Hi Ron and Geoff:

I like what you wrote and agree for the most part. I see things from a slightly different perspective. I have watched unelected, career bureaucrats within USFWS advance to positions of authority making arbitrary and significant administrative rulings against falconry. And then, over time, these same individuals engineer, write and implement policy that is more restrictive than rule or regulation or an Act of Congress!

Over time, these very restrictive policies evolve into language that eventually become promulgated regulations! Despite public comments! It almost seems as though the public comment period is simply a required inconvenience to these bureaucrats that has little or no impact on their administrative agenda!

I’ve watched the legal wild take of Golden Eagles become regulated out of existence! In 10 years! Oh….USFWS can’t outlaw the taking of eagles from the wild for falconry but they made it basically impossible to trap a passage eagle anymore. And they’ve been very crafty in their efforts. USFWS now controls the declaration of livestock depredation areas! How? They now decide what significant depredation is and if it warrants removal of eagles from areas! They’ve also alienated livestock producers to the point that if no one complains, there basically isn’t any depredation occurring! Yes, USFWS now decides what constitutes significant depredation! It doesn’t take an Einstein to predict how they’re going to rule. Falconers gave the fox the keys to the henhouse! We had it set up perfectly back in the day and we allowed them to take it away!

As suggested, there are several different levels of abuse of power in government that can affect falconry. I believe that the career bureaucrats working under the radar is a significant one. No one really pays attention, except perhaps a few falconers wanting to acquire eagles from the wild! I make the analogy of a HIV virus going around undetected affecting healthy cells without them even realizing their DNA is being replaced! Until it’s too late!

We used to be able to trap passage eagles. A few eagles trapped wouldn’t hurt anything. It never did. But I can’t sell the idea of restoring the trapping of passage eagles to the American falconry community to save my life! Now the big push is the recycling of rehab eagles. Under contract with a rehabber, where the falconer will be required to return the eagle and give it back again! Are you kidding?.........Seriously?

I’m just wondering if other nonendangered raptor species could be put on a similar path regarding wild take. Impossible you say! Do you think?

Things to ponder. All my best.