Quote Originally Posted by Montucky View Post
This is a concept that critics of NAFA and government have generally overlooked. That fact that we are couched within a wildlife management paradigm means we have been given a legal open road by wildlife agencies who, by definition, support our enterprise in the face of a myriad of obstacles. It is fortuitous to say the least compared to say the British model. Overall, most of the falconers I know have had at least one unfortunate interaction with LE's but the net experience has been either benign or positive. I would have tip my hat to AFC if they were just trying to make a nuanced change to inspections - whereby the inspection to certify a new falconer's facilities (and falconers that moved to the state) was mandatory, but any re-inspection would have some more sideboards to it.
Then why have you not tipped your hat? The scope of the 4th amendment argument is LASER focused on the administrative inspections after permitting, and does not affect the inspections before getting the license. It also seems that NAFA missed that point in their response, because they seemed to be focusing a lot of energy on how important inspections were as part of the permitting process.

I think that once a falconer is vetted with permits and inspections, maybe it would be nice to have a slightly higher bar. As I have mentioned before, the problem is that there is a larger regulatory norm for all migratory bird permits under Subchapter B of 50CFR. So breaking into this requirement is a bigger hurdle that just falconry, and the reasoning behind MBTA regs, are, in my opinion, are not unreasonable if you have a broader view of conservation vs looking through a straw at "rights".
So do I! Its called a warrant. Any cop that cannot convince their pal the judge that they have enough probable cause to give someone a sniff shouldn't have their badge in the first place. Its not hard to do that little bit of homework. That is a key tenant to the US legal system - get some evidence of wrong doing, then go harass someone when you are close to being ready to make a case. NOT harrass first and build the case later, which is what the US FWS and some state wildlife agencies have been doing.

The core nefarious problem with Administrative inspections is that it empowers the enforcement officers to just go fishing for problems. It is also all to easy for this to be used punitively by officials who want to punish someone (this has happened a few times in the last ~15 years), or by falconers who want to trigger an inspection to "get" at another falconer. Both of these problems were exactly why the fourth amendment was instituted in the first place!

This made even worse in our case because the rules are so ridiculously complex that no one really understands them well - not the officers doing the inspections, not the paper pushing permit issuing beurocrats, and especially not the falconers. Simple transgressions very easily get blown way out of any sane proportion.

Of course the paradigm behind PLF and their ideological funders is the opposite of our own conservation paradigm. They take a fundamental opposition to the very idea of a public resource, democratic access, and conservation in general. They fight time-tested conservation model by using "rights" arguments - suggesting it is the manifest destiny of folks (especially industry) to be able to take what they want and benefit from it financially without interference or consequence. They see mainstream conservation practices as extreme government over-reach.
The core problem is that the conservationists have taken the pendulum WAAY too far down the protection spectrum. No one disputes that it is important to protect resources for future generations. But an overall hands off approach is not the correct way to go either.

Conservation and liberty and access to resources are not mutually exclusive concepts. There is tension between them, and compromises must be reached. However, there is no conflict between the 1st amendment and the 4th amendment and raptor conservation. Absolutely none whatsoever.

Subchapter B of 50CFR Part 13 set the over-arching terms for all permits such as Taxidermy, Education, Falconry, rehab etc. In 13.47 you will see that the inspection requirement is an umbrella requirement for all permits relating to bird possession ß 13.47 Inspection requirement. Any person holding a permit under this subchapter B shall allow the Director's agent to enter his premises at any reasonable hour to inspect any wildlife or plant held or to inspect, audit, or copy any permits, books, or records required to be kept by regulations of this subchapter B.
And exactly how does the fact that this regulation is higher up in the tier does it magically become constitutional?

You are quite right that we need to look at several places in 50 CFR, and section 13 is a particularly imporant area that applies to all permits, not just MBTA permits.