[Congressional Bills 105th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[S. 1533 Introduced in Senate (IS)]







105th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                S. 1533

 To amend the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to clarify restrictions under 
              that Act on baiting, and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                   IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

                           November 13, 1997

Mr. Breaux (for himself and Mr. Cochran) introduced the following bill; 
 which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Environment and 
                              Public Works

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
 To amend the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to clarify restrictions under 
              that Act on baiting, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Migratory Bird Treaty Reform Act''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    The Congress makes the following findings:
            (1) The Migratory Bird Treaty Act was enacted in 1918 to 
        implement the 1916 Convention for the Protection of Migratory 
        Birds between the United States and Great Britain (for Canada). 
        The Act was later amended to reflect similar agreements with 
        Mexico, Japan, and the former Soviet Union.
            (2) Pursuant to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the 
        Secretary of the Interior is authorized to promulgate 
        regulations specifying when, how, and whether migratory birds 
        may be hunted.
            (3) Contained within these regulations are prohibitions on 
        certain methods of hunting migratory game birds to better 
        manage and conserve this resource. These prohibitions, many of 
        which were recommended by sportsmen, have been in place for 
        over 60 years and have received broad acceptance among the 
        hunting community with one principal exception relating to the 
        application and interpretation of the prohibitions on the 
        hunting of migratory game birds by the aid of baiting, or on or 
        over any baited area.
            (4) The prohibitions regarding the hunting of migratory 
        game birds by the aid of bait, or on or over bait, have been 
        fraught with interpretive difficulties on the part of law 
        enforcement, the hunting community, and courts of law. Hunters 
        who desire to comply with applicable regulations have been 
        subject to citation for violations of the regulations due to 
        the lack of clarity, inconsistent interpretations, and 
        enforcement. The baiting regulations have been the subject of 
        multiple congressional hearings and a law enforcement advisory 
        commission.
            (5) Restrictions on the hunting of migratory game birds by 
        the aid of baiting, or on or over any baited area, must be 
        clarified in a manner that recognizes the national and 
        international importance of protecting the migratory bird 
        resource while ensuring consistency and appropriate enforcement 
        including the principles of ``fair chase''.

SEC. 3. CLARIFYING HUNTING PROHIBITIONS.

    Section 3 of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (16 U.S.C. 704) is 
amended--
            (1) by inserting ``(a)'' after ``Sec. 3.''; and
            (2) by adding at the end the following:
    ``(b)(1) No person shall--
            ``(A) take any migratory game bird by the aid of baiting, 
        or on or over any baited area, where the person knows or 
        reasonably should have known that the area is a baited area; or
            ``(B) place or direct the placement of bait on or adjacent 
        to an area for the purpose of causing, inducing, or allowing 
        any person to take or attempt to take any migratory game bird 
        by the aid of baiting or on or over the baited area.
    ``(2) Nothing in this subsection prohibits any of the following:
            ``(A) The taking of any migratory game bird, including 
        waterfowl, from a blind or other place of concealment 
        camouflaged with natural vegetation.
            ``(B) The taking of any migratory game bird, including 
        waterfowl, on or over--
                    ``(i) standing crops, flooded standing crops 
                (including aquatics), flooded harvested croplands, 
                grain crops properly shocked on the field where grown; 
                or
                    ``(ii) grains, agricultural seeds, or other feed 
                scattered solely as a result of--
                            ``(I) accepted soil stabilization practices 
                        or accepted agricultural planting, harvesting, 
                        or manipulation after harvest; or
                            ``(II) entering or exiting of areas by 
                        hunters or normal hunting activities such as 
                        decoy placement or bird retrieval, if 
                        reasonable care is used to minimize the 
                        scattering of grains, agricultural seeds, or 
                        other feed.
            ``(C) The taking of any migratory game bird, except 
        waterfowl, on or over any lands where salt, grain, or other 
        feed has been distributed or scattered as a result of--
                    ``(i) accepted soil stabilization practices;
                    ``(ii) accepted agricultural operations or 
                procedures; or
                    ``(iii) the alteration for wildlife management 
                purposes of a crop or other feed on the land where it 
                was grown, other than distribution of grain or other 
                feed after the grain or other feed is harvested or 
                removed from the site where it was grown.
    ``(3) As used in this subsection:
            ``(A)(i) Except as otherwise provided in this Act, the term 
        `baiting' means the intentional or unintentional placement of 
        salt, grain, or other feed capable of attracting migratory game 
        birds, in such a quantity and in such a manner as to serve as 
        an attractant to such birds to, on, or over an area where 
        hunters are attempting to take them, by--
                    ``(I) placing, exposing, depositing, distributing, 
                or scattering salt, grain, or other feed grown off-
                site;
                    ``(II) redistributing grain or other feed after it 
                is harvested or removed from the site where grown;
                    ``(III) altering agricultural crops, other than by 
                accepted agricultural planting, harvesting, or 
                manipulation after harvest, altering millet planted for 
                nonagricultural purposes (planted millet), or altering 
                other vegetation (as specified in migratory bird 
                hunting regulations issued by the Secretary of the 
                Interior) planted for nonagricultural purposes; or
                    ``(IV) gathering, collecting, or concentrating 
                natural vegetation, planted millet, or other vegetation 
                (as specified in migratory bird hunting regulations 
                issued by the Secretary of the Interior) planted for 
                nonagricultural purposes, following alteration or 
                harvest.
            ``(ii) The term `baiting' does not include--
                    ``(I) redistribution, alteration, or concentration 
                of grain or other feed caused by flooding, whether 
                natural or man induced; or
                    ``(II) alteration of natural vegetation on the site 
                where grown, other than alteration described in clause 
                (i)(IV).
            ``(iii) With respect only to the taking of waterfowl, the 
        term `baiting'--
                    ``(I) does not include, with respect to the first 
                special September waterfowl hunting season locally in 
                effect or any subsequent waterfowl hunting season, an 
                alteration of planted millet or other vegetation (as 
                specified in such regulations), other than an 
                alteration described in clause (i)(IV), occurring 
                before the 10-day period preceding the opening date (as 
                published in the Federal Register) of that first 
                special season; and
                    ``(II) does not include, with respect to the first 
                regular waterfowl hunting season locally in effect or 
                any subsequent waterfowl hunting season, such an 
                alteration occurring before the 10-day period preceding 
                the opening date (as published in the Federal Register) 
                of that first regular season.
            ``(B) The term `baited area' means any area that contains 
        salt, grain, or other feed referred to in subparagraph (A)(i) 
        that was placed in that area by baiting. Such an area shall 
        remain a baited area for 10 days following complete removal of 
        such salt, grain, or other feed.
            ``(C) The term `accepted agricultural planting, harvesting, 
        and manipulation after harvest' means techniques of planting, 
        harvesting, and manipulation after harvest that are--
                    ``(i) used by agricultural operators in the area 
                for agricultural purposes; and
                    ``(ii) approved by the State fish and wildlife 
                agency after consultation with the Cooperative State 
                Research, Education, and Extension Service, the Natural 
                Resources Conservation Service, and the United States 
                Fish and Wildlife Service.
            ``(D) The term `accepted agricultural operations or 
        procedures' means techniques that are--
                    ``(i) used by agricultural operators in the area 
                for agricultural purposes; and
                    ``(ii) approved by the State fish and wildlife 
                agency after consultation with the State Cooperative 
                State Research, Education, and Extension Service, the 
                State Office of the Natural Resources Conservation 
                Service, and the United States Fish and Wildlife 
                Service.
            ``(E) The term `accepted soil stabilization practices' 
        means techniques that are--
                    ``(i) used in the area solely for soil 
                stabilization purposes, including erosion control; and
                    ``(ii) approved by the State fish and wildlife 
                agency after consultation with the State Cooperative 
                State Research, Education, and Extension Service, the 
                State Office of the Natural Resources Conservation 
                Service, and the United States Fish and Wildlife 
                Service.
            ``(F) With respect only to planted millet or other 
        vegetation (as designated in migratory bird hunting regulations 
        issued by the Secretary of the Interior) planted for 
        nonagricultural purposes, the term `planted'--
                    ``(i) subject to clause (ii), means sown with seeds 
                that have been harvested; and
                    ``(ii) does not include alteration of mature stands 
                of planted millet or of such other vegetation planted 
                for nonagricultural purposes.
            ``(G) The term `migratory game bird' means any migratory 
        bird included in the term `migratory game birds' under part 
        20.11 of title 50, Code of Federal Regulations, as in effect 
        October 3, 1997.''.

SEC. 4. PENALTIES.

    Section 6(c) of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (16 U.S.C. 707(c)) is 
amended as follows:
            (1) By striking ``All guns,'' and inserting ``(1) Except as 
        provided in paragraph (2), all guns''.
            (2) By adding the following at the end:
    ``(2) In lieu of seizing any personal property not crucial to the 
prosecution of the alleged offense, the Secretary of the Interior shall 
permit the owner or operator of the personal property to post bond or 
other collateral pending the disposition of any proceeding under this 
Act.''.
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