(It makes defense attorneys way too happy….)
Two pilots are indicted under Federal Law for harassing migrating waterfowl resting on an Iowa reservoir.
Sounds like a good indictment. Anyone with two brain cells to rub together knows migrating birds, waterfowl and others, are teetering on the edge of death from exhaustion and starvation during their long flights. The poor creatures barely survive on the very best of days.
These pilots both knew exactly what they were doing when they flew at a twenty-foot altitude over birds resting and feeding on the water, driving thousands of resting waterfowl into a flight frenzy to escape the sudden violent attack from the huge predators coming at them. This was a deliberate act of both pilots, with predictable results on the first pass. On their second harassing pass they knew absolutly that their act would result in yet another frantic attempt by the resting waterfowl to escape death from the air.
With professional witnesses of this episode, and photographs by wildlife professionals testifying of the pilots abominable acts, they would not want me on their jury. I hope the jury members are smart enough to see through the fog of bullcrap being laid out by the pilots attorneys. And, in accordance with the Federal charges, I hope the government ends up owning the airplanes.
We used to assist the Wildlife Resources on certain cases, especially if they suspected they were dealing with someone who was… “uncooperative”. The F&G Agents used to seize shotguns and other weapons used in violation of our game laws.
On one occasion I know of, we seized both the expensive weapon that was used to poach an elk and the new pickup truck that was used to transport it.
Whether using a firearm or an airplane, there is no difference in the harassment, only the tools used to harass.
If one person can be charged with harassing one waterfowl, then why not file thousands of individual charges against the pilots for harassing thousands of individual wildlife? With professional testimony and photographic proof of each of the thousands of individuals being harassed, it might be “do-able”.
[quote]…Both sides agree Austin and Martin were flying low on Nov. 16 as they passed over Saylorville Lake, a reservoir north of Des Moines known for birdwatching. Tens of thousands of pelicans, ducks, geese and other birds stop there every fall to rest and feed before continuing south.
A natural resources specialist for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which manages the lake, saw the two planes pass about 20 feet above the water, disrupting thousands of white pelicans and other birds. Once the birds settled on another part of the lake, the planes passed by again, sending them back into flight, prosecutors said.
Natural resources specialist Jonathan Wuebker snapped photographs and eventually cited Austin and Martin for flying “in a careless, negligent or reckless manner” over protected land.
Then in February, a grand jury indicted the men on charges of violating the Airborne Hunting Act, which carries up to one year in jail. Prosecutors also aim to seize their small planes _ a 1974 Magnus Bowers Fly Baby and a 1946 Aeronca….[/quote]
Full Story at: [url]http://www.grandviewoutdoors.com/deer-hunting/articlecontent/5/2012/3591/iowa-case-asks-is-it-a-crime-to-harass-animals[/url]
Additional Story at: [url]http://www.startribune.com/nation/149538395.html[/url]
Digest of Federal Airborne Hunting Act: [url]http://www.fws.gov/laws/lawsdigest/AIRBORN.HTML[/url]
This Act, Public Law 92-159, approved November 18, 1971 (85 Stat. 480) and subsequently amended by P.L. 92-502, approved October 28, 1972 (86 Stat. 905) added to the Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956 a new section 13 (16 U.S.C. 742j-l), which is commonly referred to as the Airborne Hunting Act or Shooting from Aircraft Act, prohibits shooting or attempting to shoot or harrassing any bird, fish, or other animal from aircraft except for certain specified reasons, including protection of wildlife, livestock, and human life as authorized by a Federal or State issued license or permit. States authorized to issue permits are required to file reports with the Secretary of the Interior containing information on any permits issued.