[Federal Register: September 7, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 172)]

[Rules and Regulations]               

[Page 48565-48567]

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


[[Page 48565]]




Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 21

RIN 1018-AE65


Migratory Bird Permits; Amended Certification of Compliance and 

Determination that the States of Vermont and West Virginia Meet Federal 

Falconry Standards

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: We are adding the States of Vermont and West Virginia to the 

list of States whose falconry laws meet or exceed Federal falconry 

standards. These States will now be participants in the cooperative 

Federal/State permit application program, and falconry can now be 

practiced in those States. The list of States that meet Federal 

falconry standards, including Vermont and West Virginia, is included in 

this final rule. This rule also amends the regulations on State 

compliance to clarify the administrative procedure that States need to 

follow to comply with Federal falconry standards.

DATES: This rule is effective September 7, 1999.

ADDRESSES: The complete file for this rule is available for public 

inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the Office 

of Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, room 634, 

Arlington Square Building, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Arlington, Virginia 


FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jonathon Andrew, Chief, Office of 

Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, telephone 


SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations in 50 CFR part 21 provide that 

we review and approve State falconry laws before falconry can be 

practiced in those States. A list of the States whose falconry laws 

have been approved is found in 50 CFR 21.29(k). In accordance with the 

requirements of 50 CFR 21.29(a) and (c), we reviewed certified copies 

of the falconry regulations adopted by the States of Vermont and West 

Virginia and determined that they meet or exceed our Federal falconry 

standards. Our standards, contained in 50 CFR 21.29(d) through (i), 

include permit requirements, classes of permits, examination 

procedures, facilities and equipment standards, raptor marking, and 

raptor taking restrictions. Both Vermont and West Virginia regulations 

also meet or exceed all the restrictions or conditions found in 50 CFR 

21.29(j), which include requirements on the number, species, 

acquisition, possession of feathers, and marking of raptors. Therefore, 

we have included them in the section 21.29(k) list of States that meet 

the Federal falconry standards. The listing eliminates the current 

restriction that prohibits falconry in Vermont and West Virginia.

    We also are amending the regulatory language in 50 CFR 21.29(a) and 

(c) to clarify our procedures for approving State regulations for 

compliance with our falconry standards. This approval is contingent 

upon the respective State submitting its laws and regulations to us for 

review and us finding that the laws and regulations meet or exceed our 

falconry standards.

    We are including in this rule the entire list of States that have 

met the Federal falconry standards, including Vermont and West 

Virginia. This should eliminate any confusion about which States have 

approval for falconry and which of those participate in a joint 

Federal/State permit system.

    We also are making minor text revisions in 50 CFR 21.29 (j)(2) to 

comply with plain language mandates and to be gender neutral.

    We are making this rulemaking effective immediately. This is 

allowed by the Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553(d)(1)) 

because this final rule relieves a restriction that prohibited the 

States of Vermont and West Virginia from allowing the practice of 


Why Is This Rulemaking Needed?

    The States of Vermont and West Virginia wanted to institute 

falconry programs so that citizens who wanted to practice the sport of 

falconry in their State could do so. Accordingly, they promulgated 

regulations that meet or exceed our Federal requirements protecting 

migratory birds. We needed to amend 50 CFR 21.29 to add them to the 

list of States that have Federal approval to practice falconry.

Were There Any Public Comments on the Proposal?

    We received one comment. The proposal was published in the Federal 

Register on August 18, 1998 (63 FR 44229) and invited comments from any 

interested parties. The comment period closed on September 17, 1998. 

The comment was from the General Counsel, North American Falconers 

Association. NAFA supported adding Vermont and West Virginia to the 

list of States that meet our falconry standards. They asked that we 

provide guidance and expeditious review of the falconry programs being 

instituted in Delaware and Connecticut so that they could be added to 

the list of States meeting our standards.

    Service Response: Our non-game migratory bird coordinator from the 

Hadley, Massachusetts, Regional Office has provided Delaware and 

Connecticut with guidance documents to assist them in developing their 

falconry standards. We stand ready to provide any additional support 

these States may need in developing programs that meet our standards.

Is This Rule in Compliance With NEPA?

    Yes. In accordance with the requirements of section 102(2)(C) of 

the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) (42 U.S.C. 

4332(C)), and the Council on Environmental Quality's regulations for 

implementing NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500-1508), we prepared an 

Environmental Assessment (EA) in July 1988 to support establishment of 

simpler, less restrictive regulations governing the use of most 

raptors. You can obtain a copy of this EA by contacting us at the 

address in the ADDRESSES section. Adding Vermont and West Virginia to 

the list of States whose falconry laws meet or exceed Federal falconry 

standards, although covered by the general conditions addressed in the 

1988 EA, is considered categorically excluded from further NEPA 

documentation by the Department of the Interior's NEPA procedures. The 

action is an

``* * * amendment to an approved action when such changes have no or 

minor potential environmental impact'' (516 DM 6, Appendix 1.4(1)).

Is This Rule in Compliance With Endangered Species Act 


    Yes. Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973, as 

amended (16 U.S.C. 1531, et seq.), requires that, ``The Secretary [of 

the Interior] shall review other programs administered by him and 

utilize such programs in furtherance of the purposes of this Act.'' It 

further states that the Secretary must ``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 * * *,'' Our review pursuant to section 7 concluded that the 

addition of Vermont and West Virginia to the list of States approved to 

practice falconry is not likely to adversely affect any listed species. 

A copy of this determination is available by contacting

[[Page 48566]]

us at the address in the ADDRESSES section of this rule.

What About Other Required Determinations?

    This rule was not subject to the Office of Management and Budget 

(OMB) review under Executive Order 12866. The Department of the 

Interior has determined that it will not have a significant effect on a 

substantial number of small entities under the Regulatory Flexibility 

Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). This is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 

804(2), the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. It will 

not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more, will 

not cause a major increase in costs or prices, and will not adversely 

affect competition, employment, investment, productivity, or 

innovation. We estimate that 25 individuals will obtain falconry 

permits as a result of this rule and many of the expenditures of those 

permittees will accrue to small businesses. The maximum number of birds 

allowed by a falconer is three, so the maximum number of birds likely 

to be possessed is 75. Some birds will be taken from the wild, but 

others may be purchased. Using one of the more expensive birds, the 

northern goshawk, as an estimate, the cost to procure a single bird is 

less than $5,000, which, with an upper limit of 75 birds, translates 

into $375,000. Expenditures for building facilities would be less than 

$40,000 for 75 birds and care and feeding less than $75,000. These 

expenditures, totaling less than $500,000, represent an upper limit of 

potential economic impact from the addition of Vermont and West 

Virginia to the list of approved States.

    This rule has no potential takings implications for private 

property as defined in Executive Order 12630. The only effect of this 

rule on the constituent community will be to allow falconers in the 

States of Vermont and West Virginia to apply for falconry permits. It 

is estimated that no more than 25 people would apply for falconry 

permits in both Vermont and West Virginia combined. This rule does 

contain information collection requirements that are approved by OMB 

under the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq. The 

information collection is covered by an existing OMB approval for 

licenses/permit applications, number 1018-0022. For further details 

concerning the information collection approval see 50 CFR part 21.4.

    We have determined and certify pursuant to 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 governments 

or private entities. The rule does not have significant Federalism 

effects pursuant to Executive Order 12612. We also have determined that 

these regulations meet the applicable standards provided in sections 

3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988 for civil justice reform, and 

that the rule does not unduly burden the judicial system and meets the 

requirements of sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of the Order.

    Regarding Government-to-Government relationships with Tribes, this 

rulemaking will have no effect on federally recognized Tribes. There 

are no federally recognized Indian tribes in the States of Vermont or 

West Virginia. Furthermore, the revisions to the existing regulations 

are of a purely administrative nature affecting no Tribal trust 


    Author: The primary author of this rulemaking is Cyndi Perry, U.S. 

Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Migratory Bird Management, 1849 C 

Street, NW., MS 634 ARLSQ, Washington, DC 20240.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 21

    Exports, Hunting, Imports, Reporting and recordkeeping 

requirements, Transportation, Wildlife.

Regulation Promulgation

    Accordingly, we amend Part 21, subchapter B of chapter 29, title 50 

of the Code of Federal Regulations as follows:


    1. The authority citation for part 21 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: Pub. L. 95-616, 92 Stat. 3112 (16 U.S.C. 712(2)).

    2. Amend section 21.29 by revising paragraphs (a), (c), (j)(2) and 

(k) to read as follows:

Sec. 21.29  Federal falconry standards.

    (a) Before you can practice falconry in any State. You cannot take, 

possess, transport, sell, purchase, barter, or offer to sell, purchase, 

or barter any raptor for falconry purposes, in any State unless the 

State allows the practice of falconry, and the State has submitted 

copies of its laws and regulations governing the practice of falconry 

to us (Director), and we have determined that they meet or exceed the 

Federal falconry standards established in this section. If you are a 

Federal falconry permittee, you can possess and transport for falconry 

purposes a lawfully possessed raptor through States that do not allow 

falconry or meet Federal falconry standards so long as the raptors 

remain in transit in interstate commerce. The States that are in 

compliance with Federal falconry standards are listed in paragraph (k) 

of this section.

* * * * *

    (c) What is the process for Federal approval of a State program? 

Any State that wishes to allow the practice of falconry must submit to 

the Director of the Service a copy of the laws and regulations that 

govern the practice of falconry in the State. If we determine that they 

meet or exceed the Federal standards, which are established by this 

section, we will publish a notice in the Federal Register adding the 

State to the list of approved States in paragraph (k) of this section. 

Any State that was listed in paragraph (k) prior to September 14, 1989, 

is considered to be in compliance with our standards.

* * * * *

    (j) What other restrictions must a State have?

* * * * *

    (2) If you possessed raptors before January 15, 1976, the date 

these regulations were enacted, and you had more than the number 

allowed under your permit, you may retain the extra raptors. However, 

each of those birds must be identified with markers we supplied, and 

you cannot replace any birds, nor can you obtain any additional 

raptors, until the number in your possession is at least one fewer than 

the total number authorized by the class of permit you hold.

* * * * *

    (k) List of States meeting Federal falconry standards. We have 

determined that the following States meet or exceed the minimum Federal 

standards established in this section for regulating the taking, 

possession, and transportation of raptors for the purpose of falconry. 

The States that are participants in a joint Federal/State permit system 

are designated by an asterisk (*).


















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*New Hampshire

*New Jersey

*North Dakota

New York

New Mexico

*North Carolina





Rhode Island

*South Carolina

*South Dakota







West Virginia



    Dated: August 6, 1999.

Donald Barry,

Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.

[FR Doc. 99-23168 Filed 9-3-99; 8:45 am]