[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 159 (Friday, August 15, 2008)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 48097-48115]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-18930]



[[Page 48097]]

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Part V





Department of the Interior





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Fish and Wildlife Service



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50 CFR Part 20



Migratory Bird Hunting; Proposed Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations on 
Certain Federal Indian Reservations and Ceded Lands for the 2008-09 
Season; Proposed Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 159 / Friday, August 15, 2008 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 48098]]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 20

[FWS-R9-MB-2008-0032, 91200-1231-9BPP-L2]
RIN 1018-AV62


Migratory Bird Hunting; Proposed Migratory Bird Hunting 
Regulations on Certain Federal Indian Reservations and Ceded Lands for 
the 2008-09 Season

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (hereinafter, Service or 
we) proposes special migratory bird hunting regulations for certain 
Tribes on Federal Indian reservations, off-reservation trust lands, and 
ceded lands for the 2008-09 migratory bird hunting season.

DATES: We will accept all comments on the proposed regulations that are 
postmarked or received in our office by August 25, 2008.

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-AV62; 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).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ron W. Kokel, Division of Migratory 
Bird Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, (703) 358-1714.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In the May 28, 2008, Federal Register (73 FR 
30712), we requested proposals from Indian Tribes wishing to establish 
special migratory bird hunting regulations for the 2008-09 hunting 
season, under the guidelines described in the June 4, 1985, Federal 
Register (50 FR 23467). In this supplemental proposed rule, we propose 
special migratory bird hunting regulations for 28 Indian Tribes, based 
on the input we received in response to the May 28, 2008, proposed 
rule. As described in that document/proposed rule, the promulgation of 
annual migratory bird hunting regulations involves a series of 
rulemaking actions each year. This proposed rule is part of that 
series.
    We developed the guidelines for establishing special migratory bird 
hunting regulations for Indian Tribes in response to tribal requests 
for recognition of their reserved hunting rights and, for some Tribes, 
recognition of their authority to regulate hunting by both tribal and 
nontribal hunters on their reservations. The guidelines include 
possibilities for:
    (1) On-reservation hunting by both tribal and nontribal hunters, 
with hunting by nontribal hunters on some reservations to take place 
within Federal frameworks but on dates different from those selected by 
the surrounding State(s);
    (2) On-reservation hunting by tribal members only, outside of the 
usual Federal frameworks for season dates and length, and for daily bag 
and possession limits; and
    (3) Off-reservation hunting by tribal members on ceded lands, 
outside of usual framework dates and season length, with some added 
flexibility in daily bag and possession limits.
    In all cases, the regulations established under the guidelines must 
be consistent with the March 10 to September 1 closed season mandated 
by the 1916 Convention Between the United States and Great Britain (for 
Canada) for the Protection of Migratory Birds (Treaty). The guidelines 
apply to those Tribes having recognized reserved hunting rights on 
Federal Indian reservations (including off-reservation trust lands) and 
on ceded lands. They also apply to establishing migratory bird hunting 
regulations for nontribal hunters on all lands within the exterior 
boundaries of reservations where Tribes have full wildlife management 
authority over such hunting or where the Tribes and affected States 
otherwise have reached agreement over hunting by nontribal hunters on 
lands owned by non-Indians within the reservation.
    Tribes usually have the authority to regulate migratory bird 
hunting by nonmembers on Indian-owned reservation lands, subject to 
Service approval. The question of jurisdiction is more complex on 
reservations that include lands owned by non-Indians, especially when 
the surrounding States have established or intend to establish 
regulations governing hunting by non-Indians on these lands. In such 
cases, we encourage the Tribes and States to reach agreement on 
regulations that would apply throughout the reservations. When 
appropriate, we will consult with a Tribe and State with the aim of 
facilitating an accord. We also will consult jointly with tribal and 
State officials in the affected States where Tribes wish to establish 
special hunting regulations for tribal members on ceded lands. Because 
of past questions regarding interpretation of what events trigger the 
consultation process, as well as who initiates it, we provide the 
following clarification. We routinely provide copies of Federal 
Register publications pertaining to migratory bird management to all 
State Directors, Tribes, and other interested parties. It is the 
responsibility of the States, Tribes, and others to notify us of any 
concern regarding any feature(s) of any regulations. When we receive 
such notification, we will initiate consultation.
    Our guidelines provide for the continued harvest of waterfowl and 
other migratory game birds by tribal members on reservations where such 
harvest has been a customary practice. We do not oppose this harvest, 
provided it does not take place during the closed season defined by the 
Treaty, and does not adversely affect the status of the migratory bird 
resource. Before developing the guidelines, we reviewed available 
information on the current status of migratory bird populations; 
reviewed the current status of migratory bird hunting on Federal Indian 
reservations; and evaluated the potential impact of such guidelines on 
migratory birds. We concluded that the impact of migratory bird harvest 
by tribal members hunting on their reservations is minimal.
    One area of interest in Indian migratory bird hunting regulations 
relates to hunting seasons for nontribal hunters on dates that are 
within Federal frameworks, but which are different from those 
established by the State(s) where the reservation is located. A large 
influx of nontribal hunters onto a reservation at a time when the 
season is closed in the surrounding State(s) could result in adverse 
population impacts on one or more migratory bird species. The 
guidelines make this unlikely, however, because tribal proposals must 
include: (a) Harvest anticipated under the requested regulations; (b) 
methods that will be employed to measure or monitor harvest (such as 
bag checks, mail questionnaires, etc.); (c) steps that will be taken to 
limit level of harvest, where it could be shown that failure to limit 
such harvest would adversely impact the migratory bird resource; and 
(d) tribal capabilities to establish and enforce migratory bird hunting 
regulations. We may modify regulations or establish experimental 
special hunts, after evaluation and confirmation of

[[Page 48099]]

harvest information obtained by the Tribes.
    We believe the guidelines provide appropriate opportunity to 
accommodate the reserved hunting rights and management authority of 
Indian Tribes while ensuring that the migratory bird resource receives 
necessary protection. The conservation of this important international 
resource is paramount. The guidelines should not be viewed as 
inflexible. In this regard, we note that they have been employed 
successfully since 1985. We believe they have been tested adequately 
and, therefore, we made them final beginning with the 1988-89 hunting 
season. We should stress here, however, that use of the guidelines is 
not mandatory and no action is required if a Tribe wishes to observe 
the hunting regulations established by the State(s) in which the 
reservation is located.

Service Migratory Bird Regulations Committee Meetings

    Participants at the June 25-26, 2008, meetings reviewed information 
on the current status of migratory shore and upland game birds and 
developed 2008-09 migratory game bird regulations recommendations for 
these species plus regulations for migratory game birds in Alaska, 
Puerto Rico, and the U.S. 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. 
Participants at the previously announced July 30-31, 2008, meetings 
reviewed information on the current status of waterfowl and developed 
recommendations for the 2008-09 regulations pertaining to regular 
waterfowl seasons and other species and seasons not previously 
discussed at the early-season meetings. In accordance with Department 
of the Interior policy, these meetings were open to public observation 
and you may submit comments to the Director on the matters discussed.

Population Status and Harvest

    The following paragraphs provide preliminary information on the 
status of waterfowl and information on the status and harvest of 
migratory shore and upland game birds excerpted from various reports. 
For more detailed information on methodologies and results, you may 
obtain complete copies of the various reports at the address indicated 
under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT or from our Web site at http://fws.gov/migratorybirds/reports/report.html.

Waterfowl Breeding and Habitat Survey

    Federal, provincial, and State agencies conduct surveys each spring 
to estimate the size of breeding populations and to evaluate the 
conditions of the habitats. These surveys are conducted using fixed-
wing aircraft, helicopters, and ground crews and encompass principal 
breeding areas of North America, covering an area over 2.0 million 
square miles. The Traditional survey area comprises Alaska, Canada, and 
the northcentral United States, and includes approximately 1.3 million 
square miles. The Eastern survey area includes parts of Ontario, 
Quebec, Labrador, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New 
Brunswick, New York, and Maine, an area of approximately 0.7 million 
square miles.
    Overall, habitat conditions during the 2008 May waterfowl survey 
were characterized in many areas by a delayed spring compared to 
several preceding years. Drought in many parts of the traditional 
survey area contrasted sharply with record amounts of snow and rainfall 
in the eastern survey area.
Traditional Survey Area (U.S. and Canadian Prairies)
    Although spring was delayed in much of the traditional survey area, 
field crews reported that habitat conditions were suitable for nesting 
at the time of the survey. Much of the prairie potholes experienced 
drought conditions this spring and many semi-permanent wetlands and 
livestock dugouts were dry. At the time of the survey this area was 
considered to be in fair to poor condition, with the exceptions being 
regions with temporary and seasonal water in southeastern South Dakota, 
and areas of western South Dakota that received abundant rain and 
snowfall in early May; conditions were classified as good in both of 
these areas. Parts of the prairie pothole region experienced heavy 
rains following completion of the survey. This may improve habitat 
conditions for late nesters and may improve the success of re-nesting 
attempts.
    The parklands were drier in 2008 than in 2007 when excess water 
created much additional waterfowl habitat; still, this area was 
classified as fair to good overall with most seasonal and semi-
permanent wetlands full. A late April snowstorm recharged wetlands in 
some areas of the northern parklands, and these areas were classified 
as excellent.
Bush (Alaska, Northern Manitoba, Northern Saskatchewan, Northwest 
Territories, Yukon Territory, Western Ontario)
    In the boreal forest, spring break-up was later in 2008 than in 
recent years, with locally variable snowfall and, consequently, 
variable runoff that resulted in habitat conditions ranging from fair 
in the east to good in the west. Most large lakes were still frozen on 
May 20 in the Northwest Territories; however, warmer temperatures in 
late May led to habitat conditions suitable for nesting during the 
survey period. Good conditions were present throughout Alaska, with 
slightly late spring conditions in some coastal areas.
Eastern Survey Area
    In the eastern survey area, a cold winter with heavy snows and 
colder than average spring temperatures delayed spring conditions by 1-
2 weeks relative to the early springs of preceding years. An exception 
was northern Quebec, which experienced an early spring with most ice 
melting by the last week of May. Quickly rising temperatures combined 
with spring rains led to flooding in parts of Maine and the Maritimes, 
which disrupted spring nesting phenology; as a result, habitat 
conditions in these areas were classified as fair. Elsewhere in the 
East, abundant water in most lakes and wetlands resulted in habitat 
conditions being classified as good or excellent.

Status of Teal

    The estimate of blue-winged teal numbers from the Traditional 
Survey Area is 6.6 million. This represents a 1.0 percent decrease from 
2007 and is 45 percent above the 1955-2007 average.

Sandhill Cranes

    Compared to increases recorded in the 1970s, annual indices to 
abundance of the Mid-Continent Population (MCP) of sandhill cranes have 
been relatively stable since the early 1980s. The Central Platte River 
Valley, Nebraska, spring index for 2008, uncorrected for visibility 
bias, was 472,128 sandhill cranes. The photo-corrected, 3-year average 
for 2005-07 was 364,281, which is within the established population-
objective range of 349,000-472,000 cranes. All Central Flyway States, 
except Nebraska, allowed crane hunting in portions of their States 
during 2007-08. About 9,808 hunters participated in these seasons, 
which was similar to the number that participated in the previous 
season. Hunters harvested 18,610 MCP cranes in the U.S. portion of the 
Central Flyway during the 2007-08 seasons, which was 6 percent higher 
than the

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estimated harvest for the previous year. The retrieved harvest of MCP 
cranes in hunt areas outside of the Central Flyway (Arizona, Pacific 
Flyway portion of New Mexico, Alaska, Canada, and Mexico combined) was 
13,567 during 2007-08. The preliminary estimate for the North American 
MCP sport harvest, including crippling losses, was 36,567 birds, which 
is similar to the previous year's estimate. The long-term (1982-2004) 
trends for the MCP indicate that harvest has been increasing at a 
higher rate than population growth.
    The fall 2007 pre-migration survey for the Rocky Mountain 
Population (RMP) resulted in a record high count of 22,822 cranes. The 
3-year average for 2004, 2005, and 2007 (no survey was conducted in 
2006) was 20,732 sandhill cranes, which is within established 
population objectives of 17,000-21,000 for the RMP. Hunting seasons 
during 2007-08 in portions of Arizona, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, 
Utah, and Wyoming resulted in a harvest of 820 RMP cranes, a 10 percent 
decrease from the harvest of 907 the year before.

Woodcock

    Singing-ground and Wing-collection Surveys were conducted to assess 
the population status of the American woodcock (Scolopax minor). The 
Singing-ground Survey is intended to measure long-term changes in 
woodcock population levels. Singing-ground Survey data for 2008 
indicate that the number of displaying woodcock in the Eastern Region 
in 2008 was unchanged from 2007, while the Central Region experienced a 
9.2 percent decline. However, we note that measurement of short-term 
(i.e., annual) trends tends to give estimates with larger variances and 
is more prone to be influenced by climatic factors that may affect 
local counts during the survey. There was no significant trend in 
woodcock heard in the Eastern Region during 1998-2008; however, there 
was a declining trend of -1.5 percent per year in the Central Region. 
This represents the fifth consecutive year that the 10-year trend 
estimate for the Eastern Region did not indicate a significant decline, 
while it is the first time since 2003 that the Central Region had a 
declining trend. There were long-term (1968-2008) declines of 1.2 
percent per year in the Eastern Region and 1.1 percent per year in the 
Central Region. Wing-collection Survey data indicate that the 2007 
recruitment index for the U.S. portion of the Eastern Region (1.6 
immatures per adult female) was 4 percent higher than the 2006 index, 
and 4 percent lower than the long-term average. The recruitment index 
for the U.S. portion of the Central Region (1.5 immatures per adult 
female) was 10 percent lower than the 2006 index and 8 percent below 
the long-term average.

Band-Tailed Pigeons and Doves

    Annual counts of Interior band-tailed pigeons seen and heard per 
Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) route have not changed significantly since 
implementation of the BBS in 1966; however, they decreased 
significantly over the last 10 years. The 2007 harvest was estimated to 
be 4,800 birds. For Pacific Coast band-tailed pigeons, annual BBS 
counts of birds seen and heard per route have decreased since 1966, but 
they have not changed significantly over the last 10 years. According 
to the Pacific Coast Mineral Site Survey, annual counts of Pacific 
Coast band-tailed pigeons seen per mineral site have increased 
significantly since the survey was experimentally implemented in 2001. 
The 2007 harvest was estimated to be 12,700 birds.
    Analyses of Mourning Dove Call-count Survey data over the most 
recent 10 years indicated no significant trend for doves heard in 
either the Eastern or Western Management Units while the Central Unit 
showed a significant decline. Over the 43-year period, 1966-2007, all 3 
units exhibited significant declines. In contrast, for doves seen over 
the 10-year period, no significant trends were found for any of the 
three Management Units. Over 43 years, no trend was found for doves 
seen in the Eastern and Central Units while a significant decline was 
indicated for the Western Unit. The preliminary 2007 harvest estimate 
for the United States was 20,550,000 doves. A banding program is 
underway to obtain current information in order to develop mourning 
dove population models for each Management Unit to provide guidance for 
improving our decision-making process with respect to harvest 
management.
    The two key States with a white-winged dove population are Arizona 
and Texas. California and New Mexico have much smaller populations.
    The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD) monitors white-winged 
dove populations by means of a call-count survey to provide an annual 
index to population size. The index peaked at a mean of 52.3 doves 
heard per route in 1968, but fell precipitously in the late 1970s. The 
index has stabilized to around 25 doves per route in the last few 
years. In 2008, the mean number of doves heard per route was 26.9. AGFD 
also monitors harvest. Harvest during the 15-day season (September 1-
15) peaked in the late 1960s at ~740,000 birds and has since stabilized 
at around 100,000 birds. The 2007 Harvest Information Program (HIP) 
estimate was 127,600 birds. In 2007, Arizona redesigned their dove 
harvest survey questionnaire to sample only from hunters registered 
under HIP. In the future, AGFD and HIP harvest estimates should be more 
comparable than they have been in the past.
    In Texas, white-winged doves continue to expand their breeding 
range. Nesting by whitewings has been recorded in most counties, except 
for the northeastern part of the State primarily. Nesting is 
essentially confined to urban areas, but appears to be expanding to 
exurban areas. Concomitant with this range expansion has been a 
continuing increase in whitewing abundance. A new DISTANCE sampling 
protocol was implemented for Central and South Texas for 2007, and 
expanded in 2008 so that coverage is almost statewide. Once fully 
implemented, biologists should have the ability to obtain a good 
estimate of white-winged dove abundance in Texas. While 2008 data were 
not available at this time, 2007 surveys indicated an estimated 
abundance throughout surveyed areas (representing about 20 percent of 
the State) of about 2,300,000 whitewings. Total Statewide harvest has 
averaged about 2 million birds annually.
    The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is working to improve 
management of white-winged doves in Texas in the following ways: (1) 
Expanding current surveys of spring populations to encompass areas 
throughout the State that now have breeding populations; (2) Completing 
the Tamaulipas-Texas White-winged Dove Strategic Plan so that there are 
consistent and comparable harvest management strategies, surveys, 
research, and data collection across the breeding range of the species; 
(3) Expanding operational banding in 2008 that was begun in 2007 to 
derive estimates of survival and harvest rates; (4) Implementing a 
wing-collection survey for recruitment rates in lieu of the feeding 
flight and production surveys; (5) Estimating probability of detection 
for more accurate estimates of breeding populations within urban 
environments; and (6) Evaluating and estimating reproductive success in 
urban areas to better estimate population increases.
    In California, BBS data (although imprecise due to a small sample 
size) indicate that there has been a significant increase in the 
population between 1968 and 2007. According to HIP surveys, the 
preliminary harvest estimate for 2007

[[Page 48101]]

was 67,900. In New Mexico, BBS data (very imprecise due to a small 
sample size) also showed a significant increase over the long term. In 
2007, the estimated harvest was 64,000.
    White-tipped doves are believed to be maintaining a relatively 
stable population in the Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV) of Texas. 
DISTANCE sampling procedures in the LRGV include whitetips. However, 
until the sampling frame includes rural Rio Grande corridor habitats, 
not many whitetips will be reported. Sampling frame issues are expected 
to be resolved by next year. However, annual white-tipped dove harvest 
during the special season is only averaging 3,000-4,000 birds.

Hunting Season Proposals From Indian Tribes and Organizations

    For the 2008-09 hunting season, we received requests from 28 Tribes 
and Indian organizations. We actively solicit regulatory proposals from 
other tribal groups that are interested in working cooperatively for 
the benefit of waterfowl and other migratory game birds. We encourage 
Tribes to work with us to develop agreements for management of 
migratory bird resources on tribal lands.
    It should be noted that this proposed rule includes generalized 
regulations for both early- and late-season hunting. A final rule will 
be published in a late-August 2008 Federal Register that will include 
tribal regulations for the early-hunting season. Early seasons 
generally begin around September 1 each year and most commonly include 
such species as American woodcock, sandhill cranes, mourning doves, and 
white-winged doves. Late seasons generally begin on or around September 
24 and most commonly include waterfowl species.
    In this current rulemaking, because of the compressed timeframe for 
establishing regulations for Indian Tribes and because final frameworks 
dates and other specific information are not available, the regulations 
for many tribal hunting seasons are described in relation to the season 
dates, season length, and limits that will be permitted when final 
Federal frameworks are announced for early- and late-season 
regulations. For example, daily bag and possession limits for ducks on 
some areas are shown as the same as permitted in Pacific Flyway States 
under final Federal frameworks, and limits for geese will be shown as 
the same permitted by the State(s) in which the tribal hunting area is 
located.
    The proposed frameworks for early-season regulations were published 
in the Federal Register on July 24, 2008 (73 FR 43290); early-season 
final frameworks will be published in late-August. Proposed late-season 
frameworks for waterfowl and coots will be published in mid-August, and 
the final frameworks for the late seasons will be published in mid-
September. We will notify affected Tribes of season dates, bag limits, 
etc., as soon as final frameworks are established. As previously 
discussed, no action is required by Tribes wishing to observe migratory 
bird hunting regulations established by the State(s) where they are 
located. The proposed regulations for the 28 Tribes that have submitted 
proposals that meet the established criteria are shown below.

(a) Colorado River Indian Tribes, Colorado River Indian Reservation, 
Parker, Arizona (Tribal Members and Nontribal Hunters)

    The Colorado River Indian Reservation is located in Arizona and 
California. The Tribes own almost all lands on the reservation, and 
have full wildlife management authority.
    In their 2008-09 proposal, the Colorado River Indian Tribes 
requested split dove seasons. They propose their early season begin 
September 1 and end September 15, 2008. Daily bag limits would be 10 
mourning or white-winged doves in the aggregate. The late season for 
doves is proposed to open November 15, 2008, and close December 29, 
2008. The daily bag limit would be 10 mourning doves. The possession 
limit would be twice the daily bag limit after the first day of the 
season. Shooting hours would be from one-half hour before sunrise to 
noon in the early season and until sunset in the late season. Other 
special tribally set regulations would apply.
    The Tribes also propose duck hunting seasons. The season would open 
October 11, 2008, and run until January 25, 2009. The Tribes propose 
the same season dates for mergansers, coots, and common moorhens. The 
daily bag limit for ducks, including mergansers, would be seven, except 
that the daily bag limits could contain no more than two hen mallards, 
two redheads, two Mexican ducks, two goldeneye, three scaup, one 
pintail, and two cinnamon teal. The season on canvasback is closed. The 
possession limit would be twice the daily bag limit after the first day 
of the season. The daily bag and possession limit for coots and common 
moorhens would be 25, singly or in the aggregate.
    For geese, the Colorado River Indian Tribes propose a season of 
October 18, 2008, through January 25, 2009. The daily bag limit for 
geese would be three light geese and three dark geese. The possession 
limit would be six light geese and six dark geese after opening day.
    In 1996, the Tribe conducted a detailed assessment of dove hunting. 
Results showed approximately 16,100 mourning doves and 13,600 white-
winged doves were harvested by approximately 2,660 hunters who averaged 
1.45 hunter-days. Field observations and permit sales indicate that 
fewer than 200 hunters participate in waterfowl seasons. Under the 
proposed regulations described here and, based upon past seasons, we 
and the Tribes estimate harvest will be similar.
    Hunters must have a valid Colorado River Indian Reservation hunting 
permit and a Federal Migratory Bird Stamp in their possession while 
hunting. Other special tribally set regulations would apply. As in the 
past, the regulations would apply both to tribal and nontribal hunters, 
and nontoxic shot is required for waterfowl hunting.
    We propose to approve the Colorado River Indian Tribes regulations 
for the 2008-09 hunting season, given the seasons dates fall within 
final flyway frameworks (applies to nontribal hunters only).

(b) Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, Flathead Indian 
Reservation, Pablo, Montana (Tribal and Nontribal Hunters)

    For the past several years, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai 
Tribes and the State of Montana have entered into cooperative 
agreements for the regulation of hunting on the Flathead Indian 
Reservation. The State and the Tribes are currently operating under a 
cooperative agreement signed in 1990 that addresses fishing and hunting 
management and regulation issues of mutual concern. This agreement 
enables all hunters to utilize waterfowl hunting opportunities on the 
reservation.
    As in the past, tribal regulations for nontribal hunters would be 
at least as restrictive as those established for the Pacific Flyway 
portion of Montana. Goose season dates would also be at least as 
restrictive as those established for the Pacific Flyway portion of 
Montana. Shooting hours for waterfowl hunting on the Flathead 
Reservation are sunrise to sunset. Steel shot or other federally 
approved nontoxic shots are the only legal shotgun loads on the 
reservation for waterfowl or other game birds.
    For tribal members, the Tribe proposes outside frameworks for ducks 
and geese of September 1, 2008, through March 9, 2009. Daily bag and 
possession

[[Page 48102]]

limits were not proposed for tribal members.
    The requested season dates and bag limits are similar to past 
regulations. Harvest levels are not expected to change significantly. 
Standardized check station data from the 1993-94 and 1994-95 hunting 
seasons indicated no significant changes in harvest levels and that the 
large majority of the harvest is by nontribal hunters.
    We propose to approve the Tribes' request for special migratory 
bird regulations for the 2008-09 hunting season.

(c) Crow Creek Sioux Tribe, Crow Creek Indian Reservation, Fort 
Thompson, South Dakota (Tribal Members and Nontribal Hunters)

    The Crow Creek Indian Reservation has a checkerboard pattern of 
land ownership, with much of the land owned by non-Indians. Since the 
1993-94 season, the Tribe has selected special waterfowl hunting 
regulations independent of the State of South Dakota. The Tribe 
observes migratory bird hunting regulations contained in 50 CFR part 
20.
    The Tribe requests a duck and merganser season of October 2 to 
December 14, 2008, with a daily bag limit of six ducks, including no 
more than five mallards (only two of which may be hens), two redheads, 
two wood ducks, one pintail, one canvasback, and three scaup. The 
merganser daily bag limit would be five and include no more than one 
hooded merganser. The daily bag limit for coots would be 15.
    For Canada geese, the Tribe proposes an October 16, 2008, to 
January 18, 2009, season with a three-bird daily bag limit. For white-
fronted geese, the Tribe proposes a September 25 to December 19, 2008, 
season with a daily bag limit of two. For snow geese, the Tribe 
proposes a September 24 to December 29, 2008, season with a daily bag 
limit of 20.
    Similar to the last several years, the Tribe also requests a 
sandhill crane season from September 11 to October 17, 2008, with a 
daily bag limit of three.
    In all cases, except snow geese, the possession limits would be 
twice the daily bag limit. There would be no possession limit for snow 
geese. Shooting hours would be from one-half hour before sunrise to 
sunset.
    The season and bag limits would be essentially the same as last 
year, and, as such, the Tribe would expect similar harvest. In 1994-95, 
duck harvest was 48 birds, down from 67 in 1993-94. Goose harvest 
during recent past seasons has been fewer than 100 geese. Total harvest 
on the reservation in 2000 was estimated to be 179 ducks and 868 geese.
    The Service proposes to approve the request for special migratory 
bird hunting regulations for the Crow Creek Sioux Tribe. We remind the 
Tribe that all sandhill crane hunters are required to obtain a Federal 
sandhill crane permit. As such, the Tribe should contact us for further 
information on obtaining the needed permits.

(d) Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, Cloquet, 
Minnesota (Tribal Members Only)

    Since 1996, the Service and the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior 
Chippewa Indians have cooperated to establish special migratory bird 
hunting regulations for tribal members. The Fond du Lac's May 29, 2008, 
proposal covers land set apart for the band under the Treaties of 1837 
and 1854 in northeast and east-central Minnesota.
    The band's proposal for 2008-09 is essentially the same as that 
approved last year except the Tribe has separate regulations for the 
1854 and 1837 ceded territories and reservation lands. The proposed 
2008-09 waterfowl hunting season regulations for Fond du Lac are as 
follows:

Ducks

A. 1854 and 1837 Ceded Territories
    Season Dates: Begin September 13 and end November 30, 2008.
    Daily Bag Limit: 18 ducks, including no more than 12 mallards (only 
3 of which may be hens), 3 black ducks, 6 scaup, 6 wood ducks, 6 
redheads, 3 pintails, and 3 canvasbacks.
B. Reservation
    Season Dates: Begin September 6 and end November 30, 2008.
    Daily Bag Limit: 12 ducks, including no more than 8 mallards (only 
2 of which may be hens), 2 black ducks, 4 scaup, 4 redheads, 2 
pintails, 4 wood ducks, and 2 canvasbacks.

Mergansers

A. 1854 and 1837 Ceded Territories
    Season Dates: Begin September 13 and end November 30, 2008.
    Daily Bag Limit: 15 mergansers, including no more than 6 hooded 
mergansers.
B. Reservation
    Season Dates: Begin September 6 and end November 30, 2008.
    Daily Bag Limit: 10 mergansers, including no more than 4 hooded 
mergansers.

Canada Geese

All Areas
    Season Dates: Begin September 1 and end November 30, 2008.
    Daily Bag Limit: 20 geese.

Coots and Common Moorhens (Common Gallinules)

A. 1854 and 1837 Ceded Territories
    Season Dates: Begin September 13 and end November 30, 2008.
    Daily Bag Limit: 20 coots and common moorhens, singly or in the 
aggregate.
B. Reservation
    Season Dates: Begin September 6 and end November 30, 2008.
    Daily Bag Limit: 25 coots and common moorhens, singly or in the 
aggregate.

Sora and Virginia Rails

A. 1854 and 1837 Ceded Territories
    Season Dates: Begin September 1 and end November 30, 2008.
    Daily Bag Limit: 25 sora and Virginia rails, singly or in the 
aggregate.
B. Reservation
    Season Dates: Begin September 1 and end December 2, 2008.
    Daily Bag Limit: 25 sora and Virginia rails, singly or in the 
aggregate.

Common Snipe

All Areas
    Season Dates: Begin September 1 and end November 30, 2008.
    Daily Bag Limit: Eight common snipe.

Woodcock

All Areas
    Season Dates: Begin September 1 and end November 30, 2008.
    Daily Bag Limit: Three woodcock.

Mourning Dove

All Areas
    Season Dates: Begin September 1 and end November 30, 2008.
    Daily Bag Limit: 30 mourning dove.
    The following general conditions apply:
    1. While hunting waterfowl, a tribal member must carry on his/her 
person a valid Ceded Territory License.
    2. Shooting hours for migratory birds are one-half hour before 
sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.
    3. Except as otherwise noted, tribal members will be required to 
comply with tribal codes that will be no less restrictive than the 
provisions of Chapter 10 of the Model Off-Reservation Code. Except as 
modified by the Service

[[Page 48103]]

rules adopted in response to this proposal, these amended regulations 
parallel Federal requirements in 50 CFR part 20 as to hunting methods, 
transportation, sale, exportation, and other conditions generally 
applicable to migratory bird hunting.
    4. Band members in each zone will comply with State regulations 
providing for closed and restricted waterfowl hunting areas.
    5. There are no possession limits on any species, unless otherwise 
noted above. For purposes of enforcing bag limits, all migratory birds 
in the possession or custody of band members on ceded lands will be 
considered to have been taken on those lands unless tagged by a tribal 
or State conservation warden as having been taken on-reservation. All 
migratory birds that fall on reservation lands will not count as part 
of any off-reservation bag or possession limit.
    The band anticipates harvest will be fewer than 500 ducks and 
geese.
    We propose to approve the request for special migratory bird 
hunting regulations for the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior 
Chippewas.

(e) Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Suttons Bay, 
Michigan (Tribal Members Only)

    In the 1995-96 migratory bird seasons, the Grand Traverse Band of 
Ottawa and Chippewa Indians and the Service first cooperated to 
establish special regulations for waterfowl. The Grand Traverse Band is 
a self-governing, federally recognized Tribe located on the west arm of 
Grand Traverse Bay in Leelanau County, Michigan. The Grand Traverse 
Band is a signatory Tribe of the Treaty of 1836. We have approved 
special regulations for tribal members of the 1836 treaty's signatory 
Tribes on ceded lands in Michigan since the 1986-87 hunting season.
    For the 2008-09 season, the Tribe requests that the tribal member 
duck season run from September 22, 2008, through January 18, 2009. A 
daily bag limit of 12 would include no more than 2 pintail, 2 
canvasback, 1 hooded merganser, 3 black ducks, 3 wood ducks, 3 
redheads, and 6 mallards (only 3 of which may be hens).
    For Canada and snow geese, the Tribe proposes a September 1 through 
November 30, 2008, and a January 1 through February 8, 2009, season. 
For white-fronted geese and brant, the Tribe proposes a September 20 
through November 30, 2008, season. The daily bag limit for all geese 
(including brant) would be five birds. Based on our information, it is 
unlikely that any Canada geese from the Southern James Bay Population 
will be harvested by the Tribe.
    For woodcock, the Tribe proposes a September 1 through November 14, 
2008, season. The daily bag limit will not exceed five birds. For 
mourning doves, snipe, and rails, the Tribe proposes a September 1 
through November 14, 2008, season. The daily bag limit would be 10 per 
species.
    All other Federal regulations contained in 50 CFR part 20 would 
apply. The Tribe proposes to monitor harvest closely through game bag 
checks, patrols, and mail surveys. Harvest surveys from the 2006-07 
hunting season indicated that approximately 15 tribal hunters harvested 
an estimated 112 ducks and 50 Canada geese.
    We propose to approve the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and 
Chippewa Indians requested 2008-09 special migratory bird hunting 
regulations.

(f) Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, Odanah, Wisconsin 
(Tribal Members Only)

    Since 1985, various bands of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa 
Indians have exercised judicially recognized off-reservation hunting 
rights for migratory birds in Wisconsin. The specific regulations were 
established by the Service in consultation with the Wisconsin 
Department of Natural Resources and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and 
Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC, which represents the various bands). 
Beginning in 1986, a tribal season on ceded lands in the western 
portion of the State's Upper Peninsula was developed in coordination 
with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and we have approved 
special regulations for tribal members in both Michigan and Wisconsin 
since the 1986-87 hunting season. In 1987, the GLIFWC requested, and we 
approved, special regulations to permit tribal members to hunt on ceded 
lands in Minnesota, as well as in Michigan and Wisconsin. The States of 
Michigan and Wisconsin originally concurred with the regulations, 
although Wisconsin has raised concerns in the past and Michigan now 
annually raises objections. Minnesota did not concur with the original 
regulations, stressing that the State would not recognize Chippewa 
Indian hunting rights in Minnesota's treaty area until a court with 
jurisdiction over the State acknowledges and defines the extent of 
these rights. We acknowledge all of the States' concerns, but point out 
that the U.S. Government has recognized the Indian hunting rights 
decided in the Lac Courte Oreilles v. State of Wisconsin (Voigt) case, 
and that acceptable hunting regulations have been negotiated 
successfully in both Michigan and Wisconsin even though the Voigt 
decision did not specifically address ceded land outside Wisconsin. We 
believe this is appropriate because the treaties in question cover 
ceded lands in Michigan (and Minnesota), as well as in Wisconsin.
    Consequently, in view of the above, we have approved special 
regulations since the 1987-88 hunting season on ceded lands in all 
three States. In fact, this recognition of the principle of reserved 
treaty rights for band members to hunt and fish was pivotal in our 
decision to approve a special 1991-92 season for the 1836 ceded area in 
Michigan.
    For 2008, the GLIFWC proposed off-reservation special migratory 
bird hunting regulations on behalf of the member Tribes of the Voigt 
Intertribal Task Force of the GLIFWC (for the 1837 and 1842 Treaty 
areas) and the Bay Mills Indian Community (for the 1836 Treaty area). 
Member Tribes of the Task Force are: The Bad River Band of the Lake 
Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians, the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of 
Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake 
Superior Chippewa Indians, the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa 
Indians, the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin, the Sokaogon 
Chippewa Community (Mole Lake Band), all in Wisconsin; the Mille Lacs 
Band of Chippewa Indians in Minnesota; the Lac Vieux Desert Band of 
Chippewa Indians and the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community in Michigan.
    The GLIFWC 2008 proposal is generally similar to last year's 
regulations, except that it includes lengthened season dates for 
mourning doves, from September 1-October 30 to September 1-November 9, 
if a 70-day season is offered, and eliminates mallard species 
restrictions within the overall bag limit for ducks.
    Under the GLIFWC proposed regulations, GLIFWC expects modifications 
to the mallard bag limits to have no appreciable impact on the mallard 
population since the total estimated mallard harvest last year was 
approximately 600 birds, tribal members averaged just 2.1 ducks per 
hunting trip, and only 1 survey respondent reported harvesting more 
than 10 ducks of all species on his best day of hunting last year. 
Thus, they expect that this proposed change is likely to affect, at 
most, a few individual hunters on a few individual days, and to have no 
appreciable effect on mallard populations (which have averaged 87,000 
breeding birds on Wisconsin's

[[Page 48104]]

Northern High and Northern Low State survey strata alone from 2003-
2007).
    Given these factors, the Tribe expects harvest would likely remain 
below 5,000 ducks and 1,000 geese, which is similar to anticipated 
levels in previous years.
    Recent GLIFWC harvest surveys (1996-98, 2001, and 2004) indicate 
that tribal off-reservation waterfowl harvest has averaged less than 
1,000 ducks and 120 geese annually. In the latest survey year (2004), 
an estimated 53 hunters took an estimated 421 trips and harvested 645 
ducks (1.5 ducks per trip) and 84 geese (0.2 geese per trip). Further, 
in the last 5 years of harvest surveys, only 1 hunter reported 
harvesting 20 ducks in a single day. Analysis of hunter survey data 
over the period in question (1996-2004) indicates a general downward 
trend in both harvest and hunter participation.
    While we acknowledge GLIFWC's previously submitted data indicating 
that tribal harvest and participation have declined in recent years, we 
do not believe that the GLIFWC's proposal for tribal waterfowl seasons 
on ceded lands in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota for the 2008-09 
hunting season is in the best interests of the migratory bird resource. 
More specific discussion follows below.

Removal of Mallard Restrictions

    We have several concerns with GLIFWC's proposal for removal of 
mallard restrictions within the overall duck daily bag limits in the 
1837, 1842, and 1836 Treaty Areas. An increase in the daily bag limit 
of mallards (by removal of the internal bag limit restriction) from 10 
mallards per day to 30 mallards per day in the 1837 and 1842 Treaty 
Areas and 20 mallards per day in the 1836 Treaty Area could potentially 
have conservation impacts on locally-breeding mallards. Overharvest of 
mallards in localized areas due to removal of species restrictions 
could contribute to localized long-term declines. As we stated last 
year (October 15, 2007 Federal Register, 72 FR 58452), removal of the 
mallard bag limit restriction would be inconsistent with our current 
conservation concerns. Furthermore, last year, we implemented a pilot 
bag limit increase for ducks in the 1837 and 1842 Treaty Areas. We do 
not believe that one year is sufficient time to evaluate the pilot 
daily bag limit increases implemented last year. Normally, changes such 
as those implemented last year take several years to fully evaluate. As 
such, we believe the pilot bag limits implemented last year should 
warrant at least several years of data evaluation using GLIFWC's 
current harvest survey. For these reasons, we believe that the 
regulations advanced by the GLIFWC for the 2008-09 hunting season are 
not in the best interests of the migratory bird resource. Thus, we 
propose to maintain the mallard bag limit restriction within the 
overall daily bag limit in all three of the Treaty Areas as 10 
mallards. We believe this restriction is commensurate with the species' 
population status.

Expanded Season Dates

    We have no concerns about extending the dove season to mimic the 
proposed Federal framework regulations for mourning doves in the 
Eastern Management Unit (see July 24, 2008 Federal Register, 73 FR 
XXXXX).
    The Commission and the Service are parties to a Memorandum of 
Agreement (MOA) designed to facilitate the ongoing enforcement of 
Service-approved tribal migratory bird regulations. Its intent is to 
provide long-term cooperative application.
    Also, as in recent seasons, the proposal contains references to 
Chapter 10 of the Migratory Bird Harvesting Regulations of the Model 
Off-Reservation Conservation Code. Chapter 10 regulations parallel 
State and Federal regulations and, in effect, are not changed by this 
proposal.
    The proposed 2008-09 waterfowl hunting season regulations for 
GLIFWC are as follows:

Ducks

A. Wisconsin and Minnesota 1837 and 1842 Treaty Areas
    Season Dates: Begin September 15 and end December 31, 2008.
    Daily Bag Limit: 30 ducks, including no more than 10 mallards (only 
5 of which may be hens), 5 black ducks, 5 scaup, 5 pintails, 5 wood 
ducks, and 5 canvasbacks.
B. Michigan 1836 Treaty Area
    Season Dates: Begin September 15 and end December 31, 2008.
    Daily Bag Limit: 20 ducks, including no more than 10 mallards (only 
5 of which may be hens), 5 black ducks, 5 scaup, 5 pintails, 5 wood 
ducks, and 5 canvasbacks.

Mergansers

All Ceded Areas
    Season Dates: Begin September 15 and end December 31, 2008.
    Daily Bag Limit: 10 mergansers.

Geese

All Ceded Areas
    Season Dates: Begin September 1 and end December 31, 2008. In 
addition, any portion of the ceded territory that is open to State-
licensed hunters for goose hunting after December 1 will also be open 
concurrently for tribal members.
    Daily Bag Limit: 20 geese in aggregate.

Other Migratory Birds

A. Coots and Common Moorhens (Common Gallinules)
    Season Dates: Begin September 15 and end December 31, 2008.
    Daily Bag Limit: 20 coots and common moorhens (common gallinules), 
singly or in the aggregate.
B. Sora and Virginia Rails
    Season Dates: Begin September 15 and end December 31, 2008.
    Daily Bag Limit: 20, singly or in the aggregate.
C. Common Snipe
    Season Dates: Begin September 15 and end December 1, 2008.
    Daily Bag Limit: 16 common.
D. Woodcock
    Season Dates: Begin September 2 and end December 1, 2008.
    Daily Bag Limit: 10 woodcock.
E. Mourning Dove 1837 and 1842 Ceded Territories
    Season Dates: Begin September 1 and end October 30, or November 9, 
2008 if a 70-day season is offered to the States in the Mississippi 
Flyway.
    Daily Bag Limit: 15.

General Conditions

    A. All tribal members will be required to obtain a valid tribal 
waterfowl hunting permit.
    B. Except as otherwise noted, tribal members will be required to 
comply with tribal codes that will be no less restrictive than the 
model ceded territory conservation codes approved by Federal courts in 
the Lac Courte Oreilles v. State of Wisconsin (Voigt) and Mille Lacs 
Band v. State of Minnesota cases. Chapter 10 in each of these model 
codes regulates ceded territory migratory bird hunting. Both versions 
of Chapter 10 parallel Federal requirements as to hunting methods, 
transportation, sale, exportation and other conditions generally 
applicable to migratory bird hunting. They also automatically 
incorporate by reference the Federal migratory bird regulations adopted 
in response to this proposal.
    C. Particular regulations of note include:

[[Page 48105]]

    1. Nontoxic shot will be required for all off-reservation waterfowl 
hunting by tribal members.
    2. Tribal members in each zone will comply with tribal regulations 
providing for closed and restricted waterfowl hunting areas. These 
regulations generally incorporate the same restrictions contained in 
parallel State regulations.
    3. Possession limits for each species are double the daily bag 
limit, except on the opening day of the season, when the possession 
limit equals the daily bag limit, unless otherwise noted above. 
Possession limits are applicable only to transportation and do not 
include birds that are cleaned, dressed, and at a member's primary 
residence. For purposes of enforcing bag and possession limits, all 
migratory birds in the possession and custody of tribal members on 
ceded lands will be considered to have been taken on those lands unless 
tagged by a tribal or State conservation warden as taken on reservation 
lands. All migratory birds that fall on reservation lands will not 
count as part of any off-reservation bag or possession limit.
    4. The baiting restrictions included in the respective sections 
10.05(2)(h) of the model ceded territory conservation codes will be 
amended to include language which parallels that in place for nontribal 
members as published at 64 FR 29799, June 3, 1999.
    5. The shell limit restrictions included in the respective sections 
10.05(2)(b) of the model ceded territory conservation codes will be 
removed.
    6. Hunting hours shall be from a half hour before sunrise to 15 
minutes after sunset.
    D. Michigan--Duck Blinds and Decoys. Tribal members hunting in 
Michigan will comply with tribal codes that contain provisions parallel 
to Michigan law regarding duck blinds and decoys.

(g) Jicarilla Apache Tribe, Jicarilla Indian Reservation, Dulce, New 
Mexico (Tribal Members and Nontribal Hunters)

    The Jicarilla Apache Tribe has had special migratory bird hunting 
regulations for tribal members and nonmembers since the 1986-87 hunting 
season. The Tribe owns all lands on the reservation and has recognized 
full wildlife management authority. In general, the proposed seasons 
would be more conservative than allowed by the Federal frameworks of 
last season and by States in the Pacific Flyway.
    The Tribe proposed a 2008-09 waterfowl and Canada goose season 
beginning with the earliest possible opening date in the Pacific Flyway 
States and a closing date of November 30, 2008. Daily bag and 
possession limits for waterfowl would be the same as Pacific Flyway 
States. The Tribe proposes a daily bag limit for Canada geese of two. 
Other regulations specific to the Pacific Flyway guidelines for New 
Mexico would be in effect.
    During the Jicarilla Game and Fish Department's 2007-08 season, 
estimated duck harvest was 527, which is within the historical harvest 
range. The species composition in the past has included mainly 
mallards, gadwall, wigeon, and teal. Northern pintail comprised 2 
percent of the total harvest in 2007. The estimated harvest of geese 
was 12 birds.
    The proposed regulations are essentially the same as were 
established last year. The Tribe anticipates the maximum 2008-09 
waterfowl harvest would be around 500-750 ducks and 10-20 geese.
    We propose to approve the Tribe's requested 2008-09 hunting 
seasons.

(h) Kalispel Tribe, Kalispel Reservation, Usk, Washington (Tribal 
Members and Nontribal Hunters)

    The Kalispel Reservation was established by Executive Order in 
1914, and currently comprises approximately 4,600 acres. The Tribe owns 
all Reservation land and has full management authority. The Kalispel 
Tribe has a fully developed wildlife program with hunting and fishing 
codes. The Tribe enjoys excellent wildlife management relations with 
the State. The Tribe and the State have an operational Memorandum of 
Understanding with emphasis on fisheries but also for wildlife.
    The nontribal member seasons described below pertain to a 176-acre 
waterfowl management unit and 800 acres of reservation land with a 
guide for waterfowl hunting. The Tribe is utilizing this opportunity to 
rehabilitate an area that needs protection because of past land use 
practices, as well as to provide additional waterfowl hunting in the 
area. Beginning in 1996, the requested regulations also included a 
proposal for Kalispel-member-only migratory bird hunting on Kalispel-
ceded lands within Washington, Montana, and Idaho.
    For the 2008-09 migratory bird hunting seasons, the Kalispel Tribe 
proposed tribal and nontribal member waterfowl seasons. The Tribe 
requests that both duck and goose seasons open at the earliest possible 
date and close on the latest date under Federal frameworks.
    For nontribal hunters on reservation, the Tribe requests the 
seasons open at the earliest possible date and remain open, for the 
maximum amount of open days. Specifically, the Tribe requests that the 
season for ducks begin September 19, 2008, and end January 31, 2009. In 
that period, nontribal hunters would be allowed to hunt approximately 
101 days. Hunters should obtain further information on specific hunt 
days from the Kalispel Tribe.
    The Tribe also requests the season for geese run from September 1 
to September 14, 2008, and from October 1, 2008, to January 31, 2009. 
Total number of days should not exceed 107.
    Nontribal hunters should obtain further information on specific 
hunt days from the Tribe. Daily bag and possession limits would be the 
same as those for the State of Washington.
    The Tribe reports a 2007-08 nontribal harvest of 30 ducks. Under 
the proposal, the Tribe expects harvest to be similar to last year and 
less than 100 geese and 200 ducks.
    All other State and Federal regulations contained in 50 CFR part 
20, such as use of nontoxic shot and possession of a signed migratory 
bird hunting stamp, would be required.
    For tribal members on Kalispel-ceded lands, the Kalispel propose 
season dates consistent with Federal flyway frameworks. Specifically, 
the Tribe requests outside frameworks for ducks of October 1, 2008, 
through January 31, 2009, and geese of September 1, 2008, through 
January 31, 2009. The Tribe requests that both duck and goose seasons 
open at the earliest possible date and close on the latest date under 
Federal frameworks. However, during that period, the Tribe proposes 
that the season run continuously. Daily bag and possession limits would 
be concurrent with the Federal rule.
    The Tribe reports that there was no tribal harvest. Under the 
proposal, the Tribe expects harvest to be less than 200 birds for the 
season with less than 100 geese. Tribal members would be required to 
possess a signed Federal migratory bird stamp and a tribal ceded lands 
permit.
    We propose to approve the regulations requested by the Kalispel 
Tribe, provided that the nontribal seasons conform to Treaty 
limitations and final Federal frameworks for the Pacific Flyway.

(i) Klamath Tribe, Chiloquin, Oregon (Tribal Members Only)

    The Klamath Tribe currently has no reservation, per se. However, 
the Klamath Tribe has reserved hunting, fishing, and gathering rights 
within its former reservation boundary. This area of former 
reservation, granted to the

[[Page 48106]]

Klamaths by the Treaty of 1864, is over 1 million acres. Tribal natural 
resource management authority is derived from the Treaty of 1864, and 
carried out cooperatively under the judicially enforced Consent Decree 
of 1981. The parties to this Consent Decree are the Federal Government, 
the State of Oregon, and the Klamaths. The Klamath Indian Game 
Commission sets the seasons. The tribal biological staff and tribal 
Regulatory Enforcement Officers monitor tribal harvest by frequent bag 
checks and hunter interviews.
    For the 2008-09 season, the Tribe requests proposed season dates of 
October 4, 2008, through February 1, 2009. Daily bag limits would be 
nine for ducks, nine for geese, and nine for coot, with possession 
limits twice the daily bag limit. Shooting hours would be one-half hour 
before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. Steel shot is required.
    Based on the number of birds produced in the Klamath Basin, this 
year's harvest would be similar to last year's. Information on tribal 
harvest suggests that more than 70 percent of the annual goose harvest 
is local birds produced in the Klamath Basin.
    We propose to approve the Klamath Tribe's requested 2008-09 special 
migratory bird hunting regulations.

(j) Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Cass Lake, Minnesota (Tribal Members 
Only)

    The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe is a federally recognized Tribe 
located in Cass Lake, Minnesota. The reservation employs conservation 
officers to enforce conservation regulations. The Service and the Tribe 
have cooperatively established migratory bird hunting regulations since 
2000.
    For the 2008-09 season, the Tribe requests a duck season starting 
on September 20 and ending December 31, 2008, and a goose season to run 
from September 1 through December 31, 2008. Daily bag limits for both 
ducks and geese would be 10. Possession limits would be twice the daily 
bag limit. Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half 
hour after sunset.
    The annual harvest by tribal members on the Leech Lake Reservation 
is estimated at 500-1,000 birds.
    We propose to approve the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe's special 
migratory bird hunting season.

(k) Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, Manistee, Michigan (Tribal 
Members Only)

    The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians is a self-governing, 
federally recognized Tribe located in Manistee, Michigan, and a 
signatory Tribe of the Treaty of 1836. We have approved special 
regulations for tribal members of the 1836 treaty's signatory Tribes on 
ceded lands in Michigan since the 1986-87 hunting season. Ceded lands 
are located in Lake, Mason, Manistee, and Wexford Counties. The Band 
proposes the following regulations to govern the hunting of migratory 
birds by Tribal members within the 1836 Ceded Territory as well as on 
the Band's Reservation.
    For the 2008-09 season, the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians 
proposes a duck and merganser season from September 15, 2008, through 
January 20, 2009. A daily bag limit of 12 ducks would include no more 
than 2 pintail, 2 canvasback, 3 black duck, 3 wood ducks, 3 redheads, 6 
mallards (only 2 of which may be a hen), and 1 hooded merganser. 
Possession limits would be twice the daily bag limit.
    For white-fronted geese, snow geese, and brant, the Tribe proposes 
a September 20 through November 30, 2008, season. Daily bag limits 
would be five geese.
    For Canada geese only, the Tribe proposes a September 1, 2008, 
through February 8, 2009, season with a daily bag limit of five Canada 
geese. The possession limit would be twice the daily bag limit.
    For snipe, woodcock, rails, and mourning doves, the Tribe proposes 
a September 1 to November 14, 2008, season. The daily bag limit would 
be 10 common snipe, 5 woodcock, 10 rails, and 10 mourning doves. 
Possession limits for all species would be twice the daily bag limit.
    The Tribe monitored harvest through mail surveys. General 
Conditions were as follows:
    A. All tribal members will be required to obtain a valid tribal 
resource card and 2008-09 hunting license.
    B. Except as modified by the Service rules adopted in response to 
this proposal, these amended regulations parallel all Federal 
regulations contained in 50 CFR part 20.
    C. Particular regulations of note include:
    (1) Nontoxic shot will be required for all waterfowl hunting by 
tribal members.
    (2) Tribal members in each zone will comply with tribal regulations 
providing for closed and restricted waterfowl hunting areas. These 
regulations generally incorporate the same restrictions contained in 
parallel State regulations.
    D. Tribal members hunting in Michigan will comply with tribal codes 
that contain provisions parallel to Michigan law regarding duck blinds 
and decoys.
    We propose to approve Little River Band of Ottawa Indians' special 
migratory bird hunting seasons.

(l) The Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Petoskey, Michigan 
(Tribal Members Only)

    The Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians is a self-governing, 
federally recognized Tribe located in Petoskey, Michigan, and a 
signatory Tribe of the Treaty of 1836. We have approved special 
regulations for tribal members of the 1836 treaty's signatory Tribes on 
ceded lands in Michigan since the 1986-87 hunting season.
    For the 2008-09 season, the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa 
Indians propose regulations similar to those of other Tribes in the 
1836 treaty area. The tribal member duck, merganser, coot, and 
gallinule season would run from September 15, 2008, through January 20, 
2009. A daily bag limit of 12 would include no more than 2 pintail, 2 
canvasback, 1 hooded merganser, 3 black ducks, 3 wood ducks, 3 
redheads, and 6 mallards (only 3 of which may be hens).
    For Canada geese, the Tribe proposes a September 1, 2008, through 
February 8, 2009, season. For white-fronted geese, brant, and snow 
geese, the Tribe proposes a September 1 through November 30, 2008, 
season. The daily bag limit for Canada geese would be 5 birds, and for 
snow geese, brant, and white-fronted geese, 10 birds. Based on our 
information, it is unlikely that any Canada geese from the Southern 
James Bay Population would be harvested by the Tribe. Possession limits 
are twice the daily bag limit.
    For woodcock, the Tribe proposes a September 1, 2008, to November 
14, 2008, season. The daily bag limit will not exceed five birds. For 
snipe, mourning doves, and sora rail, the Tribe proposes a September 1 
to November 14, 2008, season. The daily bag limit will not exceed 10 
birds per species. The possession limit will not exceed two days' bag 
limit for all birds. All other Federal regulations contained in 50 CFR 
part 20 would apply.
    The Tribe proposes to monitor harvest closely through game bag 
checks, patrols, and mail surveys. In particular, the Tribe proposes 
monitoring the harvest of Southern James Bay Canada geese to assess any 
impacts of tribal hunting on the population.
    We propose to approve the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa 
Indians' requested 2008-09 special migratory bird hunting regulations.

[[Page 48107]]

(m) Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, Lower Brule Reservation, Lower Brule, 
South Dakota (Tribal Members and Nontribal Hunters)

    The Lower Brule Sioux Tribe first established tribal migratory bird 
hunting regulations for the Lower Brule Reservation in 1994. The Lower 
Brule Reservation is about 214,000 acres in size and is located on and 
adjacent to the Missouri River, south of Pierre. Land ownership on the 
reservation is mixed, and until recently, the Lower Brule Tribe had 
full management authority over fish and wildlife via an MOA with the 
State of South Dakota. The MOA provided the Tribe jurisdiction over 
fish and wildlife on reservation lands, including deeded and Corps of 
Engineers-taken lands. For the 2008-09 season, the two parties have 
come to an agreement that provides the public a clear understanding of 
the Lower Brule Sioux Wildlife Department license requirements and 
hunting season regulations. The Lower Brule Reservation waterfowl 
season is open to tribal and nontribal hunters.
    For the 2008-09 migratory bird hunting season, the Lower Brule 
Sioux Tribe proposes a nontribal member duck, merganser, and coot 
season length of 97 days, or the maximum number of days allowed by 
federal frameworks in the High Plains Management Unit for this season. 
The Tribe proposes a season from October 13, 2008, through January 17, 
2009. The daily bag limit would be five birds, including no more than 
five mallards (only one of which may be a hen), one pintail, two 
redheads, one canvasback, two wood ducks, two scaup, and one mottled 
duck. The daily bag limit for mergansers would be five, only one of 
which could be a hooded merganser. The daily bag limit for coots would 
be 15. Possession limits would be twice the daily bag limits.
    The Tribe's proposed nontribal member Canada goose season would run 
from October 25, 2008, through February 10, 2009 (107-day season 
length), with a daily bag limit of three Canada geese. The Tribe's 
proposed nontribal member white-fronted goose season would run from 
October 11, 2008, through December 21, 2008, with a daily bag limit of 
two white-fronted geese. The Tribe's proposed nontribal member light 
goose season would run from October 11, 2008, through January 11, 2009, 
and February 26 through March 10, 2009. The light goose daily bag limit 
would be 20. Possession limits would be twice the daily bag limits.
    For tribal members, the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe proposes a duck, 
merganser, and coot season from September 20, 2008, through March 10, 
2009. The daily bag limit would be five birds, including no more than 
five mallards (only one of which may be a hen), one pintail, two 
redheads, one canvasback, two wood ducks, two scaup, and one mottled 
duck. The daily bag limit for mergansers would be five, only two of 
which could be hooded mergansers. The daily bag limit for coots would 
be 15. Possession limits would be twice the daily bag limits.
    The Tribe's proposed Canada goose season for tribal members would 
run from October 11, 2008, through March 10, 2009, with a daily bag 
limit of three Canada geese. The Tribe's proposed white-fronted goose 
tribal season would run from October 4, 2008, through March 10, 2009, 
with a daily bag limit of two white-fronted geese. The Tribe's proposed 
light goose tribal season would run from October 11, 2008, through 
March 10, 2009. The light goose daily bag limit would be 20. Possession 
limits would be twice the daily bag limits.
    In the 2007-08 season, hunters harvested an estimated 656 geese and 
550 ducks. In the 2007-08 season, duck harvest species composition was 
primarily mallard (88 percent), gadwall (5 percent), green-winged teal 
(3 percent), blue-winged teal (1 percent), and wigeon (2 percent).
    Goose harvest species composition in 2007-08 at Mni Sho Sho was 
approximately 96 percent Canada geese, 3 percent snow geese, and 1 
percent white-fronted geese. Harvest of geese harvested by other 
hunters was approximately 97 percent Canada geese and 3 percent snow 
geese.
    The Tribe anticipates a duck harvest similar to those of the 
previous 3 years and a goose harvest below the target harvest level of 
3,000 to 4,000 geese. All basic Federal regulations contained in 50 CFR 
part 20, including the use of steel shot, Migratory Waterfowl Hunting 
and Conservation Stamps, etc., would be observed by the Tribe's 
proposed regulations. In addition, the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe has an 
official Conservation Code that was established by Tribal Council 
Resolution in June 1982 and updated in 1996.
    We propose to approve the Tribe's requested regulations for the 
Lower Brule Reservation given the season's dates fall within final 
Federal flyway frameworks (applies to nontribal hunters only).

(n) Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, Port Angeles, Washington (Tribal Members 
Only)

    Since 1996, the Service and the Point No Point Treaty Tribes, of 
which Lower Elwha was one, have cooperated to establish special 
regulations for migratory bird hunting. The Tribes are now acting 
independently and the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe would like to establish 
migratory bird hunting regulations for tribal members for the 2008-09 
season. The Tribe has a reservation on the Olympic Peninsula in 
Washington State and is a successor to the signatories of the Treaty of 
Point No Point of 1855.
    For the 2008-09 season, the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe requests a 
duck and coot season from September 20, 2008, to December 31, 2008. The 
daily bag limit will be seven ducks including no more than two hen 
mallards, one pintail, one canvasback, and two redheads. The daily bag 
and possession limit on harlequin duck will be one per season. The coot 
daily bag limit will be 25. The possession limit will be twice the 
daily bag limit, except as noted above.
    For geese, the Tribe requests a season from September 20, 2008, to 
December 31, 2008. The daily bag limit will be four, including no more 
than three light geese. The season on Aleutian Canada geese will be 
closed.
    For brant, the Tribe proposes a season from November 1, 2008, to 
February 15, 2009, with a daily bag limit of two. The possession limit 
will be twice the daily bag limit.
    For mourning doves, band-tailed pigeon, and snipe, the Tribe 
requests a season from September 20, 2008, to December 31, 2008, with a 
daily bag limit of 10, 2, and 8, respectively. The possession limit 
will be twice the daily bag limit.
    All Tribal hunters authorized to hunt migratory birds are required 
to obtain a tribal hunting permit from the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe 
pursuant to tribal law. Hunting hours would be from one-half hour 
before sunrise to sunset. Only steel, tungsten-iron, tungsten-polymer, 
tungsten-matrix, and tin shot are allowed for hunting waterfowl. It is 
unlawful to use or possess lead shot while hunting waterfowl.
    The Tribe anticipates harvest to be typically fewer than 50 birds. 
Tribal reservation police and Tribal Fisheries enforcement officers 
have the authority to enforce these migratory bird hunting regulations.
    The Service proposes to approve the request for special migratory 
bird hunting regulations for the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe.

(o) Makah Indian Tribe, Neah Bay, Washington (Tribal Members Only)

    The Makah Indian Tribe and the Service have been cooperating to

[[Page 48108]]

establish special regulations for migratory game birds on the Makah 
Reservation and traditional hunting land off the Makah Reservation 
since the 2001-02 hunting season. Lands off the Makah Reservation are 
those contained within the boundaries of the State of Washington Game 
Management Units 601-603 and 607.
    The Makah Indian Tribe proposes a duck and coot hunting season from 
September 27, 2008, to January 25, 2009. The daily bag limit is seven 
ducks, including no more than one canvasback, one pintail, three scaup, 
and one redhead. The daily bag limit for coots is 25. The Tribe has a 
year-round closure on wood ducks and harlequin ducks. Shooting hours 
for all species of waterfowl are one-half hour before sunrise to 
sunset.
    For geese, the Tribe proposes the season open on September 27, 
2008, and close January 25, 2009. The daily bag limit for geese is four 
and one brant. The Tribe notes that there is a year-round closure on 
Aleutian and Dusky Canada geese.
    For band-tailed pigeons, the Tribe proposes the season open 
September 20, 2008, and close October 31, 2008. The daily bag limit for 
band-tailed pigeons is two.
    The Tribe anticipates that harvest under this regulation will be 
relatively low since there are no known dedicated waterfowl hunters and 
any harvest of waterfowl or band-tailed pigeons is usually incidental 
to hunting for other species, such as deer, elk, and bear. The Tribe 
expects fewer than 50 ducks and 10 geese to be harvested during the 
2008-09 migratory bird hunting season.
    All other Federal regulations contained in 50 CFR part 20 would 
apply. The following restrictions are also proposed by the Tribe:
    (1) As per Makah Ordinance 44, only shotguns may be used to hunt 
any species of waterfowl. Additionally, shotguns must not be discharged 
within 0.25 miles of an occupied area;
    (2) Hunters must be eligible, enrolled Makah tribal members and 
must carry their Indian Treaty Fishing and Hunting Identification Card 
while hunting. No tags or permits are required to hunt waterfowl;
    (3) The Cape Flattery area is open to waterfowl hunting, except in 
designated wilderness areas, or within 1 mile of Cape Flattery Trail, 
or in any area that is closed to hunting by another ordinance or 
regulation;
    (4) The use of live decoys and/or baiting to pursue any species of 
waterfowl is prohibited;
    (5) Steel or bismuth shot only for waterfowl is allowed; the use of 
lead shot is prohibited; and
    (6) The use of dogs is permitted to hunt waterfowl.
    We propose to approve the Makah Indian Tribe's requested 2008-09 
special migratory bird hunting regulations.

(p) Navajo Nation, Navajo Indian Reservation, Window Rock, Arizona 
(Tribal Members and Nontribal Hunters)

    Since 1985, we have established uniform migratory bird hunting 
regulations for tribal members and nonmembers on the Navajo Indian 
Reservation (in parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah). The Navajo 
Nation owns almost all lands on the reservation and has full wildlife 
management authority.
    For the 2008-09 season, the Navajo Nation requests special 
migratory bird hunting regulations on the reservation for both tribal 
and nontribal hunters for the 2008-09 hunting season for ducks 
(including mergansers), Canada geese, coots, band-tailed pigeons, and 
mourning doves. For ducks, mergansers, Canada geese, and coots, the 
Tribe requests the earliest opening dates and longest seasons, and the 
same daily bag and possession limits allowed to Pacific Flyway States 
under final Federal frameworks.
    For both mourning dove and band-tailed pigeons, the Navajo Nation 
proposes seasons of September 1 through September 30, 2008, with daily 
bag limits of 10 and 5, respectively. Possession limits would be twice 
the daily bag limits.
    The Nation requires tribal members and nonmembers to comply with 
all basic Federal migratory bird hunting regulations in 50 CFR part 20 
pertaining to shooting hours and manner of taking. In addition, each 
waterfowl hunter 16 years of age or over must carry on his/her person a 
valid Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (Duck Stamp), which 
must be signed in ink across the face. Special regulations established 
by the Navajo Nation also apply on the reservation.
    The Tribe anticipates a total harvest of fewer than 500 mourning 
doves; 20 band-tailed pigeons; 1,000 ducks, coots, and mergansers; and 
1,000 Canada geese for the 2008-09 season. The Tribe will measure 
harvest by mail survey forms. Through the established Tribal Nation 
Code, Title 17 and 18 U.S.C. 1165, the Tribe will take action to close 
the season, reduce bag limits, or take other appropriate actions if the 
harvest is detrimental to the migratory bird resource.
    We propose to approve the Navajo Nation's special migratory bird 
season.

(q) Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin, Oneida, Wisconsin (Tribal 
Members Only)

    Since 1991-92, the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin and the 
Service have cooperated to establish uniform regulations for migratory 
bird hunting by tribal and nontribal hunters within the original Oneida 
Reservation boundaries. Since 1985, the Oneida Tribe's Conservation 
Department has enforced the Tribe's hunting regulations within those 
original reservation limits. The Oneida Tribe also has a good working 
relationship with the State of Wisconsin and the majority of the 
seasons and limits are the same for the Tribe and Wisconsin.
    In a May 29, 2008, letter, the Tribe proposed special migratory 
bird hunting regulations. For ducks, the Tribe described the general 
outside dates as being September 20 through December 7, 2008, with a 
closed segment of November 22 to 30, 2008. The Tribe proposes a daily 
bag limit of six birds, which could include no more than six mallards 
(three hen mallards), six wood duck, one redhead, two pintail, and one 
hooded merganser.
    For geese, the Tribe requests a season between September 1 and 
December 31, 2008, with a daily bag limit of three Canada geese. 
Hunters will be issued three tribal tags for geese in order to monitor 
goose harvest. An additional three tags will be issued each time birds 
are registered. The Tribe will close the season November 22 to 30, 
2008. If a quota of 300 geese is attained before the season concludes, 
the Tribe will recommend closing the season early.
    For woodcock, the Tribe proposes a season between September 6 and 
November 9, 2008, with a daily bag and possession limit of 5 and 10, 
respectively.
    For mourning dove, the Tribe proposes a season between September 1 
and November 9, 2008, with a daily bag and possession limit of 10 and 
20, respectively.
    The Tribe proposes shooting hours be one-half hour before sunrise 
to one-half hour after sunset. Nontribal hunters hunting on the 
Reservation or on lands under the jurisdiction of the Tribe must comply 
with all State of Wisconsin regulations, including shooting hours of 
one-half hour before sunrise to sunset, season dates, and daily bag 
limits. Tribal members and nontribal hunters hunting on the Reservation 
or on lands under the jurisdiction of the Tribe must

[[Page 48109]]

observe all basic Federal migratory bird hunting regulations found in 
50 CFR part 20, with the following exceptions: Oneida members would be 
exempt from the purchase of the Migratory Waterfowl Hunting and 
Conservation Stamp (Duck Stamp); and shotgun capacity is not limited to 
three shells. Tribal member shooting hours will be from one-half hour 
before sunset to one-half hour after sunset.
    The Service proposes to approve the request for special migratory 
bird hunting regulations for the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin.

(r) Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, Fort Hall Indian Reservation, Fort Hall, 
Idaho (Nontribal Hunters)

    Almost all of the Fort Hall Indian Reservation is tribally owned. 
The Tribes claim full wildlife management authority throughout the 
reservation, but the Idaho Fish and Game Department has disputed tribal 
jurisdiction, especially for hunting by nontribal members on 
reservation lands owned by non-Indians. As a compromise, since 1985, we 
have established the same waterfowl hunting regulations on the 
reservation and in a surrounding off-reservation State zone. The 
regulations were requested by the Tribes and provided for different 
season dates than in the remainder of the State. We agreed to the 
season dates because they seemed to provide additional protection to 
mallards and pintails. The State of Idaho concurred with the zoning 
arrangement. We have no objection to the State's use of this zone again 
in the 2008-09 hunting season, provided the duck and goose hunting 
season dates are the same as on the reservation.
    In a proposal for the 2008-09 hunting season, the Shoshone-Bannock 
Tribes requested a continuous duck (including mergansers) season, with 
the maximum number of days and the same daily bag and possession limits 
permitted for Pacific Flyway States under final Federal frameworks. The 
Tribes propose that, if the same number of hunting days is permitted as 
last year, the season would have an opening date of October 4, 2008, 
and a closing date of January 17, 2009. Coot and snipe season dates 
would be the same as for ducks, with the same daily bag and possession 
limits permitted for Pacific Flyway States. The Tribes anticipate 
harvest will be between 2,000 and 5,000 ducks.
    The Tribes also requested a continuous goose season with the 
maximum number of days and the same daily bag and possession limits 
permitted in Idaho under Federal frameworks. The Tribes propose that, 
if the same number of hunting days is permitted as in previous years, 
the season would have an opening date of October 4, 2008, and a closing 
date of January 17, 2009. The Tribes anticipate harvest will be between 
4,000 and 6,000 geese.
    The Tribe requests a common snipe season with the maximum number of 
days and the same daily bag and possession limits permitted in Idaho 
under Federal frameworks. The Tribes propose that, if the same number 
of hunting days is permitted as in previous years, the season would 
have an opening date of October 4, 2008, and a closing date of January 
17, 2009.
    Nontribal hunters must comply with all basic Federal migratory bird 
hunting regulations in 50 CFR part 20 pertaining to shooting hours, use 
of steel shot, and manner of taking. Special regulations established by 
the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes also apply on the reservation.
    We note that the requested regulations are nearly identical to 
those of last year and propose they be approved for the 2008-09 hunting 
season given the seasons dates fall within final Federal flyway 
frameworks (applies to nontribal hunters only).

(s) Skokomish Tribe, Shelton, Washington (Tribal Members Only)

    Since 1996, the Service and the Point No Point Treaty Tribes, of 
which the Skokomish Tribe was one, have cooperated to establish special 
regulations for migratory bird hunting. The Tribes have been acting 
independently since 2005, and the Skokomish Tribe would like to 
establish migratory bird hunting regulations for tribal members for the 
2008-09 season. The Tribe has a reservation on the Olympic Peninsula in 
Washington State and is a successor to the signatories of the Treaty of 
Point No Point of 1855.
    The Skokomish Tribe requests a duck and coot season from September 
16, 2008, to February 28, 2009. The daily bag limit is seven ducks, 
including no more than two hen mallards, one pintail, one canvasback, 
and two redheads. The daily bag and possession limit on harlequin duck 
is one per season. The coot daily bag limit is 25. The possession limit 
is twice the daily bag limit except as noted above.
    For geese, the Tribe requests a season from September 16, 2008, to 
February 28, 2009. The daily bag limit is four, including no more than 
three light geese. The season on Aleutian Canada geese is closed. For 
brant, the Tribe proposes a season from November 1, 2008, to February 
15, 2009, with a daily bag limit of two. The possession limit is twice 
the daily bag limit.
    For mourning doves, band-tailed pigeon, and snipe, the Tribe 
requests a season from September 16, 2008, to February 28, 2009, with a 
daily bag limit of 10, 2, and 8, respectively. The possession limit is 
twice the daily bag limit.
    All Tribal hunters authorized to hunt migratory birds are required 
to obtain a tribal hunting permit from the Skokomish Tribe pursuant to 
tribal law. Hunting hours would be from one-half hour before sunrise to 
sunset. Only steel, tungsten-iron, tungsten-polymer, tungsten-matrix, 
and tin shot are allowed for hunting waterfowl. It is unlawful to use 
or possess lead shot while hunting waterfowl.
    The Tribe anticipates harvest to be fewer than 150 birds. The 
Skokomish Public Safety Office enforcement officers have the authority 
to enforce these migratory bird hunting regulations.
    We propose to approve the Skokomish Tribe's requested migratory 
bird hunting season.

(t) Spokane Tribe of Indians, Spokane Indian Reservation, Wellpinit, 
Washington (Tribal Members Only)

    The Spokane Tribe of Indians wishes to establish waterfowl seasons 
on their respective reservation for its membership access to an 
additional resource. An established waterfowl season on the reservation 
will allow access to a resource for members to continue practicing a 
subsistence lifestyle.
    The Spokane Indian Reservation is located in northeastern 
Washington State. The reservation comprises approximately 157,000 
acres. The boundaries of the Reservation are the Columbia River to the 
west, the Spokane River to the south (now Lake Roosevelt), Tshimikn 
Creek to the east, and the 48th Parallel as the north boundary. Tribal 
membership comprises approximately 2,300 enrolled Spokane Tribal 
Members. Prior to 1939, the Spokane Tribe was primarily a salmon 
people; upon completion of Grand Coulee Dam creating Lake Roosevelt, 
the development of hydroelectricity without passage ultimately removed 
salmon access from historical fishing areas for the Spokane Tribe for 
the past 70 years.
    These proposed regulations would allow Tribal Members, spouses of a 
Spokane Tribal Member and first-generation descendants of a Spokane 
Tribal Member with a tribal permit and Federal Waterfowl stamps an 
opportunity to utilize the reservation and ceded lands. It will also 
benefit tribal membership through access to this resource throughout 
Spokane Tribal

[[Page 48110]]

ceded lands in eastern Washington. By Spokane Tribal Referendum, 
spouses of Spokane Tribal Members and children of Spokane Tribal 
Members not enrolled are allowed to harvest game animals within the 
Spokane Indian Reservation with the issuance of hunting permits.
    For the 2008-09 season, the Tribe requests to establish duck 
seasons that would run from September 1, 2008, through January 31, 
2009. The tribe is requesting the daily bag limit for ducks to be 
consistent with the State of Washington. The possession limit is twice 
the daily bag limit.
    The Tribe proposes a season on geese starting September 1, 2008, 
and ending on January 31, 2009. The tribe is requesting the daily bag 
limit for geese to be consistent with the State of Washington. The 
possession limit is twice the daily bag limit.
    Based on the quantity of requests the Spokane Tribe of Indians has 
received, the tribe anticipates harvest levels for the 2008-09 season 
for both ducks and geese to be below 300 total birds with goose harvest 
at less than 100. Hunter success will be monitored through mandatory 
harvest reports returned within 30 days of the season closure.
    We propose to approve the Spokane Tribe's requested 2008-09 special 
migratory bird hunting regulations.

(u) Squaxin Island Tribe, Squaxin Island Reservation, Shelton, 
Washington (Tribal Members Only)

    The Squaxin Island Tribe of Washington and the Service have 
cooperated since 1995 to establish special tribal migratory bird 
hunting regulations. These special regulations apply to tribal members 
on the Squaxin Island Reservation, located in western Washington near 
Olympia, and all lands within the traditional hunting grounds of the 
Squaxin Island Tribe.
    For the 2008-09 season, the Tribe requests to establish duck and 
coot seasons that would run from September 1, 2008, through January 15, 
2009. The daily bag limit for ducks is five per day and could include 
only one canvasback. The season on harlequin ducks is closed. For 
coots, the daily bag limit is 25. For snipe, the Tribe proposes the 
season start on September 15, 2008, and end on January 15, 2009. The 
daily bag limit for snipe is eight. For band-tailed pigeon, the Tribe 
proposes the season start on September 1, 2008, and end on December 31, 
2008. The daily bag limit is five. The possession limit is twice the 
daily bag limit.
    The Tribe proposes a season on geese starting September 15, 2008, 
and ending on January 15, 2009. The daily bag limit for geese is four, 
including no more than two snow geese. The season on Aleutian and 
Cackling Canada geese is closed. For brant, the Tribe proposes the 
season start on September 1, 2008, and end on December 31, 2008. The 
daily bag limit for brant is two. The possession limit is twice the 
daily bag limit.
    We propose to approve the Squaxin Island Tribe's requested 2008-09 
special migratory bird hunting regulations.

(v) Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians, Arlington, Washington (Tribal 
Members Only)

    The Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians and the Service have cooperated 
to establish special regulations for migratory game birds since 2001. 
The Tribe is proposing regulations to hunt all open and unclaimed lands 
under the Treaty of Point Elliott of January 22, 1855, including their 
main hunting grounds around Camano Island, Skagit Flats, and Port Susan 
to the border of the Tulalip Tribes Reservation. Ceded lands are 
located in Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, and Kings Counties, and a 
portion of Pierce County, Washington. The Stillaguamish Tribe of 
Indians is a federally recognized Tribe and reserves the Treaty Right 
to hunt (U.S. v. Washington).
    The Tribe proposes that duck (including mergansers) and goose 
seasons run from October 1, 2008, to February 15, 2009. The daily bag 
limit on ducks (including sea ducks and mergansers) is 10 and must 
include no more than 7 mallards (only 3 of which can be hens), 3 
pintail, 3 redhead, 3 scaup, and 3 canvasback. For geese, the daily bag 
limit is six. Possession limits are totals of two daily bag limits.
    The Tribe proposes that coot, brant, and snipe seasons run from 
October 1, 2008, to January 31, 2009. The daily bag limit for coot is 
25. The daily bag limit on brant is three. The daily bag limit for 
snipe is 10. Possession limits are totals of two daily bag limits.
    Harvest is regulated by a punch card system. Tribal members hunting 
on lands under this proposal will observe all basic Federal migratory 
bird hunting regulations found in 50 CFR part 20, which will be 
enforced by the Stillaguamish Tribal Law Enforcement. Tribal members 
are required to use steel shot or a nontoxic shot as required by 
Federal regulations.
    The Tribe anticipates a total harvest of 200 ducks, 100 geese, 50 
mergansers, 50 brant, 100 coots, and 100 snipe. Anticipated harvest 
needs include subsistence and ceremonial needs. Certain species may be 
closed to hunting for conservation purposes, and consideration for the 
needs of certain species will be addressed.
    The Service proposes to approve the request for special migratory 
bird hunting regulations for the Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians.

(w) Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, LaConner, Washington (Tribal 
Members Only)

    In 1996, the Service and the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community 
began cooperating to establish special regulations for migratory bird 
hunting. The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community is a federally 
recognized Indian Tribe consisting of the Suiattle, Skagit, and 
Kikialos. The Swinomish Reservation was established by the Treaty of 
Point Elliott of January 22, 1855, and lies in the Puget Sound area 
north of Seattle, Washington.
    For the 2008-09 season, the Tribe requests to establish a migratory 
bird hunting season on all areas that are open and unclaimed and 
consistent with the meaning of the treaty. The Tribe requests to 
establish duck, merganser, Canada goose, brant, and coot seasons 
opening on the earliest possible date allowed by the final Federal 
frameworks for the Pacific Flyway and closing 30 days after the State 
of Washington closes its season. The Swinomish Tribe requests an 
additional three birds of each species over that allowed by the State 
for daily bag and possession limits.
    The Community normally anticipates that the regulations will result 
in the harvest of approximately 300 ducks, 50 Canada geese, 75 
mergansers, 100 brant, and 50 coot. The Swinomish utilize a report card 
and permit system to monitor harvest and will implement steps to limit 
harvest where conservation is needed. All tribal regulations will be 
enforced by tribal fish and game officers.
    On reservation, the Tribal Community proposes a hunting season for 
the abovementioned species beginning on the earliest possible opening 
date and closing March 9, 2009. The Swinomish manage harvest by a 
report card and permit system, and we anticipate harvest will be 
similar to that expected off reservation.
    We believe the estimated harvest by the Swinomish will be minimal 
and will not adversely affect migratory bird populations. We propose to 
approve the Tribe's requested 2008-09 special migratory bird hunting 
regulations.

(x) The Tulalip Tribes of Washington, Tulalip Indian Reservation, 
Marysville, Washington (Tribal Members and Nontribal Hunters)

    The Tulalip Tribes are the successors in interest to the Tribes and 
bands

[[Page 48111]]

signatory to the Treaty of Point Elliott of January 22, 1855. The 
Tulalip Tribes' government is located on the Tulalip Indian Reservation 
just north of the City of Everett in Snohomish County, Washington. The 
Tribes or individual tribal members own all of the land on the 
reservation, and they have full wildlife management authority. All 
lands within the boundaries of the Tulalip Tribes Reservation are 
closed to nonmember hunting unless opened by Tulalip Tribal 
regulations.
    For the 2008-09 season, the Tribe proposes tribal and nontribal 
hunting regulations for the 2008-09 season. Migratory waterfowl hunting 
by Tulalip Tribal members is authorized by Tulalip Tribal Ordinance No. 
67. For ducks, mergansers, coot, and snipe, the proposed season for 
tribal members would be from September 15, 2008, through February 29, 
2009. In the case of nontribal hunters hunting on the reservation, the 
season would be the latest closing date and the longest period of time 
allowed under final Pacific Flyway Federal frameworks. Daily bag and 
possession limits for Tulalip Tribal members would be 7 and 14 ducks, 
respectively, except that for blue-winged teal, canvasback, harlequin, 
pintail, and wood duck, the bag and possession limits would be the same 
as those established in accordance with final Federal frameworks. For 
nontribal hunters, bag and possession limits would be the same as those 
permitted under final Federal frameworks. For coot, daily bag and 
possession limits are 25 and 50, respectively, and for snipe 8 and 18, 
respectively. Nontribal hunters should check with the Tulalip tribal 
authorities regarding additional conservation measures that may apply 
to specific species managed within the region. Ceremonial hunting may 
be authorized by the Department of Natural Resources at any time upon 
application of a qualified tribal member. Such a hunt must have a bag 
limit designed to limit harvest only to those birds necessary to 
provide for the ceremony.
    For geese, tribal members propose a season from September 15, 2008, 
through February 29, 2009. Nontribal hunters would be allowed the 
longest season and the latest closing date permitted for Pacific Flyway 
Federal frameworks. For tribal hunters, the goose daily bag and 
possession limits would be 7 and 14, respectively, except that the bag 
limits for brant, cackling Canada geese, and dusky Canada geese would 
be those established in accordance with final Federal frameworks. For 
nontribal hunters hunting on reservation lands, the daily bag and 
possession limits would be those established in accordance with final 
Federal frameworks for the Pacific Flyway. The Tulalip Tribes also set 
a maximum annual bag limit for those tribal members who engage in 
subsistence hunting of 365 ducks and 365 geese.
    All hunters on Tulalip Tribal lands are required to adhere to 
shooting hour regulations set at one-half hour before sunrise to 
sunset, special tribal permit requirements, and a number of other 
tribal regulations enforced by the Tribe. Each nontribal hunter 16 
years of age and older hunting pursuant to Tulalip Tribes' Ordinance 
No. 67 must possess a valid Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and 
Conservation Stamp and a valid State of Washington Migratory Waterfowl 
Stamp. Each hunter must validate stamps by signing across the face.
    Although the season length requested by the Tulalip Tribes appears 
to be quite liberal, harvest information indicates a total take by 
tribal and nontribal hunters under 1,000 ducks and 500 geese annually.
    We propose approval of the Tulalip Tribe's request to have a 
special season.

(y) Upper Skagit Indian Tribe, Sedro Woolley, Washington (Tribal 
Members Only)

    The Upper Skagit Indian Tribe and the Service have cooperated to 
establish special regulations for migratory game birds since 2001. The 
Tribe has jurisdiction over lands within Skagit, Island, and Whatcom 
Counties, Washington. The Tribe issues tribal hunters a harvest report 
card that will be shared with the State of Washington.
    For the 2008-09 season, the Tribe requests a duck season starting 
October 1, 2008, and ending February 28, 2009. The Tribe proposes a 
daily bag limit of 15 with a possession limit of 20. The Tribe requests 
a coot season starting October 15, 2008, and ending February 15, 2009. 
The coot daily bag limit is 20 with a possession limit of 30.
    The Tribe proposes a goose season from October 15, 2008, to 
February 28, 2009, with a daily bag limit of seven geese and five 
brant. The possession limit for geese and brant are 10 and 7, 
respectively.
    The Tribe proposes a mourning dove season between September 1 to 
December 31, 2008, with a daily bag limit of 12 and possession limit of 
15.
    The anticipated migratory bird harvest under this proposal would be 
100 ducks, 5 geese, 2 brant, and 10 coots. Tribal members must have the 
tribal identification and tribal harvest report card on their person to 
hunt. Tribal members hunting on the Reservation will observe all basic 
Federal migratory bird hunting regulations found in 50 CFR part 20, 
except shooting hours would be 15 minutes before official sunrise to 15 
minutes after official sunset.
    The Service proposes to approve the request for special migratory 
bird hunting regulations for the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe.

(z) Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head, Aquinnah, Massachusetts (Tribal 
Members Only)

    The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head is a federally recognized Tribe 
located on the island of Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts. The Tribe 
has approximately 560 acres of land, which it manages for wildlife 
through its natural resources department. The Tribe also enforces its 
own wildlife laws and regulations through the natural resources 
department.
    For the 2008-09 season, the Tribe proposes a duck season of October 
29, 2008, through February 25, 2009. The Tribe proposes a daily bag 
limit of six birds, which could include no more than two hen mallards, 
six drake mallards, two black ducks, two mottled ducks, one fulvous 
whistling duck, four mergansers, three scaup, one hooded merganser, two 
wood ducks, one canvasback, two redheads, one pintail, and four of all 
other species not listed. The season for harlequins would be closed. 
The Tribe proposes a teal (green-winged and blue) season of October 13, 
2008, through January 26, 2009. A daily bag limit of six teal would be 
in addition to the daily bag limit for ducks.
    For sea ducks, the Tribe proposes a season between October 13, 
2008, and February 27, 2009, with a daily bag limit of seven, which 
could include no more than one hen eider and four of any one species 
unless otherwise noted above.
    For Canada geese, the Tribe requests a season between September 15 
to September 29, 2008, and October 29, 2008, through February 25, 2009, 
with a daily bag limit of 5 Canada geese during the first period, 3 
Canada geese during the second period. For snow geese, the tribe 
requests a season between September 8 to September 22, 2008, and 
October 29, 2008, to February with a daily bag limit of 15 snow geese.
    For woodcock, the Tribe proposes a season between October 13 and 
November 28, 2008, with a daily bag limit of three.
    Prior to 2008, the Tribe had 22 registered tribal hunters and 
estimates harvest to be no more than 15 geese, 25 mallards, 25 teal, 50 
black ducks, and 50 of all other species combined. Tribal

[[Page 48112]]

members hunting on the Reservation will observe all basic Federal 
migratory bird hunting regulations found in 50 CFR part 20. The Tribe 
requires hunters to register with the Harvest Information Program.
    The Service proposes to approve the request for special migratory 
bird hunting regulations for the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head.

(aa) White Earth Band of Ojibwe, White Earth, Minnesota (Tribal Members 
Only)

    The White Earth Band of Ojibwe is a federally recognized tribe 
located in northwest Minnesota and encompasses all of Mahnomen County 
and parts of Becker and Clearwater Counties. The reservation employs 
conservation officers to enforce migratory bird regulations. The Tribe 
and the Service first cooperated to establish special tribal 
regulations in 1999.
    For the 2008-09 migratory bird hunting season, the White Earth Band 
of Ojibwe requests a duck and merganser season to start September 20 
and end December 19, 2008. For ducks, they request a daily bag limit of 
10, including no more than 2 mallards and 1 canvasback. The merganser 
daily bag limit would be five with no more than two hooded mergansers. 
For geese, the Tribe proposes an early season from September 1 through 
September 26, 2008, and a late season from September 27, 2008, through 
December 19, 2008. The early season daily bag limit is eight geese and 
the late season daily bag limit is five geese.
    For coots, dove, rail, woodcock, and snipe, the Tribe proposes a 
September 1 through November 30, 2008, season with daily bag limits of 
20 coots, 25 doves, 25 rails, 10 woodcock, and 10 snipe. Shooting hours 
are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. 
Nontoxic shot is required.
    Based on past harvest surveys, the Tribe anticipates harvest of 
1,000 to 2,000 Canada geese and 1,000 to 1,500 ducks. The White Earth 
Reservation Tribal Council employs four full-time Conservation Officers 
to enforce migratory bird regulations.
    We propose to approve the White Earth Band of Ojibwe's request to 
have a special season.

(bb) White Mountain Apache Tribe, Fort Apache Indian Reservation, 
Whiteriver, Arizona (Tribal Members and Nontribal Hunters)

    The White Mountain Apache Tribe owns all reservation lands, and the 
Tribe has recognized full wildlife management authority. The White 
Mountain Apache Tribe has requested regulations that are essentially 
unchanged from those agreed to since the 1997-98 hunting year.
    The hunting zone for waterfowl is restricted and is described as: 
the length of the Black River west of the Bonito Creek and Black River 
confluence and the entire length of the Salt River forming the southern 
boundary of the reservation; the White River, extending from the Canyon 
Day Stockman Station to the Salt River; and all stock ponds located 
within Wildlife Management Units 4, 5, 6, and 7. Tanks located below 
the Mogollon Rim, within Wildlife Management Units 2 and 3, will be 
open to waterfowl hunting during the 2008-09 season. The length of the 
Black River east of the Black River/Bonito Creek confluence is closed 
to waterfowl hunting. All other waters of the reservation would be 
closed to waterfowl hunting for the 2008-09 season.
    For nontribal and tribal hunters, the Tribe proposes a continuous 
duck, coot, merganser, gallinule, and moorhen hunting season, with an 
opening date of October 14, 2008, and a closing date of January 28, 
2009. The Tribe proposes a separate canvasback season, with an opening 
date of October 14, 2008, and a closing date of December 10, 2008. The 
Tribe proposes a daily duck (including mergansers) bag limit of seven, 
which may include no more than two redheads, one pintail, one 
canvasback (when open), and seven mallards (including no more than two 
hen mallards). The daily bag limit for coots, gallinules, and moorhens 
would be 25, singly or in the aggregate. For geese, the Tribe is 
proposing a season from October 14, 2008, through January 28, 2009. 
Hunting would be limited to Canada geese, and the daily bag limit would 
be three.
    Season dates for band-tailed pigeons and mourning doves would run 
concurrently from September 1 through September 15, 2008, in Wildlife 
Management Unit 10 and all areas south of Y-70 in Wildlife Management 
Unit 7, only. Proposed daily bag limits for band-tailed pigeons and 
mourning doves would be 3 and 10, respectively.
    Possession limits for the above species are twice the daily bag 
limits. Shooting hours would be from one-half hour before sunrise to 
sunset. There would be no open season for sandhill cranes, rails, and 
snipe on the White Mountain Apache lands under this proposal. A number 
of special regulations apply to tribal and nontribal hunters, which may 
be obtained from the White Mountain Apache Tribe Game and Fish 
Department.
    We propose to approve the regulations requested by the Tribe for 
the 2008-09 season.

(cc) Yankton Sioux Tribe, Marty, South Dakota (Tribal Members and 
Nontribal Hunters)

    On May 17, 2008, the Yankton Sioux Tribe submitted a waterfowl 
hunting proposal for the 2008-09 season. The Yankton Sioux tribal 
waterfowl hunting season would be open to both tribal members and 
nontribal hunters. The waterfowl hunting regulations would apply to 
tribal and trust lands within the external boundaries of the 
reservation.
    For ducks (including mergansers) and coots, the Yankton Sioux Tribe 
proposes a season starting October 9, 2008, and running for the maximum 
amount of days allowed under the final Federal frameworks. The Tribe 
indicated that if the Service decided to close the canvasback season, 
the Tribe would close theirs; otherwise, the canvasback season would 
start October 9, 2008, and run for the maximum amount of days allowed 
under the final Federal frameworks. Daily bag and possession limits 
would be 6 ducks, which may include no more than 5 mallards (no more 
than 2 hens), 1 canvasback (when open), 2 redheads, 3 scaup, 1 pintail, 
or 2 wood ducks. The bag limit for mergansers is 5, which would include 
no more than 1 hooded merganser. The coot daily bag limit is 15.
    For geese, the Tribe has requested a dark goose (Canada geese, 
brant, white-fronts) season starting October 29, 2008, and closing 
January 31, 2009. The daily bag limit would be three geese (including 
no more than one white-fronted goose or brant). Possession limits would 
be twice the daily bag limit. For white geese, the proposed hunting 
season would start October 29, 2008, and run for the maximum amount of 
days allowed under the final Federal frameworks for the State of South 
Dakota. Daily bag and possession limits would equal the maximum allowed 
under Federal frameworks.
    All hunters would have to be in possession of a valid tribal 
license while hunting on Yankton Sioux trust lands. Tribal and 
nontribal hunters must comply with all basic Federal migratory bird 
hunting regulations in 50 CFR part 20 pertaining to shooting hours and 
the manner of taking. Special regulations established by the Yankton 
Sioux Tribe also apply on the reservation.
    During the 2005-06 hunting season, the Tribe reported that 90 
nontribal hunters took 400 Canada geese, 75 light geese, and 90 ducks. 
Forty-five tribal

[[Page 48113]]

members harvested fewer than 50 geese and 50 ducks.
    We concur with the Yankton Sioux proposal for the 2008-09 hunting 
season.

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. If you provide 
personal identifying information in your comment, you may request at 
the top of your document that we withhold this information from public 
review. However, 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 Web site at 
http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds.

Endangered Species Act Consideration

    Prior to issuance of the 2008-09 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 the 
migratory bird hunting rules are significant and has reviewed these 
rules under Executive Order 12866. OMB bases its determination 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 
recipients.
    (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 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 discussed under Executive Order 12866. 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 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT or from our Web site at 
 http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/

[[Page 48114]]

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. 
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 (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. 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

    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 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.

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.

Government-to-Government Relationship With Tribes

    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. Thus, 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, by virtue of the tribal proposals 
contained in this proposed rule, we have consulted with all the tribes 
affected by this rule.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 20

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

    Based on the results of migratory game bird studies, and having due 
consideration for any data or views submitted by interested parties, 
this proposed rulemaking may result in the adoption of special hunting 
regulations for migratory birds beginning as early as September 1, 
2008, on certain Federal Indian reservations, off-reservation trust 
lands, and ceded lands. Taking into account both reserved hunting 
rights and the degree to which tribes have full wildlife management 
authority, the regulations only for tribal members or for both tribal 
and nontribal hunters may differ from those established by States in 
which the reservations, off-reservation trust lands, and ceded lands 
are located. The regulations will specify open seasons, shooting hours, 
and bag and possession limits for rails, coot, gallinules, woodcock, 
common snipe, band-tailed pigeons, mourning doves, white-winged doves, 
ducks, mergansers, and geese.
    The rules that eventually will be promulgated for the 2008-09 
hunting season are authorized under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act 
(MBTA) of July 3, 1918 (40 Stat. 755; 16 U.S.C. 703 et seq.), as 
amended. The MBTA authorizes and directs the Secretary of the Interior, 
having due regard for the zones of temperature and for the 
distribution, abundance, economic value, breeding habits, and times and 
lines of flight of migratory game birds, to determine when, to what 
extent, and by what means such birds or any part, nest, or egg thereof 
may be taken, hunted, captured, killed, possessed,

[[Page 48115]]

sold, purchased, shipped, carried, exported, or transported.

    Dated: August 8, 2008.
David M. Verhey,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. E8-18930 Filed 8-14-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P