[Federal Register: September 1, 2000 (Volume 65, Number 171)]
[Rules and Regulations]               
[Page 53491-53509]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

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Part V

Department of the Interior


Fish and Wildlife Service


50 CFR Part 20

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; Final Rule

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Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 20

RIN 1018-AG08

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 2000-01 season.

DATES: This rule is effective on September 1, 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 Registers, 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 
sixth 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.
    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

    We have considered provisions of the Endangered Species Act of 
1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531-1543; hereinafter the Act), to ensure 
that hunting is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any 
species designated as endangered or threatened or modify or destroy its 
critical habitat and that the action is consistent with conservation 
programs for those species.

Executive Order 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 Executive Order 

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 
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.

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. 

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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. OMB has also 
approved the information collection requirements of the Sandhill Crane 
Harvest Questionnaire and assigned clearance number 1018-0023 (expires 
7/31/2003). The information from this survey is used to estimate the 
magnitude and 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 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 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 28, 2000.
Stephen C. Saunders,
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.


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[FR Doc. 00-22489 Filed 8-31-00; 8:45 am]