Skip to Content

Rule

Migratory Bird Hunting; Late Seasons and Bag and Possession Limits for Certain Migratory Game Birds

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

Start Preamble Start Printed Page 59358

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.

Start Further Info

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.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

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 §§ 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 hunting Start Printed Page 59359regulations 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, Start Printed Page 59360subpart K, are hereby amended as set forth below.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 20

End List of Subjects Start Signature

Dated: September 12, 2002.

Paul Hoffman,

Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.

End Signature Start Part

PART 20—[AMENDED]

End Part Start Amendment Part

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:

End Amendment Part Start Amendment Part

1. The authority citation for part 20 continues to read as follows:

End Amendment Part Start Authority

Authority: 16 U.S.C. 703-712 and 16 U.S.C. 742a-j, Pub. L. 106-108.

End Authority Start Printed Page 59361

Start Printed Page 59362

Start Printed Page 59363

Start Printed Page 59364

Start Printed Page 59365

Start Printed Page 59366

Start Printed Page 59367

Start Printed Page 59368

Start Printed Page 59369

Start Printed Page 59370

Start Printed Page 59371

Start Printed Page 59372

Start Printed Page 59373

Start Printed Page 59374

Start Printed Page 59375

Start Printed Page 59376

Start Printed Page 59377

Start Printed Page 59378

Start Printed Page 59379

Start Printed Page 59380

Start Printed Page 59381

Start Printed Page 59382

Start Printed Page 59383

Start Printed Page 59384

End Supplemental Information

BILLING CODE 4310-55-P

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

BILLING CODE 4310-55-C