Is there a loophole where shooting hawks is legal?

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Sep 1, 2020
I live in Larimer county Colorado, and apparently shooting hawks is illegal here. I've never lost a chicken too a hawk but for some time now hawks have been killing my racing pigeons. I've been looking through county legislature and ordinances but mostly the laws are conflicting. I'm not expecting anyone to know the ordinances specific to my county, but are there any federal laws allowing the shooting of hawks that override city ordinances? Does anyone know about Colorado pest regulations? Racing pigeons are pretty valuable and are considered property. I'd be really grateful for any help at all.
I am not saying to do this or saying that I approve of this personally, although whenever this topic would come up at poultry shows (and pigeon shows) they would always just say "just don't tell anyone and how would anyone know you shot one?" I even had a stranger, just making random conversation with me while I refilled my pigeons water dishes at a show, go into detail how he killed a hawk once, to this day I wonder if he knew it was illegal...

I believe where I live if a predator is in the act if damaging property or livestock you can shoot them, although I'm unsure about hawks since I've had very little interaction with them and my birds. You could probably call fish and wildlife and see if they have recommendations, although since its a bird I'm not sure what all they could do, whereas a fox or coyote they could trap and relocate much easier... its sort of up to you from there. You could kill the hawk and hope nobody notices, or check online to see if its legal to shoot one if they're attacking your livestock, you could look into trapping the hawk although I know nothing about that. Good luck with your hawk issue nonetheless ^^
If you are having a problem, you may apply for a special permit from the Feds that will allow you to dispatch a particular bird. If you shoot one without that permit and get caught, the fine is up to $15,000 plus 6 months in jail and confiscation of property. If it is an eagle or on the endangered species list the penalty is much greater.

Laws Regulating Native North American Raptors

  • Migratory Bird Treaty Act - 1918 - This was one of the earliest laws passed to protect wildlife in the United States. This law was initially an international treaty between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, and has now been amended to include Great Britain and Japan. The Act prohibits anyone from taking, killing, or keeping any native bird, its parts, or its nest, without a permit or license. ALL raptors native to the U.S. are covered by this law.
  • Bald Eagle Act - 1940 - Congress passed this act in response to the slaughter of eagles during the first half of the twentieth century, and because of the special status bald eagles hold as our national symbol. This law protects both bald eagles and golden eagles, their nests, and nest trees. It specifically prohibits anyone from killing or disturbing either species.
  • Endangered Species Act (ESA) - 1973 - This act provides additional protection for any animal listed as "threatened" or "endangered." As of January 2002, the raptors listed under the ESA include the bald eagle, spotted owl, California condor, peregrine falcon, and snail kite.
I obviously don’t know your specific situation. It sucks to lose livestock to something you can’t fight back against, but hawks are a big deal on the federal level. We have hawks on our place and they raise young every year. I have the chicken run covered with a net and if I let my chickens out of the run I have to babysit them the entire time. Hawks have their place but can be a real pain sometimes.
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