[Federal Register: May 27, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 100)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 25209-25213]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 20

[FWS-R9-MB-2008-0124; 91200-1231-9BPP-L2]
RIN 1018-AW31

Migratory Bird Hunting; Supplemental Proposals for Migratory Game 
Bird Hunting Regulations for the 2009-10 Hunting Season; Notice of 

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; supplemental.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), proposed in 
an earlier document to establish annual hunting regulations for certain 
migratory game birds for the 2009-10 hunting season. This supplement to 
the proposed rule provides the regulatory schedule, announces the 
Service Migratory Bird Regulations Committee and Flyway Council 
meetings, and provides Flyway Council recommendations resulting from 
their March meetings.

DATES: You must submit comments on the proposed regulatory alternatives 
for the 2009-10 duck hunting seasons by June 26, 2009. Following 
subsequent Federal Register documents, you will be given an opportunity 
to submit comments for proposed early-season frameworks by July 31, 
2009, and for proposed late-season frameworks and subsistence migratory 
bird seasons in Alaska by August 31, 2009. The Service Migratory Bird 
Regulations Committee will meet to consider and develop proposed 
regulations for early-season migratory bird hunting on June 24 and 25, 
2009, and for late-season migratory bird hunting and the 2010 spring/
summer migratory bird subsistence seasons in Alaska on July 29 and 30, 
2009. All meetings will commence at approximately 8:30 a.m.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on the proposals by one of the 
following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, 
Attn: 1018-AW31; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 222; Arlington, 
VA 22203.
    We will not accept e-mail or faxes. We will post all comments on 
http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any 
personal information you provide us (see the Public Comments section 
below for more information).
    The Service Migratory Bird Regulations Committee will meet in room 
200 of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Arlington Square Building, 
4401 N. Fairfax Dr., Arlington, VA.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ron W. Kokel, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Department of the Interior, MS MBSP-4107-ARLSQ, 1849 C Street, 
NW, Washington, DC 20240; (703) 358-1714.


Regulations Schedule for 2009

    On April 10, 2009, we published in the Federal Register (74 FR 
16339) 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, and other 
regulations for hunting migratory game birds under 20.101 through 
20.107, 20.109, and 20.110 of subpart K. This document is the second in 
a series of proposed, supplemental, and final rules for migratory game 
bird hunting regulations. We will publish proposed early-season 
frameworks in early July and late-season frameworks in early August. We 
will publish final regulatory frameworks for early seasons on or about 
August 17, 2009, and for late seasons on or about September 14, 2009.

Service Migratory Bird Regulations Committee Meetings

    The Service Migratory Bird Regulations Committee will meet June 24-
25, 2009, to review information on the current status of migratory 
shore and upland game birds and develop 2009-10 migratory game bird 
regulations recommendations for these species, plus regulations for 
migratory game birds in Alaska, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. 
The Committee will also develop regulations recommendations for 
September waterfowl seasons in designated States, special sea duck 
seasons in the Atlantic Flyway, and extended falconry seasons. In 
addition, the Committee will review and discuss

[[Page 25210]]

preliminary information on the status of waterfowl.
    At the July 29-30, 2009, meetings, the Committee will review 
information on the current status of waterfowl and develop 2009-10 
migratory game bird regulations recommendations for regular waterfowl 
seasons and other species and seasons not previously discussed at the 
early-season meetings. In addition, the Committee will develop 
recommendations for the 2010 spring/summer migratory bird subsistence 
season in Alaska.
    In accordance with Departmental policy, these meetings are open to 
public observation. You may submit written comments to the Service on 
the matters discussed.

Announcement of Flyway Council Meetings

    Service representatives will be present at the individual meetings 
of the four Flyway Councils this July. Although agendas are not yet 
available, these meetings usually commence at 8 a.m. on the days 
    Atlantic Flyway Council: July 23-24, Rodd Charlottetown, 
Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada.
    Mississippi Flyway Council: July 23-24, Holiday Inn - Manitowoc, 
Manitowoc, WI .
    Central Flyway Council: July 22-24, Radisson Hotel, Bismarck, ND.
    Pacific Flyway Council: July 24, Ramada Portland Airport, Portland, 

Review of Public Comments

    This supplemental rulemaking describes Flyway Council recommended 
changes based on the preliminary proposals published in the April 10, 
2009, Federal Register. We have included only those recommendations 
requiring either new proposals or substantial modification of the 
preliminary proposals and do not include recommendations that simply 
support or oppose preliminary proposals and provide no recommended 
alternatives. Our responses to some Flyway Council recommendations, but 
not others, are merely a clarification aid to the reader on the overall 
regulatory process, not a definitive response to the issue. We will 
publish responses to all proposals and written comments when we develop 
final frameworks.
    We seek additional information and comments on the recommendations 
in this supplemental proposed rule. New proposals and modifications to 
previously described proposals are discussed below. Wherever possible, 
they are discussed under headings corresponding to the numbered items 
identified in the April 10 proposed rule. Only those categories 
requiring your attention or for which we received Flyway Council 
recommendations are discussed below.

1. Ducks

    Duck harvest management categories are: (A) General Harvest 
Strategy; (B) Regulatory Alternatives, including specification of 
framework dates, season length, and bag limits; (C) Zones and Split 
Seasons; and (D) Special Seasons/Species Management.

A. General Harvest Strategy

    Council Recommendations: The Mississippi Flyway Council recommended 
that regulations changes be restricted to one step per year, both when 
restricting as well as liberalizing hunting regulations.
    Service Response: As we stated in the April 10 Federal Register, 
the final Adaptive Harvest Management protocol for the 2009-10 season 
will be detailed in the early-season proposed rule, which will be 
published in mid-July.

B. Regulatory Alternatives

    Council Recommendations: The Mississippi and Central Flyway 
Councils recommended that regulatory alternatives for duck hunting 
seasons remain the same as those used in 2008.
    Service Response: As we stated in the April 10 Federal Register, 
the final regulatory alternatives for the 2009-10 season will be 
detailed in the early-season proposed rule, which will be published in 

D. Special Seasons/Species Management

i. Special Teal Seasons

    Council Recommendations: The Atlantic Flyway Council recommended 
that the number of hunting days during the special September teal 
season in the Atlantic Flyway be increased from 9 consecutive days to 
16 consecutive days whenever the blue-winged teal breeding population 
exceeds 4.7 million birds.

vi. Scaup

    Council Recommendations: The Mississippi Flyway Council recommended 
that the ``restrictive'' regulatory alternative for scaup in the 
Mississippi Flyway be a 45-day season with a 2-bird daily bag limit and 
a 15-day season with 1-bird daily bag limit.
    The Central Flyway Council recommended modifying the 
``restrictive'' regulatory alternative for scaup in the Central Flyway 
to an option of a 74-day season with a 1-bird daily bag limit, or a 39-
day season with a 3-bird daily bag limit, or a 39-day season with a 2-
bird daily bag limit and a 35 day season with 1-bird daily bag limit. 
The Council further recommended that the ``moderate'' and the 
``liberal'' alternatives remain unchanged from last year.
    Service Response: As we detailed in the April 10 Federal Register, 
potential changes to the configuration of the regulatory packages for 
scaup for the 2009-10 season will be discussed at the early-season SRC 
meeting in June 2008 (see Service Migratory Bird Regulations Committee 
Meetings section above) and finalized in the early-season proposed 
rule, which will be published in mid-July.

4. Canada Geese

B. Regular Seasons

    Council Recommendations: The Mississippi Flyway Council recommended 
that the framework opening date for all species of geese for the 
regular goose seasons in Michigan and Wisconsin be September 16, 2009.

9. Sandhill Cranes

    Council Recommendations: The Mississippi, Central, and Pacific 
Flyway Councils recommended expanding the area open to Mid-continent 
population (MCP) sandhill crane hunting in Wyoming to include Johnson 
and Sheridan Counties.
    The Central and Pacific Flyway Councils recommended using the 2009 
Rocky Mountain Population (RMP) sandhill crane harvest allocation of 
1,939 birds as proposed in the allocation formula using the 3-year 
running average.
    The Pacific Flyway Council recommended extending the experimental, 
limited hunt for Lower Colorado River sandhill cranes in Arizona for an 
additional 3 years. The extension is necessary due to difficulties 
initiating the new hunt, which was approved by the Service in 2007.

16. Mourning Doves

    Council Recommendations: The Atlantic and Mississippi Flyway 
Councils recommended use of the ``moderate'' season framework for 
States within the Eastern Management Unit population of mourning doves 
resulting in a 70-day season and 15-bird daily bag limit. The daily bag 
limit could be composed of mourning doves and white-winged doves, 
singly or in combination.
    The Mississippi and Central Flyway Councils recommend the use of 
the standard (or ``moderate'') season package of a 15-bird daily bag 
limit and a 70-day season for the 2009-10 mourning dove season in the 
States within the Central Management Unit.

[[Page 25211]]

The Councils also recommended reducing the boundary for the Special 
White-winged Dove Area (SSWDA) in Texas by removing portions of Jim 
Hogg and northern Starr Counties and changing the opening date for dove 
hunting in the South Zone in Texas to the Friday nearest September 20, 
but not earlier than September 17.
    The Pacific Flyway Council recommended use of the ``moderate'' 
season framework for States in the Western Management Unit (WMU) 
population of mourning doves, which represents no change from last 
year's frameworks.

18. Alaska

    Council Recommendations: The Pacific Flyway Council recommended 
reducing the daily bag limits for brant in Alaska from 3 per day with 6 
in possession to 2 per day with 4 in possession.

20. Puerto Rico

    Council Recommendations: The Atlantic Flyway Council recommended 
that Puerto Rico be permitted to adopt a 20-bird bag limit for doves in 
the aggregate for the next three hunting seasons, 2009-2011. Legally 
hunted dove species in Puerto Rico are the Zenaida dove, the white-
winged dove, and the mourning dove. They also recommended that the 20-
bird aggregate bag limit should include no more than 10 Zenaida doves 
and no more than 3 mourning doves.

Public Comments

    The Department of the Interior's policy is, whenever practicable, 
to afford the public an opportunity to participate in the rulemaking 
process. Accordingly, we invite interested persons to submit written 
comments, suggestions, or recommendations regarding the proposed 
regulations. 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 submit your comments and materials concerning this proposed 
rule by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. We will not 
consider comments sent by e-mail or fax or to an address not listed in 
the ADDRESSES section. Finally, we will not consider hand-delivered 
comments that we do not receive, or mailed comments that are not 
postmarked, by the date specified in the DATES section.
    We will post your entire comment--including your personal 
identifying information--on http://www.regulations.gov. Before 
including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal 
identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your 
entire comment including your personal identifying information may be 
made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your 
comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public 
review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.
    Comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting 
documentation we used in preparing this proposed rule, will be 
available for public inspection on http://www.regulations.gov, or by 
appointment, during normal business hours, at the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Division of Migratory Bird Management, Room 4107, 
4501 North Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22203.
    For each series of proposed rulemakings, we will establish specific 
comment periods. 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 in any final rules.

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 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). In addition, an August 1985 environmental 
assessment entitled ``Guidelines for Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations 
on Federal Indian Reservations and Ceded Lands'' is available from the 
address indicated under the caption FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
    In a notice published in the September 8, 2005, Federal Register 
(70 FR 53376), we announced our intent to develop a new Supplemental 
Environmental Impact Statement for the migratory bird hunting program. 
Public scoping meetings were held in the spring of 2006, as detailed in 
a March 9, 2006, Federal Register (71 FR 12216). We have prepared a 
scoping report summarizing the scoping comments and scoping meetings. 
The report is available by either writing to the address indicated 
under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT or by viewing on our website at 

Endangered Species Act Consideration

    Prior to issuance of the 2009-10 migratory game bird hunting 
regulations, we will comply with 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 is consistent with conservation 
programs for those species. Consultations under Section 7 of this Act 
may cause us to change proposals in this and future supplemental 
rulemaking documents.

Executive Order 12866

    The Office of Management and Budget has determined that this rule 
is significant and has reviewed this rule under Executive Order 12866. 
A regulatory cost-benefit analysis has been prepared and is available 
at http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/reports/reports.html or at http://
www.regulations.gov. OMB bases its determination of regulatory 
significance upon the following four criteria:
    (a) Whether the rule will have an annual effect of $100 million or 
more on the economy or adversely affect an economic sector, 
productivity, jobs, the environment, or other units of the government.
    (b) Whether the rule will create inconsistencies with other Federal 
agencies' actions.
    (c) Whether the rule will materially affect entitlements, grants, 
user fees, loan programs, or the rights and obligations of their 
    (d) Whether the rule raises novel legal or policy issues.

Clarity of the Rule

    We are required by Executive Orders 12866 and 12988 and by the 
Presidential Memorandum of June 1, 1998, to write all rules in plain 
language. This means that each rule we publish must:
    (a) Be logically organized;
    (b) Use the active voice to address readers directly;
    (c) Use clear language rather than jargon;
    (d) Be divided into short sections and sentences; and
    (e) Use lists and tables wherever possible.
    If you feel that we have not met these requirements, send us 
comments by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES

[[Page 25212]]

section. To better help us revise the rule, your comments should be as 
specific as possible. For example, you should tell us the numbers of 
the sections or paragraphs that are unclearly written, which sections 
or sentences are too long, the sections where you feel lists or tables 
would be useful, etc.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The 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 as part of the 
1981 cost-benefit analysis. This analysis was revised annually from 
1990-95. In 1995, the Service issued a Small Entity Flexibility 
Analysis (Analysis), which was subsequently updated in 1996, 1998, 
2004, and 2008. 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 2008 
Analysis was based on the 2006 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 approximately 
$1.2 billion at small businesses in 2008.
    Copies of the Analysis are available upon request from the address 
indicated under ADDRESSES or from our website at http://www.fws.gov/
migratorybirds/reports/reports.html or at http://www.regulations.gov.

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.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    We examined these regulations under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 
1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). The various recordkeeping 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 our Migratory Bird Surveys and assigned control number 
1018-0023 (expires 2/28/2011). 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 
    OMB has also approved the information collection requirements of 
the Alaska Subsistence Household Survey, an associated voluntary annual 
household survey used to determine levels of subsistence take in 
Alaska, and assigned control number 1018-0124 (expires 1/31/2010).
    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 impose a cost 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 proposed rule, has determined 
that this proposed rule will not unduly burden the judicial system and 
that it 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 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.

Energy Effects--Executive Order 13211

    Executive Order 13211 requires agencies to prepare Statements of 
Energy Effects when undertaking certain actions. While this proposed 
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.

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 on Indian trust 
resources. However, in this proposed rule we solicit proposals for 
special migratory bird hunting regulations for certain Tribes on 
Federal Indian reservations, off-reservation trust lands, and ceded 
lands for the 2009-10 migratory bird hunting season. The resulting 
proposals will be contained in a separate proposed rule. By virtue of 
these actions, we have consulted with Tribes affected by this rule.

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 regarding the hunting of migratory 
birds, and we 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 Indian 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 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.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 20

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

    The rules that eventually will be promulgated for the 2009-10 
hunting season are authorized under 16 U.S.C. 703-712 and 16 U.S.C. 742 

[[Page 25213]]

    Dated: May 16, 2009
Will Shafroth,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. E9-12150 Filed 5-26- 09; 8:45 am]