[Federal Register: August 31, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 168)]

[Rules and Regulations]               

[Page 47418-47437]

From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]





Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 20

RIN 1018-AF24


Migratory Bird Hunting; Early Seasons and Bag and Possession 

Limits for Certain Migratory Game Birds in the Contiguous United 

States, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: This rule prescribes the hunting seasons, hours, areas, and 

daily bag and possession limits of mourning, white-winged, and white-

tipped doves; band-tailed pigeons; rails; moorhens and gallinules; 

woodcock; common snipe; sandhill cranes; sea ducks; early (September) 

waterfowl seasons; migratory game birds in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, 

and the Virgin Islands; and some extended falconry seasons. Taking of 

migratory birds is prohibited unless specifically provided for by 

annual regulations. This rule permits taking of designated species 

during the 1999-2000 season.

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DATES: This rule is effective on September 1, 1999.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jonathan Andrew, Chief, or Ron W. 

Kokel, Office of Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 

Service, (703) 358-1714.


Regulations Schedule for 1999

    On May 3, 1999, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (hereinafter 

Service or we) published in the Federal Register (64 FR 23742) a 

proposal to amend 50 CFR part 20. The proposal dealt with the 

establishment of seasons, limits, and other regulations for migratory 

game birds under Sec. 20.101 through 20.107, 20.109, and 20.110 of 

subpart K. On June 17, we published in the Federal Register (64 FR 

32758) a second document providing supplemental proposals for early-and 

late-season migratory bird hunting regulations frameworks and the 

proposed regulatory alternatives for the 1999-2000 duck hunting season. 

The June 17 supplement also provided detailed information on the 1999-

2000 regulatory schedule and announced the Service Migratory Bird 

Regulations Committee and Flyway Council meetings.

    On June 22-23, we held meetings that reviewed information on the 

current status of migratory shore and upland game birds and developed 

1999-2000 migratory game bird regulations recommendations for these 

species plus regulations for migratory game birds in Alaska, Puerto 

Rico, and the Virgin Islands; special September waterfowl seasons in 

designated States; special sea duck seasons in the Atlantic Flyway; and 

extended falconry seasons. In addition, we reviewed and discussed 

preliminary information on the status of waterfowl as it relates to the 

development and selection of the regulatory packages for the 1999-2000 

regular waterfowl seasons. On July 22, we published in the Federal 

Register (64 FR 39460) a third document specifically dealing with the 

proposed frameworks for early-season regulations for the 1999-2000 duck 

hunting season.

    On August 3-4, 1999, we held a public meeting in Washington, DC, as 

announced in the May 3, and June 17 Federal Registers, to review the 

status of waterfowl. Proposed hunting regulations were discussed for 

late seasons. On August 27, 1999, we published a fifth document on 

migratory bird hunting. The fifth document dealt specifically with 

proposed frameworks for the 1999-2000 late-season migratory bird 

hunting regulations. On August 27, 1999, we also published a sixth 

document on migratory bird hunting. The document contained final 

frameworks for early migratory bird hunting seasons from which wildlife 

conservation agency officials from the States, Puerto Rico, and the 

Virgin Islands selected early-season hunting dates, hours, areas, and 


    The final rule described here is the seventh in the series of 

proposed, supplemental, and final rulemaking documents for migratory 

game bird hunting regulations and deals specifically with amending 

subpart K of 50 CFR 20. It sets hunting seasons, hours, areas, and 

limits for mourning, white-winged, and white-tipped doves; band-tailed 

pigeons; rails; moorhens and gallinules; woodcock; common snipe; 

sandhill cranes; sea ducks; early (September) waterfowl seasons; 

mourning doves in Hawaii; migratory game birds in Alaska, Puerto Rico, 

and the Virgin Islands; youth waterfowl hunting day; and some extended 

falconry seasons.

NEPA Consideration

    NEPA considerations are covered by the programmatic document, 

``Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement: Issuance of Annual 

Regulations Permitting the Sport Hunting of Migratory Birds (FSES 88-

14),'' filed with the Environmental Protection Agency on June 9, 1988. 

We published a Notice of Availability in the Federal Register on June 

16, 1988 (53 FR 22582). We published our Record of Decision on August 

18, 1988 (53 FR 31341). Copies are available from the address indicated 

under the caption ADDRESSES.

Endangered Species Act Consideration

    As in the past, we design hunting regulations to remove or 

alleviate chances of conflict between migratory game bird hunting 

seasons and the protection and conservation of endangered and 

threatened species. We conducted consultations to ensure that actions 

resulting from these regulatory proposals will not likely jeopardize 

the continued existence of endangered or threatened species or result 

in the destruction or adverse modification of their critical habitat. 

Findings from these consultations are included in a biological opinion 

and may have caused modification of some regulatory measures previously 

proposed. The final frameworks reflect any modifications. The 

biological opinions resulting from our Section 7 consultation are 

public documents available for public inspection in the Service's 

Division of Endangered Species and MBMO, at the address indicated under 

the caption ADDRESSES.

Executive Order (E.O.) 12866

    Collectively, the rules covering the overall frameworks for 

migratory bird hunting are economically significant and have been 

reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under E.O. 12866. 

This rule is a small portion of the overall migratory bird hunting 

frameworks and was not individually submitted and reviewed by OMB under 

E.O. 12866.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    These regulations have a significant economic impact on substantial 

numbers of small entities under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 

U.S.C. 601 et seq.). We analyzed the economic impacts of the annual 

hunting regulations on small business entities in detail and issued a 

Small Entity Flexibility Analysis (Analysis) in 1998. The Analysis 

documented the significant beneficial economic effect on a substantial 

number of small entities. The primary source of information about 

hunter expenditures for migratory game bird hunting is the National 

Hunting and Fishing Survey, which is conducted at 5-year intervals. The 

Analysis was based on the 1996 National Hunting and Fishing Survey and 

the U.S. Department of Commerce's County Business Patterns from which 

it was estimated that migratory bird hunters would spend between $429 

and $1,084 million at small businesses in 1998. Copies of the Analysis 

are available upon request.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

    This rule is a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the Small Business 

Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. For the reasons outlined above, 

this rule has an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more. 

However, because this rule establishes hunting seasons, we do not plan 

to defer the effective date under the exemption contained in 5 U.S.C. 

808(1) .

Paperwork Reduction Act

    We examined these regulations under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 

1995. We utilize the various recordkeeping and reporting requirements 

imposed under regulations established in 50 CFR part 20, Subpart K, in 

the formulation of migratory game bird hunting regulations. 

Specifically, OMB has approved the information collection requirements 

of the Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program and assigned 

clearance number 1018-0015

[[Page 47420]]

(expires 9/30/2001). This information is used to provide a sampling 

frame for voluntary national surveys to improve our harvest estimates 

for all migratory game birds in order to better manage these 

populations. OMB has also approved the information collection 

requirements of the Sandhill Crane Harvest Questionnaire and assigned 

clearance number 1018-0023 (expires

9/30/2000). The information from this survey is used to estimate the 

magnitude, the geographical and temporal distribution of harvest, and 

the portion it constitutes of the total population. A Federal agency 

may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, 

a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB 

control number.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    We have determined and certify, in compliance with the requirements 

of the Unfunded Mandates Act, 2 U.S.C. 1502 et seq., that this 

rulemaking will not impose a cost of $100 million or more in any given 

year on local or State government or private entities.

Civil Justice Reform-Executive Order 12988

    The Department, in promulgating this rule, has determined that 

these regulations meet the applicable standards found in Sections 3(a) 

and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988.

Takings Implication Assessment

    In accordance with Executive Order 12630, this rule, authorized by 

the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, does not have significant takings 

implications and does not affect any constitutionally protected 

property rights. This rule will not result in the physical occupancy of 

property, the physical invasion of property, or the regulatory taking 

of any property. In fact, these rules allow hunters to exercise 

otherwise unavailable privileges; and, therefore, reduce restrictions 

on the use of private and public property.

Federalism Effects (E.O. 12612)

    Due to the migratory nature of certain species of birds, the 

Federal government has been given responsibility over these species by 

the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. We annually prescribe frameworks from 

which the States make selections and employ guidelines to establish 

special regulations on Federal Indian reservations and ceded lands. 

This process preserves the ability of the States and Tribes to 

determine which seasons meet their individual needs. Any State or Tribe 

may be more restrictive than the Federal frameworks at any time. The 

frameworks are developed in a cooperative process with the States and 

the Flyway Councils. This allows States to participate in the 

development of frameworks from which they will make selections, thereby 

having an influence on their own regulations. These rules do not have a 

substantial direct effect on fiscal capacity, change the roles or 

responsibilities of Federal or State governments, or intrude on State 

policy or administration. Therefore, in accordance with E.O. 12612, 

these regulations do not have significant federalism effects and do not 

have sufficient federalism implications to warrant a Federalism 


Government-to-Government Relationship With Tribes

    In accordance with the President's memorandum of April 29, 1994, 

``Government-to-Government Relations with Native American tribal 

Governments'' (59 FR 22951) and 512 DM 2, we have evaluated possible 

effects on Federally recognized Indian tribes and have determined that 

there are no effects.

Regulations Promulgation

    The rulemaking process for migratory game bird hunting must, by its 

nature, operate under severe time constraints. However, we intend that 

the public be given the greatest possible opportunity to comment on the 

regulations. Thus, when the preliminary proposed rulemaking was 

published, we established what we believed were the longest periods 

possible for public comment. In doing this, we recognized that when the 

comment period closed, time would be of the essence. That is, if there 

were a delay in the effective date of these regulations after this 

final rulemaking, the States would have insufficient time to implement 

their selected season dates and limits and start their seasons in a 

timely manner.

    We therefore find that ``good cause'' exists, within the terms of 5 

U.S.C. 553(d)(3) of the Administrative Procedure Act, and these 

regulations will, therefore, take effect immediately upon publication. 

Accordingly, with each conservation agency having had an opportunity to 

participate in selecting the hunting seasons desired for its State or 

Territory on those species of migratory birds for which open seasons 

are now prescribed, and consideration having been given to all other 

relevant matters presented, certain sections of title 50, chapter I, 

subchapter B, part 20, subpart K, are hereby amended as set forth 


List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 20

    Exports, Hunting, Imports, Reporting and recordkeeping 

requirements, Transportation, Wildlife.

    Dated: August 24, 1999.

Donald J. Barry,

Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.


    For the reasons set out in the preamble, title 50, chapter I, 

subchapter B, Part 20, subpart K of the Code of Federal Regulations is 

amended as follows:

    1. The authority citation for Part 20 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 703-712 and 16 U.S.C. 742a-j.


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[FR Doc. 99-22384 Filed 8-30-99; 8:45 am]