Quote Originally Posted by MrBill View Post
Well, I certainly would not want you to say the "wrong" thing, Dan; that would not fit your image :-)
Dan was not speaking for himself, it was polite gentlemanly advice. Referring to what you had said to him

Also, it wasn't that long ago that you were complaining and whining about NAFA's handling of the eagle situation to the point of resigning from the club (having since rejoined).
This is certainly not an entirely inaccurate description of events, but it is rather interestingly lacking in detail. And I believe entirely disrespectful in how it is presented.

Dan was the active core of the NAFA eagle committee. This was after Dan had gotten falconry trapping of golden eagles for falconry normalized in this country through decades of astute political navigating. Not entirely by himself, but he was the central core to it and did far more work than anyone else and with no help from NAFA. At one point, it was as simple as applying for a non resident take permit from Wyoming and showing up to trap during the depredation season in designated depredation areas. He does not toot his own blower about that, but that is how it happened.

There was guy who liked to think of himself as an eagle falconer and liked to think he was a significant contributor to eagle falconry that leveraged Dan off the eagle committee and got himself installed as the chair of the eagle committee instead, and under the watch of this guy eagle falconry trapping was shut down without any effort at all to counter it. Those are the facts that you were missing. You may call it whining, but if that had happened to me, I would never say a positive thing about NAFA again. If I had invested that much time and energy into something only to have it junked, well.... I am not as graceful about Dan over such things. And in point of fact, this incident was one of the reasons why I left NAFA under protest for almost a decade. It was not the main reason, but it went on the list.

Still, I never have seen Dan "whine" about this. I have seen him calling NAFA to task about the completely inadequate way they handled the eagle take issue, but even that was done with respect.

NAFA completely utterly and undeniably dropped the ball on protecting eagle falconry and the trapping of eagles in the last ~15 years. Saying anything different is quite simply just engaging in anal tongue waggling. It certainly is unfair to say that NAFA would have been able to keep eagle trapping open. We dont know if that would have been possible because they did absolutely nothing significant to try. So while I cannot actually blame NAFA for take being closed, and I do not, I can and do blame them for sitting on their thumbs and watching it happen. After take was closed, NAFA did very little in terms of effective work to get it reopened. I was watching the board minutes when I rejoined NAFA for a while after one of the board members publicly proclaimed to make eagle take an issue - but I dont recall one word showing up in board minutes related to eagle take.

I agree with you and John that NAFA has done some great things in the the past. And I agree that gratitude is deserved on the part of NAFA for that. It is not accurate to say that without NAFA there would be no falconry, because we really do not know. That alternate history never occured. NAFA was there, and got it done. At any rate, I cannot think of any examples more recent than Operation Falcon where I would make the statement taht NAFA did a great job. I do not think its completely fair to descend into saying "...what has NAFA done for me lately..." However, I also have a hard time saying NAFA is still relevant. I have been called on the carpet about that statement by a previous DAL in NAFA and even a previous president who threw a project in my lap and said "...ok mr, put your tough talk into action..." and I will admit that despite my eager enthusiasm for the project, I dropped it on the floor. I admit that I own some guilt at not helping make NAFA more relevant.

A key example of that - we have a species that was completely delisted more than 20 years that has special quota rules and special flyway oversight over take. NAFA did stage a mild protest at the outset for that, but it was pretty ineffective. When the US FWS decided to play hardball over the peregrine take at delisting, NAFA just went and sat on the proverbial bench. And the work accomplished since then has been relatively light weight.

There has been a tiny amount of progress on getting the eagle take re-opened. And maybe that will build to something significant. The current state is nothing to be crowing about, especially given what was lost. But it might get there, and I am hopeful it will. NAFA deserves some credit for that. As far as I am aware, all the activities that led to this tiny re-opening of eagle take were undertaken by NAFA members. It was a monumentus undertaking, and real credit is due to the progress made so far. When I say tiny amount of progress, I know that this involved lots and lots of effort to even get that far.

One very interesting, and nefarious, link to my prior comment is that the US FWS is rumored to think that the flyway council should have some say on the newly re implemented eagle take. Accepting that sets a very dangerous precedent. The flyway councils are there to equitably regulate a take that has serious potential to impact the resource and make sure it is allocated fairly. On the whole, its a good process for species that seriously could be impacted by take. But there is absolutely no science based justification to use that model to regulate falconry take of eagles or peregrines or any other raptor. It just adds unnecessary red tape. And really bodes the question - what is next? Harris' hawks? Goshawks? Kestrels? The precedent could very easily slip to include all falconry raptors. Do we really need to have that much bureaucracy to make sure that a few apprentices and squirrel hawks do not decimate redtails?