FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 21, 2000
Tom MacKenzie, 404/ 679-7292
Sandra Cleva 703/358-1949
Chris Tollefson 202/208-5634
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has clarified Federal waterfowl and dove baiting regulations, making minor changes in enforcement policy and offering guidance that will make it easier for hunters to understand the circumstances under which they can hunt legally over agricultural lands this fall
The Service, which revised the baiting rules last year to promote the restoration and creation of habitat for migratory birds, has re-examined three areas of concern to ensure uniform interpretation of the regulations.
"Some minor confusion occurred during the first year of implementation, but we hope that the guidance provided to our officers, their state counterparts, and hunters this summer will effectively address these concerns," said Kevin Adams, Chief, Office of Law Enforcement. "We also plan to revise the relevant sections of the regulations to avoid any future uncertainty about when hunting is or is not legal."
For example, Federal regulations allow the hunting of all migratory game birds over seeds or grains scattered as the result of a normal agricultural planting, harvesting, or post-harvest manipulation. The rules, however, define a normal planting as one "undertaken for the purpose of producing and gathering a crop" conducted in accordance with official recommendations
"We've told our officers that compliance with official USDA
The Service has also clarified the agency's position with respect to hunting migratory game birds near or over wildlife food plots. The USDA recognizes the planting of wildlife food plots as a normal agricultural operation in some states. Doves may be hunted in such areas planted in accordance with official USDA recommendations for wildlife food plots. In states where such guidance does not exist, dove hunting can proceed if the planting follows USDA recommendations for crop production.
Federal regulations, however, are more restrictive with respect to
A third issue that prompted questions during last year's hunting season involved the legality of hunting doves over fields or pastures where feed has been placed for livestock. Hunting doves over such areas remains lawful under the new Federal baiting regulations.
"As a hunter, you need to know the rules. You should review both federal and state regulations before the season starts. Always check your hunting site for bait," Adams said. "If you hunt on farmland and find grains or seeds scattered on the ground, be cautious. Talk to the landowner or your host. Know what agricultural practices are recommended for the areas where you hunt."
The Service has updated its guidance for hunters, posting comprehensive explanations of how Federal baiting rules apply to dove and waterfowl hunting on the Internet at www.le.fws.gov. This detailed information will also be available from Service law enforcement offices in printed brochures later this month.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency
1875 Century Blvd.,
Atlanta, GA 30345
Phone: 404/679-7289 Fax: 404/679-7286
Release #: N00-006