Report a Poacher or Other Violation

Non-emergency Dangerous Wildlife Complaints

More information on
Dangerous Wildlife Complaints

For more information on
hunting, please contact the
WDFW Wildlife Program.
Phone: 360-902-2515




Reporting Requirements

All acquisitions, captures, purchases, gifting, sales, transfers releases, banding, escapes, losses by death, and all other changes in status and possession of falconry birds MUST be reported to the USFWS by online filing of Form 3-186A at:

Falconer with red-tailed hawk
Falconer with red-tailed hawk
Photo courtesy of Brian and Linda Kellogg
Washington Falconer's Association
The North American Falconers Association (NAFA)

Falconry in the State of Washington

Falconry is the art of training raptors to hunt in cooperation with a human and the sport of actively pursuing wild quarry with a trained raptor. A person who hunts with a raptor is called a falconer. Raptors (falcons, eagles, hawks and owls) have always held a special place in the lives of humans. Raptors instinctively know how to hunt. The training of a bird for falconry is to allow her to accept a falconer as a partner in the hunt.

It is an ancient art and some believe that falconry may be the world’s oldest sport. Long before guns, people used birds of prey to obtain fresh meat. The first time people used raptors for hunting was as early as 2000 B.C and probably in Asia. In the early 1900s, the sport of falconry reached the United States. Falconry is now regulated in the same manner as other forms of hunting. Laws govern the numbers and species of birds taken from the wild, how many a falconer may possess, when and how they may be taken, and who may possess them.

Today’s falconers are not only sports men and women, they are committed conservationists. Falconers played a large part in the peregrine falcon’s comeback from the brink of extinction, and every raptor used in falconry has stable and increasing populations. Many falconers are involved in propagation and rehabilitation to further the welfare of raptor populations. USFWS permits are required to breed raptors (see: Many dedicate their time educating children and adults, such as boy scouts and service clubs, about raptors and the need to protect them.

Falconry is not for the faint of heart or the casual recreationist. It is a time consuming, dedicated way of life. Falconry is a demonstration of the predator/prey relationship where people witness and participate in nature, close-up and in action.

The regulation of the sport and the self-policing by the falconry community keep the birds in high-quality care. Falconers know the extreme importance of caring for their birds properly and will assist those in their community whom they feel need help. The raptors are animal athletes and falconers strive to keep their birds in top condition.

When falconers fly their bird, these raptors are free-flying and may leave if they choose. Falconers sometimes attach tiny radio-transmitters on their birds in the field to monitor their location and safety. Some birds do leave, some become lost, although the vast majority voluntarily return to their falconer partner. Additionally, when wild birds are captured, they are young and in their first year. In the wild, about 70% of first-year birds die. Falconers get the fledgling bird safely through its first year, and often release it back to the wild in better condition than when they took it. Environmental impact studies consistently show that falconry has absolutely no negative impact on wildlife populations.

According to Federal law, all states that allow legal falconry are mandated to submit falconry regulations to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that meet federal regulation standards. Washington State has submitted qualified regulations approved and certified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The WDFW issues the permits and regulates this sport and remains in contact with the falconry community. No one under any circumstances may keep a raptor as a “pet.” Only licensed falconers may have birds of prey and these birds must be flown freely and hunted regularly

Federal and State wildlife agencies are authorized to regulate falconry under the following statutory authorities:

[Statutory Authority: RCW 77.04.012, 77.04.020, 77.04.055, 77.12.047, 77.12.210, and C.F.R. Title 50, Part 21, Subpart C, Section 21.29; Migratory Bird Treaty Act. 10-18-012 (Order 10-214), § 232-30-100, filed 8/20/10, effective 9/20/10.]

Chapter 232-30 of the Washington Administrative Code (WAC) State Falconry Regulations supersedes any statement in this document and on this webpage.