As you all know the California Falconry regulations are currently up for revision. One of the items of importance to many California members is the question of the legal authority to conduct administrative inspections of falconers. The Law Enforcement department of the California Fish & Wildlife (CDFW) wants the regulations to state not only that they may inspect, but do so when you are not home. They claim they have this authority over all hunters and fisherman (see video) and this has caused some concern here in California.

At the last Game Commission hearing California falconer and legal public defender Peter Stavrianoudakis (affectionately known as the Dense Beard of Justice) stated in no uncertain terms he is of the opinion that the regulatory inspections in the proposed regulation are in violation of both state and federal law. His opinion is synonymous with the opinion paper submitted by CHC attorney Ryan English.

California falconers, hunters and fisherman face some very serious challenges ahead. Jim Kellogg, the last, and one of the first, pro-hunting California Fish and Game Commissioners, turned in his resignation in January out of frustration. Kellogg stated “As an example, people that come on the Commission may have given the perception that they are in favor of hunting and fishing, but really weren't. So they were appointed…….” This is part of what appears to be a mass exodus of long-time pro-hunting state employees from the CDFW and the F&G Commission. The CHC has reported that this agency is still attempting to add numerous restrictions and conditions upon falconry, far above the federal standards and CHC has chosen not to challenge the inspection issue at this time.

Since the Migratory Bird Treaty Act clearly prohibits warrantless inspections, a number of concerned falconers still want the Game Commission to provide the specific statute or law that provides law enforcement the authority to conduct warrantless home searches or inspections of falconers, hunters and fisherman.

Peter decided it would be most effective for him to discuss this matter as it relates to the law with CDFW Director Bonham and the Director has agreed. I am honored that Peter and has invited me to attend the meeting as well in order to represent the membership of AFC. I will be joining Peter in discussing this important issue with the CDFW on the 28th of this month.

Best regards,

Troy Morris
AFC President