I’m dedicating my first few posts to the process of actually acquiring a New York State Apprentice Falconry license, which is a fairly long and complicated process. First and foremost is finding a sponsor. Your sponsor must be a licensed General or Master falconer who officially agrees to help you through the entire process. Without a sponsor, you cannot become a falconer. I was lucky enough to know the only falconer that lived within an hour’s drive of me. I reached out to him and, despite being reluctant at first, agreed to sponsor me.
After finding a sponsor, you should sign up for the New York State Falconry Examination. This is a written test, about 100 questions long, that is offered twice a year: once in April at regional offices state-wide, and once in November at the NYS Falconry Association Field Meet. To any potential falconers that are reading this: THIS IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT. Do not think that you can take the test and any time that is convenient for you. The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will send you a study guide for the test, which is essentially a huge list of every question they could possibly ask on the test, word for word. I studied fairly hard from the time I got the examination manual, in January, until the test in April, basically memorizing as many questions as I could that I thought they would ask. They recommend you sign up for the exam at least six weeks prior to the test. I received my score in mid-May for the test: 96%.