Proposal to expand the live capture of wild raptors (birds of prey) by licensed falconers

ERO number
019-1806
Notice type
Regulation
Act
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997
Posted by
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Notice stage
Proposal
Proposal posted
Comment period
August 24, 2020 - October 8, 2020 (45 days) Open
Last updated

This consultation closes at 11:59 p.m. on:
October 8, 2020

Proposal summary

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.

Proposal details

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:

  1. 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.
  1. 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.

Supporting materials

View materials in person

Important notice: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, viewing supporting materials in person is not available at this time.

Please reach out to the Contact listed in this notice to see if alternate arrangements can be made.

MNRF Fish and Wildlife Policy Branch – Wildlife Section
Address

300 Water Street
5th Floor, North Tower
Peterborough, ON
K9J 3C7
Canada

Office phone number

Comment

Let us know what you think of our proposal.

Have questions? Get in touch with the contact person below. Please include the ERO number for this notice in your email or letter to the contact.

Read our commenting and privacy policies.

Submit online

Submit by mail

Contact

Public Input Coordinator

Phone number
Office
MNRF Fish and Wildlife Policy Branch – Wildlife Section
Address

300 Water Street
5th Floor, North Tower
Peterborough, ON
K9J 3C7
Canada

Office phone number

Connect with us

Contact

Public Input Coordinator

Phone number
Office
MNRF Fish and Wildlife Policy Branch – Wildlife Section
Address

300 Water Street
5th Floor, North Tower
Peterborough, ON
K9J 3C7
Canada

Office phone number

Sign up for notifications

We will send you email notifications with any updates related to this consultation. You can change your notification preferences anytime by visiting settings in your profile page.

Follow this notice