[Federal Register: August 31, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 167)]
[Rules and Regulations]               
[Page 45031-45067]
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

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

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 2009-10 season.

DATES: This rule is effective on September 1, 2009.

ADDRESSES: You may inspect comments received on the migratory bird 
hunting regulations during normal business hours at the Service's 
office in Room 4107, Arlington Square Building, 4501 N. Fairfax Drive, 
Arlington, VA. You may obtain copies of referenced reports from the 
street address above, or from the Division of Migratory Bird 
Management's Web site at http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/, or at 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Robert Blohm, Chief, or Ron W. Kokel, 
Division of Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
(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 Sec. Sec.  20.101 
through 20.107, 20.109, and 20.110 of subpart K. Major steps in the 
2009-10 regulatory cycle relating to open public meetings and Federal 
Register notifications were also identified in the April 10 proposed 
rule. Further, we explained that all sections of subsequent documents 
outlining hunting frameworks and guidelines were organized under 
numbered headings.
    On May 27, 2009, we published in the Federal Register (74 FR 25209) 
a second document providing supplemental proposals for early- and late-
season migratory bird hunting regulations, providing detailed 
information on the 2009-10 regulatory schedule, and announcing the 
Service Migratory Bird Regulations Committee (SRC) and Flyway Council 
    On June 24 and 25, 2009, 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 2009-10 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 2009-10 regular 
waterfowl seasons. On July 24, 2009, we published in the Federal 
Register (74 FR 36870) a third document specifically dealing with the 
proposed frameworks for early-season regulations. On August 25, 2009, 
we published in the Federal Register a final rule 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 
    On July 29-30, 2009, we held open meetings with the Flyway Council 
Consultants at which the participants reviewed the status of waterfowl 
and developed recommendations for the 2009-10 regulations for these 
species. Proposed hunting regulations were discussed for late seasons. 
We published proposed frameworks for the 2009-10 late-season migratory 
bird hunting regulations in an August 13, 2009 Federal Register (74 FR 
    The final rule described here is the sixth 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 part 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.

National Environmental Protection Act (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). In addition, an August 1985 environmental 
assessment entitled ``Guidelines for Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations 
on Federal Indian Reservations and Ceded Lands'' is available by 
writing to the street address indicated under the caption ADDRESSES.
    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 
the March 9, 2006 Federal Register (71 FR 12216). A scoping report 
summarizing the scoping comments and scoping meetings is available by 
either writing to the street address indicated under ADDRESSES or by 
viewing on our Web site at http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/.

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

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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, 
which concluded that the regulations are not likely to jeopardize the 
continued existence of 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 street address indicated under ADDRESSES.

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. 
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.
    An Economic Analysis was prepared for the 2008-09 season. This 
analysis was based on data from the 2006 National Hunting and Fishing 
Survey, the most recent year for which data are available (see 
discussion in Regulatory Flexibility Act section below). This analysis 
estimates consumer surplus for three alternatives for duck hunting 
(estimates for other species are not quantified due to lack of data). 
The alternatives are (1) Issue restrictive regulations allowing fewer 
days than those issued during the 2007-08 season, (2) Issue moderate 
regulations allowing more days than those in alternative 1, and (3) 
Issue liberal regulations identical to the regulations in the 2007-08 
season. For the 2008-09 season, we chose alternative 3, with an 
estimated consumer surplus across all flyways of $205-$270 million. For 
the upcoming 2009-10 season, we again considered these three 
alternatives and again chose alternative 3 for ducks. We made minor 
modifications to the season frameworks for some other species, but 
these do not significantly change the economic impacts of the rule, 
which were not quantified for other species. For these reasons, we have 
not conducted a new Economic Analysis, but the 2008-09 analysis is part 
of the record for this rule and is available at http://www.fws.gov/
SpecialTopics.html#HuntingRegs or at http://www.regulations.gov.

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 by writing to the street address indicated under ADDRESSES or 
from our Web site at http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/
NewReportsPublications/SpecialTopics/SpecialTopics.html#HuntingRegs 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, it 
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 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 
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 rule, has determined that it 
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 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, it allows hunters to exercise otherwise 
unavailable privileges and, therefore, reduces 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 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

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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 the April 10 Federal 
Register, we solicited 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 were contained in a separate 
August 11, 2009, proposed rule (74 FR 36870). By virtue of these 
actions, we have consulted with affected Tribes.

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.

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. 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, States 
would have insufficient time to select season dates and limits; to 
communicate those selections to us; and to establish and publicize the 
necessary regulations and procedures to implement their decisions. We 
find that ``good cause'' exists, within the terms of 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) 
of the Administrative Procedure Act, and therefore, under authority of 
the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (July 3, 1918), as amended (16 U.S.C. 
703-711), 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, 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: August 20, 2009.
Will Shafroth,
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:  Migratory Bird Treaty Act, 40 Stat. 755, 16 U.S.C. 
703-712; Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956, 16 U.S.C. 742 a-j, Public 
Law 106-108, 113 Stat. 1491, Note Following 16 U.S.C. 703.

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[FR Doc. E9-20739 Filed 8-28-09; 8:45 am]