State DEC Raptor Capture Authorization Form

As part of the whole legal process, which is annoyingly complicated and time consuming, I have to fill out a Raptor Capture Authorization form and submit it to the DEC before I can capture a bird. The way this is set up is horrible for apprentice falconers. The way the form is designed is that, in theory, the falconer would go out and find a bird on private land, ask the landowner for permission to capture the bird on his or her property, provide details about the location of the capture on the form, submit the form, wait for it to be processed and returned, and then capture the bird.

For a general or master falconer, who generally capture eyasses, this is certainly doable. By scouting for nests in the spring, when the birds have not even fledged yet, the falconer can fill out the form ahead of time and then remove the bird from the nest without worrying about it flying away. For an apprentice, however, who is only allowed to take a passage bird, chances are he will find a fully fledged bird that is capable or even likely of migrating South and does not have the time to wait for a form to be processed before making the move the trap the bird; he needs to sieze the moment as soon as it presents itself.

This puts me in a position where I am forced to fake most of the information on the authorization form. I simply have to fill in the form with information that will probably end up being false, send in the form as soon as possible, get it authorized, and then go out to capture a bird at a location that I almost definitely did not list on the form, which is relatively inconvenient and I guess could be considered illegal.

Oh well.

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