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
Decision
Decision posted
Comment period
August 24, 2020 - October 8, 2020 (45 days) Closed
Last updated

This consultation was open from:
August 24, 2020
to October 8, 2020

Decision summary

We have approved increasing the number of wild raptors (birds of prey) that can be live captured by Ontario licensed falconers to use as hunting companions.

Decision details

Ontario has approved expanding the number of wild raptors (birds of prey) that can be live captured by Ontario licensed falconers to use as hunting companions. Amendments have been made to Ontario Regulation 668/98 (Wildlife in Captivity) to implement the changes in this proposal, and a limited draw will be implemented to allow up to five northern goshawk to be live captured through ministry authorization. These changes are consistent with the proposal.

  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 and authorization for these species.
    • Only one raptor from a list of common species could be captured: Cooper’s hawk, sharp-shinned hawk, red-tailed hawk, and merlin.
    • Existing prohibitions on sale and propagation of live captured wild raptors remain.
    • Falconers are required for follow rules, including:
      • only taking juvenile raptors or nestlings (in certain circumstances) during a specific time of year, and no damage to nests must occur,
      • using traditional and acceptable best practices,
      • banding wild-caught raptors immediately upon capture,
      • releasing incidentally caught wildlife or taking them for care if injured,
      • carrying their falconry licence on their person,
      • maintaining appropriate records in their log book and annual report
    • Falconers will also be able to release wild-caught birds without ministry authorization, provided the birds and in good health and released during a certain time of year in the area they were captured from.
    • On March 1, 2021, the ministry made amendments to Ontario Regulation 668/98 (Wildlife in Captivity) under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997 to implement these changes.
  1. Enable the limited live capture of northern goshawk from the wild by licensed falconers (not including licensed apprentices). A draw will be used to allow up to five northern goshawks to be live captured from the wild each year, with only one taken from any Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry 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 its 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

Comments received

Through the registry

632

By email

10

By mail

0
View comments submitted through the registry

Effects of consultation

In addition to the comments summarized above, we received one online petition with 396 signatures.

The majority of the comments indicated general or implied support for the proposal, often indicating that this is a science-based proposal and will support a sustainable recreational activity.

The ministry also received some comments expressing a lack of support for falconry in general that are outside the scope of the proposal.

Some commenters expressed concerns that raptors would be taken illegally from the wild, and that the proposed species may have declining populations in specific regions.

As a result of consultation, the ministry revisited and further enhanced reporting mechanisms that will assist with tracking live capture and help prevent entry into the illegal trade in wildlife. The ministry also reviewed available population data and confirmed that the four species that will be taken under regulation have stable and increasing populations province-wide.

Supporting materials

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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

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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

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Original proposal

ERO number
019-1806
Notice type
Regulation
Act
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act, 1997
Posted by
Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
Proposal posted

Comment period

August 24, 2020 - October 8, 2020 (45 days)

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

Commenting is now closed.

This consultation was open from August 24, 2020
to October 8, 2020

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