BATON ROUGE (AP) — Louisiana residents who hunt with a trained bird of prey may soon have less paperwork and be able to keep more raptors.
Falconers must currently get state and federal permits and a Louisiana game breeder's license. But starting Jan. 1, 2014, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service won't be issuing falconry permits. It has set minimum standards for states that wish to keep falconry programs.
There are more than 60 licensed falconers in Louisiana.
The Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission plans to merge federal rules into its rules, and will use the Louisiana game breeder's license as a license for falconers. The department also plans to use electronic registration rather than paperwork.
There would still be apprentice, general and master falconers. Apprentices have permits to learn from general or master falconers, and must spend at least two years as apprentices before applying for a general permit.
Apprentices would remain limited to one raptor, but could choose from more species. They now cannot own any raptor other than an American kestrel, red-tailed hawk or red-shouldered hawk.
General falconers could possess three raptors instead of two, and master falconers could possess five instead of three.
The full notice of intent approved Oct. 4 is available at http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/action-items .
Public comment will be accepted at any monthly commission meeting through Dec. 6, or can be submitted through Dec. 5 to Kenny Ribbeck, LDWF Wildlife Division, P. O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-9000, or kribbeck(at)wlf.la.gov.