watched intently as Duffee worked her way around it. As planned, the squirrel scampered to the other side. Autumn’s response was immediate. She dropped from her perch and sliced through the air with complete silence. At the last second, she leaned back and extended her talons in preparation for snatching the prey, but the old red squirrel moved just in time. Autumn flew to another tree to regroup, saw where the object of her attention had gone, and made another attempt. Once again, the prey escaped.
Autumn retreated and waited. Her piercing stare was apparently more than the squirrel could handle. It ran to the end of a limb and leapt through the air. Autumn stooped quickly and attempted to interrupt the squirrel’s 20-foot free fall into the brush pile below, but the bushytail made it to the cover. Despite the hawk’s head-first dive into the brush, the squirrel emerged from the other side, ran up a tree and into a hole. The old red squirrel had won this time, but barely.
What a thrilling experience. And as we walked out of the timber, I found myself once again saying, “Well, I never saw that before!” I’ve discovered that there’s no limit to new adventures in Missouri’s outdoors. I hope you will find the same.
For more information on falconry in Missouri, visit the Missouri Falconers Association website or contact the MDC regional office in your area (phone numbers on Page 3).
Falconry Regulation Changes
The Missouri Falconers Association has been working with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Missouri Department of Conservation on falconry regulation changes for Missouri. “The U SFWS is the main organization governing falconry in the United States, and we get our authority to regulate falconry through them,” said Kurt Kysar, protection field chief for the Missouri Department of Conservation. “A few years ago, they announced that they wanted to revamp the falconry regulations that we currently operate under. They wanted to eliminate the need for falconers to have both a federal and a state permit and also gave us a set of standards that we had to adapt to our regulations.”
A committee was formed that included MDC Protection Division and Resource Science Division employees, as well as members of the Missouri Falconers Association. They began meeting in the spring of 2009 and compiled a new set of regulations and a new test for aspiring falconers. “The changes would eliminate the federal permit, but we also clarified some rules and made it easier for falconers to operate while still protecting the birds,” said Kysar. “We hope with the regulations being easier to understand, we can get more people interested in falconry.”
The regulatory changes took effect March 1, 2011. A complete listing of falconry regulations is available upon request from MDC, or they can be found online in Chapter 9 of the Wildlife Code of Missouri.