I havnt really digested this yet, as I am pretty busy with other tasks, but I will float the same question up to you, and hope it trickles to those on the committee, that I have heard asked a lot about peregrine take.

Why were the Western States ignored? Our anatums are healthy. I am not aware of the western Canadian provinces opinions, but suspect they dont have the same issues that the eastern ones do.

Out here on the Northwest coast, its even sillier to us. Peales were never listed, never endangered. Why cant we trap them? They are so common that they are pests!

I get compromise, I understand we cant have the whole pie at once. But the focus seems to have been on the beach trapping that eastern and central falconers enjoyed, and we out here in the west have been left in the cold.

Quote Originally Posted by sharptail View Post
In 1999, Brian Millsap and Bruce Taubert spoke at NAFAs Waverly, Iowa Field Meet. They were invited by the Meet Chairman, Bill Murrin, to inform the falconry community what was being done regarding passage peregrine-take, since the peregrine had just been de-listed. Millsap and Taubert, along with Jim Enderson, had previously done this on behalf of falconers through the International Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies. They put a tremendous amount of energy into the effort due to the negotiating that was required with the various States.

Millsap and Taubert explained how difficult it was. In order to open peregrine-take for falconry, the States HAD to be on board with the idea; in addition, the opinions of the Canadian provinces were solicited. Many States and provinces had their own issues and agendas. This required compromise - and a lot of it. The Northeastern States and the Canadian provinces did not want "their" peregrines harvested at all. Therefore a time-frame for harvest was developed for late September early October when the migration of the tundra peregrine would be at its peak, but the anatums and city mongrels, which are not hard migrants like the tundra, had a minimal chance of being captured during this period.

In addition, proposed numbers for harvest was an issue that was certain to create animosity within anti-take factions. There were some State and provincial fish & game officials as well as protectionist groups who were against any harvest whatsoever. In addition to their anti-take position, these factions believed falconers would harvest so many peregrines that the peregrine would be threatened again with declining populations. This is how extreme and ignorant these factions were. In order to keep these factions at bay, FWS needed to 1) use extremely conservative wild population numbers; and then 2) to propose extremely conservative harvest numbers - which eventually came to 36 peregrines being allowed for harvest - and finally 3) place regional restrictions on where peregrines could be trapped. With these extremely conservative numbers and restrictions, FWS was very confident it could defend its position in court should a lawsuit be forthcoming - which they fully anticipated. However, due to their conservative position on numbers, no lawsuit occurred, and we now enjoy peregrine-take.

We must thank Millsap, Taubert and Enderson for their hard work and successful negotiations with the States and then we must thank FWS (led by Millsap and Allen at the time) for their understanding of the legal/political dynamics of the peregrine - the poster child of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) - and what it would take to see this through with a minimal chance of failure.

It was understood at the time that once we had a few years of peregrine harvest under our belt, demonstrating that the fears of the factions who were against take had not transpired, we could pursue opening peregrine take to normal raptor harvest management parameters, which would not interfere with those States that may wish to maintain more restrictive management parameters. We are now at that stage and it is time for AFC - hopefully with the support of all other falconry organizations - to pursue relaxing peregrine harvest management at the federal level. We have contacted our legal counsel, Bill Horn, who would be happy to draft a petition to present to FWS to remove the present unique restrictions placed upon peregrine harvest and bring it in line with standard raptor management parameters. Keep in mind this is not a legal challenge to FWS. This is simply the standard method of working with FWS to make changes to regulations, which they are quite comfortable with and accustomed to.

AFC has assembled a committee for this effort. It is composed of Rob Sulski, Eric Edwards, Lee Grater and Bill Murrin. If you have comments or information you would like to share with them, you can contact them through the Officers & Directors page.

AFC has begun soliciting donations from those individuals who helped us fund Bill Horn's previous lobbying efforts with the Department of the Interior/FWS relating to relaxing the falconry regulations and demanding recognition of our property rights in our raptors. His success in these efforts demonstrates his effectiveness in protecting falconers' interests. We therefore ask our members to contribute donations to our fund "Petition to Normalize Peregrine Harvest Management". Whatever you can afford would be greatly appreciated. If you love falconry and wish to practice this art and sport with minimal interference, please partake in this effort whether you have a desire to take a passage peregrine or not. Every right that is interfered with allows for another to be encroached upon, so stand with each other on every issue so that everyone's rights are protected equally. In addition, call your friends as well as your State club and ask them to contribute to this cause whether they are part of AFC or not.

Something that must be understood by all: If the ESA is to remain a viable program, it must have success with a sufficient number of species. Otherwise it is a waste of taxpayers' money in trying to keep small populations of endangered species alive for a couple/few decades longer. Success must be measured in returning populations to viable numbers and then once this is achieved, maintain an environment that allows their numbers to prosper so that citizens can access the resource under the same regulatory management parameters as similar resources. If this is not understood to be a truism, then the ESA cannot long endure since it would be used only by protectionists as a weapon against all other American citizens. This cannot be allowed. With this in mind, it is imperative that the peregrine be managed in the same manner all other raptors are managed in order to demonstrate the success of the ESA; and what better animal to show such success than with the ESA poster child. The peregrine can no longer be treated more special or unique in relation to other raptors since its numbers are now well above historic highs.