[Federal Register: September 28, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 189)]
[Rules and Regulations]               
[Page 58313-58336]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[[Page 58313]]


Part II

Department of the Interior


Fish and Wildlife Service


50 CFR Part 20

Migratory Bird Hunting; Late Seasons and Bag and Possession Limits for 
Certain Migratory Game Birds; Final Rule

[[Page 58314]]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 20

RIN 1018-AG08

Migratory Bird Hunting; Late Seasons and Bag and Possession 
Limits for Certain Migratory Game Birds

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: This rule prescribes the hunting seasons, hours, areas, and 
daily bag and possession limits for general waterfowl seasons and those 
early seasons for which States previously deferred selection. Taking of 
migratory birds is prohibited unless specifically provided for by 
annual regulations. This rule permits the taking of designated species 
during the 2000-01 season.

DATES: This rule is effective on September 29, 2000.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jonathan Andrew, Chief, or Ron W. 
Kokel, Division of Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, (703) 358-1714.


Regulations Schedule for 2000

    On April 25, 2000, we published in the Federal Register (65 FR 
24260) 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 Secs. 20.101 through 20.107, 20.109, and 20.110 of 
subpart K. On June 20, 2000, we published in the Federal Register (65 
FR 38400) a second document providing supplemental proposals for early- 
and late-season migratory bird hunting regulations frameworks and the 
proposed regulatory alternatives for the 2000-01 duck hunting season. 
The June 20 supplement also provided detailed information on the 2000-
01 regulatory schedule and announced the Service Migratory Bird 
Regulations Committee and Flyway Council meetings.
    On June 21-22, we held meetings that reviewed information on the 
current status of migratory shore and upland game birds and developed 
2000-01 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 2000-01 
regular waterfowl seasons. On July 31, we published in the Federal 
Register (65 FR 46840) a third document specifically dealing with the 
proposed frameworks for early-season regulations and final regulatory 
alternatives for the 2000-01 duck hunting season.
    On August 2-3, 2000, we held a public meeting in Washington, DC, as 
announced in the April 25, and June 20 Federal Register, to review the 
status of waterfowl. Proposed hunting regulations were discussed for 
late seasons. We published proposed frameworks for the 2000-01 late-
season migratory bird hunting regulations on August 22, 2000, in the 
Federal Register (65 FR 51174). On August 23, 2000, we published a 
fifth document in the Federal Register (65 FR 51496) which 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 limits. On September 1, 2000, we published in the Federal 
Register (65 FR 53492) a sixth document consisting of a final rule 
amending subpart K of title 50 CFR part 20 to set hunting seasons, 
hours, areas, and limits for early seasons. We published final late-
season frameworks for migratory game bird hunting regulations, from 
which State wildlife conservation agency officials selected late-season 
hunting dates, hours, areas, and limits for 2000-01 in a seventh 
document in the September 27, 2000, Federal Register.
    The final rule described here is the eighth and final in the series 
of proposed, supplemental, and final rulemaking documents for migratory 
game bird hunting regulations for 2000-01 and deals specifically with 
amending subpart K of 50 CFR part 20. It sets hunting seasons, hours, 
areas, and limits for species subject to late-season regulations and 
those for early seasons that States previously deferred.

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

    Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, as amended (16 U.S.C. 
1531-1543; 87 Stat. 884), provides that, ``The Secretary shall review 
other programs administered by him and utilize such programs in 
furtherance of the purposes of this Act'' (and) shall ``insure that any 
action authorized, funded or carried out * * * is not likely to 
jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered species or 
threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification 
of [critical] habitat * * *'' Consequently, we conducted formal 
consultations to ensure that actions resulting from these regulations 
would 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 concluded that the regulations are 
not likely to adversely affect any endangered or threatened species. 
Additionally, these findings may have caused modification of some 
regulatory measures previously proposed and the final frameworks 
reflect any such modifications. Our biological opinions resulting from 
its Section 7 consultation are public documents available for public 
inspection in the Service's Division of Endangered Species and DMBM, at 
the address indicated under the caption ADDRESSES.

Executive Order (E.O.) 12866

    This rule was reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget 
(OMB). The migratory bird hunting regulations are economically 
significant and are annually reviewed by OMB under E.O. 12866. As such, 
we analyzed the economic impacts of the annual hunting regulations in a 
cost-benefit analysis prepared in 1998. 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 1998 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 million and $1,084 million at small 
businesses in 1998. Copies of the analysis are available upon request 
from the address indicated under the caption ADDRESSES.

[[Page 58315]]

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.). In the analysis described above, we analyzed the 
economic impacts of the annual hunting regulations on small business 
entities in detail and issued a Small Entity Flexibility Analysis. The 
analysis documented the significant beneficial economic effect on a 
substantial number of small entities.

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. 

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 (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. 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 Reform Act, 2 U.S.C. 1502 et seq., that this 
rulemaking will not ``significantly or uniquely'' affect small 
governments, and will not produce a Federal mandate of $100 million or 
more in any given year on local or State government or private 
entities. Therefore, this rule is not a ``significant regulatory 
action'' under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.

Civil Justice Reform-Executive Order 12988

    The Department, in promulgating this rule, has determined that this 
rule will not unduly burden the judicial system and meets the 
requirements of 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, this rule will allow hunters to exercise 
otherwise unavailable privileges, and, therefore, reduces restrictions 
on the use of private and public property.

Federalism Effects

    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 Executive Order 
13132, these regulations do not have significant federalism effects and 
do not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the 
preparation of a Federalism Assessment.

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 a 
delay in the effective date of these regulations occurred 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 take effect immediately upon publication. Accordingly, 
with each State conservation agency having had an opportunity to 
participate in selecting its desired the hunting seasons 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 below.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 20

    Exports, Hunting, Imports, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements, Transportation, Wildlife.

    Dated: September 21, 2000.
Kenneth L. Smith,
Acting 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. 742 a-j.


[[Page 58316]]


[[Page 58317]]


[[Page 58318]]


[[Page 58319]]


[[Page 58320]]


[[Page 58321]]


[[Page 58322]]


[[Page 58323]]


[[Page 58324]]


[[Page 58325]]


[[Page 58326]]


[[Page 58327]]


[[Page 58328]]


[[Page 58329]]


[[Page 58330]]


[[Page 58331]]


[[Page 58332]]


[[Page 58333]]


[[Page 58334]]


[[Page 58335]]


[[Page 58336]]


[FR Doc. 00-24910 Filed 9-27-00; 8:45 am]