Other CDFW Programs
Evaluation Process of California Falconry Regulations
According to the Federal Regulations (Title 50, Part 21, Subpart C, § 21.29), all states are mandated to submit falconry regulations that meet federal regulation standards on or before January 1, 2014. Once the state's regulations are approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) Director and by the state's regulatory process, falconry permits will be issued solely by the state rather then the Service.
The Federal Regulations state:
"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." "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." "State, tribal, or territorial laws may be more restrictive than these Federal standards but may not be less restrictive."
(See Title 50, Part 21, Subpart C, § 21.29)
To meet this mandate, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife will be developing an Environmental Document (ED) to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process. A public meeting to solicit comments was held in Sacramento on November 18, 2010 (see details below).
The CDFW is committed to meeting the January 1, 2014 deadline and has outlined a proposed schedule to do so prior to this deadline (see table below). The new falconry regulations for the State of California ultimately change Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations.
Comments and Information Sharing
If you have data on falconry species and/or falconry activities, or have ideas on where to obtain such data, or if you would like to contribute to or provide input on the development of the ED, please send via email to email@example.com. Make sure to place "Falconry" in the subject line of the email you send.
Further comment periods on the ED and regulations will be forthcoming.
Download the 2010-2011 Falconry Survey (PDF). Follow the instructions on the form to complete and submit. Please report your data by November 30, 2011.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has prepared a draft environmental document pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act; (CEQA). You may access the document and associated appendices by clicking on the links below. The public comment period will begin December 14, 2012, and conclude on February 1, 2013. If you wish to review a hard copy version of the draft environmental document, please make a request by writing to or email to the contact listed below. Comments may be submitted to:
California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Attn: Carie Battistone
1812 Ninth Street
Sacramento, CA 95811
All files are offered in PDF format.
- Draft Environmental Document Regarding Falconry
- Appendix A - Summary of Public Comments Regarding the Environmental Document
- Appendix B - Proposed Regulations
- Appendix C - An Historical Background of Falconry
- Appendix D - Current Federal Regulations, 50 CFR § 21.29
- Appendix E - Current California State Regulations, Title 14 § 670
- Appendix F - Species Accounts
- Appendix G - Wildlife Habitat Relationship (WHR) Species Maps
- Appendix H - List of Individuals and Organizations Receiving Notice of the Draft Environmental Document
Upcoming Meetings and Calls
- A brief update was given at the November 2011 Fish and Game Commission Meeting, agenda item 6. Another update was given in August 2012, agenda item 22E. The regulatory package will go to the Commission in November 2012. No public comment period was set aside to discuss falconry at the November meeting. However, in February 2013 a discussion period will be held at the Commission meeting where the public are invited to make comments to the Commission. The regulations are scheduled for adoption at the March Commission meeting. See the Fish and Game Commission website for additional information on meeting times and locations.
- A conference call was held on April 27, 2012. The purpose of the meeting was to give a brief status update of the regulation process and answer any questions related to the environmental process. The meeting notes are now available.
- A conference call was held on August 10, 2012. The purpose of the meeting was to go over revised schedule and discuss proposed regulatory changes. The meeting notes are now available.
Facts and Additional Information
What is the process for States to adopt the new falconry regulations?
States must certify to the US Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) that their regulations comply with the Federal requirements and the Service must approve the certification. After the Service approves the certification, the Federal permit requirement will be eliminated for falconers residing in those States beginning January 1 of the following year. Upon approval of a State certification, we will publish a notice in the Federal Register. In addition, the Service or the State will notify current falconers.
How long do the States have to adopt the Federal standards?
State laws and regulations governing falconry must meet the standards in the Federal regulations by January 1, 2014, at which time the Federal permit program will be discontinued.
Can State regulations differ from the Federal standards?
Yes. State regulations cannot be less restrictive than the Federal standards, but they may be more restrictive.
Are there expected legal or economic impacts of the new state regulations?
Expected legal and economic impacts will be addressed in more detail in the Environmental Document. However, we do not expect there to be major impacts here.
Are falconry permit costs expected to increase?
The current permit fee is used offset the cost of processing your application and administering your reports and other records. Under the new Federal regulations, the responsibility of the State will increase. For instance inspection of falconry records, facilities and birds will be the responsibility of the States. To offset these additional costs, the State's permit fee is likely to increase. At this time we do not know what the fee will be.
When will the state's electronic reporting system be running?
After the new falconry regulations are adopted, the CDFW will work with the Service to ensure that an electronic reporting system for reporting take, transfers, and loss of falconry birds is fully operational for residents of the State. The Service will still be administering a national falconry database for State use. States will be able to access the database to see where a falconer has moved or to check on the falconer's permit prior to moving to the State.
What data will be used to analyze the effects of falconry on raptor populations?
CDFW will compile data that has been submitted by falconers from 2006 through 2010. Available population data for falconry species will be compiled as well.
To speed up the rulemaking process, why can't the Commission just cut out the federal regulations and paste them into the state regulations?
There are several state laws in addition to federal laws that the Commission must comply with before adopting new falconry regulations. First and foremost are the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA, Public Resources Code, § 21000 et seq.) and the Administrative Procedure Act (APA, Government Code, § 11340 et seq.). Both of these acts require the Commission to provide notice of the proposed rulemaking to interested parties and consider public comments it receives during formal public comment periods. CEQA may also require the Commission to prepare one or more environmental documents, which can take many months, that evaluate various potential environmental impacts. In addition, after it is adopted, the APA requires another government agency, the Office of Administrative Law, to review the falconry regulations and all other newly adopted rules to determine each rule's necessity, authority, clarity, consistency, reference, and nonduplication. If OAL finds that the new falconry regulations do not meet one or more of these standards, the Commission might have to start the rulemaking process over. While both of these acts can lengthen the rulemaking process considerably, they also allow members of the public and the Commission to become better informed and help the Commission to adopt rules that carefully consider known impacts.
Will fully protected raptors, such as the peregrine falcon and golden eagle, be allowed for wild take in falconry?
CDFW does not have authority to allow take of fully protected species from the wild for the purposes of falconry. The Fish and Wildlife Code Section 3511(a)(1) states,"Except as provided in Section 2081.7 or 2855, fully protected birds or parts thereof may not be taken or possessed at any time. No provision of this code or any other law shall be construed to authorize the issuance of permits or licenses to take any fully protected bird, and no permits or licenses heretofore issued shall have any force or effect for that purpose. However, the CDFW may authorize the taking of those species for necessary scientific research, including efforts to recover fully protected, threatened, or endangered species, and may authorize the live capture and relocation of those species pursuant to a permit for the protection of livestock."
Updated December 6, 2012
|Falconry Regulation Process||Time Period|
|Public Scoping Meeting||Nov 18, 2010|
|Notice of Preparation||Dec 2010|
|Public Online Falconry Survey||Sept 2010 – Feb 2011|
|Compile Falconry Data||Summer 2011 – Fall 2011|
|Preparation of DED and Draft Regulations||Fall 2011 – Summer 2012|
|Update to Commission||Nov 16, 2011|
|Public Informational Call||Apr 27, 2012|
|Finalize process for electronic reporting requirement to USFWS||Summer 2012|
|Update to Commission||Aug 8, 2012|
|Focused Public Information Call||Aug 10, 2012|
|Fish and Game Commission – Scoping||Oct 3, 2012|
|Fish and Game Commission – Notice||Nov 7, 2012|
|Commission Submits Notice to OAL||Dec 4, 2012|
|OAL Publishes Notice (public comment period begins)||Dec 14, 2012|
|Fish and Game Commission - Discussion||Feb 6, 2013|
|Fish and Game Commission – Adoption (public comment period ends)||Mar 6, 2013|
|OAL approves Rulemaking||(date TBD)|
|Submit Final Regulation to USFWS||On or before 9/1/2013|
|USFWS Publish in Federal Register||Jan 1, 2014|
|CA Regulation Effective Date||Jan 1, 2014|
- 2011-12 Resident and Migratory Upland Game Bird Hunting Regulations
- Federal Falconry Regulations (Title 50, Part 21, Subpart C, § 21.29)
- California State Falconry Laws and Regulations (PDF)
- Falconry Regulation Survey
- DED regarding California Bear Hunting Regulations
- DED regarding California Elk Hunting Regulations
- DED regarding California Bighorn Sheep Hunting Regulations
- Fully Protected Animals in California