Court is a fine place to be; once falconers end up there, they usually win, but the victory is bittersweet, because by the time you end up in front of a judge, your birds have been confiscated and your permit revoked, so a fine lot of good your legal triumph affords you.
The problem is that winning in court is not the point for certain overzealous Fedz; as Operation Falcon made clear, legal victories are not the metric these authorities use to determine the success of their endeavors. (Recall that most cases brought to trial were laughed out of court and yet, 20 years later, OF is still touted as a victory for the forces of law and order.)
If your lawyer is wise, he will tell you to comply with the regs, or whatever spurious interpretation of them may be popular at the moment, and will go from there.
All this talk of fighting is well and good, but just remember that by the time a falconer fights in court, he's already lost a great deal.
Eddie said: I believe they are knit-picking and making him give me this in writing, since he won't be able to, will give me fuel for the fire in court. Does anyone have Frank Bond's email address or phone number so I can also get a hold of him. I'm sure he can also help or even help with an attorney since they are THE organization for us.[/quote]
Thanks everyone for the advise and kind words. In the end it is never about us, it is about the birds, their proper care and training; but it's always nice to put a smile on your face when you win in court reguardless! Attorneys know the laws more than any of us so I will leave this in their hands. I already sent an ematil to one of them and will be contacting three others that deal with falconry related issues; another one being a falconer and the other two work with him (kind of like an attorney having attorneys) LOL.
I believe I may have read another federal regulation where as you have to maintain a bird in good feather condition? It may have been a proposed regulation? Isn't that to say you must have feathers on hand if one is to keep a bird in good feather condition? Without imping, for the hard core game hawkers, it is almost impossible. That might be another issue where the regulations are unclear to falconers. Just a thought? Erik
Well, if there is going to be a condition stipulation. They should have some kind of negotiable damage limits. The reason I say that is because chipped tips don't constitute a imping job. Now, if they come in (for example) and see that your bird's tail has 4 broken tail feathers and others that are all frayed out. I can understand that and they should get a citation issued. I haven't seen anything along the lines of feather condition rules but maybe I haven'y seen them. I will have to agree with Eddie. If the bird has damaged feathers fix the problem where it is happening. I've had birds that where hard on thier feathers. The most damage that I've had with those birds were chipped ends. Remeber that not only that it makes the falconer look bad. It makes us look bad as a whole in view of the public. I was taught by a tough master and he always told me "break my birds feathers I'll break your fingers". Course, now that I look back I really don't think he would of but hey!.... you never know.-Zach
Last Edit: Jun 1, 2006 19:15:57 GMT -5 by Tiercel78
I used to think i knew some things. But i'm not so sure anymore.
Exactly! Despite where we are all located, someone somewhere whether in the field or at your house manning or weathering your bird(s), the public will see and it is our job to help educate them with the proper information. If they see a bird in bad condition they will most likely ask questions or may even turn a falconer in to their local game department because they don't understand that some birds are rough on their feathers, especially those that readily crash the bush for a bunny or a pheasant. I had one tiercel red-tail that I had to constantly cut out of bushes with a hatchet or a saw! His feathers weren't damaged too much but he ended up getting really large, noticable calcium deposits on his elbows!
I may be over looking it but I have gone over the federal reg. twice and can not find any place that specifies that you have to have the bird spices in your possession in order to retain imping feathers , with exception to eagles . I have a copy of the Migratory bird reg . When I get a chance I will go over it as well , to see if there is any stipulations regarding falconers. By this point of view of the reg. I have something for all you to consider. I know red tail hawkers that retain imping feathers. They take a red tail in the fall and release in the spring and never fly any thing but red tails . But by this view of the reg . They may be fined for possession of imping feathers any time during the summer months just cause they do not have a bird . Also , in regards to the legal side of the falconer . By the reg. you may retain feathers from molt or dead raptors , which allows you to remove the feathers in the event you bird should die ( Right ) . Would not this leave you WITH OUT the bird in your possession ? I feel this agent has read his own rules into the reg .
Good points. Well, I have retained an attorney for this matter. He said that once I get the citation in the mail to take it to the court and refuse to pay it and demand a court date. Once I go to court and plead not guilty, from that point, here in Utah, it can actually take up to 2 years before it even gets to court. The horrible side of it is if after court the jury finds me guilty I will have to pay a fine and they will suspend my licenses for up to 10 years! That will really suck. He said there are several things to go through and for the meantime not to worry and continue to practicing falconry as usual because I'll have at least 2 more years. I guess that's good......right? LOL
I think this is blown out of proportion. On the subject of citations for the condition of your bird, I think this is just one more bull**** way for the feds to mis-interprit the regs. I have had my Harris is some pretty nasty feather before and it was NOT due to neglect. It was simply from the birds actions in the field and on quarry that led to tail damage. Now, I did imp quite a few feathers in, but the tail was still in bad shape at the end ot the season so I left the feathers to moult on their own....What would happen under these new regs if a DOW officer came to my house and gave me a ticket for the broken feathers? They don't care that the bird broke them hunting or in the mews, all they see is a possible citation......
Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines "Give a man a fish, and you'll feed him for a day; give him a religion................ and he'll starve to death while praying for a fish."
If I was to imp every feather that the HH broke, I would spend my entire falconry season doing that instead of hunting. I wonder who imps the birds feathers when it breaks one in the wild. The HH I am flying right now has a terrible looking tail with a bunch of broken feathers. The moult will take care of that. When I first started manning the eagles down, they broke a few feathers when they were tethered and bating. I didn't have any feathers to imp the bird with. Do I get a citation for that. This whole issue is just a bunch of BS by the feds.
I agree with all of those statements. However, it is like my attorney said, it really depends on the officer. He said cases like this are not common and it is simply because the officer thinks he is "the law" and wants to put more notches on his belt!
Good points. Well, I have retained an attorney for this matter. He said that once I get the citation in the mail to take it to the court and refuse to pay it and demand a court date. Once I go to court and plead not guilty, from that point, here in Utah, it can actually take up to 2 years before it even gets to court. The horrible side of it is if after court the jury finds me guilty I will have to pay a fine and they will suspend my licenses for up to 10 years!
Eddie: Here in WA, this matter was resolved before getting anyone ended up in court or got cited. Apparently, one of the USFWs own in-house attornies determined that the interpretation was without merit. You may want to investigate that angle-
I will definately tell my attorney that and have him look into it. The simple fact of the matter is I cannot dictate nor do I have control over what someone else does. My ex-employee is the one that turned this in to DWR and it was simply blown way out of proportion. I hae looked over my State regs and it says nothing to what that agent said. Neither do the Federal CFR's.
I've just read through this thread, and I'm appalled, really. .. I have a few cooper feathers that I've had since I was twelve, and tons of others, though not from BOP, but now I'm paranoid.
Good luck Eddie, I really hope that things get worked out fairly.
Ken to wa kokoro nari. Kokorotadashi kareba sono ken tadashi kokoro tadashi. Karazareba sono ken mata tadashi karazu. Ken O manaban to suru mono wa subekaraku sono kokoro manabe. Poem of KenZen Dojo: The Sword is the Mind