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HELENA - Montana wildlife commissioners tentatively support a proposal to increase the number of peregrine falcon chicks that may be removed from nests for the sport of falconry.

In a unanimous vote Thursday, the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission supported removal of five chicks, up from three in 2008.

The increase still requires a final vote of the commission.

In falconry, trained birds circle above falconers, take high-speed dives at flushed prey such as grouse, and try to capture the prey.

Peregrine falcons were taken off the federal endangered species list in 1999. State wildlife officials says peregrine falcon pairs in Montana have been rising, as has production of chicks.

The birds are primarily in the western part of the state.

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