Falconry is over regulated by government agencies who claim "conservation" as the reason, but when this is examined and compared to real world facts this assertion does not hold-up. In-spite of the afore mentioned if you are a falconer you operate as a second class citizen, not afforded the basic rights or privacy, and an assumption of innocence until proven guilty as is law of our land. Instead I assert that falconers are used as a proxy whipping boy for a facade of conservation, ironically by agencies charged with "managing wildlife" principally to enable hunting. These agencies see hunting, that is killing, as a legitimate form of take - the idea of taking and keeping a "bird" alive as the instrument of hunting is peculiar, strange, and is conveniently a way to demonstrate to non-hunters how much these agencies care about "conservation." This paradigm is flawed on so many levels that it must change, but it will not until the falconers subjected to these unfair "law/rules" reject the underlying arguments used to keep a boot heel on their throats, and stop subjecting each-other to a standard un-imaginable in all other forms of animal keeping or take!
The purpose of this presentation is empower falconers with a new way of looking at the laws to which they must comply under the potential penalties of criminal action which could lead to financial hardship. If a falconer is faced with charges and doesn't had the resources they are forced to take a "plea" deal so as to avoid the financial exposure of a legal battle even if the falconer has done nothing wrong, or finally face imprisonment because they are subject to regulations they were not even aware of.
After my 8 month ordeal of having unwarrented charges filed against me through USFWS I have learned more about the legal issues we as falconer's face. I emerged aquitted of the charges and more determined than ever to educated those that are legally licensed to possess raptors on how to protect themselves, be proactive and begin positive change.
Topics Covered in the Presentation:
Why is Falconry So Regulated?
Why do Falconry Misdemeanors Fall into Two Criminal Categories?
What Effect Does Filling Out a 3-186A Form Really Have?
Why are There So Many Barney Fifes in Falconry?
What Can You Do to Protect Yourself?
How Do We Begin to Change this Paradigm?
In 1997 my licensed and protected Harris Hawk was shot while I was flying it. Although the police took a report of the incident, no charges were ever filed against the shooter. Fast forward to January, 2015 when Scott Dinger, an Idaho falconer was flying his licensed and protected Falcon. The Falcon took a duck and landed some 500 yards away from Scott. As Scott headed towards his falcon a woman passing by in a vehicle go out with a shovel and beat his falcon to death in an effort to save the duck. To this day no federal charges have been filed against the woman.
The lack of response by the athorities when I reported my incident got me to asking, Why am I filling out all theses forms and living under such a sense of threat with spot inspections, and penalties for not reporting a bird within five days, etc. Why?
If you start asking that one question about everything having to do with falconry and the law I will be surprised if you can draw any satisfactory conclusions. That one one word, why got me exploring a taboo subject in our Art and Sport and that is the why we are in the state we are in when it comes to our rights as citizens of a democratic society.
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