One of the primary goals of the Georgia Falconry Association is to promote the art and practice of falconry. We are very interested in helping anyone, especially those at the apprenticeship level. According to federal law, an apprentice must have a sponsor. A sponsor must hold a general or master falconry license. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources is kind enough to recommend our organization as a resource for those interested in the sport of falconry.

We are glad to assist in the search for a sponsor. We will make every effort to help identify someone who is willing to consider sponsoring a new apprentice. All General or Master class falconers have a responsibility to become a sponsor to ensure the perpetuation of our sport.

Note: If you are a Master or General class falconer in Georgia and would consider sponsorship, please inform one of the Directors of your availability.

We also disseminate information about falconry and our organization to anyone interested in and/or wanting to become a falconer, or falconers who have recently moved to Georgia.

Contact any GFA board member from the list below for assistance.

Donna BlantonLexington/Oglethorpe(706) 714-2643
Dennis MockDry Branch/Twiggs(478) 214-2847
Ali CsinosClermont/Hall(706) 969-2638
Kristy ArnoldMonroe/Walton(770) 265-3819
Griff LindseyWest Green/Coffee
(912) 381-4284
Paul DavisRockyface/Whitfield(706) 264-1751 
Ben Hill(706) 401-7655

Apprentice Responsibilities:

A. Apprentices shall have passed the Federal Falconry exam before requesting sponsorship from any GFA member. This allows an important means by which the prospective sponsor may gauge the actual determination and maturity of the apprentice before volunteering his or her free time and energy toward the novice’s education.

B. Apprentices shall have obtained proper state hunting permits as per federal law before requesting sponsorship from any GFA member.

C. Apprentices shall have access to several suitable locations for the pursuit and capture of wild game with a trained raptor. Ours is strictly a hunting sport and novices without easy access to appropriate hunting land should reconsider their decision to undertake the care and training of hunting birds.

D. Apprentices shall submit application to the Georgia Falconry Association and maintain membership for at least the duration of the Apprentice period. This will indicate his or her general resolve and provide access to a body of requisite knowledge via contact with experienced members. The apprentice will gain practical and diverse experience during participation in Field Meets.

E. We recommend the Apprentice have produced or procured at least one hood and lure. While the mastery of proper hooding and luring are not expected of the novice, general proficiency in the creation and use of both these ancient and vital implements will be needed later.

F. While the laws have changed and an apprentice is allowed to possess any of a large group of raptors that is captured from the wild, we strongly recommend the apprentices acquire a Red-tailed hawk as their first falconry bird. These are the largest, least excitable, least likely to be lost, easiest to train and the most difficult to injure of the native species found in Georgia. The American Kestrel and Cooper’s Hawk are considered far too fragile, high-strung and difficult to successfully hunt with to be flown first by any novice. The Red-shouldered hawk is similarly high-strung and difficult to bring to field competency, and is less hardy than its larger relative, the Red-tailed hawk.

G. We recommend the apprentice keep a daily log, wherein the variables of weight, weather, and time of day are added to a detailed description of each training session and subsequent hunt. The keeping of such a log, though perhaps a tedious chore at times, will provide invaluable future reference material for the novice.

Sponsorship Responsibilities:

A. Sponsors shall be available to their apprentices for sufficient phone conversations or personal meetings (if proximity allows) to maintain the level of communication and moral support that novices require throughout his or her formative years.

B. Sponsors shall inspect at least once the apprentices’ stock of falconry furniture and mews facilities before the inspection made by the State agent. Any practical deficiencies shall be mentioned and/or corrected prior to inspection.

C. Sponsors shall accompany and assist at least once in the trapping of the apprentice’s first bird.

D. Sponsors shall be in attendance at the time of the apprentice’s first free flight of his or her hawk. This is a crucial moment, both practically and emotionally, and should not be undertaken alone by the novice falconer.

E. Sponsors shall accompany and assist on several hunts throughout the apprentice’s first two seasons.

F. Should he or she decide to intermew their bird, the sponsor shall make at least one inspection of the apprentices’ mews and bird during the molt, in order to assess the condition of both.

G. At the end of the apprenticeship a letter of recommendation or denial shall be remitted to state and federal authorities.