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The Modern Apprentice



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Beginning thinking about an apprenticeship link Apprenticeship fundamentals link Becoming an apprentice link Pre-trapping link
Steps to becoming an apprentice. These are specific to Washington state, but are similar to other states. However, since Washington has recently overhauled all of its falconry regulations and has been recognized as under the new federal regulations, there are many changes that have not all been completed. Much of the process listed below is in transition. I will update my steps when the state has finalized the new processes.

Request a falconry information packet from the state.

Find a sponsor - your sponsor will need to sign your falconry application. In Washington there are Apprentice Coordinators available in the Washington Falconers Association. These can be reached at
      → How to find a sponsor

Send the state your falconry application from the packet they sent you.
      → Once the state approves your application, they will send you a response letting you know that you have been approved and can set up an appointment to take your falconry exam.

Call your regional office to set up your exam. In Washington, this goes through Katey Potter who can be contacted at 360-902-2243.
      → Washington offers the exam every two weeks on Wednesdays, so plan ahead.

Take the test.
      → The state will mail you notification of your score - you must receive an 80% to pass. If you pass the state will inform the WFA, with whom they have a partner agreement, so that they can set up an inspection. If you have concerns with being inspected by a WFA member, you may request a state official to inspect.

Wait for a local WFA member to call.
      → A WFA member will come out to inspect your facilities and all legally required equipment.
The inspector will inform the WFA who will officially sign-off on the inspection to the state. The state will mail you once all of this is received informing you that your permit is ready to be processed having passed all the steps and you may send in your check.

Send in your check. Keep a copy of your check.
      → You will receive a permit card from the state. You will also receive a packet of information including 3-186 forms and Accidental Take Report forms.

Make copies of the letter notifying you, the permit paper, and the permit card. Save these away in your files. Also, join your state club. In Washington this is the WFA, and apprentices who are under 18 receive free membership.

You can now trap! As long as it is within the acceptable trapping season.

Once you trap you will need to fill out the 3-186 within 5 days of trapping and send it to the various agencies. Keep a copy of this as well.

You will also receive a packet of information from the federal agency as the state will have requested a federal permit number for you. Within 5 days of receiving this packet you will need to fill out the enclosed form (3-200-11) and return it. Be sure to keep copies of this as well.

Separately, you will need to carry a hunting license. If you were born after a certain date or will be hunting in another state, you will need to take a Hunter's Education course and pass the exam. Once you have done this, you will be able to purchase a hunting license from any one of many outlets such as sporting good stores. You will purchase these based on what type of quarry you will be hunting - most likely the small animal permit for a red-tail.

Also consider getting a tetanus shot before trapping or hunting. Prevention is better than treatment.

As a quick wrap-up:
The state agency issues the falconry permit - the permit card
The hunting license is issued by the state, and is sold at various sporting goods stores and is purchased based on what game you will be taking.

When to renew:
Falconry permit - typically expires in a maximum of 36 months from the date of issuance; always expires December 31 prior to the end of the 36 months
Hunting license - expires 3/31 of the next year
Club memberships - (NAFA and WFA) typically expire on Dec 31 of each year

When to notify the agencies:
Notify the agencies if your name changes.
Notify the agencies if your address changes (mailing address or the physical address).
Notify the agencies if your sponsor is no longer sponsoring you.
Notify the agencies if your bird escapes or dies.
Notify the agencies if you reclaim somebody else's bird.
If your bird has taken certain illegal quarry (out of season or certain species) at any point during the year, you will need to properly document this. The Accidental Take form will need to be sent to the agency by the deadline in the spring.

All images and text Copyright © 2004 - 2020 - Lydia Ash