[Federal Register: September 28, 1999 (Volume 64, Number 187)]

[Rules and Regulations]               

[Page 52397-52421]

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


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Part III

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

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Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 20

RIN 1018-AF24


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 1999-2000 season.

DATE: This rule takes effect on October 1, 1999.

ADDRESSES: You may inspect comments during normal business hours in 

room 634, Arlington Square Building, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Arlington, 


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, 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. The July 22 supplement also established the final 

regulatory alternatives for the 1999-2000 duck hunting season.

    On August 3-4, 1999, we held meetings, as announced in the May 3 

and June 17 Federal Registers, to review the status of waterfowl. On 

August 27, 1999, we published a fourth document (64 FR 47048) which 

dealt specifically with proposed frameworks for the 1999-2000 late-

season migratory bird hunting regulations. On August 27, 1999, we also 

published a fifth document (64 FR 47072) containing 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 for the 1999-2000 season. On August 31, 1999, we published in 

the Federal Register (64 FR 47418) 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 1999-2000 in a 

seventh document in the September 27, 1999, 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 1999-2000 and deals specifically with 

amending subpart K of 50 CFR part 20 to set 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 Considerations

    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. Final frameworks reflect any modifications. The biological 

opinions resulting from Section 7 consultation are public documents 

available for inspection in either the Service's Division of Endangered 

Species or 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. 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

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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. 


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 09/30/2001). 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 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 provided in Sections 

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

Takings Implication Assessment

    In accordance with Executive Order 12630, these rules, authorized 

by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, do not have significant takings 

implications and do not affect any constitutionally protected property 

rights. These rules 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 

privileges that would be otherwise unavailable; and, therefore, reduce 

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 employs 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 regulation. 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 

12612, 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 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: September 15, 1999.

Donald J. Barry

Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.


    For the reasons set out in the preamble, the Service amends title 

50, chapter I, subchapter B, part 20, subpart K 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.


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[FR Doc. 99-25155 Filed 9-27-99; 8:45 am]