The Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) was enshrined in the United States’ Constitution following an agreement between various countries, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Japan. This legislation protects migrating birds from human actions such as capturing, killing, pursuing, and hunting. In this case, the Gun Club has received a warning letter from the Federal Wildlife Management. The letter alleges that the Gun Club is in violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Here is an assessment of the Gun Club’s conduct and a determination of whether the club’s actions amount to a violation of the MBTA.
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The MBTA prohibits the killing of migratory birds, among other actions. In addition, attempting to hunt, kill, capture, or possess migratory birds is also prohibited. The Gun Club hires a neighboring farmer to spread corn on his field in an attempt to lure birds. This action amounts to “attempting to hunt” the birds, and it is illegal as specified by the MBTA. The fact that the Gun Club members engage in bird-shooting activities constitutes another illegality. However, if the Gun Club has sought the necessary permissions from the relevant state or federal authorities, the activities of the Gun Club might be within the law. According to the MBTA, there can be exemptions to the law after consideration of several factors. Therefore, the Gun Club’s activities can be allowed depending on the season, the birds’ species, the birds’ breeding patterns, and the birds’ migration patterns. All of these exemptions are subject to presidential approval. After providing the Federal Wildlife Management with the necessary permits, the Gun Club should be allowed to continue with its activities.
In a scenario where no permits have been issued to the Gun Club, the Club has a case to answer. This is in case the club wishes to continue with its activities. The Club has several legal defenses at its disposal. First, the birds are shot within the premises of a private farm, and the farmer is within his rights to scare and chase away the birds that threaten his harvest. However, this angle of defense may be undermined by the fact that the farmer intentionally spreads seeds on his farm with the intention of “pursuing” the birds. The other possible defense is that the Gun club does not involve itself in the explicit “taking, hunting, or killing” of migratory birds. The bird shooting could be ruled as accidental, given all shooting activities in the Gun Club are regulated and within the legal frameworks. Therefore, no additional permits are required by the Gun Club when its patrons are conducting their activities. This defense angle requires proof that the activities of the corn farm and those of the Gun Club are independent.
If the Gun Club does not heed the issued warning, the Federal Wildlife Management could obtain a warrant to arrest, investigate, or stop the Gun Club’s activities. Violating the MBTA carries both a misdemeanor and a felony charge. In case the Gun Club is found guilty of a misdemeanor, a fine of five hundred dollars or a six-month jail term is in order. According to the MBTA, it is a felony to “knowingly kill or hunt” migratory birds. If the Gun Club is found guilty of the felony, the penalty is a fine of two thousand dollars or a jail term of up to two years. The guns used to kill the birds have to be forfeited to the United States’ Government in the event of a conviction.