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Thread: Amazing, What A Small Club Can Do!

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    Default Amazing, What A Small Club Can Do!

    The AFC has launched our suit. If we are successful, and I suspect we will be, this will affect every falconer in the U.S., and set far-reaching legal precedent for other hunters.


    https://pacificlegal.org/case/peter-...fNn_mcZhgsv4XE


    Bridget
    Bridget

    "We have met the enemy and he is us."
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    I don't have strong feelings either way on current USFWS falconry regulations. I do feel the last round of changes made by the USFWS addressed most if not all of my concerns. But I do firmly believe that NAFA is the appropriate organization to represent us as determined by their board of directors.
    Richard Maxey
    Richard Maxey

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    But wait...there's more. We are getting some national press. Here's the teaser for the documentary.
    https://www.facebook.com/PacificLega...0758506190937/
    Bridget

    "We have met the enemy and he is us."
    Pogo Possum

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    Richard:

    You should support whatever state or national club you feel best represents your interests and political goals. If it's NAFA for you, then support them. Become active and help them out. I did! I have been an active AFC (and before that, WRTC) member for many years, and the above is why.
    Bridget

    "We have met the enemy and he is us."
    Pogo Possum

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peregrinus View Post
    The AFC has launched our suit. If we are successful, and I suspect we will be, this will affect every falconer in the U.S., and set far-reaching legal precedent for other hunters.


    https://pacificlegal.org/case/peter-...fNn_mcZhgsv4XE


    Bridget
    I used to be an AFC member / supporter before I decided that the organization was too dysfunctional for me to not be embarrassed to be associated with it.

    The federal falconry regs don't m ake me feel like jackbooted USFWS agents are going to bust through my door. That seems to be a problem mostly in CA.

    Also, i have an abatement permit and I can use my birds for abatement so I think that there is some exaggeration on that web page.

    Just like the edited Ron Clarke testimony.

    Business as usual with the AFC

    I apologize for any typos. Typing on a touch screen is not my super power.
    Ron N1WT Vermont

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    Hi Ron:

    I’m don’t know why you think that these unwarranted searches and seizures only apply to CA. There are many well-known instances of this kind of thing happening in other states. You may want to check your state regs. The 4th Amendment applies to all of us, which is why the USFWS is a named defendant. As CA goes, so goes the country.

    I’m not sure what you mean by ‘dysfunctional’. I’ve been involved with this club for many years now, and I recall only 2 instances of what might be called ‘dysfunction’. One was 10 years ago, and the other was in late 2017. In both cases, the situations were handled expeditiously. One person got booted, and the other resigned. As far as falconry clubs go, that’s not a bad record.

    Lastly, Mr. Clarke testified during an AK F&W hearing in March of 2014. The entire hearing was not posted on the AFC site, because it was quite long. Clarke said what he said, period. Anyone who wanted to see the entire hearing, only a small portion of which dealt with falconry, could have done so. It is, and always has been, readily available. http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm...ting=anchorage

    To sum up: The MBTA does not authorize warrant-less searches. It never has. There is no statutory basis for them. You either believe in the Constitution, or you don’t. Now, if you don’t, that’s OK. A lot of people don’t. The AFC does.
    Bridget

    "We have met the enemy and he is us."
    Pogo Possum

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    For those falconers following this, there is some nuance to this that goes beyond a simple Constitutional argument. As many folks know, one of the key tenets of the American conservation model (another way of saying the sum of our wildlife laws) is that wildlife is held in the public trust no mater what property it is on. This is called the Public Trust Doctrine and has been codified by case law and is easy to look up online. As a member and leader in The Wildlife Society, I will offer this link but there are many more http://wildlife.org/wp-content/uploa...5/ptd_10-1.pdf

    IN essence wildlife cannot be privately owned just because it resides on private land - it is owned or stewarded by the States in Trust for current and future generations. If you have ever talked to hunters from other countries - or been to other countries - you know how good we have it. Thus the Pubic Trust Doctrine is a key foundation to protecting wildlife from commercial exploitation - which has proven to be the most pernicious force against sustainable management. Also privatization of wildlife can lead to the wealthy owning wildlife - which comes to another tenet of our Model : Democratic access to fishing and hunting.

    Another issue that appears to be of concern to the plaintiffs in this case is the prohibition on commercial gain a falconer can receive using migratory birds in their possession. This prohibition is, of course, a fundamental tenet of the Migratory Bird Treat Act which was created to stop the commercial exploitation of certain birds specifically, but may be allowed with special permits like abatement permits.

    I would encourage anyone here interested to do some homework on the Public Trust Doctrine, and related wildlife law in the U.S. and decide for yourself. Consider the bigger picture and who gains the most by such cases and look up who is funding the Pacific Legal Foundation (attorneys in the case). Whatever you think, the fact remains that this subject is very nuanced and there is a lot more case law behind it that the MBTA alone. I for one prefer the delicate and sometime annoying dance we have with the agencies to precedent setting changes to the protection of wildlife.

    The Pacific Legal Foundation took this case (lawyers for the plaintiffs) because they are interested in precedent setting case law advancing libertarian/conservative principles as they relate to government. They are not interested in falconry and its future and they are not interested in the implications case law may have toward wildlife conservation - as they have a history of fighting environmental regulation. they are explicitly trying to weaken conservation. They are funded by tobacco, oil/gas, Koch Brothers and similar interests and have aggressively worked to stop the Sage Grouse conservation plan among a myriad of other environmental issues. Just a message of caution. Its really important to dig into the details on this one.

    Some links to information on the PLF -
    http://polluterwatch.org/edit-profil...foundation-plf

    https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.ph...gal_Foundation
    Last edited by Montucky; 11-01-2018 at 02:56 AM.
    John
    Bend, OR

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    John,

    Thank you for injecting a little non-emotion based reality into this discussion.
    With issues like this we need to remember to be careful what we wish for.

    High Regards,
    Thomas of the Desert
    Tom Munson, Buckeye, AZ
    619-379-2656, tom@munson.us

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peregrinus View Post
    Hi Ron:

    Iím donít know why you think that these unwarranted searches and seizures only apply to CA. There are many well-known instances of this kind of thing happening in other states. You may want to check your state regs. The 4th Amendment applies to all of us, which is why the USFWS is a named defendant. As CA goes, so goes the country.

    Iím not sure what you mean by Ďdysfunctionalí. Iíve been involved with this club for many years now, and I recall only 2 instances of what might be called Ďdysfunctioní. One was 10 years ago, and the other was in late 2017. In both cases, the situations were handled expeditiously. One person got booted, and the other resigned. As far as falconry clubs go, thatís not a bad record.

    Lastly, Mr. Clarke testified during an AK F&W hearing in March of 2014. The entire hearing was not posted on the AFC site, because it was quite long. Clarke said what he said, period. Anyone who wanted to see the entire hearing, only a small portion of which dealt with falconry, could have done so. It is, and always has been, readily available. http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm...ting=anchorage

    To sum up: The MBTA does not authorize warrant-less searches. It never has. There is no statutory basis for them. You either believe in the Constitution, or you donít. Now, if you donít, thatís OK. A lot of people donít. The AFC does.
    I clicked SAVE before mentioning this: I take offense at the notion that if I disagree with the AFC then I don't believe in the constitution. That is a load of crap and is the sort of self-righteous attitude that contributed to me withdrawing my support for AFC in the first place. As Roosevelt endorsed, speaking softly while carrying a big stick can be an
    effective tool. Unfortunately AFC is impatient and not particularly good at diplomacy so they have moved to simply whacking people with the stick while yelling about their constitutional
    rights being violated.

    As previously mentioned by someone else, one of the things I found to be dangerous about AFC is that they do tend to pursue a fringe libertarian agenda. Totally unregulated falconry may or may not be in our best interest. In the UK where it is hardly regulated at all legitimate falconers have to contend with their image being tarnished and attacks by animal rights organizations based on the actions of people who take up falconry using Youtube as their sponsor. Indeed we should be careful what we wish for or we might get it.

    In the case of my regs (which are not great but we do have a good relationship with the state for the most part) this is what it says about inspections:
    (g) Inspection. Permit applicants shall allow a representative of the Department to inspect their facilities, equipment, and raptors for compliance with permit standards. Certification of compliance shall be made by the Department before a permit may be granted. Subsequent inspections may be made at reasonable hours of the day by a representative of the Department, as deemed necessary.

    I don't view that as ominous and it does not reserve the right of the state to break down my door if I am not here. I realize that there have been issues (primarily in CA) and if AFC wants to address that to help CA falconers at the request of CA falconers than that is gracious of them. If, on the other hand, AFC has decided against the wishes of CA falconers to help without asking then shame on them. If we need help with our state regulatory agency or regulations from any outside organization we will ask. Kind of odd that the state which is arguably the most left leaning in the nation wants to send the fish cops to inspect your mews in the middle of the night.

    With respect to the Ron Clarke issue I have two problems with the AFC. First, posting that snippet out of context is what the greedy mainstream media people do to get people's emotions running rampant knowing only part of the story. It is unfair, unprofessional and more importantly defending it by saying "they can go and watch the whole thing" is just plain
    BS. Those who use that tactic know full well that 95% or more of the people will get a wedgie from their edited version and will never bother to listen to or watch the full version.
    Ron Clarke SHOULD have recused himself from that discussion as a NAFA director but I also don't begrudge him an opinion as an Alaska falconer. I am not so sure that as outsiders we should be messing around with local politics. Falconry is regulated on the state level now and that has worked out well for some of us and not so well for others but just because Alaska has something we want doesn't mean we should go in like a bull in a china shop and start making demands which might impact resident falconers' relationship with their regulatory body and other stakeholder groups. If they have what you want perhaps moving there would be a good idea.

    As for the abatement question, the abatement industry has prospered and grown with the current regulation. As an industry I would prefer to see those who depend on it as their livelihood to organize themselves to promote their own interests in the way that they see fit which will do them the most good and cause the least amount of strife between them
    and the regulatory agencies.

    Oh and by the way, I never go far from my pocket sized copy of the constitution and I hope you keep yours close too.
    Ron N1WT Vermont

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    Quote Originally Posted by Montucky View Post
    For those falconers following this, there is some nuance to this that goes beyond a simple Constitutional argument. As many folks know, one of the key tenets of the American conservation model (another way of saying the sum of our wildlife laws) is that wildlife is held in the public trust no mater what property it is on. This is called the Public Trust Doctrine and has been codified by case law and is easy to look up online. As a member and leader in The Wildlife Society, I will offer this link but there are many more http://wildlife.org/wp-content/uploa...5/ptd_10-1.pdf

    IN essence wildlife cannot be privately owned just because it resides on private land - it is owned or stewarded by the States in Trust for current and future generations. If you have ever talked to hunters from other countries - or been to other countries - you know how good we have it. Thus the Pubic Trust Doctrine is a key foundation to protecting wildlife from commercial exploitation - which has proven to be the most pernicious force against sustainable management. Also privatization of wildlife can lead to the wealthy owning wildlife - which comes to another tenet of our Model : Democratic access to fishing and hunting.
    That is not quite correct, although this is commonly touted as what the Public Trust Doctrine (PTD) body of principals entails, particularly by those on the extreme fringe of conservation and even animal rights nut jobs. Those elements will even extend this line of argument to contend that hunters are "thieves" by "stealing" wildlife into private possession, which is a crucial aspect of the general error in your argument John.

    The tenant of the PTD is that everyone has the right to access wildlife (and several other resources such as the air, water), and that the role of the government is to protect this access for everyone (the stewardship angle you mentioned). You are right, that the PTD principals mean that the wildlife is not owned by the landowner where it occurs. While it is in its wild and free state, wildlife is not owned by anyone, the State (in this context "state" refers to both state and federal wildlife agencies) included. Until the turn of the 20th century, many of the conservation rules we now hold dear were actually challenged as being a violation of the PTD, but those concepts have now been enfolded into the current implementation of the PTD and its overall concept because it became quite clear from a number of wildlife population extinctions and other nearly catastrophic population crashes that access to the wildlife resource needed to be limited so that a few greedy or otherwise inconsiderate parties would not take more than their fair share of the resource.

    At the instant wildlife is lawfully rendered into private possession, it becomes the property of the individual who took possession. There are a number of court cases, including SCOTUS rulings, that have affirmed this. All of the wildlife agencies are aware of this. However, falconry birds have them confused because it is one of the very few examples of wildlife being rendered into private property and remaining alive, whereas the vast mojority of the methods for wildlife transitioning into private possession involve the death of that wildlife. I have been engaged in debates with both my state officials and USFWS officials that insisted that the PTD meant that falconry raptors were the property of the State because they were live wildlife. In one of those debates, I trumped their argument by stating "so all i have to do to own my goshawk is kill it then..." If you carefully look into the current federal regs, its pretty clear that your ownership of your dead falconry birds is not disputed by the FWS. In some of the more nefarious examples of this gross misunderstanding of how PTD applies to falconry birds, the USFWS was stating on permit paperwork that they "....retained ownership..." of falconry birds and that they may be "...recalled at any time..." (this was added to several eagle falconry permits in the '90s)

    And the insistence on inspections is also another example of the agencies misapplying the PTD to falconry. It is the corner stone of their argument for having those inspections, because they need to make sure that "their" property is being well treated by the permittees. Rather interesting, since the Migratory Bird Treaty Act expressly prohibits the FWS from conducting inspections.

    Another issue that appears to be of concern to the plaintiffs in this case is the prohibition on commercial gain a falconer can receive using migratory birds in their possession. This prohibition is, of course, a fundamental tenet of the Migratory Bird Treat Act which was created to stop the commercial exploitation of certain birds specifically, but may be allowed with special permits like abatement permits.
    While you are fundamentally correct, I think it warrants a closer look at the commercial exploitation that the MBTA was crafted to protect against. Namely unregulated lethal harvest of birds to be used as decorations on ladies hats in the early part of the 20th century. There is not even a glimmer of comparision between that and the USFWS arbitrarily prohibiting you from using your privately held, privately owned raptor in a commercial venture.

    It does not take much examination of the core issue to really see the insanity here. Consider this: I can go out with a camera and photograph any species of bird including raptors in its wild state and charge anything I want for the footage or the commercially prepared end product of that footage, and the USFWS - quite correctly - thinks it is none of their business. With that same camera, I can go out and photograph anyone else's falconry bird and I can still charge anything I want for the footage or the commercially prepared end product of that footage. In this case, the USFWS thinks it is their business if I compensate the falconer for using them in my production, but otherwise it is fully legal. But according the USFWS I cannot go out and film my own privately owned and held falconry raptors and be compensated for the footage.

    This is a pretty basic infringement of my first amendment rights, along with every other falconer's. And while it is overly simplistic to state that free speech can never be infringed, the legal standard is that they government needs to prove a compelling reason to do so. I did have a friend who is an attorney review the case we are talking about, and he seemed to think their argument as it currently stands is skating on some pretty delicate ice.

    The Pacific Legal Foundation took this case (lawyers for the plaintiffs) because they are interested in precedent setting case law advancing libertarian/conservative principles as they relate to government. They are not interested in falconry and its future and they are not interested in the implications case law may have toward wildlife conservation - as they have a history of fighting environmental regulation. they are explicitly trying to weaken conservation. They are funded by tobacco, oil/gas, Koch Brothers and similar interests and have aggressively worked to stop the Sage Grouse conservation plan among a myriad of other environmental issues. Just a message of caution. Its really important to dig into the details on this one.
    What does that have to do with anything? But as long as your brought it up, the Koch brothers are not the boogey men they are commonly portrayed by the lunatic left. They actually are a quite moderating influence on the right wing fringe.

    Neither of the core legal principals they are addressing here have ANY impact on wildlife conservation. This is all about legal aspects of privately held, private owned wildlife once it has already been rendered into private possession.
    Geoff Hirschi - "It is better to have lightning in the fist than thunder in the mouth"
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    Hi John, and thank you for your reply-

    This suit is actually quite simple, so let's go Occam's Razor on it. When you get a falconry permit, your 4th Amendment rights vanish. It's not a "delicate and sometimes annoying dance". It's unconstitutional. The end. Armed state or federal agents can show up on your property and conduct searches without a warrant or probable cause. The nuance or sophistry that can adequately defend that eludes me.

    I encourage any who are interested to research 'The Public Trust Doctrine'. Find out about its original intent, and how the term has been co-opted, reinterpreted, and expanded upon over the years. It is a doctrine, not law, so you don't have to wander too far off into the weeds about it, though it is interesting.

    Whether or not raptors- wild taken or captive-bred- are private property was settled long ago, so there's no need to re-hash it here. (Hint: they are).

    The Pacific Legal Foundation is not a conservation organization, or an environmentalist NGO. They are a non-prof dedicated to civil rights; kind of like the ACLU, but with a decidedly libertarian bent. I didn't know that the Koch brothers donated to them. If true, that's great to hear- it makes me like them even more.

    I'm not posting here to debate stuff that has been argued about for years. Many made up their minds on private property/public trust/gov't regs a long time ago. I'm merely posting this news, because I think it's pretty darn cool. If you are not a Constitutional conservative or libertarian type, there's probably not much in this suit that you'll like. If you are, it'll be like angels singing. (Cue: heavenly choir)
    Bridget

    "We have met the enemy and he is us."
    Pogo Possum

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    I say thank you.
    tony

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peregrinus View Post
    Whether or not raptors- wild taken or captive-bred- are private property was settled long ago, so there's no need to re-hash it here. (Hint: they are).
    Hint: In the case of the Tule Elk and the Los Angeles Zoo the court ruled that no matter how many generations removed from the original wild stock native wild animals are property of the state held in stewardship by the organization in possession.

    Regards,
    Thomas of the Desert
    Tom Munson, Buckeye, AZ
    619-379-2656, tom@munson.us

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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Gizmo View Post
    Hint: In the case of the Tule Elk and the Los Angeles Zoo the court ruled that no matter how many generations removed from the original wild stock native wild animals are property of the state held in stewardship by the organization in possession.
    Citation?

    Wildlife is not the property of the State. It is not property at all until it is rendered into private possession.
    Geoff Hirschi - "It is better to have lightning in the fist than thunder in the mouth"
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    Quote Originally Posted by Montucky View Post
    IN essence wildlife cannot be privately owned just because it resides on private land - it is owned or stewarded by the States in Trust for current and future generations.
    Too late for me to edit my earlier post, but I wanted to further clarify this.

    No one is making the claim that you own your falconry bird because it resides on (or in) your private land [home]. You own it because you rendered it into private possession at the time you lawfully bought or trapped it. And in much the same way, you relinquish your ownership when you release it back to the wild - although the way the federal falconry regulations are spelled out, they clearly recognize your ownership even after that event because you can retrap your bird at any time with absolutely no time limits.
    Geoff Hirschi - "It is better to have lightning in the fist than thunder in the mouth"
    Custom made Tail Saver Perches - http://www.myrthwood.com/TieEmHigh/

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    Quote Originally Posted by rkumetz View Post
    In the case of my regs (which are not great but we do have a good relationship with the state for the most part) this is what it says about inspections:
    (g) Inspection. Permit applicants shall allow a representative of the Department to inspect their facilities, equipment, and raptors for compliance with permit standards. Certification of compliance shall be made by the Department before a permit may be granted. Subsequent inspections may be made at reasonable hours of the day by a representative of the Department, as deemed necessary.

    I don't view that as ominous and it does not reserve the right of the state to break down my door if I am not here. I realize that there have been issues (primarily in CA) and if AFC wants to address that to help CA falconers at the request of CA falconers than that is gracious of them. If, on the other hand, AFC has decided against the wishes of CA falconers to help without asking then shame on them. If we need help with our state regulatory agency or regulations from any outside organization we will ask. Kind of odd that the state which is arguably the most left leaning in the nation wants to send the fish cops to inspect your mews in the middle of the night.
    How is this for a real world scenario that happened in a state other than California.

    During the time frame when the federal regs were reworked, there was a rash of inspections in several states. USFWS region 1, as an example, decided to inspect every single permittee in their borders although they were eventually shut down by their bosses.

    At any rate, during this rash of inspections, in as I said a state other than Calyfornia, a falconer was visited who kept a kestrel in her spare bedroom. They insisted on coming in the house to see her facilities, and she complied. No, the door was not kicked down. No, there was not an armed goon squad pointing assualt rifles around willy nilly. Just a polite pair of officials asking to check things out. She showed them her stuff, including the bedroom where her kestrel was kept, and went about her evening.

    The next day, the US DEA did show up, including an armed goon squad with assault rifles being pointed around willy nilly.

    You see, the friendly polite agents from the day before had seen some drug paraphernalia laying around during their visit. Paraphernalia that were used for the falconers state issued medical marijuana. But since that medical marijuana and the paraphernalia to consume it is illegal under federal law, those polite agents gave their friends at the DEA an easy bust.

    More basically, no matter how friendly or how polite those agents are, they are there for one reason and one reason only. To bust you for doing something wrong. It is already shockingly easy for them to find ways to do that.
    Geoff Hirschi - "It is better to have lightning in the fist than thunder in the mouth"
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    California Code, Civil Code - CIV ß 656
    WILD ANIMALS.  Animals wild by nature are the subjects of ownership, while living, only when on the land of the person claiming them, or when tamed, or taken and held in possession, or disabled and immediately pursued.

    https://codes.findlaw.com/ca/civil-c...-sect-656.html
    Chi M.

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    Quote Originally Posted by goshawkr View Post
    How is this for a real world scenario that happened in a state other than California.

    During the time frame when the federal regs were reworked, there was a rash of inspections in several states. USFWS region 1, as an example, decided to inspect every single permittee in their borders although they were eventually shut down by their bosses.

    At any rate, during this rash of inspections, in as I said a state other than Calyfornia, a falconer was visited who kept a kestrel in her spare bedroom. They insisted on coming in the house to see her facilities, and she complied. No, the door was not kicked down. No, there was not an armed goon squad pointing assualt rifles around willy nilly. Just a polite pair of officials asking to check things out. She showed them her stuff, including the bedroom where her kestrel was kept, and went about her evening.

    The next day, the US DEA did show up, including an armed goon squad with assault rifles being pointed around willy nilly.

    You see, the friendly polite agents from the day before had seen some drug paraphernalia laying around during their visit. Paraphernalia that were used for the falconers state issued medical marijuana. But since that medical marijuana and the paraphernalia to consume it is illegal under federal law, those polite agents gave their friends at the DEA an easy bust.

    More basically, no matter how friendly or how polite those agents are, they are there for one reason and one reason only. To bust you for doing something wrong. It is already shockingly easy for them to find ways to do that.
    I am way more worried by the fact that USFWS bureaucrats are regulating something that they understand nothing about.
    I had a CITES person ask me how my bird could possibly cross the Canadian border if I did not transport it.

    I am also more worried about animal rights morons who outnumber us managing to outmaneuver us making this discussion irrelevant.
    Ron N1WT Vermont

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    Quote Originally Posted by rkumetz View Post
    I am way more worried by the fact that USFWS bureaucrats are regulating something that they understand nothing about.
    I had a CITES person ask me how my bird could possibly cross the Canadian border if I did not transport it.

    I am also more worried about animal rights morons who outnumber us managing to outmaneuver us making this discussion irrelevant.
    I agree that those are concerns. Where they fall in the overall prioritization is up for debate. And I can think of some more pressing issues than the ones we are currently discussing, but I am pleased to hear they are being addressed. I will be even more pleased if they are successfully litigated, which is an entirely different matter than drumming up some papers and filing them in federal court.

    However, it really is a pretty big deal that the US FWS and your state wildlife department are telling you to surrender your 4th amendment rights to parade around with a glorified chicken on your arm. Especially since congress explicitly told the US FWS they were not allowed to do so in the language of the MBTA.

    Now to be perfectly fair on this issue many states are clear in that an inspection is not the same as a search, and must be done at the convenience and pleasure of the permittee. My state is one them that has been very extreme about this. However, this is not always well respected by the agents performing those searches. And there have been threats that if you do not submit to them you can expect your next permit renewal to be denied. During that time period I previously mentioned when there was a rash of inspections, there was a case where a falconer in California asked the agent if they had a warrant when he grew tired of the inspection that was going on. The agent said no, and the falconer told the agent to hit the streets and the agent left without any argument.
    Geoff Hirschi - "It is better to have lightning in the fist than thunder in the mouth"
    Custom made Tail Saver Perches - http://www.myrthwood.com/TieEmHigh/

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    Quote Originally Posted by goshawkr View Post
    I agree that those are concerns. Where they fall in the overall prioritization is up for debate. And I can think of some more pressing issues than the ones we are currently discussing, but I am pleased to hear they are being addressed. I will be even more pleased if they are successfully litigated, which is an entirely different matter than drumming up some papers and filing them in federal court.

    However, it really is a pretty big deal that the US FWS and your state wildlife department are telling you to surrender your 4th amendment rights to parade around with a glorified chicken on your arm. Especially since congress explicitly told the US FWS they were not allowed to do so in the language of the MBTA.

    Now to be perfectly fair on this issue many states are clear in that an inspection is not the same as a search, and must be done at the convenience and pleasure of the permittee. My state is one them that has been very extreme about this. However, this is not always well respected by the agents performing those searches. And there have been threats that if you do not submit to them you can expect your next permit renewal to be denied. During that time period I previously mentioned when there was a rash of inspections, there was a case where a falconer in California asked the agent if they had a warrant when he grew tired of the inspection that was going on. The agent said no, and the falconer told the agent to hit the streets and the agent left without any argument.
    Geoff,
    I know you are savvy enough to realize this is more about abuse of power than falconry regs. Falconers are not the only ones victimized by that sort of crap. Just go make a fuss at an airline gate because of some legitimate gripe and see how quickly they decide you are a security threat. As long as those around us are happy letting government grow in hopes of protecting them from every threat both real and perceived it will continue. They didn't pay attention to the part about a government large enough to protect you from everything also being able to relieve you of your rights.
    Ron N1WT Vermont

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    Damn those Koch brothers! Heh. The whole video will be out soon...

    https://www.facebook.com/PacificLega...U1NzE0NDA3MzU/
    Bridget

    "We have met the enemy and he is us."
    Pogo Possum

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    You can dodge and weave all ya want. You can bring up the 'Public Trust Doctrine', or Ron Clarke's testimony, or 'darn that AFC they're just meddling in local politics', or any of the tired old arguments that have been coughed up for years. We've heard it all. But it's real simple. 4th Amendment. You're either for it, or against it.
    Bridget

    "We have met the enemy and he is us."
    Pogo Possum

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peregrinus View Post
    You can dodge and weave all ya want. You can bring up the 'Public Trust Doctrine', or Ron Clarke's testimony, or 'darn that AFC they're just meddling in local politics', or any of the tired old arguments that have been coughed up for years. We've heard it all. But it's real simple. 4th Amendment. You're either for it, or against it.
    Back to the divisive "you are either with us or against us" strategy I see. That is working just swell in congress so I am not surprised that continues to be the AFC mantra.

    Winston Churchill said "If a man is 25 and not a liberal he has no heart. If he is 45 and not a conservative he has no brain". When I got to a certain age I realized that many of my grandfather's seemingly silly sayings had value. Confrontation is rarely an effective long term strategy and picking your battles avoids wasting ammunition you may need later.

    There are ALWAYS gray areas and forcing the people who see them to be on the other side because they don't agree with you 100% is a tactical blunder of enormous proportions. There are not enough of us (falconers) for us to appear fragmented to the outside world and not end up being crushed by other interests.

    I would think that one interested in philosophy would already know all of that. 😁
    Ron N1WT Vermont

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    When you buy an air line ticket you are subject to a certain set of rules and restrictions. Flying on an airline is not a right. Same with driving a car. It also is not a right and you can be subject to any number of reasons for being stopped and searched. Our permits also subject us to certain restrictions.
    Having said that, there are many on this forum who were not falconers when Operation Falcon was initiated by USFW. Many here have not had the pleasure of armed federal agent coming to search your residence for no better reason than you held a falcon on a federal permit. We should all have a healthy wariness of this agency that insists on overseeing our sport. They have proven they are capable overreach and excessive abuse of power.
    -John "Q" Lindstrom
    "The road goes on forever and the party never ends" Robert Earl Keen

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    Are you saying that we forfeit our 4th amendment rights as soon as we get on the highway or enter an airport? A person agreeing to the terms set by an airline when buying a ticket is separate from the mandated searches performed on passengers by a government agency.
    Calvin Thiessen
    NW Iowa

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    Quote Originally Posted by rkumetz View Post
    I know you are savvy enough to realize this is more about abuse of power than falconry regs.
    It is indeed about abuse of power. It is about the abuse of power codified within the falconry regs.

    The actual MBTA, as passed by congress, expressly prohibits the USFWS from engaging in warrantless inspections of permittees, yet their regulations require it. How is that not an abuse of power?

    Winston Churchill said "If a man is 25 and not a liberal he has no heart. If he is 45 and not a conservative he has no brain".
    I laugh at this quote all the time, living in the Liberal Left Coast and seeing so many brainless 45+ year olds walking around. Especially since I followed this exact evolution myself, although at a younger age of transition. But I digress......

    Quote Originally Posted by qball View Post
    When you buy an air line ticket you are subject to a certain set of rules and restrictions. Flying on an airline is not a right. Same with driving a car. It also is not a right and you can be subject to any number of reasons for being stopped and searched. Our permits also subject us to certain restrictions.
    Flying on an airline is not a right, but access to buy an airline ticket is a right. The driving a car argument gets a little fuzzy, but only just a bit. Everyone has the right to acquire a drivers license. And everyone has the right to acquire a falconry license/permit.

    As you pointed out, there are a lot of areas of modern life with restrictions tied to them. However, the constitution has set forth several restrictions that cannot and shall not be trodden upon. We are speaking about two at the moment. Various government agencies have tried to make the argument that you voluntarily relinquish rights to do an activity, and the courts have been crystal clear that this is not allowed.

    Having said that, there are many on this forum who were not falconers when Operation Falcon was initiated by USFW. Many here have not had the pleasure of armed federal agent coming to search your residence for no better reason than you held a falcon on a federal permit. We should all have a healthy wariness of this agency that insists on overseeing our sport. They have proven they are capable overreach and excessive abuse of power.
    I am curious what government agencies you know of that have not proven capable of overreach and excessive abuse of power.

    The inspection requirements in the regulations are effectively handing this agency, with a demonstrable and recent history of overreach and abuse of their power, a loaded cocked gun and sticking your face in front of the barrel.
    Geoff Hirschi - "It is better to have lightning in the fist than thunder in the mouth"
    Custom made Tail Saver Perches - http://www.myrthwood.com/TieEmHigh/

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    Some folks in the California falconry community that claimed to speak for all Californian falconers gave the CDFW the green light on the proposed regulations, despite protest from falconers that were savvy with legal issues, after they were threatened with falconry being taken away.

    https://youtu.be/0MTKjzaz-gU
    Chi M.

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    Quote Originally Posted by goshawkr View Post
    As you pointed out, there are a lot of areas of modern life with restrictions tied to them. However, the constitution has set forth several restrictions that cannot and shall not be trodden upon. We are speaking about two at the moment. Various government agencies have tried to make the argument that you voluntarily relinquish rights to do an activity, and the courts have been crystal clear that this is not allowed.

    I am curious what government agencies you know of that have not proven capable of overreach and excessive abuse of power.
    Given that the courts have been clear that this is not allowed, it would seem more prudent to present that case law to the agencies in question and handle abuses on a case by case basis.

    It is much easier to make a case for a violation of one's constitutional rights when an agency has abused its power and stepped across constitutional boundaries than to deal in hypothetical
    situations. Americans are not easy to get excited about hypothetical anything. They require Youtube videos with dramatic footage. Then they start tweeting and all that sort of crap and
    before long you have the electronic version of the villagers with the pitchforks and torches.

    On the other hand litigating just to thump one's chest and make some point about looking out for everyone's rights might backfire.

    I am not naive. I am fully aware that there are some in government who abuse their power. I regularly have to deal with an FAA security geek who introduces himself as "Special Agent (name omitted to protect the stupid)" instead of "John Doe" etc. You immediately know when you deal with someone like that you are dealing with someone who is stoned on his own power or perceived power and yes, he does abuse it whenever he has a chance. He also gets pissed off when you call your congressional delegation. In his words "I really hate getting calls from congressional offices". On the other giving him a wedgie by stepping on his ego too hard or unnecessarily is not likely to be productive. Where I am I going with this? Fighting a war because you expect a skirmish may not be prudent. Wait until you need to fight and when practical try to be diplomatic. I haven't always been this way. I used to be motivated to go head to head whenever I perceived some injustice. I have simply learned that you need to pick your battles.

    Am I comfortable with individuals or organizations engaging USFWS and other agencies in a dialog about how the regs may overstep those constitutional boundaries as well as being unnecessary to enforce the spirit of the law? Absolutely.

    Am I comfortable with them becoming confrontational and claiming to do it for all falconers? No. I am not and I hope they don't try to help me fix the regs in my state.

    And yes, I am tremendously offended by the implication that if I don't agree with their strategy that I am not a staunch defender of my and others' constitutional rights. That
    more than anything raised my hackles.

    We have talked about a lot of this stuff and I think you know where I stand.
    Last edited by rkumetz; 11-02-2018 at 07:08 PM. Reason: Fingers faster than brain
    Ron N1WT Vermont

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    Default Maintaining good will

    I watched the video of the CHC representation (among others) testifying at the board meeting where the California falconry regs were approved. They thanked CDFW for the requested changes they had received, were courteous in stating their intention to continue working with the agency on the remaining requested changes, and fairly obviously preserved such good will as they had so far built with the board and the agency.

    In my opinion that good will and non-adversarial relationship will do more to help them meet their goals than any court case ruling.

    Regards,
    Thomas of the Desert
    Tom Munson, Buckeye, AZ
    619-379-2656, tom@munson.us

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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Gizmo View Post
    I watched the video of the CHC representation (among others) testifying at the board meeting where the California falconry regs were approved. They thanked CDFW for the requested changes they had received, were courteous in stating their intention to continue working with the agency on the remaining requested changes, and fairly obviously preserved such good will as they had so far built with the board and the agency.

    In my opinion that good will and non-adversarial relationship will do more to help them meet their goals than any court case ruling.

    Regards,
    Thomas of the Desert

    Ron N1WT Vermont

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peregrinus View Post
    The AFC has launched our suit. If we are successful, and I suspect we will be, this will affect every falconer in the U.S., and set far-reaching legal precedent for other hunters.


    https://pacificlegal.org/case/peter-...fNn_mcZhgsv4XE


    Bridget
    Thanks for posting this Bridget!

    All my best
    Dan McCarron
    John 3: 16

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    Thanks for posting, Ron!

    All my best,

    Bill Boni

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    If anyone would like cut their tissue budget by not watching the teary eyed video or bypass the flag waving stuff you can read the actual complaint here:

    https://pacificlegal.org/documents/complaint-4/
    Ron N1WT Vermont

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    After having read the complaint (riveting reading indeed...) I am even less enthusiastic about allegations that this lawsuit is a patriotic attempt to defend my rights.

    Much of it centers around commercial endeavors. The practice of falconry has nothing to do with one's right to give educational presentations or to use a falconry bird in a movie, commercial or other type of commercial venture. The non-commercial use of wildlife has been a tenet of US wildlife management since Teddy Roosevelt. It does not seem to me that the PLF and the plaintiff's are as interested in the 1st amendment as they are the ability to monetize a falconry permit.

    I am also not sold on the allegation that an inspection violates one's 4th amendment rights or that signing one's John Hancock on the application for a falconry permit is a blanket waiver of those rights.
    Using the ultra-libertarian line of thinking that these folks are using the health inspector is violating someone's rights when he or she shows up to inspect an establishment which has a permit/license to serve food.

    This lawsuit is more about removing unwanted restrictions than it is about constitutional rights. In the video they talk about a falconer who had an appointment for what seemed like a REASONABLE inspection who had officers show up a day early which was not reasonable. The armed distinction clearly added for dramatic effect since most conservation officers, wardens, etc are armed and we don't expect them to leave their firearms in their vehicle when they come indoors.

    If this had actually been more about federal and state officials overstepping their authority (think Operation Falcon here) then I would be happy to see someone go to bat for my fellow falconers.
    Unfortunately their agenda is not as altruistic as they would like you to believe.

    I heartily recommend that falconers read the complaint before they accept this lawsuit at the face value suggested by AFC and PLF.
    Ron N1WT Vermont

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