    (15) Taking falconry raptors to another country to use in falconry 
activities. A permit issued under this section authorizes you to export 
and then import raptors you legally possess for falconry to another 
country to use in falconry without an additional migratory bird import/
export permit issued under Sec.  21.21.
    (i) You must meet any requirements in 50 CFR 14 subpart B.
    (ii) You may need one or more additional permits to take a bird 
from the United States or to return home with it (see 50 CFR part 15 
(Wild Bird Conservation Act), part 17 (endangered and threatened 
species), and part 23 (endangered species convention)).
    (iii) Unless you have the necessary permit(s) to permanently export 
a raptor from the United States, you must bring any raptor you take out 
of the country for falconry back to the United States when you return. 
Each raptor must be covered by a CITES certificate of ownership issued 
under part 23 of this chapter. You must have full documentation of the 
lawful origin of each raptor (a copy of a propagation report with band 
number or a 3-186A report), and each must be identifiable with a 
seamless band or a permanent, nonreusable, numbered Fish and Wildlife 
Service leg band issued by the Service or an implanted microchip for 
identification.
    (iv) If the raptor dies or is lost, you are not required to bring 
it back but must report the loss immediately upon your return to the 
United States in the manner required by the falconry regulations of 
your State, and any conditions on your CITES certificate.
    (16) Permission to capture, fly, or release a falconry bird at any 
location. You do not need special or written permission for any of 
these activities on public lands if it is authorized.

[[Page 59476]]

However, you must comply with all applicable Federal, State, tribal, or 
territorial laws regarding falconry activities, including hunting. Your 
falconry permit does not authorize you to capture or release raptors or 
practice falconry on public lands if it is prohibited on those lands, 
or on private property, without permission from the landowner or 
custodian.
    (17) Practicing falconry in the vicinity of a Federally listed 
threatened or endangered animal species. In practicing falconry you 
must ensure that your activities do not cause the take of Federally 
listed threatened or endangered wildlife. ``Take'' under the Endangered 
Species Act means ``to harass, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, 
capture, or collect or attempt to engage in any such conduct'' 
(Endangered Species Act Sec.  3(18)). Within this definition, 
``harass'' means any act that may injure wildlife by disrupting normal 
behavior, including breeding, feeding, or sheltering, and harm'' means 
an act that actually kills or injures wildlife (50 CFR 17.3). To obtain 
information about threatened or endangered species that may occur in 
your State or on tribal lands where you wish to practice falconry, 
contact your State, tribal, or territorial agency that regulates 
falconry. You can contact your State Fish and Wildlife Service office 
for information on Federally-listed species.
    (18) Trapping a bird for use in falconry in areas used by the 
northern aplomado falcon. Capture of a northern aplomado falcon (Falco 
femoralis septentrionalis) is not authorized because it is a violation 
of the Endangered Species Act. To avoid trapping northern aplomado 
falcons, you must comply with the following conditions when trapping a 
bird for use in falconry in the following counties.

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                        You may trap a bird for falconry
            If you trap in              in the following counties if you
                                       comply with the conditions below.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
(i) Arizona,                           Cochise, Graham, Pima, Pinal, or
                                        Santa Cruz.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
(ii) New Mexico,                       Doa Ana, Eddy, Grant, Hidalgo,
                                        Lea, Luna, Otero, Sierra, or
                                        Socorro.
------------------------------------------------------------------------
(iii) Texas,                           Aransas, Brewster, Brooks,
                                        Calhoun, Cameron, Culberson,
                                        Duval, Ector, El Paso, Hidalgo,
                                        Hudspeth, Jackson, Jeff Davis,
                                        Kenedy, Kinney, Kleberg,
                                        Matagorda, Maverick, Midland,
                                        Nueces, Pecos, Presidio, Reeves,
                                        Refugio, San Patricio, Starr,
                                        Terrell, Val Verde, Victoria,
                                        Webb, Willacy, or Zapata.
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (iv) If you are an Apprentice Falconer, you must be accompanied by 
a General or Master Falconer when trapping in one of these counties.
    (v) You may not begin trapping if you observe a northern aplomado 
falcon in the vicinity of your intended trapping effort.
    (vi) You must suspend trapping if a northern aplomado falcon 
arrives in the vicinity of your trapping effort.
    (19) Prey item killed by a falconry bird without your intent, 
including an animal taken outside of a regular hunting season.
    (i) You may allow your falconry bird to feed on the animal, but you 
may not take the animal into your possession.
    (ii) You must report take of any federally listed threatened or 
endangered species to our Ecological Services Field Office for the 
location in which the take occurred.
    (20) Take of bird species for which a depredation order is in 
place. With a falconry bird, you may take any species listed in parts 
21.43, 44, 45, or 46 of this subchapter at any time in accordance with 
the conditions of the applicable depredation order, as long as you are 
not paid for doing so.
    (21) Transfer of falconry raptors if a permittee dies. A surviving 
spouse, executor, administrator, or other legal representative of a 
deceased falconry permittee may transfer any bird held by the permittee 
to another authorized permittee within 90 days of the death of the 
falconry permittee. After 90 days, disposition of a bird held under the 
permit is at the discretion of the authority that issued it.
    (g) Applying for a falconry permit. If you apply for a falconry 
permit, you must include the following information plus any other 
information required by your State, tribe, or territory.
    (1) The completed application form from your State, tribal, or 
territorial agency that regulates falconry permits.
    (2) Proof that you have passed the falconry test administered by 
the State, tribe, or territory where you maintain your legal residence, 
or proof that you have previously held a falconry permit at the level 
you seek.
    (3) For an Apprentice permit, you must provide the following:
    (i) A letter from a General or Master Falconer stating that he or 
she has agreed to assist you in learning about the husbandry and 
training of raptors held for falconry and about relevant wildlife laws 
and regulations, and in deciding what species of raptor is appropriate 
for you to possess while an Apprentice.
    (ii) An original, signed certification that you are particularly 
familiar with Sec.  10.13 of this subchapter, the list of migratory 
bird species to which the Migratory Bird Treaty Act applies; part 13 of 
this subchapter, general permit regulations; part 21 of this 
subchapter, migratory bird permits; and part 22 of this subchapter, 
eagle permits. The certification can be incorporated into tribal and 
State application forms, and must be worded as follows:
    I certify that I have read and am familiar with the regulations in 
title 50, part 13, of the Code of Federal Regulations and the other 
applicable parts in subchapter B of chapter I of title 50, and that the 
information I have submitted is complete and accurate to the best of my 
knowledge and belief. I understand that any false statement herein may 
subject me to the criminal penalties of 18 U.S.C. 1001.
    (4) For an Apprentice or General Falconry permit, a parent or legal 
guardian must co-sign your application if you are under 18.
    (5) For a General Falconer permit:
    (i) Information documenting your experience maintaining falconry 
raptors, including a summary of what species you held as an Apprentice 
Falconer and how long you possessed each bird, and
    (ii) A letter from a General Falconer or Master Falconer 
(preferably your sponsor) attesting that you have practiced falconry 
with raptor(s) taken from the wild at the Apprentice Falconer level for 
at least 2 years, including maintaining, training, flying, and hunting 
the raptor(s) for an average of 6 months per year, with at least 4 
months in each year.
    (6) For a Master Falconer permit, you must attest that you have 
practiced falconry at the General Falconer level for at least 5 years.
    (h) Updating a falconry permit after a move. If you move to a new 
State or outside the jurisdiction of your tribe or territory and take 
falconry birds with you, within 30 days you must inform

[[Page 59477]]

both your former State, tribe, or territory and the permitting 
authority for your new place of residence of your address change. To 
obtain a new falconry permit, you must follow the permit application 
procedures of the authority under which you wish to acquire a new 
permit. You may keep falconry birds you hold while you apply for a new 
falconry permit. However, the State, tribe, or territory into which you 
move may place restrictions on your possession of falconry birds until 
you meet the residency requirements there.
    (i) Restoration of revoked permits. Upon request of the person 
whose permit has been revoked, the State, tribe, or territory may 
restore the person's falconry permit at the end of the revocation 
period.
    (j) Information collection requirements. The information collection 
required for falconry applications and for falconry bird disposition on 
FWS Form 3-186A is approved by the Office of Management and Budget 
under control number 1018-0022. The information is necessary to 
determine take of raptors from the wild for falconry.
    (k) Database required of States, tribes, and territories. Each 
State, tribe, or territory that permits falconry must maintain 
information in a database. The information will enable enforcement of 
this section.
    (1) The State, tribal, or territorial database must be compatible 
with the database that we maintain. The State, tribal, or territorial 
database must contain the following information:
    (i) The current address of each person with a falconry permit.
    (ii) The classification of each person with a falconry permit - 
Apprentice Falconer, General Falconer, or Master Falconer.
    (iii) The address of the falconry facilities of each person with a 
falconry permit.
    (iv) The Federal falconry identifier number assigned via the 3-186A 
system to each person with a falconry permit.
    (v) Whether each permittee is authorized to possess eagles.
    (vi) Information on the status of each person's permit: whether it 
is active, suspended, or revoked.
    (2) Information on each permit granted, including changes in status 
from Apprentice Falconer to General Falconer or General Falconer to 
Master Falconer, and moves of falconers or their facilities must be 
entered into the State's, tribe's, or territory's database within 30 
days of the granting of the permit or a falconer's change in status. 
New additions to the State, tribal, or territorial database must be 
forwarded to us monthly.
0
6. Amend Sec.  21.31 by revising paragraphs (e)(3) and (e)(4)(ii) to 
read as follows:


Sec.  21.31  Rehabilitation permits.* * * * *

    (e) * * *
    (3) Subpermittees. Except as provided by paragraph (f)(2)(ii) of 
this section, anyone who will be performing activities that require 
permit authorization under paragraph (b)(1) of this section when you or 
a subpermittee are not present, including any individual who transports 
birds to or from your facility on a regular basis, must either possess 
a Federal rehabilitation permit or be authorized as your subpermittee 
by being named in writing to your issuing Migratory Bird Permit Office. 
This does not apply to General Falconers or Master Falconers, who may 
assist with conditioning raptors for release without being your 
subpermittee. If you have a falconer assist in conditioning a 
rehabilitated raptor for release, you must provide the falconer with a 
letter or form that identifies the bird and explains that the falconer 
is assisting in rehabilitation of the raptor.
    (i) Your subpermittees must be at least 18 years of age and possess 
sufficient experience to tend the species in their care.
    (ii) Your subpermittees who are authorized to care for migratory 
birds at a site other than your facility must have facilities adequate 
to house the species in their care, based on the criteria of paragraph 
(e)(1) of this section. All such facilities except those of a falconer 
assisting in conditioning raptors for release must be approved by the 
issuing office.
    (iii) As the primary permittee, you are legally responsible for 
ensuring that your subpermittees, staff, and volunteers adhere to the 
terms of your permit when conducting migratory bird rehabilitation 
activities.
    (4) * * *
    (ii) After a bird is rehabilitated to a condition suitable for 
release to the wild, you must release it to suitable habitat as soon as 
seasonal conditions allow, except that you may transfer a rehabilitated 
wild raptor to a holder of a State, tribal, or territorial falconry 
permit if the permit holder is authorized to hold the species for use 
in falconry. The transfer may need the approval of your State, tribe, 
or territory. The falconer must complete a Form 3-186A reporting the 
transfer.
    (A) You may not retain migratory birds longer than 180 days without 
additional authorization from your Regional Migratory Bird Permit 
Office. If the appropriate season for release is outside the 180-day 
timeframe, you must seek authorization from your Fish and Wildlife 
Service Regional Migratory Bird Permit Office to possess the bird until 
the appropriate season.
    (B) Before releasing a threatened or endangered migratory bird, you 
must comply with any requirements for the release from your Fish and 
Wildlife Service Regional Migratory Bird Permit Office.
    * * * * *

PART 22--EAGLE PERMITS

0
7. The authority citation for part 22 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  16 U.S.C. 668a; 16 U.S.C. 703-712; 16 U.S.C. 1531-
1544.
0
8. Revise Sec.  22.24 to read as follows:


Sec.  22.24  Permits for falconry purposes.

    (a) Use of golden eagles in falconry. If you meet the conditions 
outlined in Sec.  21.29 (c)(3)(iv) of this part, and you have a permit 
to possess a golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) from your State, tribe, 
or territory, we consider your permit sufficient for the purposes of 
the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (16 U.S.C. 668-668d), subject 
to the requirement that take of golden eagles for falconry is 
compatible with the preservation of the golden eagle.
    (b) Transfer of golden eagles trapped by government employees to 
falconers. If you (the falconer) have the necessary permit(s) from your 
State, tribe, or territory, a government employee who has trapped a 
golden eagle under Federal, State, or tribal permit authority may 
transfer the bird to you if he or she cannot release the eagle in an 
appropriate location. A golden eagle may only be taken from a livestock 
depredation area declared by USDA Wildlife Services or a State 
governor. You must contact USDA Wildlife Services or the appropriate 
State agency to determine if a livestock depredation area has been 
delineated.


    Dated: July 2, 2008

David M. Verhey

Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. E8-23226 Filed 10-7-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE: 4310-55-S