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 1996-97 season. EFFECTIVE DATE: August 30, 1996. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Paul R. Schmidt, Chief, Office of Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior, ms 634-ARLSQ, 1849 C Street, NW., Washington, DC 20240 (703) 358-1714. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Regulations Schedule for 1996 On March 22, 1996, the Service published in the Federal Register (61 FR 11992) 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 Sections 20.101 through 20.107, 20.109, and 20.110 of subpart K. On June 13, 1996, the Service published in the Federal Register (61 FR 30114) a second document providing supplemental proposals for early- and late-season migratory bird hunting regulations frameworks. The June 13 supplement also provided detailed information on the 1996-97 regulatory schedule and announced the Service Migratory Bird Regulations Committee and Flyway Council meetings. On June 14, 1996, the Service published in the Federal Register (61 FR 30490) a third document describing the Service's proposed 1996-97 regulatory alternatives for duck hunting and its intent to consider establishing a special youth waterfowl hunting day. On June 27, 1996, the Service held a public hearing in Washington, DC, as announced in the March 22 and June 14 Federal Registers to review the status of migratory shore and upland game birds. The Service discussed hunting regulations for these species and for other early seasons. On July 22, 1996, the Service published in the Federal Register (61 FR 37994) a fourth document specifically dealing with proposed early-season frameworks for the 1996-97 season. This document also extended the public comment period to August 1, 1996, for early- season proposals. On August 2, 1996, the Service held a public hearing in Washington, DC, as announced in the March 22, June 14, and July 22 Federal Registers to review the status of waterfowl. Proposed hunting regulations were discussed for late seasons. On August 15, 1996, (61 FR 42506), the Service published a fifth and sixth document on migratory bird hunting. The fifth document dealt specifically with proposed frameworks for the 1996-97 late-season migratory bird hunting regulations. The sixth document proposed establishing a youth waterfowl hunting day for the 1996-97 duck-hunting season. On August 29, 1996, the Service published a seventh document containing 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. The final rule described here is the eighth 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 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; and some extended falconry seasons. 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 EPA on June 9, 1988. The Service published a Notice of Availability in the June 16, 1988, Federal Register (53 FR 22582). The Service published its Record of Decision on August 18, 1988 (53 FR 31341). Copies of these documents are available from the Service at the address indicated under the caption ADDRESSES. Endangered Species Act Consideration As in the past, the Service designs hunting regulations to remove or alleviate chances of conflict between migratory game bird hunting seasons and the protection and conservation of endangered and threatened species. Consultations were conducted to ensure that actions resulting from these regulatory proposals will 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 may have modified some regulatory measures previously proposed. The final frameworks here reflect any such modifications. The Service's biological opinions resulting from its Section 7 consultation are public documents available for public inspection in the Service's Division of Endangered Species and Office of Migratory Bird Management, at the address indicated under the caption ADDRESSES. Regulatory Flexibility Act; Executive Order 12866 and the Paperwork Reduction Act In the March 22, 1996, Federal Register, the Service reported measures it took to comply with requirements of the Regulatory Flexibility Act and E.O. 12866. One measure was to prepare a Small Entity Flexibility Analysis (Analysis) in 1996 documenting the significant beneficial economic effect on a substantial number of small entities. The Analysis estimated that migratory bird hunters would spend between $254 and $592 million at small businesses. Copies of the Analysis are available upon request from the Office of Migratory Bird Management. This rule was not subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget under E.O. 12866. The Department examined these proposed regulations under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. The various information collection requirements are utilized in the formulation of migratory game bird hunting regulations. OMB has approved these information collection requirements and assigned clearance numbers 1018-0015 and 1018-0023. Regulations Promulgation The rulemaking process for migratory game bird hunting must, by its nature, operate under severe time constraints. However, the Service intends that the public be given the greatest possible opportunity to comment on the regulations. Thus, when the preliminary proposed rulemaking was published, the Service established what it believed were the longest periods possible for public comment. In doing this, the Service 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 select season dates and limits; to communicate those selections to the Service; and to establish and publicize the necessary regulations and procedures to implement their decisions. Therefore, the Service, under authority of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (July 3, 1918), as amended, (16 U.S.C. 703-711), prescribes final frameworks setting forth the species to be hunted, the daily bag and possession limits, the shooting hours, the season lengths, the earliest opening and latest closing season dates, and hunting areas, from which State conservation agency officials may select hunting season dates and other options. Upon receipt of season and option selections from these officials, the Service will publish in the Federal Register a final rulemaking amending 50 CFR part 20 to reflect seasons, limits, and shooting hours for the conterminous United States for the 1996-97 season. The Service therefore finds that ``good cause'' exists, within the terms of 5 U.S.C. 553(d)(3) of the Administrative Procedure Act, and these frameworks will, therefore, take effect immediately upon publication. Unfunded Mandates The Service has determined and certifies in compliance with the requirements of the Unfunded Mandates 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. Civil Justice Reform--Executive Order 12988 The Department, in promulgating this proposed rule, has determined that these regulations meet the applicable standards provided in Sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 20 Exports, Hunting, Imports, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Transportation, Wildlife. Dated: August 27, 1996. George T. Frampton, Jr., Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. PART 20--[AMENDED] For the reasons set out in the preamble, title 50, chapter I, subchapter B, Part 20, subpart K is amended as follows. 1. The authority citation for Part 20 is revised to read as follows: Authority: 16 U.S.C. 703-712 and 16 U.S.C. 742 a-j. BILLING CODE 4310-55-P [[Page 46360]] [[Page 46362]] [[Page 46364]] [[Page 46366]] [[Page 46368]] [[Page 46370]] [[Page 46372]] [FR Doc. 96-22244 Filed 8-29-96; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310-55-C
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
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 1996-97 season.