This consultation closes at 11:59 p.m. on:
October 8, 2020
We are proposing to increase the number of wild raptors (birds of prey) that can be live-captured by Ontario licensed falconers to use as hunting companions.
Falconry is an ancient activity that uses trained raptors (birds of prey) to hunt small game animals and migratory birds (e.g., rabbits, pheasants, ducks). This tradition has been practiced around the world and is recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization as an important component of the cultural heritage of human society.
Falconry is regulated under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997 (FWCA) and regulations made under the Act. Ontario falconers are required to successfully complete an apprentice program and obtain a licence to be able to hunt with native Ontario raptors. There are approximately 200 licensed falconers in Ontario.
Ontario currently allows for a limited live capture of four common and abundant species of wild raptors (red-tailed hawk, Cooper’s hawk, sharp-shinned hawk, and merlin) by licensed falconers for use as hunting companions. Licensed falconers currently apply to a draw for the opportunity to obtain an authorization to capture a live raptor from the wild. Up to 25 individual raptors per year can be captured and taken from the wild.
Capturing raptors from the wild for use in falconry is permitted in most Canadian provinces and states in the U.S.A.
It allows for:
- falconry to be practiced in a traditional manner (interaction with wild raptors is considered an intrinsic and central part of the experience of falconry)
- access to species that are not easily available through captive-bred sources
- working with wild raptors which have a different temperament than captive-bred raptors
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) is proposing to expand the live capture of wild raptors by licensed falconers. The proposed changes would:
- Enable a licensed falconer (including licensed apprentices) to live-capture one wild raptor from an approved list in a calendar year from any area of the province. This would result in the elimination of the current draw process for these species.
- The ministry would maintain the existing list of common species that could be captured: Cooper’s hawk, sharp-shinned hawk, red-tailed hawk, and merlin.
- The ministry would maintain existing prohibitions on sale and propagation of live-captured wild raptors.
- The ministry is proposing amendments to Ontario Regulation 668/98 (Wildlife in Captivity) under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act to implement this change should the proposal proceed.
- The regulation would include rules which must be followed, based on the current conditions of authorization. For example, requirements related to method of capture, and reporting raptors that are captured.
- Enable the limited live capture of northern goshawk from the wild by licensed falconers (not including licensed apprentices). A draw would be used to allow up to five northern goshawks to be live-captured from the wild each year, with only one taken from any MNRF administrative district to minimize impacts to local populations.
- apprentices would not be allowed to capture northern goshawk as this species is more suited for experienced falconers
- the number of northern goshawk that may be captured may be revised based on new data and assessment of the status of it’s population
- current conditions of authorization for common species would be used for northern goshawk. For example, requirements related to method of capture, and reporting if a northern goshawk is captured
Regulatory impact statement
The anticipated environmental consequences of the proposal are neutral. The four common species that would be taken by falconers as part of their falconry licence are all abundant with secure populations. The northern goshawk population in Ontario is secure, and the proposed draw process would limit capture to minimize any localized impacts to populations.
The anticipated economic consequences of the proposal are neutral as there are no anticipated changes to economic impacts from this proposal.
The anticipated social benefits are positive as it would support a traditional, recreational, and sustainable use of Ontario's wildlife consistent with hunting heritage traditions.
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