[Federal Register: October 11, 2001 (Volume 66, Number 197)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 51919-51921]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

[[Page 51919]]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 20

RIN 1018-AH79

Migratory Bird Hunting; Proposal for Migratory Game Bird Hunting 

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (hereinafter Service or we) 
proposed in previous documents to establish annual hunting regulations 
for certain migratory game birds for the 2001-02 hunting season. This 
proposed rule would change the regulatory alternatives for the 2001-02 
duck hunting seasons for States in the Lower Region (Arkansas, 
Louisiana, Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee) of the 
Mississippi Flyway to allow for a season length of 60 days beginning no 
earlier than September 29 and ending no later than January 31.

DATES: You must submit comments on the proposed ``liberal'' regulatory 
alternative for the Lower Region of the Mississippi Flyway by October 
26, 2001.

ADDRESSES: Send your comments on the proposals to the Chief, Division 
of Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
Department of the Interior, ms 634-ARLSQ, 1849 C Street, NW., 
Washington, DC 20240. All comments received, including names and 
addresses, will become part of the public record. You may inspect 
comments during normal business hours in room 634, Arlington Square 
Building, 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Arlington, Virginia.

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


Regulations Schedule for 2001

    On April 30, 2001, we published in the Federal Register (66 FR 
21298) 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 14, 2001, we published in the Federal Register (66 
FR 32297) a second document providing supplemental proposals for early- 
and late-season migratory bird hunting regulations frameworks and the 
proposed regulatory alternatives for the 2001-02 duck hunting season.
    On June 20-21, we held meetings that reviewed information on the 
current status of migratory shore and upland game birds and developed 
2001-02 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 2001-02 
regular waterfowl seasons. On July 24, we published in the Federal 
Register (66 FR 38494) a third document specifically dealing with the 
proposed frameworks for early-season regulations and final regulatory 
alternatives for the 2001-02 duck hunting season. On August 21, 2001, 
we published in the Federal Register (66 FR 44010) a final rule that 
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 August 29, 2001, we published in 
the Federal Register (66 FR 45730) a final rule amending subpart K of 
title 50 CFR part 20 to set hunting seasons, hours, areas, and limits 
for early seasons.
    On August 1-2, 2001 we held a public meeting in Washington, DC, as 
announced in the April 30, and June 14 Federal Registers, to review the 
status of waterfowl. Proposed hunting regulations were discussed for 
late seasons. We published proposed frameworks for the 2001-02 late-
season migratory bird hunting regulations on August 28, 2001, in the 
Federal Register (66 FR 45516). 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 2001-02 in the September 
27, 2001, Federal Register (66 FR 49478). On September 28, 2001, we 
published in the Federal Register (66 FR 49748) a final rule amending 
subpart K of title 50 CFR part 20 to set hunting seasons, hours, areas, 
and limits for late seasons.

Review of Public Comments

    This rule-making contains amendments to the 2001-02 duck hunting 
regulations previously published on September 27, 2001. We are seeking 
any additional information and comment on the recommendation in this 
proposed rule.

Lower Region of the Mississippi Flyway Duck Hunting Alternative for 
the 2001-2002

    The Lower Region Regulations Committee of the Mississippi Flyway 
Council recommended that the regulations packages for 2001 be the same 
as those in 2000, except that the framework opening and closing dates 
would be the Saturday nearest September 24 through the last Sunday in 
January, and there would be no offsets in seasons length or bag limit.
    Service Response: Upon reconsideration, the Service proposes to 
change the previously established ``liberal'' alternative for the Lower 
Region of the Mississippi Flyway to provide for a framework opening 
date no earlier than September 29 and a closing date no later than 
January 31, with no reduction (offset) in season length or bag limit. 
We will announce a final regulatory alternative for the Lower Region of 
the Mississippi Flyway following the public comment period.

Public Comment Invited

    The Department of the Interior's policy is, whenever practicable, 
to afford the public an opportunity to participate in the rulemaking 
process. We intend that adopted final rules be as responsive as 
possible to all concerned interests and, therefore, seek the comments 
and suggestions of the public, other concerned governmental agencies, 
non-governmental organizations, and other private interests on these 
proposals. Accordingly, we invite interested persons to submit written 
comments, suggestions, or recommendations regarding the proposed 
regulations to the address indicated under the caption ADDRESSES.
    Special circumstances involved in the establishment of these 
regulations limit the amount of time that we can allow for public 
comment. Specifically, the need to establish final rules at a point 
early enough to allow affected State agencies to appropriately adjust 
their licensing and regulatory mechanisms. Therefore, we believe that 
to allow comment periods past the dates specified is contrary to the 
public interest. Before promulgation of final migratory game bird 
hunting regulations, we will take into consideration all comments 
received. Such comments, and any additional information received, may 
lead to final regulations that differ from these proposals.
    You may inspect comments received during normal business hours at 
the Service's office in room 634, 4401 North

[[Page 51920]]

Fairfax Drive, Arlington, Virginia. We will consider, but possibly may 
not respond in detail to, each comment. As in the past, we will 
summarize all comments received during the comment period and respond 
to them after the closing date.

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

    Prior to issuance of this rule, we will consider provisions of the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended, (16 U.S.C. 1531-1543; 
hereinafter the Act) to ensure that such action 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 proposed action is consistent with conservation programs for 
those species.

Executive Order (E.O.) 12866

    While this individual rule was not 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. 

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 a Small 
Entity Flexibility Analysis (Analysis) was issued by the Service 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 billion at small businesses in 
1998. Copies of the Analysis are available upon request from the 
Division of Migratory Bird Management.

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. The various record keeping and reporting requirements imposed 
under regulations established in 50 CFR part 20, Subpart K, are 
utilized 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 control 
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 Reform Act, 2 U.S.C. 1502 et seq., that this 
proposed 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 proposed rule, has determined 
that these regulations meet the applicable standards found in sections 
3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988.

Executive Order 13211

    On May 18, 2001, the President issued an Executive Order (E.O. 
13211) on regulations that significantly affect energy supply, 
distribution, and use. E.O. 13211 requires agencies to prepare 
Statements of Energy Effects when undertaking certain actions. As this 
supplemental proposed rule is not expected to significantly affect 
energy supplies, distribution, or use, this proposed action is not a 
significant energy action and no Statement of Energy Effects is 

Takings Implication Assessment

    In accordance with Executive Order 12630, this proposed 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, these rules allow hunters to exercise 
otherwise unavailable privileges 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 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 process follows 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.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 20

    Exports, Hunting, Imports, Reporting and record keeping 
requirements, Transportation, Wildlife.

    The rules that eventually will be promulgated for the 2001-02 
hunting season are authorized under 16 U.S.C.

[[Page 51921]]

703-711, 16 U.S.C. 712, and 16 U.S.C. 742a-j.

    Dated: October 4, 2001.
Joseph E. Doddridge,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 01-25526 Filed 10-10-01; 8:45 am]