Monday, December 14, 2009

Legal considerations

Not wanting to be in violation of any laws concerning migratory birds, on the state or federal level, I am trying to determine just what types of permits I may need to do falconry pest bird control in Idaho. Just being a bonafide Master falconer that has a hunting license appears to be the most important. Got that.
No problem where non-protected species are concerned, i.e. pigeons, starling and house sparrows are fair game anytime. If the targets are legal game species, then all hunting regulations would apply, with specific seasons, limits and access.
For any migratory bird that is not a game species,or even ones that are game that is out of season, it appears that if depredation can be determined and verified by a private or public source/concern then a Federal Bird Abatement permit for Falconry(MBTA 50 CFR 21.27) would be required. These appear to be available to Master class Falconers for a $100 annual fee.
Fruit eaters like Robins and Waxwings, are known to be injurous to grape crops. It appears to me that I could patrol a vineyard with a captive bred hawk such as a Goshawk, Harris's Hawk or Aplamado Falcon, in pursuit of Valley Quail, which are a legal game bird and also occur commonly in vineyards, with a more innocuous presence.. Robins, etc. would most certainly scatter at the presence of the raptor, even if it was not in pursuit of them directly.
I just learned of a company, involved in bird control at oil refineries for over ten years, suddenly being forced to stop activities due to lack of proper permits of some sort. This was in Montana. Each state seems to be having to sort out it's own regulations on this subject now that the Feds have relaxed regs nationwide. Idaho seems to be in need of some direction in this area. It is a totally new field for a state that once told it's only falconer, the late, great Morley Nelson that he could go ahead and wing some crows and magpies with his air rifle to train his falcons to catch them. No one seemed to mind at the time.

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