South Carolina Falconry Regulations
Effective January 1, 2016—December 31, 2016
123-170 South Carolina State Falconry Regulations.
(1) “Raptor” ‑ means a live migratory bird of the Order Falconiformes or the Order Strigiformes, other than a bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus).
(2) “Take” ‑ means to trap or capture, or attempt to trap or capture a raptor for the purpose of falconry.
(3) “Falconry” ‑ means the hunting of wild quarry in its natural state and habitat by means of a trained bird of prey or raptor (Order Falconiformes or Order Strigiformes) other than a bald eagle.
(4) “Service” ‑ means the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Dept. of Interior.
(5) “Department” ‑ means the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
(6) “Permitted Wildlife Rehabilitator” ‑ means a person or organization that has been permitted by the state or federal government to possess and rehabilitate raptors.
Any person who possesses or uses any raptor or hybrid raptor species for falconry must comply with these regulations.
A state hunting license, applicable stamps and permits are required before any person may take, or attempt to take, quarry by means of trained raptor.
(1) A permit is required before any person may take, transport, or possess wild‑taken or captive‑bred raptors for falconry purposes.
(2) Birds held under permits must be used primarily for falconry.
(3) A person’s raptor facilities must pass inspection by the Department before a permit may be granted.
(4) If a person resides for more than 120 consecutive days in South Carolina his or her falconry facilities must meet the standards of these regulations and the facilities must be listed on the falconry permit.
(5) There are three classes of permits to practice falconry: Apprentice, General, and Master Falconer levels.
(6) Anyone who applies for a falconry permit must include the following information:
(a) The completed application.
(b) Proof that the applicant has passed the falconry test administered by the Department, or proof that a falconry permit has previously been held at the level sought.
(c) An original, signed certification that reads as follows: I certify that I have read and am familiar with the regulations in title 50, part 13, of the Code of Federal Regulations and the other applicable parts of title 50, and that the information I have submitted is complete and accurate to the best of my knowledge and belief.
(7) Apprentice Falconer
(a) Requirements and possession options for an Apprentice Falconer.
(i) An applicant must be at least 12 years of age.
(ii) If an applicant for an Apprentice Permit is less than 18 years of age, a parent or legal guardian must sign the application.
(iii) An applicant must have a letter from a Master Falconer or a General Falconer with a valid State falconry permit who is at least 18 years old and has at least 2 years experience at the General Falconer level, stating that he or she will assist the Apprentice applicant in:
Learning about the husbandry and training of raptors held for falconry;
Learning about relevant wildlife laws and regulations, and
Deciding what species of raptor is appropriate to possess while an Apprentice.
(iv) An applicant must correctly answer at least 80 percent of the questions on an examination administered by the Department. The examination must cover care and handling of falconry raptors, Federal and State laws and regulations relevant to falconry, and other appropriate subject matter.
(b) An Apprentice may take raptors less than 1 year old, except nestlings, from the wild during any period or periods specified herein. A person may take any raptor species from the wild except a federally listed threatened or endangered species or the following species: Bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), white‑tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla), Steller’s sea‑eagle (Haliaeetus pelagicus), golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), American swallow‑tailed kite (Elanoides forficatus), Swainson’s hawk (Buteo swainsoni), peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), flammulated owl (Otus flammeolus), elf owl (Micrathene whitneyi), and short‑eared owl (Asio flammeus).
(i) Regardless of the number of State falconry permits an Apprentice has, he or she may possess no more than one raptor for use in falconry.
(ii) An Apprentice may possess a raptor of any Falconiform or Strigiform species, including wild, captive‑bred, or hybrid individuals, except a federally listed threatened or endangered species, a bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), a white‑tailed eagle (Haliaeetus albicilla ), a Steller’s sea‑eagle (Haliaeetus pelagicus), or a golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos).
(iii) Capture of a wild raptor is not required; it can be transferred by another falconry permittee.
(iv) An Apprentice may not possess a raptor that was taken from the wild as a nestling.
(v) An Apprentice may not possess a bird that is imprinted on humans.
(8) General Falconer
(a) A General Falconer permit applicant must provide the following:
(i) Information documenting his or her experience maintaining falconry raptors, including a summary of what species he or she held as an Apprentice Falconer and how long each bird was possessed, and
(ii) A letter from a General Falconer or Master Falconer (preferably the sponsor) attesting that the applicant has practiced falconry with raptor(s) at the Apprentice Falconer level for at least 2 years, including maintaining, training, flying, and hunting the raptor(s) for at least 4 months in each year.
(b) Requirements and possession options for a General Falconer.
(i) A General Falconer must be at least 16 years of age.
(ii) If 16 or 17 years of age, a parent or legal guardian must sign the application.
(iii) An applicant must submit a document from a General Falconer or Master Falconer (preferably the sponsor) to the Department stating that the applicant has practiced falconry with raptor(s) at the Apprentice Falconer level or equivalent for at least 2 years, including maintaining, training, flying, and hunting the raptor(s) for least 4 months in each year. That practice may include capture and release of falconry raptors.
(iv) An applicant may not substitute any falconry school program or education to shorten the period of 2 years at the Apprentice level.
(v) A General Falconer may take and possess any species of Falconiform or Strigiform except a golden eagle, a bald eagle, a white‑tailed eagle, or a Steller’s sea‑eagle. A General Falconer may use captive‑bred individuals and hybrids of the species he or she is allowed to possess.
(vi) Regardless of the number of State falconry permits he or she has a General Falconer may possess no more than 3 raptors.
(9) Master Falconer
(a) A Master Falconer permit applicant must attest that he or she has practiced falconry at the General Falconer level for at least 5 years.
(b) Requirements and possession options for a Master Falconer.
(i) A Master Falconer must have practiced falconry with raptors he or she possessed at the General Falconer level for at least 5 years.
(ii) A Master Falconer may take and possess any species of Falconiform or Strigiform except a bald eagle. However, a Master Falconer may take and possess a golden eagle, a white‑tailed eagle, or a Steller’s sea eagle only if he or she meets the qualifications set forth under these regulations.
(iii) Regardless of the number of State falconry permits a person has, a Master Falconer may possess no more than 5 wild raptors, including golden eagles.
(iv) A Master Falconer may possess any number of captive‑bred raptors. However, the falconer must train them in the pursuit of wild game and use them in hunting.
(c) If a Master Falconer meets the requirements of this section for falconry he or she may possess up to 3 eagles of the following species: golden eagle, white‑tailed eagle, or Steller’s sea eagle. The Department must document the following before approving any requests to possess an eagle for use in falconry:
(i) Experience in handling large raptors, including information about the species previously handled and the type and duration of the activity.
(ii) At least two letters of reference from people with experience handling and/or flying large raptors such as eagles, ferruginous hawks, goshawks (Accipiter gentilis), or great horned owls (Bubo virginianus) must be provided. Each must contain a concise history of the author’s experience with large raptors, which can include, but is not limited to, handling of raptors held by zoos, rehabilitating large raptors, or scientific studies involving large raptors. Each letter must also assess the person’s ability to care for eagles and fly them in falconry.
(iii) A golden eagle, white‑tailed eagle, or Steller’s sea‑eagle counts as one of the possessed raptors allowed for use in falconry.
(e) Reinstatement of a lapsed falconry permit.
(i) If a permit has lapsed for fewer than 5 years, it may be reinstated at the level held previously if proof of certification at that level is provided.
(ii) If a permit has lapsed for 5 years or longer, a person one must correctly answer at least 80 percent of the questions on an examination administered by the Department. If the person passes the exam, the permit may be reinstated at the level previously held. The facilities must pass State inspection before a falconry bird may be possessed.
(10) Experience and Testing
(a) A person may qualify for the falconry permit appropriate for his/her experience. To demonstrate knowledge of U.S. falconry laws and regulations, a person must correctly answer at least 80 percent of the questions on the supervised examination for falconers administered by the Department. If a person passes the test, the Department will decide for which level of falconry permit he or she is qualified, consistent with the class requirements in of these regulations. To do so, the Department shall base its decision on documentation of experience. The falconry facilities must meet the standards in these regulations before a person may keep a raptor to use in falconry.
(11) Banding or tagging raptors used in falconry.
(a) If a person takes a goshawk, Harris’s hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus), peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), or gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus) from the wild or acquires one from another falconer or a rehabilitator, and if the raptor is not already banded, the person must band it with a permanent, nonreusable, numbered U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service leg band that the Department will provide. If a person wishes, he or she may purchase and implant an ISO (International Organization for Standardization)‑compliant (134.2 kHz) microchip in addition to the band. A person must report the band number when he or she reports acquisition of the bird. Contact the Department for information on obtaining and disposing of bands. Within 10 days from the day on which a person takes the raptor from the wild, he or she must report take of the bird by entering the required information (including the band number) in the electronic database at http://permits.fws.gov/186A or, if required by the permitting agency, by submitting a paper form 3‑186A to the Department. A person may request an appropriate band from the Department in advance of any effort to capture a raptor.
(b) A raptor bred in captivity must be banded with a seamless metal band (see Section 21.30). If a person must remove a seamless band or if it is lost, within 10 days from the day the band is removed or lost, the person must report it and request a replacement U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service nonreusable band from the Department. A person must submit the required information electronically immediately upon rebanding the raptor at http://permits.fws.gov/186A or, if required by the permitting agency, by submitting a paper form 3‑186A to the Department. A person must replace a seamless band that is removed or lost. A person may implant an ISO‑compliant (134.2 kHz) microchip in a falconry raptor in addition to the seamless band.
(c) If the band must be removed or is lost from a raptor, the person who possesses the bird must report the loss of the band within 5 days, and must then do at least one of the following:
(i) Request a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service nonreusable band from the Department. A person must submit the required information within 10 days of rebanding the raptor at http://permits.fws.gov/186A or by submitting a paper form 3‑186A to the Department.
(ii) Purchase and implant an ISO‑compliant (134.2 kHz) microchip in the bird and report the microchip information at http://permits.fws.gov/186A or by submitting a paper form 3‑186A form to the Department.
(d) A person may not alter, deface, or counterfeit a band. A person may remove the rear tab on a band on a raptor taken from the wild, and may also smooth any imperfect surface if the integrity of the band or the numbering on it is not affected.
(e) If health or injury problems for a raptor is documented that are caused by the band, the Department may provide an exemption to the requirement for that raptor. In that case, a copy of the exemption paperwork must be kept with the falconer when transporting or flying the raptor. If the bird is a wild goshawk, Harris’s hawk, peregrine falcon, or gyrfalcon, the falconer must replace the band with an ISO‑compliant microchip that the Service will supply to the Department. The Department will not provide a microchip for a wild goshawk, Harris’s hawk, peregrine falcon, or gyrfalcon unless the falconer has demonstrated that a band causes an injury or a health problem for the bird.
(f) A person may not band a raptor removed from the wild with a seamless numbered band.
(12) Possession of Permits.
(a) A falconer must have his or her permit(s) or legible copies of them in his/her immediate possession if he or she is not at the location of the falconry facilities and he or she is trapping, transporting, working with, or flying a falconry raptor(s).
(b) If a person has a valid falconry permit, he or she may possess and transport for falconry purposes a lawfully possessed raptor within this state.
(13) Facilities that must be possessed and maintained.
(a) A person must keep all raptors held under a falconry permit in humane and healthful conditions.
(b) Whether the raptor facilities are indoors (a “mews”) or outdoors (a “weathering area”), the raptor facilities must protect raptors from the environment, predators, and domestic animals. A falconer is responsible for the maintenance and security (protection from predators) of raptors possessed under his/her permit.
(c) A person must have raptor housing facilities approved by the Department before he or she may obtain a bird to use in falconry.
(d) The facility must have a suitable perch for each raptor, at least one opening for sunlight, and must provide a healthy environment for raptors inside.
(e) A person may house un‑tethered raptors together if they are compatible with each other.
(f) Each raptor must have an area large enough to allow it to fly if it is untethered or, if tethered, to fully extend its wings or bate (attempt to fly while tethered) without damaging its feathers or contacting other raptors.
(g) Each falconry bird must have access to a pan of clean water unless weather conditions, the perch type used, or some other factor makes access to a water pan unsafe for the raptor.
(h) An indoor facility must be large enough to allow easy access for the care and feeding of raptors kept there.
(i) If raptors housed in this indoor facility are not tethered, all walls that are not solid must be protected on the inside. Suitable materials may include vertical bars spaced narrower than the width of the body of the smallest raptor housed in the enclosure. However, heavy‑duty netting or other such materials may be used to cover the walls or roof of the enclosure.
(j) Acceptable indoor facilities include shelf perch enclosures where raptors are tethered side by side. Other innovative housing systems are acceptable if they provide the enclosed raptors with protection and allow them to maintain healthy feathers.
(k) An eyas raptor may be kept in any suitable container or enclosure until it is capable of flight.
(l) A person may keep a falconry raptor or raptors inside his or her place of residence if a suitable perch or perches are provided. If a raptor(s) is housed inside a home, the windows or other openings of the structure do not have to be modified. Raptors kept in a home must be tethered when they are not being moved into or out of the location in which they are kept.
(m) An outdoor facility must be totally enclosed, and may be made of heavy‑gauge wire, heavy‑duty plastic mesh, slats, pipe, wood, or other suitable material.
(n) The outdoor facility must be covered and have at least a covered perch to protect a raptor held in it from predators and weather.
(o) The facility must be large enough to insure that the birds cannot strike the enclosure when flying from the perch.
(p) Falconry raptors may be kept outside in the open if they are under watch, by a falconer or a family member at any location or, for example, by a designated individual in a weathering yard at a falconry meet.
(q) A falconer must inform the Department within 5 business days if he or she changes the location of the facilities.
(r) The falconry facilities may be on property owned by another person where a falconer resides, or at a different location. Regardless of location, the facilities must meet the standards indicated in these regulations.
(s) A falconer must submit to the Department a signed and dated statement showing that that the falconry facilities and raptors may be inspected without advance notice by the Department at any reasonable time of day, but the falconer must be present. If the facilities are not on property owned by the falconer, he or she must submit a signed and dated statement showing that the property owner agrees that the falconry facilities and raptors may be inspected by the Department at any reasonable time of day in the presence of the property owner; except that the authorities may not enter the facilities or disturb the raptors unless the falconer is present.
(t) The following equipment must be possessed by the falconer: jesses or the materials and equipment to make them, leash and swivel, bath container, and appropriate scales or balances for weighing raptor(s) possessed.
(u) The bird must have a suitable perch and be protected from extreme temperatures, wind, and excessive disturbance. A “giant hood” or similar container is acceptable for transporting or housing a raptor when the falconer is away from the permanent facility where it is housed.
(14) Temporary Facilities and Care of Raptors by other falconers.
(a) A falconer may house a raptor in temporary facilities for no more than 120 consecutive days if the bird has a suitable perch and is protected from predators, domestic animals, extreme temperatures, wind, and excessive disturbance.
(b) Another falconry permittee may care for a raptor or raptors at another person’s facilities for up to 120 consecutive days. The other person must have a signed and dated statement from the falconer who owns the birds plus a copy of FWS form 3‑186A that shows the possessor of each of the raptors. The statement must include information about the time period for which he or she will keep the raptor(s), and about what he or she is allowed to do with it or them.
(i) The raptor(s) will remain on the original falconry permit, and will not be counted against the possession limit of the person caring for the raptors.
(ii) If the person caring for the raptor(s) holds the appropriate level falconry permit, he or she may fly the raptor(s) in whatever way authorized, including hunting.
(iii) This care of the raptors may be extended indefinitely in extenuating circumstances, such as illness, military service, or for a family emergency. The Department shall consider such instances on a case‑by‑case basis.
(c) A person other than a falconer may care for falconry birds possessed at another falconer’s facilities for up to 45 consecutive days.
(i) The raptor(s) will remain on the original falconry permit.
(ii) The raptors must remain in the original facilities.
(iii) This care may be extended indefinitely in extenuating circumstances, such as illness, military service, or for a family emergency.
(iv) The person(s) caring for the raptors may not fly them for any reason.
(d) If a falconer resides in South Carolina for more than 120 consecutive days, he or she will be required to obtain a SC Falconry Permit and the facilities must be inspected before the permit is issued.
(e) Falconry equipment and records may be inspected in the presence of the permittee during business hours on any day of the week by the Department.
(15) Taking falcons.
(a) A person may not intentionally capture a raptor species that the classification as a falconer does not allow the person to possess for falconry. If a person captures a bird he or she is not allowed to possess, he or she must release it immediately.
(b) The Department is authorized to revoke or suspend a falconry permit if the permittee:
(i) Does not provide proper care for the raptor.
(ii) Allows the raptor to become a public nuisance.
(iii) Violates established South Carolina game laws or regulations.
(iv) Does not comply with the terms of the permit.
(v) All State hunting seasons, fees and bag limits apply to falconry.
(vi) The suspension for a period not to exceed 6 months will be determined by the Department.
(c) Upon request of the person whose permit has been suspended, the Department may restore the person’s falconry permit at the end of the suspension period if the conditions have been met.
(d) A General or Master Falconer, may take only raptors less than 1 year of age from the wild during the period of August 1 through January 31 of each year. However, he or she may take an American kestrel or great horned owl of any age from the wild during this period. These falconers may take no more than two raptors from the wild each year to use in falconry. Legal trapping methods are limited to the following: Bal Chatri (noose cage), Swedish Goshawk trap, Noose Harness, Phai or noose ring, Dig‑in method, Dho‑Gaza Net or Bow‑net.
(e) If a bird is taken from the wild and is transferred to another permittee in the same year in which the bird is captured, the bird will count as one of the raptors allowed to be taken from the wild that year by the falconer who caught the bird; it will not count as a capture by the recipient, though it will always be considered a wild bird.
(f) Only a General or Master Falconer, may remove nestlings from a nest or aerie. Eyases may be taken from May 1 through June 30 only of each year and may occur only on private lands with permission of the landowner. Only one eyas may be removed from each nest and one healthy eyas must remain in the nest from which a nestling is removed. An Apprentice Falconer may not take a nestling from the wild.
(g) Falconers responsible for reporting the take of a raptor from the wild, can report by entering the required information in the electronic database at http://permits.fws.gov/186A and by submitting a paper form 3‑186A to the Department. This must be done at the first opportunity to do so, but no later than 10 days after the capture of the bird.
(h) If a falconer is present at the capture site, even if another person captures the bird for the falconer, the falconer is considered the person who removes the bird from the wild. The falconer is responsible for filing a 3‑186A form reporting take of the bird from the wild. This would occur, for example, if another person climbs a tree or rappels down a cliff and takes a nestling for the falconer and gives it to the falconer at the tree or cliff.
(i) If the falconer who will receive the bird is not at the immediate location where the bird is taken from the wild, the person who removes the bird from the wild must be a General or Master Falconer, and must report take of the bird. If that person then transfers the bird to another falconer, both must file 3‑186A forms reporting the transaction at the first opportunity to do so, but no later than 10 days after the transfer. The bird will count as one of the two raptors the person who took it from the wild is allowed to capture in any year. The bird will not count as a bird the recipient falconer took from the wild. The person who takes the bird from the wild must report the take even if he or she promptly transfers the bird to another falconer.
(j) If a falconer has a long‑term or permanent physical impairment that prevents him or her from attending the capture of a species one can use for falconry, a General or Master Falconer may capture a bird for the impaired falconer. The impaired and recipient falconer is then responsible for filing a 3‑186A form reporting take of the bird from the wild, and the bird will count against the take of wild raptors that a falconer is allowed in any year.
(k) A falconer must promptly release any bird captured unintentionally.
(l) A falconer may recapture a falconry bird lost at any time. Recapture of a wild bird is not considered to be taking a bird from the wild.
(m) A falconer may recapture a raptor if the bird is wearing falconry equipment or a captive‑bred bird at any time ‑ even if the falconer is not allowed to possess the species. The bird will not count against the possession limit of the falconer who recaptures the bird, nor will its take from the wild count against his or her limit. The recapture of the bird must be reported to the Department no more than 5 working days after the recapture. A recaptured falconry bird must be returned to the person who lost it, if that person may legally possess it. Disposition of a bird whose legal possession cannot be determined will be at the discretion of the Department.
(n) A falconer may take any raptor that he or she is authorized to possess from the wild if the bird is banded with a Federal Bird Banding Laboratory aluminum band except that a banded peregrine falcon may not be taken from the wild.
(o) If a falconer captures a raptor (including a peregrine falcon) that is marked with a seamless metal band, a transmitter, or any other item identifying it as a falconry bird, the capture must be reported to the Department no more than 5 working days after the capture. A recaptured falconry bird must be returned to the person who lost it. If that person cannot possess the bird or does not wish to possess it, the falconer who recaptured the bird may keep it. Otherwise, disposition of a bird whose legal possession cannot be determined will be at the discretion of the Department. While the falconer keeps a bird for return to the person who lost it, the bird will not count against the possession limit or the limit on take of raptors from the wild if the the bird has been reported to the Department.
(p) If a peregrine falcon is captured and has a research band (such as a colored band with alphanumeric codes) or a research marking attached to it, the bird must be released immediately, except that if the falcon has a transmitter attached to it, the falconer is authorized to possess the bird up to 30 days if he or she wishes to contact the researcher to determine if he or she wishes to replace the transmitter or its batteries. If the researcher wishes to do so, or to have the transmitter removed, the researcher or his or her designee can make the change or allow the falconer to do so before the bird is released. If the researcher does not wish to keep the transmitter on the falcon, the falconer may keep the bird if captured under circumstances in which capture of wild peregrines is allowed.
(q) If a raptor that is captured has any other band, research marking, or transmitter attached to it, the falconer must promptly report the band numbers and all other relevant information to the Federal Bird Banding Laboratory at 1‑800‑327‑2263.
(r) A falconer may contact the researcher and determine if he or she wishes to replace a transmitter attached to a bird captured. If so, the falconer is authorized to possess the bird up to 30 days until the researcher or his or her designee does so, or until the falconer can replace it. Disposition of the bird will be at the discretion of the researcher and the Department. If the falconer possesses such a bird temporarily, it will not count against the possession limit for falconry raptors.
(s) A Master Falconer with a permit to do so, may take, transport, or possess up to three eagles, including golden eagles, white‑tailed eagles, or Steller’s sea‑eagles, subject to the requirements in this section and 50 CFR 22.24. A golden eagle, white‑tailed eagle, or Steller’s sea‑eagle possessed counts as a bird to be included under the falconer’s possession limit.
(t) A falconer has two options for dealing with a bird injured by his or her trapping efforts. In either case, the falconer is responsible for the costs of care and rehabilitation of the bird.
(i) The bird may be recorded on his or her falconry permit. The falconer must report take of the bird by entering the required information in the electronic database at http://permits.fws.gov/186A and by submitting a paper form 3‑186A to the Department at the first opportunity to do so, but no more than 10 days after capture of the bird. The falconer must then have the bird treated by a veterinarian or a permitted wildlife rehabilitator. The bird will count against the falconer’s possession limit.
(ii) The bird may be given directly to a veterinarian, or a permitted wildlife rehabilitator, or an appropriate wildlife agency employee. If a falconer does so, it will not count against his or her allowed take or the number of raptors he or she may possess.
(u) If a falconer acquires a raptor; transfers, rebands, or microchips a raptor; if a falconer’s raptor is stolen; if a falconer loses a raptor to the wild and it is not recovered within 30 days; or if a bird a falconer possesses for falconry dies; the falconer must report the change within 10 days by entering the required information in the electronic database at http://permits.fws.gov/186A or by submitting a paper form 3‑186A to the Department.
(v) If a raptor possessed by a falconer is stolen, the falconer must report the theft to the Department and to the Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Law Enforcement office within 10 days of the theft of the bird.
(w) A falconer must keep copies of all electronic database submissions documenting take, transfer, loss, rebanding or microchipping of each falconry raptor until 5 years after he or she has transferred or lost the bird, or it has died.
(x) A falconer may acquire a raptor of any age of a species that one is permitted to possess directly from a rehabilitator. Transfer to the falconer is at the discretion of the rehabilitator.
(i) ) If a bird is acquired from a rehabilitator, within 10 days of the transaction the falconer must report it by entering the required information in the electronic database at http://permits.fws.gov/186A or by submitting a paper form 3‑186A to the Department.
(ii) If a bird is acquired from a rehabilitator, it will count as one of the raptors the falconer is allowed to take from the wild that year.
(16) Flying and releasing falconry birds.
(a) When flown free, a hybrid raptor must have attached at least two functioning radio transmitters to help the falconer locate the bird.
(b) A falconer must follow all applicable State and Federal laws and regulations before releasing a falconry bird to the wild.
(c) If the raptor the falconer wishes to release is not native to the State or territory, or is a hybrid of any kind, it may not be permanently released to the wild. It may be transferred to another falconry permittee.
(d) If the species the falconer wishes to release is native to the State or territory and is captive‑bred, it may not be released to the wild unless the falconer has permission from the Department. If permitted to do so, the bird must be hacked (allow it to adjust) to the wild at an appropriate time of year and an appropriate location. The falconry band (if it has one) must be released and the falconer must report release of the bird by entering the required information in the electronic database at http://permits.fws.gov/186A or by submitting a paper form 3‑186A to the Department.
(e) If the species to be released is native to the State and was taken from the wild, the bird may be released only at an appropriate time of year and an appropriate location. The falconry band must be removed and the falconer must report release of the bird by entering the required information in the electronic database at http://permits.fws.gov/186A or by submitting a paper form 3‑186A to the Department.
(f) The number of wild‑caught or captive‑bred raptors transferred to a falconer is not restricted, but he or she may not exceed the possession limit.
(g) No matter how long such a bird is held in captivity or whether it is transferred to another permittee or permit type, it is always considered a “wild” bird. However, it is considered to be taken from the wild only by the person who originally captured it. If transferred to another permittee, the bird is not considered to be taken from the wild.
(a) Hacking (temporary release to the wild) is an approved method for falconers to condition raptors for falconry. A General Falconer or a Master Falconer may hack a falconry raptor or raptors.
(i) Any bird hacked counts against the falconer’s possession limit and must be a species he or she is authorized to possess.
(ii) Any hybrid hacked must have two attached functioning radio transmitters during hacking.
(iii) A falconry bird may not be hacked near a known nesting area of a Federally threatened or endangered bird species or in any other location where the raptor is likely to harm a Federally listed threatened or endangered animal species that might be disturbed or taken by the falconry bird. The falconer can contact the State Fish and Wildlife Service office in South Carolina for information on Federally‑listed species.
(iv) The falconer may use other acceptable falconry practices, such as, but not limited to, the use of creance (tethered) flying, lures, balloons, or kites in training or conditioning falconry raptors. He or she may also fly falconry birds at bird species not protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act or at pen‑raised animals.
(18) Sale or transfer of falconry birds
(a) A falconer may sell, purchase, or barter, or offer to sell, purchase, or barter captive‑bred raptors marked with seamless bands to other permittees who are authorized to possess them.
(b) A falconer may not purchase, sell, trade, or barter wild raptors. He or she may only transfer them.
(c) A falconer may transfer a raptor to another permit type if the recipient of the bird (which could be the same falconer) possesses the necessary permits for the other activity.
(d) A falconer may transfer a wild‑caught falconry bird to an individual who holds a raptor propagation permit after the bird has been used in falconry for at least 2 years (1 year for a sharp‑shinned hawk, a Cooper’s hawk, a merlin, or an American kestrel). When he or she transfers the bird, they must provide a copy of the 3‑186A form documenting acquisition of the bird by the propagator to the Federal migratory bird permit office that administers the propagation permit and provide a copy to the Department.
(e) A falconer may transfer a wild‑caught bird to another permit type in less than 2 years (1 year for a sharp‑shinned hawk, a Cooper’s hawk, a merlin, or an American kestrel) if the bird has been injured and a veterinarian has determined that the bird can no longer be flown for falconry.
(i) Within 10 days of transferring the bird, the falconer must provide a copy of the 3‑186A form documenting acquisition of the bird to the Federal migratory bird permit office that administers the other permit type and provide a copy to the Department.
(ii) When the falconer transfers the bird, he or she must provide a copy of the certification from the veterinarian or rehabilitator that the bird is not useable in falconry to the Federal migratory bird permits office that administers the other permit type.
(f) A falconer may transfer captive‑bred falconry raptors if the holder of the other permit type is authorized to possess the bird(s). Within 10 days he or she must report the transfer by entering the required information in the electronic database at http://permits.fws.gov/186A and by submitting a standard paper form 3‑186A to the Department.
(19) Use or falconry birds for propagation and education.
(a) A falconer may use raptors possessed for falconry in captive propagation if the falconer or the person overseeing the propagation has the necessary permit(s) (see 50 CFR 21.30). This falconer does not need to transfer a bird from his or her falconry permit if the bird is used for fewer than 8 months in a year in captive propagation, but the bird must be transferred if it is to be used permanently for propagation. The bird must then be banded as required in 50 CFR 21.30.
(b) General or Master Falconers may use a bird possessed in conservation education programs presented in public venues.
(i) Apprentice Falconers may present conservation programs if he or she is under the supervision of a General or Master Falconer when they do so.
(ii) The falconer may charge a fee for presentation of a conservation education program. The fee may not exceed the amount required to recoup the falconer’s costs.
(iii) In conservation education programs, the falconer must provide information about the biology, ecological roles, and conservation needs of raptors and other migratory birds, although not all of these topics must be addressed in every presentation. He or she may not give presentations that do not address falconry and conservation education.
(20) The falconer may allow photography, filming, or other such uses of falconry raptors to make movies or other sources of information on the practice of falconry or on the biology, ecological roles, and conservation needs of raptors and other migratory birds, though he or she not be paid for doing so.
(a) The falconer may not use falconry raptors to make movies, commercials, or in other commercial ventures that are not related to falconry
(b) The falconer may not use falconry raptors for commercial entertainment; for advertisements; as a representation of any business, company, corporation, or other organization; or for promotion or endorsement of any products, merchandise, goods, services, meetings, or fairs, with the following exceptions:
(i) The falconer may use a falconry raptor to promote or endorse a nonprofit falconry organization or association.
(ii) The falconer may use a falconry raptor to promote or endorse products or endeavors related to falconry, including, but not limited to items such as hoods, telemetry equipment, giant hoods, perches, materials for raptor facilities, falconry training and education materials, and scientific research and publication.
(21) General or Master Falconers may assist a permitted migratory bird rehabilitator to condition raptors in preparation for their release to the wild. He or she may keep a bird being rehabilitated in his or her facilities.
(a) The rehabilitator must provide the falconer with a letter or form that identifies the bird and explains that he or she is assisting in its rehabilitation.
(b) The falconer does not need to meet the federal rehabilitator facility standards. He or she need only meet the facility standards in this section; his or her facilities are not subject to inspection for compliance with the standards in 50 CFR 21.31.
(c) The falconer does not have to add any raptor he or she possesses for this purpose to the falconry permit; it will remain under the permit of the rehabilitator.
(d) The falconer must return any such bird that cannot be permanently released to the wild to the rehabilitator for placement within the 180‑day timeframe in which the rehabilitator is authorized to possess the bird, unless the issuing office authorizes the falconer to retain the bird for longer than 180 days.
(e) Upon coordination with the rehabilitator, the falconer must release all releaseable raptors to the wild or return them to the rehabilitator for release within the 180‑day timeframe in which the rehabilitator is authorized to possess the birds, unless the issuing office authorizes he or she to retain and condition a bird for longer than 180 days, or unless the rehabilitator transfers the bird to the falconer to hold under his or her falconry permit.
(22) A Master Falconer may conduct abatement activities with a bird or birds possessed for falconry, if the falconer has a Special Purpose Abatement permit. General Falconers may conduct abatement activities only as a sub‑permittee of the holder of the abatement permit.
(a) Falconers may receive payment for providing abatement services if he or she has a Special Purpose Abatement permit.
(23) Possession of falconry bird feathers and disposition of such.
(a) For imping (replacing a damaged feather with a molted feather), a falconer may possess tail feathers and primary and secondary wing feathers for each species of raptor possessed or previously held for as long as he or she has a valid falconry permit. A falconer may receive feathers for imping from other permitted falconers, wildlife rehabilitators, or propagators in the United States, and he or she may give feathers to them. A falconer may not buy, sell, or barter such feathers.
(i) The falconer may donate feathers from a falconry bird, except golden eagle feathers, to any person or institution with a valid permit to have them, or to anyone exempt from the permit requirement under 50 CFR 21.12.
(ii) Except for primary or secondary flight feathers or retrices from a golden eagle, a falconer is not required to gather feathers that are molted or otherwise lost by a falconry bird. He or she may leave the feathers where they fall, store them for imping, or destroy them. However, he or she must collect molted flight feathers and retrices from a golden eagle. If the falconer chooses not to keep them for imping, he or she must send them to the National Eagle Repository.
(iii) All feathers (including body feathers) that are collected from any falconry golden eagle and not needed for imping should be sent to the National Eagle Repository at the following address: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Eagle Repository, Rocky Mountain Arsenal, Building 128, Commerce City, Colorado 80022. The telephone number at the Repository is 303‑287‑2110.
(b) If the falconer’s permit expires or is revoked, he or she must donate the feathers of any species of falconry raptor except a golden eagle to any person or any institution exempt from the permit requirement under Section 21.12 or authorized by permit to acquire and possess the feathers. If the feathers are not donated, they must be burned, buried, or otherwise destroyed.
(24) A falconer must send the entire body of a golden eagle held for falconry, including all feathers, talons, and other parts, to the National Eagle Repository.
(a) A falconer may donate the body or feathers of any other species of falconry raptor to any person or institution exempt under 50 CFR 21.12 or authorized by permit to acquire and possess such parts or feathers.
(b) If the bird was banded or microchipped prior to its death, the falconer may keep the body of any falconry raptor except that of a golden eagle. He or she may keep the body so that the feathers are available for imping, or may have the body mounted by a taxidermist. He or she may use the mount in giving conservation education programs. If the bird was banded, the band must be left on the body. If the bird has an implanted microchip, the microchip must be left in place.
(c) If a falconer wishes to donate the bird body or feathers or keep it, he or she must burn, bury, or otherwise destroy it or them within 10 days of the death of the bird or after final examination by a veterinarian to determine cause of death. Carcasses of euthanized raptors could pose a risk of secondary poisoning of eagles and other scavengers. The falconer must take appropriate precautions to avoid such poisonings.
(d) If the bird body or feathers is not donated or the body is mounted by a taxidermist, the flight feathers may be possessed for as long as a valid falconry permit is held. However, the feathers may not be bought, sold or bartered. The falconer must keep the paperwork documenting his or her acquisition of the bird.
(25) Visiting falconers
(a) A visitor to the United States may qualify for a temporary falconry permit appropriate for his or her experience.
(i) The permit may be valid for any period specified by the Department.
(ii) To demonstrate knowledge South Carolina falconry laws and regulations, the visitor must correctly answer at least 80 percent of the questions on the supervised examination for falconers administered by the Department. If the visitor passes the test, the Department will decide for what level of temporary permit the person is qualified. The decision should be based on the individual’s documentation of his or her experience.
(iii) If the falconer holds a temporary falconry permit, he or she may possess raptors for falconry if he or she have approved falconry facilities.
(iv) A holder of a temporary falconry permit may fly raptors held for falconry by a permitted falconer.
(v) A holder of a temporary falconry permit may not take a bird from the wild to use in falconry.
(vi) For the duration of a permit from the Department, a visitor may use any bird for falconry that he or she possess legally in his or her country of residence for that purpose, provided that import of that species to the United States is not prohibited, and provided that he or she has met all permitting requirements of his or her country of residence.
(vii) A visitor must comply with the provisions in this section, those of the State, tribe or territory where he or she wishes to conduct falconry, and all States through which he or she will travel with the bird.
(viii) The visitor may transport registered raptors. He or she may need one or more additional permits to bring a raptor into the United States or to return home with it (see 50 CFR part 14 (importation, exportation, and transportation of wildlife), part 15 (Wild Bird Conservation Act), part 17 (endangered and threatened species), part 21 (migratory bird import and export permits), and part 23 (endangered species convention)).
(ix) Unless the visitor has the necessary permit(s) to bring a raptor into the United States and leave it here, he or she must take raptors brought into the country for falconry out of the country when he or she leaves. If a raptor brought into the United States dies or is lost while in this country, the visitor must document the loss before leaving the United States by reporting the loss to the Department.
(x) When flown free, any bird brought to this country temporarily must have two attached radio transmitters that will allow the falconer to locate it.
(xi) If the raptor dies or is lost, the falconer is not required to bring it back but must report the loss immediately upon return to the United States in the manner required by the falconry regulations of the State, and any conditions on the CITES certificate.
(26) A falconer does not need special or written permission for any of these activities on public lands if it is authorized. However, he or she must comply with all applicable Federal, State laws regarding falconry activities, including hunting. The falconry permit does not authorize him or her to capture or release raptors or practice falconry on public lands if it is prohibited on those lands, or on private property, without permission from the landowner or custodian.
(27) If a falconry bird kills prey without the falconer’s intent, including an animal taken outside of a regular season, he or she may allow the falconry bird to feed on the animal, but the falconer may not take the animal into possession. The falconer must report take of any federally listed threatened or endangered species to the local USFWS Ecological Services Field Office.
(28) With a falconry bird, the falconer may take any species listed in 50 CFR parts 21.43, 44, 45, or 46 of this subchapter at any time in accordance with the conditions of the applicable depredation order, as long as he or she is are not paid for doing so.
(29) A surviving spouse, executor, administrator, or other legal representative of a deceased falconry permittee may transfer any bird held by the permittee to another authorized permittee within 90 days of the death of the falconry permittee. After 90 days, disposition of a bird held under the permit is at the discretion of the Department.
(30) If the falconer moves outside the jurisdiction of the Department and takes falconry birds with him or her, he or she must inform the Department within 30 days.
HISTORY: Amended by State Register Volume 17, Issue No. 2, eff Feb 26, 1993. Amended by State Register Volume 38, Issue No. 10, Doc. No. 4467, eff October 24, 2014