[Federal Register: September 20, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 183)]
[Rules and Regulations]               
[Page 59357-59384]
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-AI30

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 2002-03 season.

DATES: This rule is effective on September 21, 2002.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brian Millsap, Chief, or Ron W. Kokel, 
Division of Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
(703) 358-1714.


Regulations Schedule for 2002

    On March 19, 2002, we published in the Federal Register (67 FR 
12501) a proposal to amend 50 CFR part 20. The proposal provided a 
background and overview of the migratory bird hunting regulations 
process, and dealt with the establishment of seasons, limits, the 
proposed regulatory alternatives for the 2002-03 duck hunting season, 
and other regulations for migratory game birds under Sec. Sec.  20.101 
through 20.107, 20.109, and 20.110 of subpart K. On June 11, 2002, we 
published in the Federal Register (67 FR 40128) a second document 
providing supplemental proposals for early- and late-season migratory 
bird hunting regulations frameworks and the proposed regulatory 
alternatives for the 2002-03 duck hunting season. The June 11 
supplement also provided detailed information on the 2002-03 regulatory 
schedule and announced the Service Migratory Bird Regulations Committee 
(SRC) and Flyway Council meetings.
    On June 19-20, we held open meetings with the Flyway Council 
Consultants at which the participants reviewed information on the 
current status of migratory shore and upland game birds and developed 
recommendations for the 2002-03 regulations 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 2002-03 regular 
waterfowl seasons. On July 17, we published in the Federal Register (67 
FR 47224) a third document specifically dealing with the proposed 
frameworks for early-season regulations and the final regulatory 
alternatives for the 2002-03 duck hunting season. On August 23, 2002, 
we published a final rule in the Federal Register (67 FR 54702) 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. On August 29, 2002, we published in 
the Federal Register (67 FR 55624) a final rule amending subpart K of 
title 50 CFR part 20 to set hunting seasons, hours, areas, and limits 
for early seasons.
    On July 31 and August 1, 2002, we held open meetings with the 
Flyway Council Consultants at which the participants reviewed the 
status of waterfowl and developed recommendations for the 2002-03 
regulations for these species. Proposed hunting regulations were 
discussed for late seasons. We published proposed frameworks for the 
2002-03 late-season migratory bird hunting regulations on August 16, 
2002, in the Federal Register (67 FR 53690). 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 2002-03 in a September 19, 
2002, Federal Register.
    The final rule described here is the final in the series of 
proposed, supplemental, and final rulemaking documents for migratory 
game bird hunting regulations for 2002-03 and deals specifically with 
amending subpart K of 50 CFR part 20. It sets 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 Consideration

    Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act, as amended (16 U.S.C. 
1531-1543; 87 Stat. 884), provides that, ``The Secretary shall review 
other programs administered by him and utilize such programs in 
furtherance of the purposes of this Act'' (and) shall ``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. . . .'' Consequently, we conducted formal 
consultations to ensure that actions resulting from these regulations 
would 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 concluded that the regulations are 
not likely to adversely affect any endangered or threatened species. 
Additionally, these findings may have caused modification of some 
regulatory measures previously proposed and the final frameworks 
reflect any such modifications. Our biological opinions resulting from 
this Section 7 consultation are public documents available for public 
inspection at the address indicated under the caption ADDRESSES.

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 
12866. As such, a cost/benefit analysis was prepared in 1998 and is 
further discussed below under the heading Regulatory Flexibility Act. 
Copies of the cost/benefit analysis are available upon request from the 
address indicated under the caption ADDRESSES.

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 

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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 billion 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. 
808(1) .

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 control 
number 1018-0015 (expires 10/31/2004). 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 control 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), Executive Order 13175, and 512 DM 2, we 
have evaluated possible effects on Federally recognized Indian tribes 
and have determined that there are no effects.

Energy Effects--Executive Order 13211

    On May 18, 2001, the President issued Executive Order 13211 on 
regulations that significantly affect energy supply, distribution, and 
use. Executive Order 13211 requires agencies to prepare Statements of 
Energy Effects when undertaking certain actions. While this rule is a 
significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866, it is not 
expected to adversely affect energy supplies, distribution, or use. 
Therefore, this action is not a significant energy action and no 
Statement of Energy Effects is required.

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 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,

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subpart K, are hereby amended as set forth below.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 20

    Exports, Hunting, Imports, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements, Transportation, Wildlife.

    Dated: September 12, 2002.
Paul Hoffman,
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. 742a-j, Pub. L. 106-


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[FR Doc. 02-23804 Filed 9-19-02; 8:45 am]