Migratory Bird Hunting; Proposed Frameworks for Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations, 77087-77122 [2015-31169]

Download as PDF Vol. 80 Friday, No. 238 December 11, 2015 Part II Department of the Interior jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Fish and Wildlife Service 50 CFR Part 20 Migratory Bird Hunting; Proposed Frameworks for Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations; Proposed Rule VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:00 Dec 10, 2015 Jkt 238001 PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4717 Sfmt 4717 E:\FR\FM\11DEP2.SGM 11DEP2 77088 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 238 / Friday, December 11, 2015 / Proposed Rules DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service 50 CFR Part 20 [Docket No. FWS–HQ–MB–2015–0034; FF09M21200–167–FXMB1231099BPP0] RIN 1018–BA70 Migratory Bird Hunting; Proposed Frameworks for Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Proposed rule; supplemental. AGENCY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (hereinafter Service or we) is proposing to establish the 2016–17 hunting regulations for certain migratory game birds. We annually prescribe frameworks, or outer limits, for dates and times when hunting may occur and the number of birds that may be taken and possessed in hunting seasons. These frameworks are necessary to allow State selections of seasons and limits and to allow recreational harvest at levels compatible with population and habitat conditions. DATES: You must submit comments on the proposed migratory bird hunting frameworks by January 11, 2016. ADDRESSES: Comments: 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 on Docket No. FWS–HQ–MB–2015– 0034. • U.S. mail or hand delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–HQ– MB–2015–0034; Division of Policy, Performance, and Management Programs; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; MS: BPHC; 5275 Leesburg Pike; Falls Church, VA 22041–3803. 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 Review of Public Comments and Flyway Council Recommendations section, below, for more information). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ron W. Kokel, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior, MS: MB, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041–3803; (703) 358–1967. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: As part of DOI’s retrospective regulatory review, we developed a schedule for migratory game bird hunting regulations that is more efficient and will provide dates much earlier than was possible under the old process. This will facilitate jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:00 Dec 10, 2015 Jkt 238001 planning for the States and all parties interested in migratory bird hunting. Beginning with the 2016–17 hunting season, we are using a new schedule for establishing our annual migratory game bird hunting regulations. We will combine the current early- and lateseason regulatory actions into a single process, based on predictions derived from long-term biological information and harvest strategies, to establish migratory bird hunting seasons much earlier than the system we have used for many years. Under the new process, we will develop proposed hunting season frameworks for a given year in the fall of the prior year. We will finalize those frameworks a few months later, thereby enabling the State agencies to select and publish their season dates in early summer. Regulations Schedule for 2016 On August 6, 2015, we published in the Federal Register (80 FR 47388) a proposal to amend 50 CFR part 20. The proposal provided a background and overview of the migratory bird hunting regulations process, and addressed the establishment of seasons, limits, and other regulations for hunting migratory game birds under §§ 20.101 through 20.107, 20.109, and 20.110 of subpart K. Major steps in the 2016–17 regulatory cycle relating to open public meetings and Federal Register notifications were also identified in the August 6, 2015, proposed rule. Further, we explained that all sections of subsequent documents outlining hunting frameworks and guidelines were organized under numbered headings. Those headings are: 1. Ducks A. General Harvest Strategy B. Regulatory Alternatives C. Zones and Split Seasons D. Special Seasons/Species Management i. September Teal Seasons ii. September Teal/Wood Duck Seasons iii. Black ducks iv. Canvasbacks v. Pintails vi. Scaup vii. Mottled ducks viii. Wood ducks ix. Youth Hunt x. Mallard Management Units xi. Other 2. Sea Ducks 3. Mergansers 4. Canada Geese A. Special Seasons B. Regular Seasons C. Special Late Seasons 5. White-fronted Geese 6. Brant 7. Snow and Ross’s (Light) Geese 8. Swans 9. Sandhill Cranes 10. Coots PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 11. Moorhens and Gallinules 12. Rails 13. Snipe 14. Woodcock 15. Band-tailed Pigeons 16. Doves 17. Alaska 18. Hawaii 19. Puerto Rico 20. Virgin Islands 21. Falconry 22. Other Subsequent documents will refer only to numbered items requiring attention. Therefore, it is important to note that we will omit those items requiring no attention, and remaining numbered items will be discontinuous and appear incomplete. The August 6 proposed rule also provided detailed information on the proposed 2016–17 regulatory schedule and announced the Service Regulations Committee (SRC) and Flyway Council meetings. On October 20–21, 2015, we held open meetings with the Flyway Council Consultants, at which the participants reviewed information on the current status of migratory game birds and developed recommendations for the 2016–17 regulations for these species. This document deals specifically with proposed frameworks for the migratory bird hunting regulations. It will lead to final frameworks from which States may select season dates, shooting hours, areas, and limits. We have considered all pertinent comments received through October 23, 2015, on the August 6, 2015, proposed rulemaking document in developing this document. In addition, new proposals for certain regulations are provided for public comment. The comment period is specified above under DATES. We will publish final regulatory frameworks for migratory game bird hunting in the Federal Register on or around February 28, 2016. Population Status and Harvest The following paragraphs provide information on the status and harvest of migratory game birds excerpted from various reports. Due to the overlapping nature this first year of the new regulatory process for establishing the annual migratory game bird hunting regulations, most all of this information was previously reported in the July 21, 2015, and August 25, 2015, proposed rules for the 2015–16 migratory game bird hunting seasons (80 FR 43266 and 80 FR 51658). However, as an aid to the reader, we are providing it again here. We are also providing updated status information for the Mid-Continent E:\FR\FM\11DEP2.SGM 11DEP2 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 238 / Friday, December 11, 2015 / Proposed Rules jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Population of sandhill cranes from the March, 2015 surveys. 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:// www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/ NewsPublicationsReports.html. Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey Federal, provincial, and State agencies conduct surveys each spring to estimate the size of breeding populations and to evaluate habitat conditions. 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, western Canada, and the north central 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. Despite an early spring over most of the survey area, habitat conditions during the 2015 Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey (WBPHS) were similar to or poorer than last year. With the exception of portions of southern Saskatchewan and central latitudes of eastern Canada, in many areas the decline in habitat conditions was due to average to below-average annual precipitation. The total pond estimate (Prairie Canada and United States combined) was 6.3 ± 0.2 million, which was 12 percent below the 2014 estimate of 7.2 ± 0.2 million but 21 percent above the long-term average of 5.2 ± 0.03 million. The 2015 estimate of ponds in Prairie Canada was 4.2 ± 0.1 million. This estimate was 10 percent below the 2014 estimate of 4.6 ± 0.2 million but 19 percent above the longterm average (3.5 ± 0.02 million). The 2015 pond estimate for the north central United States was 2.2 ± 0.09 million, which was 16 percent below the 2014 estimate of 2.6 ± 0.1 million and 28 percent above the long-term average (1.7 ± 0.02 million). Additional details of the 2015 Survey were provided in the July 21, 2015, Federal Register and are available from our Web site at http://www.fws.gov/ migratorybirds. Breeding Population Status In the traditional survey area, which includes strata 1–18, 20–50, and 75–77, VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:00 Dec 10, 2015 Jkt 238001 the total duck population estimate (excluding scoters [Melanitta spp.], eiders [Somateria spp. and Polysticta stelleri], long-tailed ducks [Clangula hyemalis], mergansers [Mergus spp. and Lophodytes cucullatus], and wood ducks [Aix sponsa]) was 49.5 ± 0.8 [SE] million birds. This estimate is similar to the 2014 estimate of 49.2 ± 0.8 million, and is 43 percent higher than the longterm average (1955–2014). This year also marks the highest estimates in the time series for mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) and green-winged teal (A. crecca). Estimated mallard abundance was 11.6 ± 0.4 million, which was similar to the 2014 estimate of 10.9 ± 0.3 million, and 51 percent above the long-term average of 7.7 ± 0.04 million. Estimated abundance of gadwall (A. strepera; 3.8 ± 0.2 million) and American wigeon (A. americana; 3.0 ± 0.2 million) were similar to last year’s estimates, and were 100 percent and 17 percent above their long-term averages of 1.9 ± 0.02 million and 2.6 ± 0.02 million, respectively. The estimated abundance of green-winged teal was 4.1 ± 0.3 million, which was 19 percent above the 2014 estimate of 3.4 ± 0.2 million and 98 percent above the long-term average (2.1 ± 0.02 million). Estimated blue-winged teal (A. discors; 8.5 ± 0.4 million) abundance was similar to the 2014 estimate, and 73 percent above the long-term average of 4.9 ± 0.04 million. Estimated Abundance of Northern Shovelers (A. clypeata; 4.4 ± 0.2 million) was 17 percent below the 2014 estimate but 75 percent above the long-term average of 2.5 ± 0.02 million. Northern pintail abundance (A. acuta; 3.0 ± 0.2 million) was similar to the 2014 estimate and 24 percent below the long-term average of 4.0 ± 0.04 million. Abundance estimates for redheads (Aythya americana; 1.2 ± 0.1 million) and canvasbacks (A. valisineria; 0.8 ± 0.06 million) were similar to their 2014 estimates and were 71 percent and 30 percent above their long-term averages of 0.7 ± 0.01 million and 0.6 ± 0.01 million, respectively. Estimated abundance of scaup (A. affinis and A. marila combined; 4.4 ± 0.3 million) was similar to the 2014 estimate and 13 percent below the longterm average of 5.0 ± 0.05 million. The eastern survey area was restratified in 2005, and is now composed of strata 51–72. In the eastern survey area, estimated abundance of American black ducks (Anas rubripes) was 0.5 ± .04 million, which was 11 percent below last year’s estimate and 13 percent below the 1990–2014 average. The estimated abundance of PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 77089 mallards (0.4 ± 0.1 million) and mergansers (0.4 ± 0.04 million) were similar to the 2014 estimates and their 1990–2014 averages. Abundance estimates of green-winged teal (0.2 ± 0.04 million) and goldeneyes (common and Barrow’s [Bucephala clangula and B. islandica], 0.4 ± 0.4 million) were similar to their 2014 estimates, and were 14 percent and 15 percent below their 1990–2014 averages of 0.3 ± 0.04 million and 0.4 ± 0.07 million, respectively. The abundance estimate of ring-necked ducks (Aythya collaris, 0.5 ± 0.07 million) was similar to the 2014 estimate and the 1990–2014 average. Status of Geese and Swans We provide information on the population status and productivity of North American Canada geese (Branta canadensis), brant (B. bernicla), snow geese (Chen caerulescens), Ross’s geese (C. rossii), emperor geese (C. canagica), white-fronted geese (Anser albifrons), and tundra swans (Cygnus columbianus). Production of arcticnesting geese depends heavily upon the timing of snow and ice melt, and spring and early-summer temperatures. In 2015, conditions in the Arctic and boreal areas important for geese were variable. Compared to last year, snow and ice conditions were less extensive in the western Arctic, more extensive in the central Arctic, and similar in the eastern Arctic. Breeding conditions were good on Bylot Island in the eastern Arctic, and an average to above-average fall flight was expected for greater snow geese. Biologists reported later-thanaverage spring phenology at Southampton Island, the northern and western coastal areas of the Hudson Bay, and the southern portion of Baffin Island. Atlantic brant have had 3 years of low production, and below-average production was expected again this year. Habitat conditions across Atlantic Canada were generally good, except for a more persistent spring snow pack and ice coverage in higher elevation areas in Newfoundland and Labrador. Nesting conditions were below average on the Ungava Peninsula, and lakes and ponds along the eastern Hudson Bay coast remained frozen in mid-June. North Atlantic Population and Atlantic Population Canada goose numbers were similar to recent averages, and average fall flights were expected. Of the Canada goose populations that migrate through the Mississippi Flyway, Eastern Prairie Population numbers were similar to last year, and average to above-average production was expected; Southern James Bay Population and Mississippi Valley Population breeding numbers were down relative to recent years, with E:\FR\FM\11DEP2.SGM 11DEP2 jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 77090 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 238 / Friday, December 11, 2015 / Proposed Rules average and below-average fall flights predicted, respectively. Ice breakup and nesting phenology in the Queen Maud Gulf region of the central Arctic were similar to long-term averages, and nesting conditions and habitat were good to above average in the western Arctic and Northwest Territories. Thus, average to above-average production was expected for Ross’s, mid-continent snow, mid-continent white-fronted, and lesser and Central Flyway Arctic nesting Canada geese. Alaska experienced an early spring and mild breakup of ice with minimal flooding on the Yukon–Kuskokwim Delta and other interior areas of the State. With less persistent ice and snow cover and favorable breeding conditions in the western Arctic and Alaska, the outlook for goose and swan populations nesting in these areas was good to excellent. With the exception of cackling Canada geese, indices for geese and swans that breed on the Yukon– Kuskokwim Delta were lower this year compared to last year, though later survey timing relative to the early spring conditions may have contributed to lower counts. Record high counts were observed this year for the Wrangel Island Population of lesser snow geese and dusky Canada geese, and the spring index for emperor geese was the highest recorded in over three decades. Across much of the Canadian and U.S. prairies, spring phenology was early. Habitat conditions were generally rated good to fair on the Canadian prairies and fair to poor on the U.S. prairies. Southern and central portions of the western United States were exceptionally dry, and habitat conditions there were generally poor. However, production of temperatenesting Canada geese over most of their North American range is expected to be average, and similar to previous years. Of the 28 goose and swan populations included in the report, 6 had significant positive trends during the most recent 10-year period (P < 0.05): Western Prairie and Great Plains Population, dusky, and Aleutian Canada geese; and mid-continent, Western Central Flyway, and Western Arctic and Wrangel Island light geese. Three populations, Atlantic brant, and the Atlantic and Southern James Bay Populations of Canada geese, showed a statistically significant negative 10-year trend. Of the 13 populations for which primary indices included variance estimates, Ross’s geese statistically significantly increased and 2 populations statistically significantly decreased (Southern James Bay Population and Mississippi Valley Population Canada geese) in 2015 compared to 2014. Of the 15 VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:00 Dec 10, 2015 Jkt 238001 populations for which primary indices did not include variance estimates, 8 populations were higher than last year, and 7 populations were lower. Waterfowl Harvest and Hunter Activity National surveys of migratory bird hunters were conducted during the 2013–14 and 2014–15 hunting seasons. More than 1 million waterfowl hunters harvested 13,716,400 (± 6 percent) ducks and 3,360,400 (± 6 percent) geese in 2013, and more than 1 million waterfowl hunters harvested 13,267,800 (± 4 percent) ducks and 3,321,100 (± 11 percent) geese in 2014. Mallard, greenwinged teal, gadwall, blue-winged/ cinnamon teal, and wood duck (Aix sponsa) were the five most-harvested duck species in the United States, and Canada goose was the predominant goose species in the goose harvest. Sandhill Cranes The annual indices to abundance of the Mid-Continent Population (MCP) of sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis) have been relatively stable since 1982, but have shown more inter-annual variability in recent years. The spring 2015 estimate of sandhill cranes in the Central Platte River Valley (CPRV), Nebraska, was 452,616 birds. This estimate is 31 percent lower than the estimate from March 2014. The 3-year average for photo-corrected counts (which are more accurate than ocular estimates because they account for birds present but not seen by aerial crews) for 2013–15 was 623,812, which is above 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 2014–15. An estimated 7,825 Central Flyway hunters participated in these seasons, which was 24 percent lower than the number that participated in the previous season. Hunters harvested 15,776 MCP cranes in the U.S. portion of the Central Flyway during the 2014–15 seasons, which was 27 percent lower than the harvest for the previous year but 6 percent higher than the long-term average. The retrieved harvest of MCP cranes in hunt areas outside of the Central Flyway (Arizona, Pacific Flyway portion of New Mexico, Minnesota, Alaska, Canada, and Mexico combined) was 13,221 during 2014–15. The preliminary estimate for the North American MCP sport harvest, including crippling losses, was 32,666 birds, which was a 19 percent decrease from the previous year’s estimate. The longterm (1982–2012) trends for the MCP indicate that harvest has been increasing at a higher rate than population growth. PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 The fall 2014 pre-migration survey for the Rocky Mountain Population (RMP) resulted in a count of 19,668 cranes. The 3-year average was 18,482 sandhill cranes, which is within the established population objective of 17,000–21,000 for the RMP. Hunting seasons during 2014–15 in portions of Arizona, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming resulted in a harvest of 624 RMP cranes, an 8 percent decrease from the previous year’s harvest. The Eastern Population (EP) sandhill crane fall survey index (83,479) increased by 30 percent in 2014, and a combined total of 401 cranes were harvested in Kentucky’s fourth hunting season and Tennessee’s second season. Woodcock The American woodcock (Scolopax minor) is managed as two management regions, the Eastern and the Central. Singing Ground and Wing-collection Surveys are conducted to assess population status. The Singing Ground Survey is intended to measure long-term changes in woodcock population levels. Singing Ground Survey data for 2015 indicate that the number of singing male woodcock per route in the Eastern and Central Management Regions was unchanged from 2014. There was a statistically significant, declining 10year trend in woodcock heard for the Eastern Management Region during 2005–15, while the 10-year trend in the Central Management Region was not significant. This marks the second year in a row that the 10-year trend in the Eastern Management Region has shown a decline. Both management regions have a long-term (1968–2015) declining trend (¥1.1 percent per year in the Eastern Management Region and ¥0.7 percent per year in the Central Management Region). The Wing-collection Survey provides an index to recruitment. Wingcollection Survey data indicate that the 2014 recruitment index for the U.S. portion of the Eastern Region (1.49 immatures per adult female) was 6.9 percent less than the 2013 index, and 8.9 percent less than the long-term (1963–2013) average. The recruitment index for the U.S. portion of the Central Region (1.39 immatures per adult female) was 9.7 percent less than the 2013 index and 10.6 percent less than the long-term (1963–2013) average. During the 2014–15 seasons, hunters in the Eastern Region harvested 58,600 birds, which was 6.2 percent below the number for the previous season and 31.4 percent below the long-term (1999– 2013) average. In the Central Region, 141,500 woodcock were harvested, 21.4 E:\FR\FM\11DEP2.SGM 11DEP2 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 238 / Friday, December 11, 2015 / Proposed Rules percent less than in 2013 and 36.5 percent less than the long-term average. jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Band-Tailed Pigeons Two subspecies of band-tailed pigeon (Columba fasciata) occur north of Mexico, and are managed as two separate populations: Interior and Pacific Coast. Information on the abundance and harvest of band-tailed pigeons is collected annually in the United States and British Columbia. Abundance information comes from the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) and the Mineral Site Survey (MSS, specific to the Pacific Coast Population). Harvest and hunter participation are estimated from the Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP). The BBS provided evidence that the abundance of Pacific Coast band-tailed pigeons decreased (¥1.8 percent per year) over the long term (1968–2014). No trends in abundance were evident during the recent 10- and 5-year periods for both the BBS and MSS. Harvest estimates indicate that 2,900 active hunters took 12,000 pigeons and spent 8,800 days afield in 2014. Composition of harvest was 25 percent hatching-year pigeons. For Interior band-tailed pigeons, the BBS provided evidence that abundance decreased (¥5.5 percent per year) over the long term (1968–2014). Similar to Pacific Coast birds, no trends in abundance were evident during the recent 10- and 5-year periods. An estimated 1,500 hunters harvested 1,500 pigeons and spent 3,300 days afield in 2014. Mourning Doves Doves in the United States are managed in three management units, Eastern (EMU), Central (CMU), and Western (WMU). We annually summarize information collected in the United States on survival, recruitment, abundance, and harvest of mourning doves (Zenaida macroura). We report on trends in the number of doves heard and seen per route from the all-bird BBS, and provide absolute abundance estimates based on band recovery and harvest data. Harvest and hunter participation are estimated from the HIP. BBS data suggested that the abundance of mourning doves over the last 49 years increased in the Eastern Management Unit (EMU) and decreased in the Central (CMU) and Western (WMU) Management Units. Estimates of absolute abundance are available only since 2003 and indicate that there are about 274 million doves in the United States. Predicted abundances for 2015 (and lower 70 percent credible intervals VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:00 Dec 10, 2015 Jkt 238001 [CI]) are 79.3 million birds (64.3) for the EMU, 139.5 million (124.3) for the CMU, and 52.6 million (45.0) for the WMU. Current (2014) HIP estimates for mourning dove total harvest, active hunters, and total days afield in the United States were 13,809,500 birds, 839,600 hunters, and 2,386,700 days afield. Harvest and hunter participation at the unit level were: EMU, 4,889,800 birds, 310,200 hunters, and 791,300 days afield; CMU, 7,654,700 birds, 427,100 hunters, and 1,333,600 days afield; and WMU, 1,265,000 birds, 102,300 hunters, and 261,800 days afield. Review of Public Comments and Flyway Council Recommendations The preliminary proposed rulemaking, which appeared in the August 6, 2015, Federal Register, opened the public comment period for migratory game bird hunting regulations and discussed the regulatory alternatives for the 2016–17 duck hunting season. Comments are summarized below and numbered in the order used in the August 6, 2015, proposed rule. We have included only the numbered items pertaining to issues for which we received written comments. Consequently, the issues do not follow in successive numerical order. We received recommendations from all four Flyway Councils. Some recommendations supported continuation of last year’s frameworks. Due to the comprehensive nature of the annual review of the frameworks performed by the Councils, support for continuation of last year’s frameworks is assumed for items for which no recommendations were received. Council recommendations for changes in the frameworks are summarized below. We seek additional information and comments on the recommendations in this supplemental proposed rule. New proposals and modifications to previously described proposals are discussed below. Wherever possible, they are discussed under headings corresponding to the numbered items in the August 6, 2015, proposed rule. General Written Comments: A commenter protested the entire migratory bird hunting regulations process, the killing of all migratory birds, and status and habitat data on which the migratory bird hunting regulations are based. Service Response: Our long-term objectives continue to include providing opportunities to harvest portions of PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 77091 certain migratory game bird populations and to limit harvests to levels compatible with each population’s ability to maintain healthy, viable numbers. Having taken into account the zones of temperature and the distribution, abundance, economic value, breeding habits, and times and lines of flight of migratory birds, we believe that the hunting seasons provided for herein are compatible with the current status of migratory bird populations and long-term population goals. Additionally, we are obligated to, and do, give serious consideration to all information received as public comment. While there are problems inherent with any type of representative management of public-trust resources, we believe that the Flyway-Council system of migratory game bird management has been a longstanding example of State-Federal cooperative management since its establishment in 1952. However, as always, we continue to seek new ways to streamline and improve the process. 1. Ducks A. General Harvest Strategy Council Recommendations: The Atlantic, Mississippi, Central, and Pacific Flyway Councils recommended the adoption of the ‘‘liberal’’ regulatory alternative. Service Response: We propose to continue using adaptive harvest management (AHM) to help determine appropriate duck-hunting regulations for the 2016–17 season. AHM permits sound resource decisions in the face of uncertain regulatory impacts and provides a mechanism for reducing that uncertainty over time. We use AHM to evaluate four alternative regulatory levels for duck hunting based on the population status of mallards. (We enact other hunting regulations for species of special concern, such as canvasbacks, scaup, and pintails). The prescribed regulatory alternative for the Atlantic, Mississippi, Central, and Pacific Flyways is based on the status of mallard populations that contribute primarily to each Flyway. In the Atlantic Flyway, we set hunting regulations based on the population status of mallards breeding in eastern North America (Federal survey strata 51–54 and 56, and State surveys in New England and the mid-Atlantic region). In the Central and Mississippi Flyways, we set hunting regulations based on the status and dynamics of mid-continent mallards. Mid-continent mallards are those breeding in central North America (Federal survey strata 13–18, 20–50, and 75–77, and State surveys in Minnesota, E:\FR\FM\11DEP2.SGM 11DEP2 jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 77092 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 238 / Friday, December 11, 2015 / Proposed Rules Wisconsin, and Michigan). In the Pacific Flyway, we set hunting regulations based on the status and dynamics of western mallards. Western mallards are those breeding in Alaska and the northern Yukon Territory (as based on Federal surveys in strata 1–12), and in California and Oregon (as based on State-conducted surveys). For the 2016–17 season, we recommend continuing to use independent optimization to determine the optimal regulatory choice for each mallard stock. This means that we would develop regulations for eastern mallards, mid-continent mallards, and western mallards independently, based upon the breeding stock that contributes primarily to each Flyway. We detailed implementation of this AHM decision framework for western and midcontinent mallards in the July 24, 2008, Federal Register (73 FR 43290) and for eastern mallards in the July 20, 2012, Federal Register (77 FR 42920). We further documented how adjustments were made to these decision frameworks in order to be compatible with the new regulatory schedule (http:// www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/pdf/ management/AHM/ SEIS&AHMReportFinal.pdf). For the 2016–17 hunting season, we are continuing to consider the same regulatory alternatives as those used last year. The nature of the ‘‘restrictive,’’ ‘‘moderate,’’ and ‘‘liberal’’ alternatives has remained essentially unchanged since 1997, except that extended framework dates have been offered in the ‘‘moderate’’ and ‘‘liberal’’ regulatory alternatives since 2002 (67 FR 47224; July 17, 2002). The optimal AHM strategies for midcontinent, eastern, and western mallards for the 2016–17 hunting season were calculated using: (1) Harvestmanagement objectives specific to each mallard stock; (2) the 2016–17 regulatory alternatives (see further discussion below under B. Regulatory Alternatives); and (3) current population models and associated weights. Based on ‘‘liberal’’ regulatory alternatives selected for the 2015 hunting season, the 2015 survey results of 11.79 million mid-continent mallards (traditional survey area minus Alaska and the Old Crow Flats area of the Yukon Territory, plus Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan) and 4.15 million ponds in Prairie Canada, 0.73 million eastern mallards (0.19 million and 0.54 million respectively in northeast Canada and the northeastern United States), and 0.73 million western mallards (0.26 million in California-Oregon and 0.47 million in Alaska), the optimal regulatory choice for all four Flyways is VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:00 Dec 10, 2015 Jkt 238001 the ‘‘liberal’’ alternative. Therefore, we concur with the recommendations of the Atlantic, Mississippi, Central, and Pacific Flyway Councils regarding selection of the ‘‘liberal’’ regulatory alternative for the 2016–17 season and propose to adopt the ‘‘liberal’’ regulatory alternative, as described in the August 6, 2015, Federal Register. B. Regulatory Alternatives Council Recommendations: The Atlantic and Mississippi Flyway Councils recommended that the framework closing date for ducks be extended to January 31 in the ‘‘moderate’’ and ‘‘liberal’’ regulatory alternatives. Service Response: We do not support the Councils’ recommendation to extend the duck season framework closing date to January 31 at this time. We note that the current framework opening and closing dates were developed through a cooperative effort between all four Flyway Councils and that framework dates are only one of several components that comprise the regulatory packages utilized in AHM. Regulatory packages also consider season length, daily bag limits, and shooting hours. We believe the current regulatory packages in the Atlantic and Mississippi Flyways should remain unchanged until revisions to the AHM protocols have been completed. Those efforts will include examination of duck harvest management objectives, model updates, and revisions to regulatory packages, including framework dates. We prefer that the issue of framework dates and any other component of the regulatory packages be addressed through this cooperative process and would prefer a comprehensive approach to revising regulatory packages rather than making incremental changes. D. Special Seasons/Species Management i. September Teal Seasons For the 2016–17 season, we will utilize the 2015 breeding population estimate of 8.3 million blue-winged teal from the traditional survey area and the criteria developed for the teal season harvest strategy. Thus, a 16-day September teal season in the Atlantic, Central, and Mississippi Flyways is appropriate for the 2016 season. iii. Black Ducks Council Recommendations: The Atlantic and Mississippi Flyway Councils recommended that the Service continue to follow the International Black Duck AHM Strategy for the 2016– 17 season. PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 Service Response: In 2012, we adopted the International Black Duck AHM Strategy (77 FR 49868; August 17, 2012). The formal strategy is the result of 14 years of technical and policy decisions developed and agreed upon by both Canadian and U.S. agencies and waterfowl managers. The strategy clarifies what harvest levels each country will manage for and reduces conflicts over country-specific regulatory policies. Further, the strategy allows for attainment of fundamental objectives of black duck management: Resource conservation, perpetuation of hunting tradition, and equitable access to the black duck resource between Canada and the United States while accommodating the fundamental sources of uncertainty, partial controllability and observability, structural uncertainty, and environmental variation. The underlying model performance is assessed annually, with a comprehensive evaluation of the entire strategy (objectives and model set) planned after 6 years. A copy of the strategy is available at the address indicated under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT, or from our Web site at http://www.fws.gov/ migratorybirds/ NewsPublicationsReports.html. For the 2016–17 season, the optimal country-specific regulatory strategies were calculated using: (1) The black duck harvest objective (98 percent of long-term cumulative harvest); (2) 2016– 17 country-specific regulatory alternatives; (3) current parameter estimates for mallard competition and additive mortality; and (4) 2015 survey results of 0.54 million breeding black ducks and 0.41 million breeding mallards in the core survey area. The optimal regulatory choices for the 2016– 17 season are the ‘‘moderate’’ package in Canada and the ‘‘restrictive’’ package in the United States. iv. Canvasbacks Council Recommendations: The Mississippi, Central, and Pacific Flyway Councils recommended a full season for canvasbacks with a 2-bird daily bag limit. The Atlantic Flyway Council recommended a full season for canvasbacks with a 1-bird daily bag limit. Season lengths would be 60 days in the Atlantic and Mississippi Flyways, 74 days in the Central Flyway, and 107 days in the Pacific Flyway. Service Response: Since 1994, we have followed a canvasback harvest strategy whereby if canvasback population status and production are sufficient to permit a harvest of one canvasback per day nationwide for the E:\FR\FM\11DEP2.SGM 11DEP2 jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 238 / Friday, December 11, 2015 / Proposed Rules entire length of the regular duck season, while still attaining an objective of 500,000 birds the following spring, the season on canvasbacks should be opened. A partial season would be allowed if the estimated allowable harvest was below that associated with a 1-bird daily bag limit for the entire season. If neither of these conditions can be met, the harvest strategy calls for a closed season on canvasbacks nationwide. In 2008 (73 FR 43290; July 24, 2008), we announced our decision to modify the canvasback harvest strategy to incorporate the option for a 2-bird daily bag limit for canvasbacks when the predicted breeding population the subsequent year exceeds 725,000 birds. As we discussed in the August 6, 2015, proposed rule, the current harvest strategy relies on information that is not yet available under this new regulatory process. Thus, the current canvasback harvest management strategy is no longer usable for the 2016–17 season and beyond. We further stated that we do not yet have a new harvest strategy to propose for use in the future and that we would review the most recent information on canvasback populations, habitat conditions, and harvests with the goal of compiling the best information available for use in making a harvest management decision for the 2016–17 season. As such, we support the Mississippi, Central, and Pacific Flyways’ recommendation for a 2-canvasback daily bag limit for the 2016–17 season and will offer the opportunity to all four Flyways. This past year’s spring survey resulted in an estimate of 757,000 canvasbacks and 4.15 million Canadian ponds. The former canvasback harvest strategy predicts a 2016 canvasback breeding population of 727,000 birds under the current 2015–16 ‘‘liberal’’ duck season with a 2-canvasback daily bag limit. Our analysis indicates that the expected harvest associated with a 2bird bag limit during the 2016 season poses a very small possibility of the spring 2017 canvasback abundance falling below 500,000 birds given the current abundance of canvasbacks. However, we also recognize that in previous years where 2 canvasbacks per day were allowed in the daily bag limit, the following year required a more restrictive daily bag limit, and we are prepared to recommend restrictions for the 2017–18 season if necessary. Thus, we strongly encourage the Flyways to begin working with Service staff to develop a process for informing canvasback harvest management decisions prior to the Flyway meetings next March. VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:00 Dec 10, 2015 Jkt 238001 77093 v. Pintails ix. Youth Hunt Council Recommendations: The Atlantic, Mississippi, Central, and Pacific Flyway Councils recommended a full season for pintails, consisting of a 2-bird daily bag limit and a 60-day season in the Atlantic and Mississippi Flyways, a 74-day season in the Central Flyway, and a 107-day season in the Pacific Flyway. Service Response: The current derived pintail harvest strategy was adopted by the Service and Flyway Councils in 2010 (75 FR 44856; July 29, 2010). For the 2016–17 season, an optimal regulatory strategy for pintails was calculated with: (1) An objective of maximizing long-term cumulative harvest, including a closed-season constraint of 1.75 million birds; (2) the regulatory alternatives and associated predicted harvest; and (3) current population models and their relative weights. Based on a ‘‘liberal’’ regulatory alternative with a 2-bird daily bag limit in 2015, the 2015 survey results of 3.04 million pintails observed at a mean latitude of 55.9 and a latitude-adjusted breeding population of 4.16 million birds, the optimal regulatory choice for all four Flyways for the 2016–17 hunting season is the ‘‘liberal’’ alternative with a 2-bird daily bag limit. Council Recommendations: The Atlantic Flyway Council recommended allowing the States to use their definitions of age for youth hunters as the age requirement for participation in youth hunting days. The Mississippi and Central Flyway Councils recommended that we allow States to use their established definitions of age for youth hunters as the age requirement for participation in youth hunting days, not to include anyone over the age of 17. The Pacific Flyway Council recommended striking the participation restriction that youth hunters must be 15 years of age or younger and allowing each State to use their established definition for the age of youth hunters as long as it is 17 years of age or younger. The Council further recommended retaining other participation restrictions requiring that an adult at least 18 years of age must accompany the youth hunter into the field. Service Response: Since its inception in 1996, the Special Youth Waterfowl Days have fostered greater involvement of youth in waterfowl hunting and conservation. However, we recognize that many States allow individuals 17 years and younger to participate in youth hunting seasons other than those for waterfowl, whereas the current Federal framework for the Youth Waterfowl Hunt is 15 years and younger. We further recognize that this difference has caused some confusion and frustration from youth hunters, especially those between the ages of 15 and 17. Thus, we agree that allowing individual States to have a common definition of youth age for all of their different youth hunting seasons would simplify the issue for many States. States would still have the option to adopt an age restriction younger than 17 if they so choose. For those youth hunters 16 years of age and older, the requirement to possess a Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (also known as Federal Duck Stamp) would remain in effect, as would the requirement that any youth hunter must be accompanied by an adult at least 18 years of age. vi. Scaup Council Recommendations: The Atlantic, Mississippi, Central, and Pacific Flyway Councils recommended use of the ‘‘moderate’’ regulation package, consisting of a 60-day season with a 2-bird daily bag in the Atlantic Flyway and a 3-bird daily bag in the Mississippi Flyway, a 74-day season with a 3-bird daily bag limit in the Central Flyway, and an 86-day season with a 3-bird daily bag limit in the Pacific Flyway. Service Response: In 2008, we adopted and implemented a new scaup harvest strategy (73 FR 43290 on July 24, 2008, and 73 FR 51124 on August 29, 2008) with initial ‘‘restrictive,’’ ‘‘moderate,’’ and ‘‘liberal’’ regulatory packages adopted for each Flyway. For scaup, optimal regulatory strategies for the 2016–17 season were calculated using: (1) An objective to achieve 95 percent of long-term cumulative harvest, (2) current scaup regulatory alternatives, and (3) updated model parameters and weights. Based on a ‘‘moderate’’ regulatory alternative selected in 2015 and the 2015 survey results of 4.40 million scaup, the optimal regulatory choice for the 2016– 17 season for all four Flyways is the ‘‘moderate’’ regulatory alternative. PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 2. Sea Ducks Council Recommendations: The Atlantic Flyway Council recommended that sea ducks in the Atlantic Flyway be exposed to no more than 60 days of hunting in any Special Sea Duck Area, or regular duck hunting area or zone. They further recommended that in ‘‘Special Sea Duck Areas,’’ the bag limit E:\FR\FM\11DEP2.SGM 11DEP2 77094 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 238 / Friday, December 11, 2015 / Proposed Rules for sea ducks would be 5, to include no more than 4 eiders, 4 scoters, or 4 longtailed ducks. In regular duck season areas and in States with no special sea duck areas, sea ducks would count toward the total bag of 6 ducks, which could include no more than 4 eiders, 4 scoters, and 4 long-tailed ducks. Splits would be allowed in the Special Sea Duck Area if the sea duck season is set concurrently with the regular duck season; otherwise, season dates in the Special Sea Duck Area could not be split. Lastly, the Council recommended that the taking of crippled waterfowl under power be allowed to continue in Special Sea Duck Areas as they are currently delineated (50 CFR 20.105) (regardless of whether a special sea duck season is held). Service Response: We agree with the Atlantic Flyway Council’s recommendations to reduce the harvest of sea ducks. The recent Sea Duck Harvest Potential Assessment indicates that the likelihood of overharvest of scoter, Atlantic common eider, and long-tailed duck populations ranges from 48 percent (Eastern black scoter) to 95 percent (long-tailed duck). Further, sea ducks have a low reproduction rate normally offset by the longevity of adults. As such, hunting mortality is almost entirely additive. One of the incentives for sea duck hunting has been the opportunity for hunters to achieve a high daily bag limit (7 ducks). The Atlantic Flyway Council believes, and we concur, that reducing the general daily bag limit to 5 will reduce that incentive, but still allow special sea duck hunting opportunity. They further estimate that the recommended changes in season length, daily bag limits, and area restrictions are expected to achieve an approximate harvest reduction of 25 percent. 4. Canada Geese jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS A. Special Early Seasons Council Recommendations: The Pacific Flyway Council recommended generalizing the special early Canada goose season frameworks in the Pacific Flyway to apply to all States except Alaska. Specifically, the Council recommended a Canada goose season of up to 15 days during September 1–20 with a daily bag limit of not more than 5 Canada geese, except in Pacific County, Washington, where the daily bag limit could not exceed 15 Canada geese. The Council recommended that all areas open to hunting of Canada geese in each State must be described, delineated, and designated as such in each State’s hunting regulations. VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:00 Dec 10, 2015 Jkt 238001 Service Response: We agree with the Pacific Flyway Council’s recommendation to generalize the special early Canada goose season framework to apply to all Pacific Flyway States except Alaska. The special early Canada goose hunting season is generally designed to reduce or control overabundant resident Canada goose populations. Early Canada goose seasons are currently allowed in 6 of 11 Pacific Flyway States excluding Alaska. Allowing a general season length of up to 15 days during September 1–20 and a bag limit of up to 5 Canada geese in all of the Pacific Flyway States except Alaska will simplify and standardize the early Canada goose season framework among Pacific Flyway States and provide a tool to help reduce or control the abundance of resident Canada geese in all Pacific Flyway States. The Flyway-wide framework is more consistent with the frameworks for other species and the special early Canada goose season frameworks in other Flyways. B. Regular Seasons Council Recommendations: The Mississippi Flyway Council recommended that the opening and closing framework dates for all geese in the Mississippi Flyway be September 1 to February 15 beginning in 2016. They also recommended that the frameworks for Canada geese in the Mississippi Flyway, beginning in 2016, allow 107 days with up to a 5-bird daily bag limit September 1–30 (except in the Intensive Harvest Zone in Minnesota, which may have up to a 10-bird daily bag limit) and a 3-bird daily bag limit for the remainder of the season. Seasons could be split into 4 segments. Service Response: As we have previously indicated (77 FR 58448, September 20, 2012), we support the Mississippi Flyway Council recommendations to move from Statespecific frameworks to Flyway-wide Canada goose frameworks. Management of Canada geese in the Mississippi Flyway is complicated by the need to balance potentially conflicting objectives for arctic, subarctic, and temperate (resident) breeding populations. Increased abundance of temperate-breeding Canada geese has caused conflicts with people and human activities, and regulations have been gradually liberalized to increase harvest of such birds to reduce those conflicts. The Council believes that hunting is an important means of controlling goose populations in the Mississippi Flyway, but notes that Canada goose harvest has declined since 2006, even with recent liberalizations enacted in the flyway. PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 The Council believes the recommended season structure will allow State managers additional flexibility in days, dates, and bag limits to meet management needs and the desires of goose hunters in their State, and we concur. We also agree with the Council’s recommendation to adjust the opening and closing framework dates for all geese in the Mississippi Flyway to September 1 through February 15 beginning in 2016. The Council’s recommendation to change the goose framework opening date from the Saturday nearest September 24 to September 1 is compatible with the recent change in our regulatory schedule that combines the early and late season regulations processes (see also 5. White-fronted Geese and 7. Snow and Ross’s (Light) Geese, below). Lastly, we note that the Council is developing a general Canada Goose Management Plan for the flyway, which will incorporate aspects of existing management plans for migrant populations (Eastern Prairie Population (EPP), Mississippi Valley Population (MVP), and Southern James Bay Population (SJBP)) and the temperatenesting Giant Canada Goose population. Although the Flyway no longer recognizes zones for EPP, MVP and SJBP populations, we note that portions of the SJBP population migrate to the Atlantic Flyway. Therefore, we urge the Mississippi Flyway Council to consult with the Atlantic Flyway Council as the general Canada goose management plan is being developed for the Mississippi Flyway. 5. White-Fronted Geese Council Recommendations: The Mississippi Flyway Council recommended that the opening and closing framework dates for all geese in the Mississippi Flyway be September 1 to February 15 beginning in 2016. Service Response: We agree with the Mississippi Flyway Council’s recommendation to adjust the opening and closing framework dates for all geese in the Mississippi Flyway to September 1 through February 15 beginning in 2016. Currently, framework dates for white-fronted geese are from the Saturday nearest Sept. 24 to the Sunday nearest Feb. 15. Adjusting the framework dates for other geese (snow and white-fronted geese) will allow States flexibility to open and/or close all goose seasons on the same date. Since the numbers of white-fronted geese present in the Mississippi Flyway in September are low, we expect no impacts from this change. E:\FR\FM\11DEP2.SGM 11DEP2 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 238 / Friday, December 11, 2015 / Proposed Rules jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 6. Brant Council Recommendations: The Atlantic Flyway Council recommends that the 2016–17 season for Atlantic brant follow the Atlantic Flyway Brant Hunt plan pending the results of the 2016 Atlantic Flyway mid-winter waterfowl survey. The Council also recommended that if the results of the 2016 mid-winter survey are not available, then the results of the most recent mid-winter survey should be used. Service Response: As we discussed in the August 6, 2015, proposed rule, the current harvest strategy used to determine the Atlantic brant season frameworks does not fit well within the new regulatory process, similar to the RMP sandhill crane issue discussed below under 9. Sandhill Cranes. In developing the annual proposed frameworks for Atlantic brant in the past, the Atlantic Flyway Council and the Service used the number of brant counted during the Mid-winter Waterfowl Survey (MWS) in the Atlantic Flyway, and took into consideration the brant population’s expected productivity that summer. The MWS is conducted each January, and expected brant productivity is based on early-summer observations of breeding habitat conditions and nesting effort in important brant nesting areas. Thus, the data under consideration were available before the annual Flyway and SRC decision-making meetings took place in late July. Although the former regulatory alternatives for Atlantic brant were developed by factoring together longterm productivity rates (observed during November and December productivity surveys) with estimated observed harvest under different framework regulations, the primary decisionmaking criterion for selecting the annual frameworks was the MWS count. Under the new regulatory schedule for the 2016–17 migratory bird hunting regulations, neither the expected 2016 brant production information (available summer 2016) nor the 2016 MWS count (conducted in January 2016) is yet available. However, the 2016 MWS will be completed and winter brant data will be available by the expected publication of the final frameworks (late February 2016). Therefore, in the September 24, 2015, Federal Register (80 FR 57664), we adopted the Atlantic Flyway’s changes to the then-current Atlantic brant hunt plan strategies. Current harvest packages (strategies) for Atlantic brant hunting seasons are now as follows: VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:00 Dec 10, 2015 Jkt 238001 • If the mid-winter waterfowl survey (MWS) count is <100,000 Atlantic brant, the season would be closed. • If the MWS count is between 100,000 and 115,000 brant, States could select a 30-day season with a 1-bird daily bag limit. • If the MWS count is between 115,000 and 130,000 brant, States could select a 30-day season with a 2-bird daily bag limit. • If the MWS count is between 130,000 and 150,000 brant, States could select a 50-day season with a 2-bird daily bag limit. • If the MWS count is between 150,000 and 200,000 brant, States could select a 60-day season with a 2-bird daily bag limit. • If the MWS count is >200,000 brant, States could select a 60-day season with a 3-bird daily bag limit. Under all the above open-season alternatives, seasons would be between the Saturday nearest September 24 and January 31. Further, States could split their seasons into 2 segments. When we acquire the 2016 MWS brant count in January 2016, we will select the appropriate Atlantic brant hunting season for 2016–17 from the above Atlantic brant hunt strategies and publish the result in the final frameworks rule. 7. Snow and Ross’s (Light) Geese Council Recommendations: The Mississippi Flyway Council recommended that the opening and closing framework dates for all geese in the Mississippi Flyway be September 1 to February 15 beginning in 2016. Service Response: As we stated above under 5. White-fronted Geese, we agree with the Mississippi Flyway Council’s recommendation to adjust the opening and closing framework dates for all geese in the Mississippi Flyway to September 1 through February 15 beginning in 2016. Currently, framework dates for snow geese are from the Saturday nearest Sept. 24 to the Sunday nearest Feb. 15. Adjusting the framework dates for other geese (snow and white-fronted geese) will allow States flexibility to open and/or close all goose seasons on the same date. Since there are low numbers of snow geese present in the Mississippi Flyway in September, we expect no impacts from this change. 9. Sandhill Cranes Council Recommendations: The Mississippi Flyway Council recommended that Tennessee be allowed an additional year (2016–17) of their experimental sandhill crane PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 77095 hunting season under harvest guidelines set for their experimental season. The Central and Pacific Flyway Council’s recommended (1) the addition of a new Rocky Mountain Population (RMP) sandhill crane hunting unit in Carbon County Montana, (2) a new hunt area for RMP sandhill cranes in Sheridan, Johnson, and Natrona Counties, Wyoming, and (3) that allowable harvest be determined based on the formula described in the Pacific and Central Flyway Management Plan for RMP sandhill cranes. Service Response: We agree with the Mississippi Flyway Council to allow Tennessee an additional year under the existing experimental season. The Council notes that harvest during the first 2 years of the experiment was well below the permitted number, 342 and 393 cranes, respectively, in 2013 and 2014. The approved Tennessee sandhill crane hunt plan allows Tennessee to issue 775 hunters a total of 2,325 permits (3 per person). This permit allocation was based on a peak number of cranes observed in Tennessee (23,334 during 2009–13), so the continued allotment of permits would still fall within guidelines set by the Eastern Population Crane Management Plan. While the 2015–16 season marks the completion of Tennessee’s experimental 3-year sandhill crane season, Tennessee will collect and analyze population and hunter data during the 2015–16 season and prepare a final report on the experimental season for distribution at the late summer 2016 Flyway meeting. We expect a proposal for an operational season will likely be made at that time. We also agree with the Central and Pacific Flyway Council’s recommendation for new RMP sandhill crane hunting areas in Montana (Carbon County) and Wyoming (Sheridan, Johnson, and Natrona Counties). The new hunt areas are consistent with the Pacific and Central Flyway Council’s RMP sandhill crane management plan hunting area requirements. Regarding the RMP crane harvest, as we discussed in the August 6, 2015, proposed rule, the current harvest strategy used to calculate the allowable harvest of the RMP of sandhill cranes does not fit well within the new regulatory process, similar to the Atlantic brant issue discussed above under 6. Brant. Currently, results of the fall survey of RMP sandhill cranes, upon which the annual allowable harvest is based, will continue to be released between December 15 and January 31 each year, which is after the date for which proposed frameworks will be formulated in the new regulatory process. If the usual procedures for E:\FR\FM\11DEP2.SGM 11DEP2 77096 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 238 / Friday, December 11, 2015 / Proposed Rules determining allowable harvest were used, data 2–4 years old would be used to determine the annual allocation for RMP sandhill cranes. Due to the variability in fall survey counts and recruitment for this population, and their impact on the annual harvest allocations, we agree that relying on data that is 2–4 years old is not ideal. Thus, we agree that the formula to determine the annual allowable harvest for RMP sandhill cranes should be used under the new regulatory schedule and propose to utilize it as such. That formula uses information on abundance and recruitment collected annually through operational monitoring programs, as well as constant values based on past research or monitoring for survival of fledglings to breeding age and harvest retrieval rate. The formula is: H=C×P×R×L×f Where: H = total annual allowable harvest; C = the average of the three most recent, reliable fall population indices; P = the average proportion of fledged chicks in the fall population in the San Luis Valley during the most recent 3 years for which data are available; R = estimated recruitment of fledged chicks to breeding age (current estimate is 0.5); L = retrieval rate of 0.80 (allowance for an estimated 20 percent crippling loss based on hunter interviews); and f = (C/16,000)3 (a variable factor used to adjust the total harvest to achieve a desired effect on the entire population) A final estimate for the allowable harvest would be available to publish in the final rule, allowing us to use data that is 1–3 years old as is currently practiced. jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 14. Woodcock In 2011, we implemented a harvest strategy for woodcock (76 FR 19876, April 8, 2011). The harvest strategy provides a transparent framework for making regulatory decisions for woodcock season length and bag limit while we work to improve monitoring and assessment protocols for this species. Utilizing the criteria developed for the strategy, the 3-year average for the Singing Ground Survey indices and associated confidence intervals fall within the ‘‘moderate package’’ for both the Eastern and Central Management Regions. As such, a ‘‘moderate season’’ for both management regions for the 2016–17 season is appropriate. Specifics of the harvest strategy can be found at http://www.fws.gov/ migratorybirds/ NewsPublicationsReports.html. VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:00 Dec 10, 2015 Jkt 238001 16. Doves Council Recommendations: The Atlantic and Mississippi Flyway Councils recommended use of the ‘‘standard’’ season framework comprising a 90-day season and 15-bird daily bag limit for States within the Eastern Management Unit. The daily bag limit could be composed of mourning doves and white-winged doves, singly or in combination. The Mississippi and Central Flyway Councils recommended the use of the ‘‘standard’’ season package of a 15-bird daily bag limit and a 90-day season for the 2016–17 mourning dove season in the States within the Central Management Unit. The Pacific Flyway Council recommended use of the ‘‘standard’’ season framework for States in the Western Management Unit (WMU) population of mourning doves. In Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington, the season length would be no more than 60 consecutive days with a daily bag limit of 15 mourning and whitewinged doves in the aggregate. In Arizona and California, the season length would be no more than 60 consecutive days, which could be split between two periods, September 1–15 and November 1–January 15. In Arizona, during the first segment of the season, the daily bag limit would be 15 mourning and white-winged doves in the aggregate, of which no more than 10 could be white-winged doves. During the remainder of the season, the daily bag limit would be 15 mourning doves. In California, the daily bag limit would be 15 mourning and white-winged doves in the aggregate, of which no more than 10 could be white-winged doves. Service Response: Based on the harvest strategies and current population status, we agree with the recommended selection of the ‘‘standard’’ season frameworks for doves in the Eastern, Central, and Western Management Units for the 2016–17 season. 17. Alaska Council Recommendations: The Pacific Flyway Council recommended increasing the daily bag limit for brant from 2 to 3, and increasing the daily bag limit for light geese from 4 to 6. Service Response: We agree with the Pacific Flyway Council’s recommendation to increase the daily bag limit in Alaska from 2 to 3 brant. The Flyway management plan for Pacific brant allows harvest to increase by two times the current level if the 3year average population index exceeds PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 135,000 brant based on the mid-winter waterfowl survey. The 3-year (2013– 2015) average is 157,700 brant, and is near the population objective of 162,000 brant. Increasing the daily bag limit from 2 to 3 brant will allow additional hunting opportunity while maintaining the season length at the maximum of 107 days for brant, and is not expected to increase harvest appreciably from that anticipated with a 2-brant daily bag limit. We also agree with the Pacific Flyway Council’s recommendation to increase the light goose daily bag limit from 4 to 6 light geese in Alaska. Two populations of light geese occur in Alaska, and both are above Flyway management plan objectives based on the most recent breeding population indices. The population estimate for the Western Arctic Population (WAP) of lesser snow geese was 451,000 in 2013 (most recent estimate), which is above the objective of 200,000 geese. Most of WAP lesser snow geese nest in the Egg River colony on Banks Island, Canada, but there are small, but growing, nesting colonies along the Arctic Coastal Plain of Alaska. In 2015, biologists noted high lesser snow goose nest survival (>95%) on the Colville River Delta and Ikpikpuk colonies on the Alaskan Arctic Coastal Plain. Biologists also noted earlier gosling development than any prior documented instance at the later colony. Favorable nesting conditions were also observed across much of the North Slope of Alaska and western Arctic. The population estimate for Wrangel Island snow geese was 240,000 in 2015, which is above the objective of 120,000 geese. Public Comments The Department of the Interior’s policy is, whenever possible, 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 promulgating final migratory game bird hunting regulations, we will consider all comments we receive. These comments, and any additional information we receive, 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 ADDRESSES. We will not accept comments sent by email or fax. We will not consider hand-delivered comments that we do not receive, or mailed comments that are not postmarked, by the date specified in DATES. We will post all comments in their entirety—including your personal E:\FR\FM\11DEP2.SGM 11DEP2 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 238 / Friday, December 11, 2015 / Proposed Rules identifying information—on http:// www.regulations.gov. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, 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, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, Virginia. We will consider, but possibly may not respond in detail to, each comment. As in the past, we will summarize all comments we receive during the comment period and respond to them after the closing date in the preambles of any final rules. Required Determinations Based on our most current data, we are affirming our required determinations made in the August 6 proposed rule; for descriptions of our actions to ensure compliance with the following statutes and Executive Orders, see our August 6, 2015, proposed rule (80 FR 47388): • National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Consideration; • Endangered Species Act Consideration; • Regulatory Flexibility Act; • Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act; • Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 • Unfunded Mandates Reform Act; • Executive Orders 12630, 12866, 12988, 13132, 13175, 13211, and 13563. jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 20 Exports, Hunting, Imports, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements, Transportation, Wildlife. The rules that eventually will be promulgated for the 2016–17 hunting season are authorized under 16 U.S.C. 703–712 and 16 U.S.C. 742 a–j. VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:00 Dec 10, 2015 Jkt 238001 Dated: December 2, 2015. Michael J. Bean, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. Proposed Regulations Frameworks for 2016–17 Hunting Seasons on Certain Migratory Game Birds Pursuant to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and delegated authorities, the Department of the Interior approved the following proposals for season lengths, shooting hours, bag and possession limits, and outside dates within which States may select seasons for hunting migratory game birds between the dates of September 1, 2016, and March 10, 2017. These frameworks are summarized below. General Dates: All outside dates noted below are inclusive. Shooting and Hawking (taking by falconry) Hours: Unless otherwise specified, from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset daily. Possession Limits: Unless otherwise specified, possession limits are three times the daily bag limit. Permits: For some species of migratory birds, the Service authorizes the use of permits to regulate harvest or monitor their take by sport hunters, or both. In many cases (e.g., tundra swans, some sandhill crane populations), the Service determines the amount of harvest that may be taken during hunting seasons during its formal regulations-setting process, and the States then issue permits to hunters at levels predicted to result in the amount of take authorized by the Service. Thus, although issued by States, the permits would not be valid unless the Service approved such take in its regulations. These Federally authorized, Stateissued permits are issued to individuals, and only the individual whose name and address appears on the permit at the time of issuance is authorized to take migratory birds at levels specified in the permit, in accordance with provisions of both Federal and State regulations governing the hunting season. The permit must be carried by the permittee when exercising its provisions and must be presented to any law enforcement officer upon request. The permit is not transferrable or assignable to another individual, and may not be sold, bartered, traded, or otherwise provided to another person. If the permit is altered or defaced in any way, the permit becomes invalid. PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 77097 Flyways and Management Units Waterfowl Flyways Atlantic Flyway: Includes Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia. Mississippi Flyway: Includes Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. Central Flyway: Includes Colorado (east of the Continental Divide), Kansas, Montana (Counties of Blaine, Carbon, Fergus, Judith Basin, Stillwater, Sweetgrass, Wheatland, and all counties east thereof), Nebraska, New Mexico (east of the Continental Divide except the Jicarilla Apache Indian Reservation), North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming (east of the Continental Divide). Pacific Flyway: Includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and those portions of Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, and Wyoming not included in the Central Flyway. Duck Management Units High Plains Mallard Management Unit: roughly defined as that portion of the Central Flyway that lies west of the 100th meridian. Columbia Basin Mallard Management Unit: In Washington, all areas east of the Pacific Crest Trail and east of the Big White Salmon River in Klickitat County; and in Oregon, the counties of Gilliam, Morrow, and Umatilla. Mourning Dove Management Units Eastern Management Unit: All States east of the Mississippi River, and Louisiana. Central Management Unit: Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming. Western Management Unit: Arizona, California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. Woodcock Management Regions Eastern Management Region: Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, and West Virginia. Central Management Region: Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, E:\FR\FM\11DEP2.SGM 11DEP2 77098 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 238 / Friday, December 11, 2015 / Proposed Rules Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin. Other geographic descriptions are contained in a later portion of this document. Definitions For the purpose of hunting regulations listed below, the collective terms ‘‘dark’’ and ‘‘light’’ geese include the following species: Dark geese: Canada geese, whitefronted geese, brant (except in Alaska, California, Oregon, Washington, and the Atlantic Flyway), and all other goose species except light geese. Light geese: Snow (including blue) geese and Ross’s geese. Area, Zone, and Unit Descriptions: Geographic descriptions related to regulations are contained in a later portion of this document. Area-Specific Provisions: Frameworks for open seasons, season lengths, bag and possession limits, and other special provisions are listed below by Flyway. Waterfowl Seasons in the Atlantic Flyway In the Atlantic Flyway States of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania, where Sunday hunting is prohibited Statewide by State law, all Sundays are closed to all take of migratory waterfowl (including mergansers and coots). jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Special Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days Outside Dates: States may select 2 days per duck-hunting zone, designated as ‘‘Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days,’’ in addition to their regular duck seasons. The days must be held outside any regular duck season on a weekend, holidays, or other non-school days when youth hunters would have the maximum opportunity to participate. The days may be held up to 14 days before or after any regular duck-season frameworks or within any split of a regular duck season, or within any other open season on migratory birds. Daily Bag Limits: The daily bag limits may include ducks, geese, tundra swans, mergansers, coots, moorhens, and gallinules and would be the same as those allowed in the regular season. Flyway species and area restrictions would remain in effect. Shooting Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset. Participation Restrictions: States may use their established definition of age for youth hunters. However, youth hunters may not be over the age of 17. In addition, an adult at least 18 years of VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:00 Dec 10, 2015 Jkt 238001 age must accompany the youth hunter into the field. This adult may not duck hunt but may participate in other seasons that are open on the special youth day. Youth hunters 16 years of age and older must possess a Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (also known as Federal Duck Stamp). Tundra swans may only be taken by participants possessing applicable tundra swan permits. hunting season in September. All ducks that are legal during the regular duck season may be taken during the September segment of the season. The September season segment may commence no earlier than the Saturday nearest September 20 (September 17). The daily bag and possession limits will be the same as those in effect during the remainder of the regular duck season. The remainder of the regular duck season may not begin before October 10. Special September Teal Season Outside Dates: Between September 1 and September 30, an open season on all species of teal may be selected by the following States in areas delineated by State regulations: Atlantic Flyway: Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. Mississippi Flyway: Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. The seasons in Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin are experimental. Central Flyway: Colorado (part), Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico (part), Oklahoma, and Texas. The season in the northern portion of Nebraska is experimental. Hunting Seasons and Daily Bag Limits: Not to exceed 16 consecutive hunting days in the Atlantic, Mississippi, and Central Flyways. The daily bag limit is 6 teal. Shooting Hours: Atlantic Flyway: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset, except in South Carolina, where the hours are from sunrise to sunset. Mississippi and Central Flyways: Onehalf hour before sunrise to sunset, except in the States of Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin, where the hours are from sunrise to sunset. Waterfowl Special September Duck Seasons Florida, Kentucky, and Tennessee: In lieu of a special September teal season, a 5-consecutive-day teal/wood duck season may be selected in September. The daily bag limit may not exceed 6 teal and wood ducks in the aggregate, of which no more than 2 may be wood ducks. In addition, a 4-consecutive-day experimental teal-only season may be selected in September either immediately before or immediately after the 5-consecutive-day teal/wood duck season. The daily bag limit is 6 teal. Iowa: In lieu of an experimental special September teal season, Iowa may hold up to 5 days of its regular duck PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 Atlantic Flyway Ducks, Mergansers, and Coots Outside Dates: Between the Saturday nearest September 24 (September 24) and the last Sunday in January (January 29). Hunting Seasons and Duck Limits: 60 days. The daily bag limit is 6 ducks, including no more than 4 mallards (no more than 2 of which can be females), 1 black duck, 2 pintails, 1 mottled duck, 1 fulvous whistling duck, 3 wood ducks, 2 redheads, 2 scaup, 2 canvasbacks, 4 scoters, 4 eiders, and 4 long-tailed ducks. Closures: The season on harlequin ducks is closed. Merganser Limits: The daily bag limit of mergansers is 5, only 2 of which may be hooded mergansers. In States that include mergansers in the duck bag limit, the daily limit is the same as the duck bag limit, only 2 of which may be hooded mergansers. Coot Limits: The daily bag limit is 15 coots. Lake Champlain Zone, New York: The waterfowl seasons, limits, and shooting hours should be the same as those selected for the Lake Champlain Zone of Vermont. Connecticut River Zone, Vermont: The waterfowl seasons, limits, and shooting hours should be the same as those selected for the Inland Zone of New Hampshire. Zoning and Split Seasons: Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia may split their seasons into three segments; Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont may select hunting seasons by zones and may split their seasons into two segments in each zone. Scoters, Eiders, and Long-Tailed Ducks Special Sea Duck Seasons Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South E:\FR\FM\11DEP2.SGM 11DEP2 jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 238 / Friday, December 11, 2015 / Proposed Rules Carolina, and Virginia may select a Special Sea Duck Season in designated Special Sea Duck Areas. If a Special Sea Duck Season is selected, scoters, eiders, and long-tailed ducks may be taken in the designated Special Sea Duck Area(s) only during the Special Sea Duck Season dates; scoter, eiders, and longtailed ducks may be taken outside of Special Sea Duck Area(s) during the regular duck season, in accordance with the frameworks for ducks, mergansers, and coots specified above. Outside Dates: Between September 15 and January 31. Special Sea Duck Seasons and Daily Bag Limits: 60 consecutive hunting days, with a daily bag limit of 5, singly or in the aggregate, of the listed sea duck species, including no more than 4 scoters, 4 eiders, and 4 long-tailed ducks. If the regular duck season is open in the Special Sea Duck Area, other ducks may be taken in the Special Sea Duck Area(s), but the total daily bag limit cannot exceed 6 ducks in these areas, including no more than 5 sea ducks. At no time or place are special sea duck daily bag limits considered to be in addition to daily bag limits for regular ducks. Special Sea Duck Areas: In all coastal waters and all waters of rivers and streams seaward from the first upstream bridge in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York; in New Jersey, all coastal waters seaward from the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS) Demarcation Lines shown on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Nautical Charts and further described in 33 CFR 80.165, 80.170, 80.501, and 80.503; in any waters of the Atlantic Ocean and in any tidal waters of any bay that are separated by at least 1 mile of open water from any shore, island, and emergent vegetation in South Carolina and Georgia; and in any waters of the Atlantic Ocean and in any tidal waters of any bay that are separated by at least 800 yards of open water from any shore, island, and emergent vegetation in Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia; and provided that any such areas have been described, delineated, and designated as special sea duck hunting areas under the hunting regulations adopted by the respective States. Canada Geese Special Early Canada Goose Seasons A Canada goose season of up to 15 days during September 1–15 may be selected for the Eastern Unit of VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:00 Dec 10, 2015 Jkt 238001 Maryland. Seasons not to exceed 30 days during September 1–30 may be selected for Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, New Jersey, New York (Long Island Zone only), North Carolina, Rhode Island, and South Carolina. Seasons may not exceed 25 days during September 1–25 in the remainder of the Flyway. Areas open to the hunting of Canada geese must be described, delineated, and designated as such in each State’s hunting regulations. Daily Bag Limits: Not to exceed 15 Canada geese. Shooting Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset, except that during any special early Canada goose season, shooting hours may extend to one-half hour after sunset if all other waterfowl seasons are closed in the specific applicable area. Regular Canada Goose Seasons Season Lengths, Outside Dates, and Limits: Specific regulations for Canada geese are shown below by State. These seasons may also include white-fronted geese in an aggregate daily bag limit. Unless specified otherwise, seasons may be split into two segments. Connecticut: North Atlantic Population (NAP) Zone: Between October 1 and February 15, a 70-day season may be held with a 3-bird daily bag limit. Atlantic Population (AP) Zone: A 50day season may be held between October 10 and February 5, with a 3bird daily bag limit. South Zone: A special season may be held between January 15 and February 15, with a 5-bird daily bag limit. Resident Population (RP) Zone: An 80-day season may be held between October 1 and February 15, with a 5bird daily bag limit. The season may be split into 3 segments. Delaware: A 50-day season may be held between November 15 and February 5, with a 2-bird daily bag limit. Florida: An 80-day season may be held between October 1 and March 10, with a 5-bird daily bag limit. The season may be split into 3 segments. Georgia: An 80-day season may be held between October 1 and March 10, with a 5-bird daily bag limit. The season may be split into 3 segments. Maine: A 70-day season may be held Statewide between October 1 and February 15, with a 3-bird daily bag limit. Maryland: RP Zone: An 80-day season may be held between November 15 and March 10, with a 5-bird daily bag limit. The season may be split into 3 segments. AP Zone: A 50-day season may be held between November 15 and February 5, with a 2-bird daily bag limit. PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 77099 Massachusetts: NAP Zone: A 70-day season may be held between October 1 and February 15, with a 3-bird daily bag limit. Additionally, a special season may be held from January 15 to February 15, with a 5-bird daily bag limit. AP Zone: A 50-day season may be held between October 10 and February 5, with a 3-bird daily bag limit. New Hampshire: A 70-day season may be held Statewide between October 1 and February 15, with a 3-bird daily bag limit. New Jersey: AP Zone: A 50-day season may be held between the fourth Saturday in October (October 22) and February 5, with a 3-bird daily bag limit. RP Zone: An 80-day season may be held between the fourth Saturday in October (October 22) and February 15, with a 5-bird daily bag limit. The season may be split into 3 segments. Special Late Goose Season Area: A special season may be held in designated areas of North and South New Jersey from January 15 to February 15, with a 5-bird daily bag limit. New York: NAP Zone: Between October 1 and February 15, a 70-day season may be held, with a 3-bird daily bag limit in both the High Harvest and Low Harvest areas. Special Late Goose Season Area: A special season may be held between January 15 and February 15, with a 5bird daily bag limit in designated areas of Suffolk County. AP Zone: A 50-day season may be held between the fourth Saturday in October (October 22), except in the Lake Champlain Area where the opening date is October 10, through February 5, with a 3-bird daily bag limit. Western Long Island RP Zone: A 107day season may be held between the Saturday nearest September 24 (September 24) and March 10, with an 8-bird daily bag limit. The season may be split into 3 segments. Rest of State RP Zone: An 80-day season may be held between the fourth Saturday in October (October 22) and March 10, with a 5-bird daily bag limit. The season may be split into 3 segments. North Carolina: SJBP Zone: A 70-day season may be held between October 1 and December 31, with a 5-bird daily bag limit. RP Zone: An 80-day season may be held between October 1 and March 10, with a 5-bird daily bag limit. The season may be split into 3 segments. Northeast Hunt Unit: A 14-day season may be held between the Saturday prior to December 25 (December 24) and January 31, with a 1-bird daily bag limit. E:\FR\FM\11DEP2.SGM 11DEP2 77100 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 238 / Friday, December 11, 2015 / Proposed Rules Pennsylvania: SJBP Zone: A 78-day season may be held between the first Saturday in October (October 1) and February 15, with a 3-bird daily bag limit. RP Zone: An 80-day season may be held between the fourth Saturday in October (October 22) and March 10, with a 5-bird daily bag limit. The season may be split into 3 segments. AP Zone: A 50-day season may be held between the fourth Saturday in October (October 22) and February 5, with a 3-bird daily bag limit. Rhode Island: A 70-day season may be held between October 1 and February 15, with a 3-bird daily bag limit. A special late season may be held in designated areas from January 15 to February 15, with a 5-bird daily bag limit. South Carolina: In designated areas, an 80-day season may be held between October 1 and March 10, with a 5-bird daily bag limit. The season may be split into 3 segments. Vermont: Lake Champlain Zone and Interior Zone: A 50-day season may be held between October 10 and February 5 with a 3-bird daily bag limit. Connecticut River Zone: A 70-day season may be held between October 1 and February 15, with a 3-bird daily bag limit. Virginia: SJBP Zone: A 40-day season may be held between November 15 and January 14, with a 3-bird daily bag limit. Additionally, a special late season may be held between January 15 and February 15, with a 5-bird daily bag limit. AP Zone: A 50-day season may be held between November 15 and February 5, with a 2-bird daily bag limit. RP Zone: An 80-day season may be held between November 15 and March 10, with a 5-bird daily bag limit. The season may be split into 3 segments. West Virginia: An 80-day season may be held between October 1 and March 10, with a 5-bird daily bag limit. The season may be split into 3 segments in each zone. jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Light Geese Season Lengths, Outside Dates, and Limits: States may select a 107-day season between October 1 and March 10, with a 25-bird daily bag limit and no possession limit. States may split their seasons into three segments. Brant Season Lengths, Outside Dates, and Limits: States may select a 30-day season between the Saturday nearest September 24 (September 24) and VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:00 Dec 10, 2015 Jkt 238001 January 31. States may split their seasons into two segments. Season length and daily bag limits will be based on the upcoming MWS results and the Atlantic brant hunt plan. Mississippi Flyway Ducks, Mergansers, and Coots Outside Dates: Between the Saturday nearest September 24 (September 24) and the last Sunday in January (January 29). Hunting Seasons and Duck Limits: The season may not exceed 60 days, with a daily bag limit of 6 ducks, including no more than 4 mallards (no more than 2 of which may be females), 1 mottled duck, 1 black duck, 2 pintails, 3 wood ducks, 2 canvasbacks, 3 scaup, and 2 redheads. Merganser Limits: The daily bag limit is 5, only 2 of which may be hooded mergansers. In States that include mergansers in the duck bag limit, the daily limit is the same as the duck bag limit, only 2 of which may be hooded mergansers. Coot Limits: The daily bag limit is 15 coots. Zoning and Split Seasons: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, and Wisconsin may select hunting seasons by zones. In Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee, and Wisconsin, the season may be split into two segments in each zone. In Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi, the season may be split into three segments. Geese Season Lengths, Outside Dates, and Limits: Canada Geese: States may select seasons for Canada geese not to exceed 107 days with a 5-bird daily bag limit September 1–30 (except in the Intensive Harvest Zone in Minnesota, which may have up to a 10-bird daily bag limit) and a 3-bird daily bag limit for the remainder of the season. Seasons may be held between September 1 and February 15 and may be split into 4 segments. White-fronted Geese and Brant: Arkansas, Illinois, Louisiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, and Tennessee may select a season for white-fronted geese not to exceed 74 days with 3 geese daily, or 88 days with 2 geese daily, or 107 days with 1 goose daily between September 1 and February 15; Alabama, Iowa, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin may select a season for white-fronted geese not to PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 exceed 107 days with 5 geese daily, in aggregate with dark geese. States may select a season for brant not to exceed 70 days with 2 brant daily, or 107 days with 1 brant daily with outside dates the same as for Canada geese; alternately, States may include brant in an aggregate goose bag limit with either Canada geese, white-fronted geese, or dark geese. Light Geese: States may select seasons for light geese not to exceed 107 days, with 20 geese daily between the Saturday nearest September 24 (September 24) and February 15. There is no possession limit for light geese. Shooting Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset, except that during September 1–15 shooting hours may extend to one-half hour after sunset for Canada geese if all other waterfowl and crane seasons are closed in the specific applicable area. Split Seasons: Seasons for geese may be split into three segments unless otherwise indicated. Central Flyway Ducks, Mergansers, and Coots Outside Dates: Between the Saturday nearest September 24 (September 24) and the last Sunday in January (January 29). Hunting Seasons: High Plains Mallard Management Unit (roughly defined as that portion of the Central Flyway that lies west of the 100th meridian): 97 days. The last 23 days must run consecutively and may start no earlier than the Saturday nearest December 10 (December 10). Remainder of the Central Flyway: 74 days. Duck Limits: The daily bag limit is 6 ducks, with species and sex restrictions as follows: 5 mallards (no more than 2 of which may be females), 3 scaup, 2 redheads, 3 wood ducks, 2 pintails, and 2 canvasbacks. In Texas, the daily bag limit on mottled ducks is 1, except that no mottled ducks may be taken during the first 5 days of the season. In addition to the daily limits listed above, the States of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming, in lieu of selecting an experimental September teal season, may include an additional daily bag and possession limit of 2 and 6 blue-winged teal, respectively, during the first 16 days of the regular duck season in each respective duck hunting zone. These extra limits are in addition to the regular duck bag and possession limits. Merganser Limits: The daily bag limit is 5 mergansers, only 2 of which may be hooded mergansers. In States that include mergansers in the duck daily E:\FR\FM\11DEP2.SGM 11DEP2 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 238 / Friday, December 11, 2015 / Proposed Rules jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS bag limit, the daily limit may be the same as the duck bag limit, only two of which may be hooded mergansers. Coot Limits: The daily bag limit is 15 coots. Zoning and Split Seasons: Colorado, Kansas (Low Plains portion), Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma (Low Plains portion), South Dakota (Low Plains portion), Texas (Low Plains portion), and Wyoming may select hunting seasons by zones. In Colorado, Kansas, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming, the regular season may be split into two segments. Geese Special Early Canada Goose Seasons: In Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Texas, Canada goose seasons of up to 30 days during September 1–30 may be selected. In Colorado, New Mexico, North Dakota, Montana, and Wyoming, Canada goose seasons of up to 15 days during September 1–15 may be selected. The daily bag limit may not exceed 5 Canada geese, except in Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma, where the daily bag limit may not exceed 8 Canada geese and in North Dakota and South Dakota, where the daily bag limit may not exceed 15 Canada geese. Areas open to the hunting of Canada geese must be described, delineated, and designated as such in each State’s hunting regulations. Shooting Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to sunset, except that during September 1–15 shooting hours may extend to one-half hour after sunset if all other waterfowl and crane seasons are closed in the specific applicable area. Regular Goose Seasons: Split Seasons: Seasons for geese may be split into three segments. Three-way split seasons for Canada geese require Central Flyway Council and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approval, and a 3year evaluation by each participating State. Outside Dates: For dark geese, seasons may be selected between the outside dates of the Saturday nearest September 24 (September 24) and the Sunday nearest February 15 (February 12). For light geese, outside dates for seasons may be selected between the Saturday nearest September 24 (September 24) and March 10. In the Rainwater Basin Light Goose Area (East and West) of Nebraska, temporal and spatial restrictions that are consistent with the late-winter snow goose hunting strategy cooperatively developed by the Central Flyway Council and the Service are required. VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:00 Dec 10, 2015 Jkt 238001 Season Lengths and Limits: Light Geese: States may select a light goose season not to exceed 107 days. The daily bag limit for light geese is 50 with no possession limit. Dark Geese: In Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and the Eastern Goose Zone of Texas, States may select a season for Canada geese (or any other dark goose species except white-fronted geese) not to exceed 107 days with a daily bag limit of 8. For white-fronted geese, these States may select either a season of 74 days with a bag limit of 3, or an 88-day season with a bag limit of 2, or a season of 107 days with a bag limit of 1. In Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, and Wyoming, States may select seasons not to exceed 107 days. The daily bag limit for dark geese is 5 in the aggregate. In the Western Goose Zone of Texas, the season may not exceed 95 days. The daily bag limit for Canada geese (or any other dark goose species except whitefronted geese) is 5. The daily bag limit for white-fronted geese is 2. Pacific Flyway Ducks, Mergansers, and Coots Outside Dates: Between the Saturday nearest September 24 (September 24) and the last Sunday in January (January 29). Hunting Seasons and Duck and Merganser Limits: 107 days. The daily bag limit is 7 ducks and mergansers, including no more than 2 female mallards, 2 pintails, 2 canvasbacks, 3 scaup, and 2 redheads. For scaup, the season length is 86 days, which may be split according to applicable zones and split duck hunting configurations approved for each State. Coot, Common Moorhen, and Purple Gallinule Limits: The daily bag limit of coots, common moorhens, and purple gallinules is 25, singly or in the aggregate. Zoning and Split Seasons: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming may select hunting seasons by zones and may split their seasons into two segments. Montana and New Mexico may split their seasons into three segments. Colorado River Zone, California: Seasons and limits should be the same as seasons and limits selected in the adjacent portion of Arizona (South Zone). Geese Special Early Canada Goose Seasons: A Canada goose season of up to 15 days during September 1–20 may be selected. The daily bag limit may not PO 00000 Frm 00015 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 77101 exceed 5 Canada geese, except in Pacific County, Washington, where the daily bag limit may not exceed 15 Canada geese. Areas open to hunting of Canada geese in each State must be described, delineated, and designated as such in each State’s hunting regulations. Regular Goose Seasons: Season Lengths, Outside Dates, and Limits: Canada geese and brant: Except as subsequently noted, 107-day seasons may be selected with outside dates between the Saturday nearest September 24 (September 24) and the last Sunday in January (January 29). In Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and Utah, the daily bag limit is 4 Canada geese and brant in the aggregate. In New Mexico and Wyoming, the daily bag limit is 3 Canada geese and brant in the aggregate. In California, Oregon, and Washington, the daily bag limit is 4 Canada geese. For brant, Oregon and Washington may select a 16-day season and California a 37-day season. Days must be consecutive. Washington and California may select hunting seasons for up to two zones. The daily bag limit is 2 brant and is in addition to other goose limits. In Oregon and California, the brant season must end no later than December 15. White-fronted geese: Except as subsequently noted, 107-day seasons may be selected with outside dates between the Saturday nearest September 24 (September 24) and March 10. The daily bag limit is 10. Light geese: Except as subsequently noted, 107-day seasons may be selected with outside dates between the Saturday nearest September 24 (September 24) and March 10. The daily bag limit is 20. Split Seasons: Unless otherwise specified, seasons for geese may be split into up to 3 segments. Three-way split seasons for Canada geese and whitefronted geese require Pacific Flyway Council and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approval and a 3-year evaluation by each participating State. California: The daily bag limit for Canada geese is 10. Balance of State Zone: A Canada goose season may be selected with outside dates between the Saturday nearest September 24 (September 24) and March 10. In the Sacramento Valley Special Management Area, the season on white-fronted geese must end on or before December 28, and the daily bag limit is 3 white-fronted geese. In the North Coast Special Management Area, hunting days that occur after the last Sunday in January should be concurrent with Oregon’s South Coast Zone. Idaho: E:\FR\FM\11DEP2.SGM 11DEP2 77102 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 238 / Friday, December 11, 2015 / Proposed Rules jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Zone 2: Idaho will continue to monitor the snow goose hunt that occurs after the last Sunday in January in the American Falls Reservoir/Fort Hall Bottoms and surrounding areas at 3-year intervals. Oregon: The daily bag limit for light geese is 6 on or before the last Sunday in January. Harney and Lake County Zone: For Lake County only, the daily whitefronted goose bag limit is 1. Northwest Permit Zone: A Canada goose season may be selected with outside dates between the Saturday nearest September 24 (September 24) and March 10. Goose seasons may be split into 3 segments. The daily bag limit of light geese is 6. In the Tillamook County Management Area, the hunting season is closed on geese. South Coast Zone: A Canada goose season may be selected with outside dates between the Saturday nearest September 24 (September 24) and March 10. The daily bag limit of Canada geese is 6. Hunting days that occur after the last Sunday in January should be concurrent with California’s North Coast Special Management Area. Goose seasons may be split into 3 segments. Utah: A Canada goose and brant season may be selected in the Wasatch Front and Washington County Zones with outside dates between the Saturday nearest September 24 (September 24) and the first Sunday in February (February 5). Washington: The daily bag limit is 4 geese. Area 1: Goose season outside dates are between the Saturday nearest September 24 (September 24) and the last Sunday in January (January 29). Areas 2A and 2B (Southwest Permit Zone): A Canada goose season may be selected with outside dates between the Saturday nearest September 24 (September 24) and March 10. Goose seasons may be split into 3 segments. Area 4: Goose seasons may be split into 3 segments. Permit Zones In Oregon and Washington permit zones, the hunting season is closed on dusky Canada geese. A dusky Canada goose is any dark-breasted Canada goose (Munsell 10 YR color value five or less) with a bill length between 40 and 50 millimeters. Hunting of geese will only be by hunters possessing a State-issued permit authorizing them to do so. Shooting hours for geese may begin no earlier than sunrise. Regular Canada goose seasons in the permit zones of Oregon and Washington remain subject to the Memorandum of Understanding entered into with the Service regarding VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:00 Dec 10, 2015 Jkt 238001 monitoring the impacts of take during the regular Canada goose season on the dusky Canada goose population. Swans In portions of the Pacific Flyway (Montana, Nevada, and Utah), an open season for taking a limited number of swans may be selected. Permits will be issued by the State and will authorize each permittee to take no more than 1 swan per season with each permit. Nevada may issue up to 2 permits per hunter. Montana and Utah may issue only 1 permit per hunter. Each State’s season may open no earlier than the Saturday nearest October 1 (October 1). These seasons are also subject to the following conditions: Montana: No more than 500 permits may be issued. The season must end no later than December 1. The State must implement a harvest-monitoring program to measure the species composition of the swan harvest and should use appropriate measures to maximize hunter compliance in reporting bill measurement and color information. Utah: No more than 2,000 permits may be issued. During the swan season, no more than 10 trumpeter swans may be taken. The season must end no later than the second Sunday in December (December 11) or upon attainment of 10 trumpeter swans in the harvest, whichever occurs earliest. The Utah season remains subject to the terms of the Memorandum of Agreement entered into with the Service in August 2003, regarding harvest monitoring, season closure procedures, and education requirements to minimize the take of trumpeter swans during the swan season. Nevada: No more than 650 permits may be issued. During the swan season, no more than 5 trumpeter swans may be taken. The season must end no later than the Sunday following January 1 (January 8) or upon attainment of 5 trumpeter swans in the harvest, whichever occurs earliest. In addition, the States of Utah and Nevada must implement a harvestmonitoring program to measure the species composition of the swan harvest. The harvest-monitoring program must require that all harvested swans or their species-determinant parts be examined by either State or Federal biologists for the purpose of species classification. The States should use appropriate measures to maximize hunter compliance in providing bagged swans for examination. Further, the States of Montana, Nevada, and Utah must achieve at least an 80-percent hunter compliance rate, or subsequent PO 00000 Frm 00016 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 permits will be reduced by 10 percent. All three States must provide to the Service by June 30, 2017, a report detailing harvest, hunter participation, reporting compliance, and monitoring of swan populations in the designated hunt areas. Tundra Swans In portions of the Atlantic Flyway (North Carolina and Virginia) and the Central Flyway (North Dakota, South Dakota [east of the Missouri River], and that portion of Montana in the Central Flyway), an open season for taking a limited number of tundra swans may be selected. Permits will be issued by the States that authorize the take of no more than 1 tundra swan per permit. A second permit may be issued to hunters from unused permits remaining after the first drawing. The States must obtain harvest and hunter participation data. These seasons are also subject to the following conditions: In the Atlantic Flyway: —The season may be 90 days, between October 1 and January 31. —In North Carolina, no more than 5,000 permits may be issued. —In Virginia, no more than 600 permits may be issued. In the Central Flyway: —The season may be 107 days, between the Saturday nearest October 1 (October 1) and January 31. —In the Central Flyway portion of Montana, no more than 500 permits may be issued. —In North Dakota, no more than 2,200 permits may be issued. —In South Dakota, no more than 1,300 permits may be issued. Sandhill Cranes Regular Seasons in the Mississippi Flyway: Outside Dates: Between September 1 and February 28 in Minnesota and between September 1 and January 31 in Kentucky. Hunting Seasons: A season not to exceed 37 consecutive days may be selected in the designated portion of northwestern Minnesota (Northwest Goose Zone), and a season not to exceed 60 consecutive days, in Kentucky. Daily Bag Limit: 2 sandhill cranes. In Kentucky the seasonal bag limit is 3 sandhill cranes. Permits: Each person participating in the regular sandhill crane seasons must have a valid Federal or State sandhill crane hunting permit. Other Provisions: The number of permits (where applicable), open areas, season dates, protection plans for other species, and other provisions of seasons E:\FR\FM\11DEP2.SGM 11DEP2 jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 238 / Friday, December 11, 2015 / Proposed Rules must be consistent with the management plans and approved by the Mississippi Flyway Council. Experimental Season in the Mississippi Flyway: Outside Dates: Between September 1 and January 31. Hunting Seasons: A season not to exceed 60 consecutive days may be selected in Tennessee. Bag Limit: Not to exceed 3 daily and 3 per season in Tennessee. Permits: Each person participating in the regular sandhill crane season must have a valid Federal or State sandhill crane hunting permit. Other Provisions: Numbers of permits, open areas, season dates, protection plans for other species, and other provisions of seasons must be consistent with the management plan and approved by the Mississippi Flyway Council. Regular Seasons in the Central Flyway: Outside Dates: Between September 1 and February 28. Hunting Seasons: Seasons not to exceed 37 consecutive days may be selected in designated portions of Texas (Area 2). Seasons not to exceed 58 consecutive days may be selected in designated portions of the following States: Colorado, Kansas, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. Seasons not to exceed 93 consecutive days may be selected in designated portions of the following States: New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. Daily Bag Limits: 3 sandhill cranes, except 2 sandhill cranes in designated portions of North Dakota (Area 2) and Texas (Area 2). Permits: Each person participating in the regular sandhill crane season must have a valid Federal or State sandhill crane hunting permit. Special Seasons in the Central and Pacific Flyways: Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming may select seasons for hunting sandhill cranes within the range of the Rocky Mountain Population (RMP) subject to the following conditions: Outside Dates: Between September 1 and January 31. Hunting Seasons: The season in any State or zone may not exceed 30 consecutive days. Bag limits: Not to exceed 3 daily and 9 per season. Permits: Participants must have a valid permit, issued by the appropriate State, in their possession while hunting. Other Provisions: Numbers of permits, open areas, season dates, protection plans for other species, and other VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:00 Dec 10, 2015 Jkt 238001 77103 provisions of seasons must be consistent with the management plan and approved by the Central and Pacific Flyway Councils, with the following exceptions: A. In Utah, 100 percent of the harvest will be assigned to the RMP quota; B. In Arizona, monitoring the racial composition of the harvest must be conducted at 3-year intervals; C. In Idaho, 100 percent of the harvest will be assigned to the RMP quota; and D. In New Mexico, the season in the Estancia Valley is experimental, with a requirement to monitor the level and racial composition of the harvest; greater sandhill cranes in the harvest will be assigned to the RMP quota. Snipe Common Moorhens and Purple Gallinules Outside Dates: Between September 1 and the last Sunday in January (January 29) in the Atlantic, Mississippi, and Central Flyways. States in the Pacific Flyway have been allowed to select their hunting seasons between the outside dates for the season on ducks, mergansers, and coots; therefore, frameworks for common moorhens and purple gallinules are included with the duck, merganser, and coot frameworks. Hunting Seasons and Daily Bag Limits: Seasons may not exceed 70 days in the Atlantic, Mississippi, and Central Flyways. Seasons may be split into 2 segments. The daily bag limit is 15 common moorhens and purple gallinules, singly or in the aggregate of the two species. Zoning: Seasons may be selected by zones established for duck hunting. Outside Dates: States in the Eastern Management Region may select hunting seasons between October 1 and January 31. States in the Central Management Region may select hunting seasons between the Saturday nearest September 22 (September 24) and January 31. Hunting Seasons and Daily Bag Limits: Seasons may not exceed 45 days in the Eastern and Central Regions. The daily bag limit is 3. Seasons may be split into two segments. Zoning: New Jersey may select seasons in each of two zones. The season in each zone may not exceed 36 days. Rails Outside Dates: States included herein may select seasons between September 1 and the last Sunday in January (January 29) on clapper, king, sora, and Virginia rails. Hunting Seasons: Seasons may not exceed 70 days, and may be split into 2 segments. Daily Bag Limits: Clapper and King Rails: In Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and Rhode Island, 10, singly or in the aggregate of the two species. In Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia, 15, singly or in the aggregate of the two species. Sora and Virginia Rails: In the Atlantic, Mississippi, and Central Flyways and the Pacific Flyway portions of Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, and Wyoming, 25 rails, singly or in the aggregate of the two species. The season is closed in the remainder of the Pacific Flyway. PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 Outside Dates: Between September 1 and February 28, except in Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Virginia, where the season must end no later than January 31. Hunting Seasons and Daily Bag Limits: Seasons may not exceed 107 days and may be split into two segments. The daily bag limit is 8 snipe. Zoning: Seasons may be selected by zones established for duck hunting. American Woodcock Band-Tailed Pigeons Pacific Coast States (California, Oregon, Washington, and Nevada) Outside Dates: Between September 15 and January 1. Hunting Seasons and Daily Bag Limits: Not more than 9 consecutive days, with a daily bag limit of 2. Zoning: California may select hunting seasons not to exceed 9 consecutive days in each of two zones. The season in the North Zone must close by October 3. Four-Corners States (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah) Outside Dates: Between September 1 and November 30. Hunting Seasons and Daily Bag Limits: Not more than 14 consecutive days, with a daily bag limit of 2. Zoning: New Mexico may select hunting seasons not to exceed 14 consecutive days in each of two zones. The season in the South Zone may not open until October 1. Doves Outside Dates: Between September 1 and January 15, except as otherwise provided, States may select hunting seasons and daily bag limits as follows: E:\FR\FM\11DEP2.SGM 11DEP2 77104 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 238 / Friday, December 11, 2015 / Proposed Rules Eastern Management Unit Western Management Unit Hunting Seasons and Daily Bag Limits: Not more than 90 days, with a daily bag limit of 15 mourning and white-winged doves in the aggregate. Zoning and Split Seasons: States may select hunting seasons in each of two zones. The season within each zone may be split into not more than three periods. Regulations for bag and possession limits, season length, and shooting hours must be uniform within specific hunting zones. Hunting Seasons and Daily Bag Limits: Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington: Not more than 60 consecutive days, with a daily bag limit of 15 mourning and white-winged doves in the aggregate. Arizona and California: Not more than 60 days, which may be split between two periods, September 1–15 and November 1–January 15. In Arizona, during the first segment of the season, the daily bag limit is 15 mourning and white-winged doves in the aggregate, of which no more than 10 could be white-winged doves. During the remainder of the season, the daily bag limit is 15 mourning doves. In California, the daily bag limit is 15 mourning and white-winged doves in the aggregate, of which no more than 10 could be white-winged doves. Central Management Unit For all States except Texas: Hunting Seasons and Daily Bag Limits: Not more than 90 days, with a daily bag limit of 15 mourning and white-winged doves in the aggregate. Zoning and Split Seasons: States may select hunting seasons in each of two zones. The season within each zone may be split into not more than three periods. jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Texas Hunting Seasons and Daily Bag Limits: Not more than 90 days, with a daily bag limit of 15 mourning, whitewinged, and white-tipped doves in the aggregate, of which no more than 2 may be white-tipped doves. Zoning and Split Seasons: Texas may select hunting seasons for each of three zones subject to the following conditions: A. The hunting season may be split into not more than two periods, except in that portion of Texas in which the special white-winged dove season is allowed, where a limited take of mourning and white-tipped doves may also occur during that special season (see Special White-winged Dove Area). B. A season may be selected for the North and Central Zones between September 1 and January 25; and for the South Zone between the Friday nearest September 20 (September 23), but not earlier than September 17, and January 25. C. Except as noted above, regulations for bag and possession limits, season length, and shooting hours must be uniform within each hunting zone. Special White-winged Dove Area in Texas: In addition, Texas may select a hunting season of not more than 4 days for the Special White-winged Dove Area of the South Zone between September 1 and September 19. The daily bag limit may not exceed 15 white-winged, mourning, and white-tipped doves in the aggregate, of which no more than 2 may be mourning doves and no more than 2 may be white-tipped doves. VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:00 Dec 10, 2015 Jkt 238001 Alaska Outside Dates: Between September 1 and January 26. Hunting Seasons: Alaska may select 107 consecutive days for waterfowl, sandhill cranes, and common snipe in each of 5 zones. The season may be split without penalty in the Kodiak Zone. The seasons in each zone must be concurrent. Closures: The hunting season is closed on emperor geese, spectacled eiders, and Steller’s eiders. Daily Bag and Possession Limits: Ducks: Except as noted, a basic daily bag limit of 7 ducks. Daily bag limits in the North Zone are 10, and in the Gulf Coast Zone, they are 8. The basic limits may include no more than 1 canvasback daily and may not include sea ducks. In addition to the basic duck limits, Alaska may select sea duck limits of 10 daily, singly or in the aggregate, including no more than 6 each of either harlequin or long-tailed ducks. Sea ducks include scoters, common and king eiders, harlequin ducks, long-tailed ducks, and common and red-breasted mergansers. Light Geese: The daily bag limit is 6. Canada Geese: The daily bag limit is 4 with the following exceptions: A. In Units 5 and 6, the taking of Canada geese is permitted from September 28 through December 16. B. On Middleton Island in Unit 6, a special, permit-only Canada goose season may be offered. A mandatory goose identification class is required. Hunters must check in and check out. The bag limit is 1 daily and 1 in possession. The season will close if incidental harvest includes 5 dusky Canada geese. A dusky Canada goose is PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 any dark-breasted Canada goose (Munsell 10 YR color value five or less) with a bill length between 40 and 50 millimeters. C. In Units 9, 10, 17, and 18, the daily bag limit is 6 Canada geese. White-fronted Geese: The daily bag limit is 4 with the following exceptions: A. In Units 9, 10, and 17, the daily bag limit is 6 white-fronted geese. B. In Unit 18, the daily bag limit is 10 white-fronted geese. Brant: The daily bag limit is 3. Snipe: The daily bag limit is 8. Sandhill cranes: The daily bag limit is 2 in the Southeast, Gulf Coast, Kodiak, and Aleutian Zones, and Unit 17 in the North Zone. In the remainder of the North Zone (outside Unit 17), the daily bag limit is 3. Tundra Swans: Open seasons for tundra swans may be selected subject to the following conditions: A. All seasons are by registration permit only. B. All season framework dates are September 1–October 31. C. In Unit 17, no more than 200 permits may be issued during this operational season. No more than 3 tundra swans may be authorized per permit, with no more than 1 permit issued per hunter per season. D. In Unit 18, no more than 500 permits may be issued during the operational season. No more than 3 tundra swans may be authorized per permit. No more than 1 permit may be issued per hunter per season. E. In Unit 22, no more than 300 permits may be issued during the operational season. No more than 3 tundra swans may be authorized per permit. No more than 1 permit may be issued per hunter per season. F. In Unit 23, no more than 300 permits may be issued during the operational season. No more than 3 tundra swans may be authorized per permit. No more than 1 permit may be issued per hunter per season. Hawaii Outside Dates: Between October 1 and January 31. Hunting Seasons: Not more than 65 days (75 under the alternative) for mourning doves. Bag Limits: Not to exceed 15 (12 under the alternative) mourning doves. Note: Mourning doves may be taken in Hawaii in accordance with shooting hours and other regulations set by the State of Hawaii, and subject to the applicable provisions of 50 CFR part 20. E:\FR\FM\11DEP2.SGM 11DEP2 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 238 / Friday, December 11, 2015 / Proposed Rules Puerto Rico Doves and Pigeons Outside Dates: Between September 1 and January 15. Hunting Seasons: Not more than 60 days. Daily Bag and Possession Limits: Not to exceed 20 Zenaida, mourning, and white-winged doves in the aggregate, of which not more than 10 may be Zenaida doves and 3 may be mourning doves. Not to exceed 5 scaly-naped pigeons. Closed Seasons: The season is closed on the white-crowned pigeon and the plain pigeon, which are protected by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Closed Areas: There is no open season on doves or pigeons in the following areas: Municipality of Culebra, Desecheo Island, Mona Island, El Verde Closure Area, and Cidra Municipality and adjacent areas. Ducks, Coots, Moorhens, Gallinules, and Snipe Outside Dates: Between October 1 and January 31. Hunting Seasons: Not more than 55 days may be selected for hunting ducks, common moorhens, and common snipe. The season may be split into two segments. Daily Bag Limits: Ducks: Not to exceed 6. Common moorhens: Not to exceed 6. Common snipe: Not to exceed 8. Closed Seasons: The season is closed on the ruddy duck, white-cheeked pintail, West Indian whistling duck, fulvous whistling duck, and masked duck, which are protected by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The season also is closed on the purple gallinule, American coot, and Caribbean coot. Closed Areas: There is no open season on ducks, common moorhens, and common snipe in the Municipality of Culebra and on Desecheo Island. Virgin Islands jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Doves and Pigeons Outside Dates: Between September 1 and January 15. Hunting Seasons: Not more than 60 days for Zenaida doves. Daily Bag and Possession Limits: Not to exceed 10 Zenaida doves. Closed Seasons: No open season is prescribed for ground or quail doves or pigeons. Closed Areas: There is no open season for migratory game birds on Ruth Cay (just south of St. Croix). Local Names for Certain Birds: Zenaida dove, also known as mountain dove; bridled quail-dove, also known as VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:00 Dec 10, 2015 Jkt 238001 Barbary dove or partridge; common ground-dove, also known as stone dove, tobacco dove, rola, or tortolita; scalynaped pigeon, also known as red-necked or scaled pigeon. Ducks Outside Dates: Between December 1 and January 31. Hunting Seasons: Not more than 55 consecutive days. Daily Bag Limits: Not to exceed 6. Closed Seasons: The season is closed on the ruddy duck, white-cheeked pintail, West Indian whistling duck, fulvous whistling duck, and masked duck. Special Falconry Regulations Falconry is a permitted means of taking migratory game birds in any State meeting Federal falconry standards in 50 CFR 21.29. These States may select an extended season for taking migratory game birds in accordance with the following: Extended Seasons: For all hunting methods combined, the combined length of the extended season, regular season, and any special or experimental seasons must not exceed 107 days for any species or group of species in a geographical area. Each extended season may be divided into a maximum of 3 segments. Framework Dates: Seasons must fall between September 1 and March 10. Daily Bag Limits: Falconry daily bag limits for all permitted migratory game birds must not exceed 3 birds, singly or in the aggregate, during extended falconry seasons, any special or experimental seasons, and regular hunting seasons in all States, including those that do not select an extended falconry season. Regular Seasons: General hunting regulations, including seasons and hunting hours, apply to falconry in each State listed in 50 CFR 21.29. Regular season bag limits do not apply to falconry. The falconry bag limit is not in addition to gun limits. Area, Unit, and Zone Descriptions Ducks (Including Mergansers) and Coots Atlantic Flyway Connecticut North Zone: That portion of the State north of I–95. South Zone: Remainder of the State. Maine North Zone: That portion north of the line extending east along Maine State Highway 110 from the New HampshireMaine State line to the intersection of PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 77105 Maine State Highway 11 in Newfield; then north and east along Route 11 to the intersection of U.S. Route 202 in Auburn; then north and east on Route 202 to the intersection of I–95 in Augusta; then north and east along I–95 to Route 15 in Bangor; then east along Route 15 to Route 9; then east along Route 9 to Stony Brook in Baileyville; then east along Stony Brook to the United States border. Coastal Zone: That portion south of a line extending east from the Maine-New Brunswick border in Calais at the Route 1 Bridge; then south along Route 1 to the Maine-New Hampshire border in Kittery. South Zone: Remainder of the State. Maryland Special Teal Season Area: Calvert, Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Harford, Kent, Queen Anne’s, St. Mary’s, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico, and Worcester Counties; that part of Anne Arundel County east of Interstate 895, Interstate 97, and Route 3; that part of Prince George’s County east of Route 3 and Route 301; and that part of Charles County east of Route 301 to the Virginia State Line. Massachusetts Western Zone: That portion of the State west of a line extending south from the Vermont State line on I–91 to MA 9, west on MA 9 to MA 10, south on MA 10 to U.S. 202, south on U.S. 202 to the Connecticut State line. Central Zone: That portion of the State east of the Berkshire Zone and west of a line extending south from the New Hampshire State line on I–95 to U.S. 1, south on U.S. 1 to I–93, south on I–93 to MA 3, south on MA 3 to U.S. 6, west on U.S. 6 to MA 28, west on MA 28 to I–195, west to the Rhode Island State line; except the waters, and the lands 150 yards inland from the highwater mark, of the Assonet River upstream to the MA 24 bridge, and the Taunton River upstream to the Center St.-Elm St. bridge shall be in the Coastal Zone. Coastal Zone: That portion of Massachusetts east and south of the Central Zone. New Hampshire Northern Zone: That portion of the State east and north of the Inland Zone beginning at the Jct. of Rte. 10 and Rte. 25–A in Orford, east on Rte. 25A to Rte. 25 in Wentworth, southeast on Rte. 25 to Exit 26 of Rte. I–93 in Plymouth, south on Rte. I–93 to Rte. 3 at Exit 24 of Rte. I–93 in Ashland, northeast on Rte. 3 to Rte. 113 in Holderness, north on Rte. 113 to Rte. 113–A in Sandwich, E:\FR\FM\11DEP2.SGM 11DEP2 77106 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 238 / Friday, December 11, 2015 / Proposed Rules north on Rte. 113–A to Rte. 113 in Tamworth, east on Rte. 113 to Rte. 16 in Chocorua, north on Rte. 16 to Rte. 302 in Conway, east on Rte. 302 to the Maine-New Hampshire border. Inland Zone: That portion of the State south and west of the Northern Zone, west of the Coastal Zone, and includes the area of Vermont and New Hampshire as described for hunting reciprocity. A person holding a New Hampshire hunting license that allows the taking of migratory waterfowl or a person holding a Vermont resident hunting license that allows the taking of migratory waterfowl may take migratory waterfowl and coots from the following designated area of the Inland Zone: The State of Vermont east of Rte. I–91 at the Massachusetts border, north on Rte. I– 91 to Rte. 2, north on Rte. 2 to Rte. 102, north on Rte. 102 to Rte. 253, and north on Rte. 253 to the border with Canada and the area of New Hampshire west of Rte. 63 at the Massachusetts border, north on Rte. 63 to Rte. 12, north on Rte. 12 to Rte. 12–A, north on Rte. 12–A to Rte 10, north on Rte. 10 to Rte. 135, north on Rte. 135 to Rte. 3, north on Rte. 3 to the intersection with the Connecticut River. Coastal Zone: That portion of the State east of a line beginning at the Maine-New Hampshire border in Rollinsford, then extending to Rte. 4 west to the city of Dover, south to the intersection of Rte. 108, south along Rte. 108 through Madbury, Durham, and Newmarket to the junction of Rte. 85 in Newfields, south to Rte. 101 in Exeter, east to Interstate 95 (New Hampshire Turnpike) in Hampton, and south to the Massachusetts border. jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS New Jersey Coastal Zone: That portion of the State seaward of a line beginning at the New York State line in Raritan Bay and extending west along the New York State line to NJ 440 at Perth Amboy; west on NJ 440 to the Garden State Parkway; south on the Garden State Parkway to the shoreline at Cape May and continuing to the Delaware State line in Delaware Bay. North Zone: That portion of the State west of the Coastal Zone and north of a line extending west from the Garden State Parkway on NJ 70 to the New Jersey Turnpike, north on the turnpike to U.S. 206, north on U.S. 206 to U.S. 1 at Trenton, west on U.S. 1 to the Pennsylvania State line in the Delaware River. South Zone: That portion of the State not within the North Zone or the Coastal Zone. VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:00 Dec 10, 2015 Jkt 238001 New York Lake Champlain Zone: That area east and north of a continuous line extending along U.S. 11 from the New York-Canada International boundary south to NY 9B, south along NY 9B to U.S. 9, south along U.S. 9 to NY 22 south of Keesville; south along NY 22 to the west shore of South Bay, along and around the shoreline of South Bay to NY 22 on the east shore of South Bay; southeast along NY 22 to U.S. 4, northeast along U.S. 4 to the Vermont State line. Long Island Zone: That area consisting of Nassau County, Suffolk County, that area of Westchester County southeast of I–95, and their tidal waters. Western Zone: That area west of a line extending from Lake Ontario east along the north shore of the Salmon River to I–81, and south along I–81 to the Pennsylvania State line. Northeastern Zone: That area north of a continuous line extending from Lake Ontario east along the north shore of the Salmon River to I–81, south along I–81 to NY 31, east along NY 31 to NY 13, north along NY 13 to NY 49, east along NY 49 to NY 365, east along NY 365 to NY 28, east along NY 28 to NY 29, east along NY 29 to NY 22, north along NY 22 to Washington County Route 153, east along CR 153 to the New YorkVermont boundary, exclusive of the Lake Champlain Zone. Southeastern Zone: The remaining portion of New York. Pennsylvania Lake Erie Zone: The Lake Erie waters of Pennsylvania and a shoreline margin along Lake Erie from New York on the east to Ohio on the west extending 150 yards inland, but including all of Presque Isle Peninsula. Northwest Zone: The area bounded on the north by the Lake Erie Zone and including all of Erie and Crawford Counties and those portions of Mercer and Venango Counties north of I–80. North Zone: That portion of the State east of the Northwest Zone and north of a line extending east on I–80 to U.S. 220, Route 220 to I–180, I–180 to I–80, and I–80 to the Delaware River. South Zone: The remaining portion of Pennsylvania. Vermont Lake Champlain Zone: The U.S. portion of Lake Champlain and that area north and west of the line extending from the New York border along U.S. 4 to VT 22A at Fair Haven; VT 22A to U.S. 7 at Vergennes; U.S. 7 to VT 78 at Swanton; VT 78 to VT 36; VT 36 to Maquam Bay on Lake Champlain; along PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 and around the shoreline of Maquam Bay and Hog Island to VT 78 at the West Swanton Bridge; VT 78 to VT 2 in Alburg; VT 2 to the Richelieu River in Alburg; along the east shore of the Richelieu River to the Canadian border. Interior Zone: That portion of Vermont east of the Lake Champlain Zone and west of a line extending from the Massachusetts border at Interstate 91; north along Interstate 91 to U.S. 2; east along U.S. 2 to VT 102; north along VT 102 to VT 253; north along VT 253 to the Canadian border. Connecticut River Zone: The remaining portion of Vermont east of the Interior Zone. Mississippi Flyway Illinois North Zone: That portion of the State north of a line extending west from the Indiana border along Peotone-Beecher Road to Illinois Route 50, south along Illinois Route 50 to Wilmington-Peotone Road, west along Wilmington-Peotone Road to Illinois Route 53, north along Illinois Route 53 to New River Road, northwest along New River Road to Interstate Highway 55, south along I–55 to Pine Bluff-Lorenzo Road, west along Pine Bluff-Lorenzo Road to Illinois Route 47, north along Illinois Route 47 to I–80, west along I–80 to I–39, south along I–39 to Illinois Route 18, west along Illinois Route 18 to Illinois Route 29, south along Illinois Route 29 to Illinois Route 17, west along Illinois Route 17 to the Mississippi River, and due south across the Mississippi River to the Iowa border. Central Zone: That portion of the State south of the North Duck Zone line to a line extending west from the Indiana border along I–70 to Illinois Route 4, south along Illinois Route 4 to Illinois Route 161, west along Illinois Route 161 to Illinois Route 158, south and west along Illinois Route 158 to Illinois Route 159, south along Illinois Route 159 to Illinois Route 3, south along Illinois Route 3 to St. Leo’s Road, south along St. Leo’s Road to Modoc Road, west along Modoc Road to Modoc Ferry Road, southwest along Modoc Ferry Road to Levee Road, southeast along Levee Road to County Route 12 (Modoc Ferry entrance Road), south along County Route 12 to the Modoc Ferry route and southwest on the Modoc Ferry route across the Mississippi River to the Missouri border. South Zone: That portion of the State south and east of a line extending west from the Indiana border along Interstate 70, south along U.S. Highway 45, to Illinois Route 13, west along Illinois Route 13 to Greenbriar Road, north on E:\FR\FM\11DEP2.SGM 11DEP2 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 238 / Friday, December 11, 2015 / Proposed Rules Greenbriar Road to Sycamore Road, west on Sycamore Road to N. Reed Station Road, south on N. Reed Station Road to Illinois Route 13, west along Illinois Route 13 to Illinois Route 127, south along Illinois Route 127 to State Forest Road (1025 N), west along State Forest Road to Illinois Route 3, north along Illinois Route 3 to the south bank of the Big Muddy River, west along the south bank of the Big Muddy River to the Mississippi River, west across the Mississippi River to the Missouri border. South Central Zone: The remainder of the State between the south border of the Central Zone and the North border of the South Zone. Indiana North Zone: That part of Indiana north of a line extending east from the Illinois border along State Road 18 to U.S. 31; north along U.S. 31 to U.S. 24; east along U.S. 24 to Huntington; southeast along U.S. 224; south along State Road 5; and east along State Road 124 to the Ohio border. Central Zone: That part of Indiana south of the North Zone boundary and north of the South Zone boundary. South Zone: That part of Indiana south of a line extending east from the Illinois border along U.S. 40; south along U.S. 41; east along State Road 58; south along State Road 37 to Bedford; and east along U.S. 50 to the Ohio border. jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Iowa North Zone: That portion of Iowa north of a line beginning on the South Dakota-Iowa border at Interstate 29, southeast along Interstate 29 to State Highway 175, east along State Highway 175 to State Highway 37, southeast along State Highway 37 to State Highway 183, northeast along State Highway 183 to State Highway 141, east along State Highway 141 to U.S. Highway 30, and along U.S. Highway 30 to the Illinois border. Missouri River Zone: That portion of Iowa west of a line beginning on the South Dakota-Iowa border at Interstate 29, southeast along Interstate 29 to State Highway 175, and west along State Highway 175 to the Iowa-Nebraska border. South Zone: The remainder of Iowa. Kentucky West Zone: All counties west of and including Butler, Daviess, Ohio, Simpson, and Warren Counties. East Zone: The remainder of Kentucky. VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:00 Dec 10, 2015 Jkt 238001 Louisiana East Zone: That area of the State between the Mississippi State line and a line going south on Hwy 79 from the Arkansas border to Homer, then south on Hwy 9 to Arcadia, then south on Hwy 147 to Hodge, then south on Hwy 167 to Turkey Creek, then south on Hwy 13 to Eunice, then west on Hwy 190 to Kinder, then south on Hwy 165 to Iowa, then west on I–10 to its junction with Hwy 14 at Lake Charles, then south and east on Hwy 14 to its junction with Hwy 90 in New Iberia, then east on Hwy 90 to the Mississippi State line. West Zone: That area between the Texas State line and a line going east on I–10 from the Texas border to Hwy 165 at Iowa, then north on Hwy 165 to Kinder, then east on Hwy 190 to Eunice, then north on Hwy 13 to Turkey Creek, then north on Hwy 167 to Hodge, then north on Hwy 147 to Arcadia, then north on Hwy 9 to Homer, then north on Hwy 79 to the Arkansas border. Coastal Zone: Remainder of the State. Michigan North Zone: The Upper Peninsula. Middle Zone: That portion of the Lower Peninsula north of a line beginning at the Wisconsin State line in Lake Michigan due west of the mouth of Stony Creek in Oceana County; then due east to, and easterly and southerly along the south shore of Stony Creek to Scenic Drive, easterly and southerly along Scenic Drive to Stony Lake Road, easterly along Stony Lake and Garfield Roads to Michigan Highway 20, east along Michigan 20 to U.S. Highway 10 Business Route (BR) in the city of Midland, easterly along U.S. 10 BR to U.S. 10, easterly along U.S. 10 to Interstate Highway 75/U.S. Highway 23, northerly along I–75/U.S. 23 to the U.S. 23 exit at Standish, easterly along U.S. 23 to the centerline of the Au Gres River, then southerly along the centerline of the Au Gres River to Saginaw Bay, then on a line directly east 10 miles into Saginaw Bay, and from that point on a line directly northeast to the Canadian border. South Zone: The remainder of Michigan. Minnesota North Duck Zone: That portion of the State north of a line extending east from the North Dakota State line along State Highway 210 to State Highway 23 and east to State Highway 39 and east to the Wisconsin State line at the Oliver Bridge. South Duck Zone: The portion of the State south of a line extending east from the South Dakota State line along U.S. PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 77107 Highway 212 to Interstate 494 and east to Interstate 94 and east to the Wisconsin State line. Central Duck Zone: The remainder of the State. Missouri North Zone: That portion of Missouri north of a line running west from the Illinois border at Lock and Dam 25; west on Lincoln County Hwy. N to Mo. Hwy. 79; south on Mo. Hwy. 79 to Mo. Hwy. 47; west on Mo. Hwy. 47 to I–70; west on I–70 to the Kansas border. Middle Zone: The remainder of Missouri not included in other zones. South Zone: That portion of Missouri south of a line running west from the Illinois border on Mo. Hwy. 74 to Mo. Hwy. 25; south on Mo. Hwy. 25 to U.S. Hwy. 62; west on U.S. Hwy. 62 to Mo. Hwy. 53; north on Mo. Hwy. 53 to Mo. Hwy. 51; north on Mo. Hwy. 51 to U.S. Hwy. 60; west on U.S. Hwy. 60 to Mo. Hwy. 21; north on Mo. Hwy. 21 to Mo. Hwy. 72; west on Mo. Hwy. 72 to Mo. Hwy. 32; west on Mo. Hwy. 32 to U.S. Hwy. 65; north on U.S. Hwy. 65 to U.S. Hwy. 54; west on U.S. Hwy. 54 to U.S. Hwy. 71; south on U.S. Hwy. 71 to Jasper County Hwy. M (Base Line Blvd.); west on Jasper County Hwy. M (Base Line Blvd.) to CRD 40 (Base Line Blvd.); west on CRD 40 (Base Line Blvd.) to the Kansas border. Ohio Lake Erie Marsh Zone: Includes all land and water within the boundaries of the area bordered by a line beginning at the intersection of Interstate 75 at the Ohio-Michigan State line and continuing south to Interstate 280, then south on I–280 to the Ohio Turnpike (I– 80/I–90), then east on the Ohio Turnpike to the Erie-Lorain county line, then north to Lake Erie, then following the Lake Erie shoreline at a distance of 200 yards offshore, then following the shoreline west toward and around the northern tip of Cedar Point Amusement Park, then continuing from the westernmost point of Cedar Point toward the southernmost tip of the sand bar at the mouth of Sandusky Bay and out into Lake Erie at a distance of 200 yards offshore continuing parallel to the Lake Erie shoreline north and west toward the northernmost tip of Cedar Point National Wildlife Refuge, then following a direct line toward the southernmost tip of Wood Tick Peninsula in Michigan to a point that intersects the Ohio-Michigan State line, then following the State line back to the point of the beginning. North Zone: That portion of the State, excluding the Lake Erie Marsh Zone, north of a line extending east from the E:\FR\FM\11DEP2.SGM 11DEP2 77108 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 238 / Friday, December 11, 2015 / Proposed Rules Indiana State line along U.S. Highway 33 to State Route 127, then south along SR 127 to SR 703, then south along SR 703 and including all lands within the Mercer Wildlife Area to SR 219, then east along SR 219 to SR 364, then north along SR 364 and including all lands within the St. Mary’s Fish Hatchery to SR 703, then east along SR 703 to SR 66, then north along SR 66 to U. S. 33, then east along U. S. 33 to SR 385, then east along SR 385 to SR 117, then south along SR 117 to SR 273, then east along SR 273 to SR 31, then south along SR 31 to SR 739, then east along SR 739 to SR 4, then north along SR 4 to SR 95, then east along SR 95 to SR 13, then southeast along SR 13 to SR 3, then northeast along SR 3 to SR 60, then north along SR 60 to U.S. 30, then east along U.S. 30 to SR 3, then south along SR 3 to SR 226, then south along SR 226 to SR 514, then southwest along SR 514 to SR 754, then south along SR 754 to SR 39/60, then east along SR 39/60 U.S. to SR 241, then north along SR 241 to U.S. 30, then east along U.S. 30 to SR 39, then east along SR 39 to the Pennsylvania State line. South Zone: The remainder of Ohio not included in the Lake Erie Marsh Zone or the North Zone. jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Tennessee Reelfoot Zone: All or portions of Lake and Obion Counties. Remainder of State: That portion of Tennessee outside of the Reelfoot Zone. Wisconsin North Zone: That portion of the State north of a line extending east from the Minnesota State line along U.S. Highway 10 into Portage County to County Highway HH, east on County Highway HH to State Highway 66 and then east on State Highway 66 to U.S. Highway 10, continuing east on U.S. Highway 10 to U.S. Highway 41, then north on U.S. Highway 41 to the Michigan State line. Mississippi River Zone: That area encompassed by a line beginning at the intersection of the Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway and the Illinois State line in Grant County and extending northerly along the Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway to the city limit of Prescott in Pierce County, then west along the Prescott city limit to the Minnesota State line. South Zone: The remainder of Wisconsin. Central Flyway Colorado (Central Flyway Portion) Special Teal Season Area: Lake and Chaffee Counties and that portion of the State east of Interstate Highway 25. VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:00 Dec 10, 2015 Jkt 238001 Northeast Zone: All areas east of Interstate 25 and north of Interstate 70. Southeast Zone: All areas east of Interstate 25 and south of Interstate 70, and all of El Paso, Pueblo, Huerfano, and Las Animas Counties. Mountain/Foothills Zone: All areas west of Interstate 25 and east of the Continental Divide, except El Paso, Pueblo, Huerfano, and Las Animas Counties. Kansas High Plains Zone: That portion of the State west of U.S. 283. Low Plains Early Zone: That part of Kansas bounded by a line from the federal highway US–283 and state highway US–96 junction, then east on federal highway US–96 to its junction with federal highway US–183, then north on federal highway US–183 to its junction with federal highway US–24, then east on federal highway US–24 to its junction with federal highway US– 281, then north on federal highway US– 281 to its junction with federal highway US–36, then east on federal highway US–36 to its junction with state highway K–199, then south on state highway K–199 to its junction with Republic County 30th Road, then south on Republic County 30th Road to its junction with state highway K–148, then east on state highway K–148 to its junction with Republic County 50th Road, then south on Republic County 50th Road to its junction with Cloud County 40th Road, then south on Cloud County 40th Road to its junction with state highway K–9, then west on state highway K–9 to its junction with federal highway US–24, then west on federal highway US–24 to its junction with federal highway US–181, then south on federal highway US–181 to its junction with state highway K–18, then west on state highway K–18 to its junction with federal highway US–281, then south on federal highway US–281 to its junction with state highway K–4, then east on state highway K–4 to its junction with interstate highway I–135, then south on interstate highway I–135 to its junction with state highway K–61, then southwest on state highway K–61 to its junction with McPherson County 14th Avenue, then south on McPherson County 14th Avenue to its junction with McPherson County Arapaho Rd, then west on McPherson County Arapaho Rd to its junction with state highway K–61, then southwest on state highway K–61 to its junction with state highway K–96, then northwest on state highway K–96 to its junction with federal highway US– 56, then southwest on federal highway US–56 to its junction with state highway K–19, then east on state PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 highway K–19 to its junction with federal highway US–281, then south on federal highway US–281 to its junction with federal highway US–54, then west on federal highway US–54 to its junction with federal highway US–183, then north on federal highway US–183 to its junction with federal highway US– 56, then southwest on federal highway US–56 to its junction with North Main Street in Spearville, then south on North Main Street to Davis Street, then east on Davis Street to Ford County Road 126 (South Stafford Street), then south on Ford County Road 126 to Garnett Road, then east on Garnett Road to Ford County Road 126, then south on Ford County Road 126 to Ford Spearville Road, then west on Ford Spearville Road to its junction with federal highway US–400, then northwest on federal highway US–400 to its junction with federal highway US–283, and then north on federal highway US–283 to its junction with federal highway US–96. Low Plains Late Zone: That part of Kansas bounded by a line from the federal highway US–283 and federal highway US–96 junction, then north on federal highway US–283 to the KansasNebraska state line, then east along the Kansas-Nebraska state line to its junction with the Kansas-Missouri state line, then southeast along the KansasMissouri state line to its junction with state highway K–68, then west on state highway K–68 to its junction with interstate highway I–35, then southwest on interstate highway I–35 to its junction with Butler County NE 150th Street, then west on Butler County NE 150th Street to its junction with federal highway US–77, then south on federal highway US–77 to its junction with the Kansas-Oklahoma state line, then west along the Kansas-Oklahoma state line to its junction with federal highway US– 283, then north on federal highway US– 283 to its junction with federal highway US–400, then east on federal highway US–400 to its junction with Ford Spearville Road, then east on Ford Spearville Road to Ford County Road 126 (South Stafford Street), then north on Ford County Road 126 to Garnett Road, then west on Garnett Road to Ford County Road 126, then north on Ford County Road 126 to Davis Street, then west on Davis Street to North Main Street, then north on North Main Street to its junction with federal highway US– 56, then east on federal highway US–56 to its junction with federal highway US– 183, then south on federal highway US– 183 to its junction with federal highway US–54, then east on federal highway US–54 to its junction with federal highway US–281, then north on federal E:\FR\FM\11DEP2.SGM 11DEP2 jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 238 / Friday, December 11, 2015 / Proposed Rules highway US–281 to its junction with state highway K–19, then west on state highway K–19 to its junction with federal highway US–56, then east on federal highway US–56 to its junction with state highway K–96, then southeast on state highway K–96 to its junction with state highway K–61, then northeast on state highway K–61 to its junction with McPherson County Arapaho Road, then east on McPherson County Arapaho Road to its junction with McPherson County 14th Avenue, then north on McPherson County 14th Avenue to its junction with state highway K–61, then east on state highway K–61 to its junction with interstate highway I–135, then north on interstate highway I–135 to its junction with state highway K–4, then west on state highway K–4 to its junction with federal highway US–281, then north on federal highway US–281 to its junction with state highway K–18, then east on state highway K–18 to its junction with federal highway US–181, then north on federal highway US–181 to its junction with federal highway US–24, then east on federal highway US–24 to its junction with state highway K–9, then east on state highway K–9 to its junction with Cloud County 40th Road, then north on Cloud County 40th Road to its junction with Republic County 50th Road, then north on Republic County 50th Road to its junction with state highway K–148, then west on state highway K–148 to its junction with Republic County 30th Road, then north on Republic County 30th Road to its junction with state highway K–199, then north on state highway K–199 to its junction with federal highway US–36, then west on federal highway US–36 to its junction with federal highway US– 281, then south on federal highway US– 281 to its junction with federal highway US–24, then west on federal highway US–24 to its junction with federal highway US–183, then south on federal highway US–183 to its junction with federal highway US–96, and then west on federal highway US–96 to its junction with federal highway US–283. Southeast Zone: That part of Kansas bounded by a line from the MissouriKansas State line west on K–68 to its junction with I–35, then southwest on I– 35 to its junction with Butler County, NE 150th Street, then west on NE 150th Street to its junction with federal highway US–77, then south on federal highway US–77 to the OklahomaKansas State line, then east along the Kansas-Oklahoma State line to its junction with the Kansas-Missouri State line, then north along the Kansas- VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:00 Dec 10, 2015 Jkt 238001 Missouri State line to its junction with K–68. Montana (Central Flyway Portion) Zone 1: The Counties of Blaine, Carter, Daniels, Dawson, Fallon, Fergus, Garfield, Golden Valley, Judith Basin, McCone, Musselshell, Petroleum, Phillips, Powder River, Richland, Roosevelt, Sheridan, Stillwater, Sweet Grass, Valley, Wheatland, and Wibaux. Zone 2: The Counties of Big Horn, Carbon, Custer, Prairie, Rosebud, Treasure, and Yellowstone. Nebraska Special Teal Season Area (south): That portion of the State south of a line beginning at the Wyoming State line; east along U.S. 26 to Nebraska Highway L62A east to U.S. 385; south to U.S. 26; east to NE 92; east along NE 92 to NE 61; south along NE 61 to U.S. 30; east along U.S. 30 to the Iowa border. Special Teal Season Area (north): The remainder of the State. High Plains: That portion of Nebraska lying west of a line beginning at the South Dakota-Nebraska border on U.S. Hwy. 183; south on U.S. Hwy. 183 to U.S. Hwy. 20; west on U.S. Hwy. 20 to NE Hwy. 7; south on NE Hwy. 7 to NE Hwy. 91; southwest on NE Hwy. 91 to NE Hwy. 2; southeast on NE Hwy. 2 to NE Hwy. 92; west on NE Hwy. 92 to NE Hwy. 40; south on NE Hwy. 40 to NE Hwy. 47; south on NE Hwy. 47 to NE Hwy. 23; east on NE Hwy. 23 to U.S. Hwy. 283; and south on U.S. Hwy. 283 to the Kansas–Nebraska border. Zone 1: Area bounded by designated Federal and State highways and political boundaries beginning at the South Dakota-Nebraska border west of NE Hwy. 26E Spur and north of NE Hwy. 12; those portions of Dixon, Cedar, and Knox Counties north of NE Hwy. 12; that portion of Keya Paha County east of U.S. Hwy. 183; and all of Boyd County. Both banks of the Niobrara River in Keya Paha and Boyd counties east of U.S. Hwy. 183 shall be included in Zone 1. Zone 2: The area south of Zone 1 and north of Zone 3. Zone 3: Area bounded by designated Federal and State highways, County Roads, and political boundaries beginning at the Wyoming–Nebraska border at the intersection of the Interstate Canal; east along northern borders of Scotts Bluff and Morrill Counties to Broadwater Road; south to Morrill County Rd 94; east to County Rd 135; south to County Rd 88; southeast to County Rd 151; south to County Rd 80; east to County Rd 161; south to County Rd 76; east to County Rd 165; south to County Rd 167; south to U.S. PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 77109 Hwy 26; east to County Rd 171; north to County Rd 68; east to County Rd 183; south to County Rd 64; east to County Rd 189; north to County Rd 70; east to County Rd 201; south to County Rd 60A; east to County Rd 203; south to County Rd 52; east to Keith County Line; east along the northern boundaries of Keith and Lincoln Counties to NE Hwy 97; south to U.S. Hwy 83; south to E Hall School Rd; east to N Airport Road; south to U.S. Hwy 30; east to NE Hwy 47; north to Dawson County Rd 769; east to County Rd 423; south to County Rd 766; east to County Rd 428; south to County Rd 763; east to NE Hwy 21 (Adams Street); south to County Rd 761; east to the Dawson County Canal; south and east along the Dawson County Canal to County Rd 444; south to U.S. Hwy 30; east to U.S. Hwy 183; north to Buffalo County Rd 100; east to 46th Avenue; north to NE Hwy 40; south and east to NE Hwy 10; north to Buffalo County Rd 220 and Hall County Husker Hwy; east to Hall County Rd 70; north to NE Hwy 2; east to U.S. Hwy 281; north to Chapman Rd; east to 7th Rd; south to U.S. Hwy 30; east to Merrick County Rd 13; north to County Rd O; east to NE Hwy 14; north to NE Hwy 52; west and north to NE Hwy 91; west to U.S. Hwy 281; south to NE Hwy 22; west to NE Hwy 11; northwest to NE Hwy 91; west to U.S. Hwy 183; south to Round Valley Rd; west to Sargent River Rd; west to Drive 443; north to Sargent Rd; west to NE Hwy S21A; west to NE Hwy 2; west and north to NE Hwy 91; north and east to North Loup Spur Rd; north to North Loup River Rd; east to Pleasant Valley/Worth Rd; east to Loup County Line; north to Loup-Brown county line; east along northern boundaries of Loup and Garfield Counties to Cedar River Rd; south to NE Hwy 70; east to U.S. Hwy 281; north to NE Hwy 70; east to NE Hwy 14; south to NE Hwy 39; southeast to NE Hwy 22; east to U.S. Hwy 81; southeast to U.S. Hwy 30; east to U.S. Hwy 75; north to the Washington County line; east to the Iowa–Nebraska border; south to the Missouri–Nebraska border; south to Kansas–Nebraska border; west along Kansas–Nebraska border to Colorado– Nebraska border; north and west to Wyoming–Nebraska border; north to intersection of Interstate Canal; and excluding that area in Zone 4. Zone 4: Area encompassed by designated Federal and State highways and County Roads beginning at the intersection of NE Hwy 8 and U.S. Hwy 75; north to U.S. Hwy 136; east to the intersection of U.S. Hwy 136 and the Steamboat Trace (Trace); north along the Trace to the intersection with Federal E:\FR\FM\11DEP2.SGM 11DEP2 77110 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 238 / Friday, December 11, 2015 / Proposed Rules Levee R–562; north along Federal Levee R–562 to the intersection with Nemaha County Rd 643A; south to the Trace; north along the Trace/Burlington Northern Railroad right-of-way to NE Hwy 2; west to U.S. Hwy 75; north to NE Hwy 2; west to NE Hwy 50; north to U.S. Hwy 34; west to NE Hwy 63; north to NE Hwy 66; north and west to U.S. Hwy 77; north to NE Hwy 92; west to NE Hwy Spur 12F; south to Butler County Rd 30; east to County Rd X; south to County Rd 27; west to County Rd W; south to County Rd 26; east to County Rd X; south to County Rd 21 (Seward County Line); west to NE Hwy 15; north to County Rd 34; west to County Rd H; south to NE Hwy 92; west to U.S. Hwy 81; south to NE Hwy 66; west to Polk County Rd C; north to NE Hwy 92; west to U.S. Hwy 30; west to Merrick County Rd 17; south to Hordlake Road; southeast to Prairie Island Road; southeast to Hamilton County Rd T; south to NE Hwy 66; west to NE Hwy 14; south to County Rd 22; west to County Rd M; south to County Rd 21; west to County Rd K; south to U.S. Hwy 34; west to NE Hwy 2; south to U.S. Hwy I–80; west to Gunbarrel Rd (Hall/Hamilton county line); south to Giltner Rd; west to U.S. Hwy 281; south to Lochland Rd; west to Holstein Avenue; south to U.S. Hwy 34; west to NE Hwy 10; north to Kearney County Rd R and Phelps County Rd 742; west to U.S. Hwy 283; south to U.S. Hwy 34; east to U.S. Hwy 136; east to U.S. Hwy 183; north to NE Hwy 4; east to NE Hwy 10; south to U.S. Hwy 136; east to NE Hwy 14; south to NE Hwy 8; east to U.S. Hwy 81; north to NE Hwy 4; east to NE Hwy 15; south to U.S. Hwy 136; east to Jefferson County Rd 578 Avenue; south to PWF Rd; east to NE Hwy 103; south to NE Hwy 8; east to U.S. Hwy 75. jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS New Mexico (Central Flyway Portion) North Zone: That portion of the State north of I–40 and U.S. 54. South Zone: The remainder of New Mexico. North Dakota High Plains Unit: That portion of the State south and west of a line from the South Dakota State line along U.S. 83 and I–94 to ND 41, north to U.S. 2, west to the Williams–Divide County line, then north along the County line to the Canadian border. Low Plains Unit: The remainder of North Dakota. Oklahoma High Plains Zone: The Counties of Beaver, Cimarron, and Texas. Low Plains Zone 1: That portion of the State east of the High Plains Zone VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:00 Dec 10, 2015 Jkt 238001 and north of a line extending east from the Texas State line along OK 33 to OK 47, east along OK 47 to U.S. 183, south along U.S. 183 to I–40, east along I–40 to U.S. 177, north along U.S. 177 to OK 33, east along OK 33 to OK 18, north along OK 18 to OK 51, west along OK 51 to I–35, north along I–35 to U.S. 412, west along U.S. 412 to OK 132, then north along OK 132 to the Kansas State line. Low Plains Zone 2: The remainder of Oklahoma. South Dakota High Plains Zone: That portion of the State west of a line beginning at the North Dakota State line and extending south along U.S. 83 to U.S. 14, east on U.S. 14 to Blunt, south on the BluntCanning Rd to SD 34, east and south on SD 34 to SD 50 at Lee’s Corner, south on SD 50 to I–90, east on I–90 to SD 50, south on SD 50 to SD 44, west on SD 44 across the Platte-Winner bridge to SD 47, south on SD 47 to U.S. 18, east on U.S. 18 to SD 47, south on SD 47 to the Nebraska State line. North Zone: That portion of northeastern South Dakota east of the High Plains Unit and north of a line extending east along U.S. 212 to the Minnesota State line. South Zone: That portion of Gregory County east of SD 47 and south of SD 44; Charles Mix County south of SD 44 to the Douglas County line; south on SD 50 to Geddes; east on the Geddes Highway to U.S. 281; south on U.S. 281 and U.S. 18 to SD 50; south and east on SD 50 to the Bon Homme County line; the Counties of Bon Homme, Yankton, and Clay south of SD 50; and Union County south and west of SD 50 and I– 29. Middle Zone: The remainder of South Dakota. Texas High Plains Zone: That portion of the State west of a line extending south from the Oklahoma State line along U.S. 183 to Vernon, south along U.S. 283 to Albany, south along TX 6 to TX 351 to Abilene, south along U.S. 277 to Del Rio, then south along the Del Rio International Toll Bridge access road to the Mexico border. Low Plains North Zone: That portion of northeastern Texas east of the High Plains Zone and north of a line beginning at the International Toll Bridge south of Del Rio, then extending east on U.S. 90 to San Antonio, then continuing east on I–10 to the Louisiana State line at Orange, Texas. Low Plains South Zone: The remainder of Texas. PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 Wyoming (Central Flyway portion) Zone C1: Big Horn, Converse, Goshen, Hot Springs, Natrona, Park, Platte, and Washakie Counties; and Fremont County excluding the portions west or south of the Continental Divide. Zone C2: Campbell, Crook, Johnson, Niobrara, Sheridan, and Weston Counties. Zone C3: Albany and Laramie Counties; and that portion of Carbon County east of the Continental Divide. Pacific Flyway Arizona North Zone: Game Management Units 1–5, those portions of Game Management Units 6 and 8 within Coconino County, and Game Management Units 7, 9, and 12A. South Zone: Those portions of Game Management Units 6 and 8 in Yavapai County, and Game Management Units 10 and 12B–45. California Northeastern Zone: In that portion of California lying east and north of a line beginning at the intersection of Interstate 5 with the California-Oregon line; south along Interstate 5 to its junction with Walters Lane south of the town of Yreka; west along Walters Lane to its junction with Easy Street; south along Easy Street to the junction with Old Highway 99; south along Old Highway 99 to the point of intersection with Interstate 5 north of the town of Weed; south along Interstate 5 to its junction with Highway 89; east and south along Highway 89 to Main Street Greenville; north and east to its junction with North Valley Road; south to its junction of Diamond Mountain Road; north and east to its junction with North Arm Road; south and west to the junction of North Valley Road; south to the junction with Arlington Road (A22); west to the junction of Highway 89; south and west to the junction of Highway 70; east on Highway 70 to Highway 395; south and east on Highway 395 to the point of intersection with the California-Nevada State line; north along the California-Nevada State line to the junction of the CaliforniaNevada-Oregon State lines; west along the California-Oregon State line to the point of origin. Colorado River Zone: Those portions of San Bernardino, Riverside, and Imperial Counties east of a line extending from the Nevada State line south along U.S. 95 to Vidal Junction; south on a road known as ‘‘Aqueduct Road’’ in San Bernardino County through the town of Rice to the San Bernardino-Riverside County line; south E:\FR\FM\11DEP2.SGM 11DEP2 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 238 / Friday, December 11, 2015 / Proposed Rules jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS on a road known in Riverside County as the ‘‘Desert Center to Rice Road’’ to the town of Desert Center; east 31 miles on I–10 to the Wiley Well Road; south on this road to Wiley Well; southeast along the Army-Milpitas Road to the Blythe, Brawley, Davis Lake intersections; south on the Blythe-Brawley paved road to the Ogilby and Tumco Mine Road; south on this road to U.S. 80; east 7 miles on U.S. 80 to the Andrade-Algodones Road; south on this paved road to the Mexican border at Algodones, Mexico. Southern Zone: That portion of southern California (but excluding the Colorado River Zone) south and east of a line extending from the Pacific Ocean east along the Santa Maria River to CA 166 near the City of Santa Maria; east on CA 166 to CA 99; south on CA 99 to the crest of the Tehachapi Mountains at Tejon Pass; east and north along the crest of the Tehachapi Mountains to CA 178 at Walker Pass; east on CA 178 to U.S. 395 at the town of Inyokern; south on U.S. 395 to CA 58; east on CA 58 to I–15; east on I–15 to CA 127; north on CA 127 to the Nevada State line. Southern San Joaquin Valley Zone: All of Kings and Tulare Counties and that portion of Kern County north of the Southern Zone. Balance of State Zone: The remainder of California not included in the Northeastern, Colorado River, Southern, and the Southern San Joaquin Valley Zones. Colorado Eastern Zone: Routt, Grand, Summit, Eagle, and Pitkin counties, those portions of Saguache, San Juan, Hinsdale, and Mineral in the Pacific Flyway (i.e., west of the Continental Divide), and Gunnison County except the following area: The portion of Gunnison County west of Curecanti Creek, west of the Gunnison River-North Fork of Gunnison River divide to Kebler Pass, west of Kebler Pass and the Ruby Range summit, and west and south of the Pitkin/Gunnison County line west of the Ruby Range. This area corresponds to the North Fork of Gunnison River Valley, and is already established by Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife as the Gunnison County portions of GMU 521, 53, and 63. Western Zone: The remainder of the Pacific Flyway portion of Colorado not included in the Eastern Zone. Idaho Zone 1: All lands and waters within the Fort Hall Indian Reservation, including private in-holdings; Bannock County; Bingham County, except that portion within the Blackfoot Reservoir drainage; Caribou County within the VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:00 Dec 10, 2015 Jkt 238001 Fort Hall Indian Reservation; and Power County east of State Highway 37 and State Highway 39. Zone 2: Adams, Bear Lake, Benewah, Blaine, Bonner, Bonneville, Boundary, Butte, Camas, Clark, Clearwater, Custer, Franklin, Fremont, Idaho, Jefferson, Kootenai, Latah, Lemhi, Lewis, Madison, Nez Perce, Oneida, Shoshone, Teton, and Valley Counties; Bingham County within the Blackfoot Reservoir drainage; Caribou County, except the Fort Hall Indian Reservation; and Power County west of State Highway 37 and State Highway 39. Zone 3: Ada, Boise, Canyon, Cassia, Elmore, Gem, Gooding, Jerome, Lincoln, Minidoka, Owyhee, Payette, Twin Falls, and Washington Counties. 77111 Road 600); west and south along the Union Pass Road to U.S.F.S. Road 605; south along U.S.F.S. Road 605 to the Bridger-Teton National Forest boundary; along the national forest boundary to the Idaho State line; north along the Idaho State line to the south boundary of Yellowstone National Park; east along the Yellowstone National Park boundary to the Continental Divide. Balance of State Zone: The remainder of the Pacific Flyway portion of Wyoming not included in the Snake River Zone. Geese Atlantic Flyway Connecticut Zone 1: Benton, Clackamas, Clatsop, Columbia, Coos, Curry, Douglas, Gilliam, Hood River, Jackson, Josephine, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Morrow, Multnomah, Polk, Sherman, Tillamook, Umatilla, Wasco, Washington, and Yamhill, Counties. Zone 2: The remainder of Oregon not included in Zone 1. Early Canada Goose Seasons: South Zone: Same as for ducks. North Zone: Same as for ducks. Regular Seasons: AP Unit: Litchfield County and the portion of Hartford County west of a line beginning at the Massachusetts border in Suffield and extending south along Route 159 to its intersection with Route 91 in Hartford, and then extending south along Route 91 to its intersection with the HartfordMiddlesex County line. Atlantic Flyway Resident Population (AFRP) Unit: Starting at the intersection of I–95 and the Quinnipiac River, north on the Quinnipiac River to its intersection with I–91, north on I–91 to I–691, west on I–691 to the Hartford County line, and encompassing the rest of New Haven County and Fairfield County in its entirety. NAP H—Unit: All of the rest of the State not included in the AP or AFRP descriptions above. South Zone: Same as for ducks. Utah Maine Nevada Northeast Zone: Elko and White Pine Counties. Northwest Zone: Carson City, Churchill, Douglas, Esmeralda, Eureka, Humboldt, Lander, Lyon, Mineral, Nye, Pershing, Storey, and Washoe Counties. South Zone: Clark and Lincoln Counties. Moapa Valley Special Management Area: That portion of Clark County including the Moapa Valley to the confluence of the Muddy and Virgin Rivers. Oregon Zone 1: Box Elder, Cache, Daggett, Davis, Duchesne, Morgan, Rich, Salt Lake, Summit, Uintah, Utah, Wasatch, and Weber Counties, and that part of Toole County north of I–80. Zone 2: The remainder of Utah not included in Zone 1. Washington East Zone: All areas east of the Pacific Crest Trail and east of the Big White Salmon River in Klickitat County. West Zone: The remainder of Washington not included in the East Zone. Wyoming (Pacific Flyway Portion) Snake River Zone: Beginning at the south boundary of Yellowstone National Park and the Continental Divide; south along the Continental Divide to Union Pass and the Union Pass Road (U.S.F.S. PO 00000 Frm 00025 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 Same zones as for ducks. Maryland Early Canada Goose Seasons Eastern Unit: Calvert, Caroline, Cecil, Dorchester, Harford, Kent, Queen Anne’s, St. Mary’s, Somerset, Talbot, Wicomico, and Worcester Counties; and that part of Anne Arundel County east of Interstate 895, Interstate 97, and Route 3; that part of Prince George’s County east of Route 3 and Route 301; and that part of Charles County east of Route 301 to the Virginia State line. Western Unit: Allegany, Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, Garrett, Howard, Montgomery, and Washington Counties and that part of Anne Arundel County west of Interstate 895, Interstate 97, and Route 3; that part of Prince George’s County west of Route 3 and Route 301; E:\FR\FM\11DEP2.SGM 11DEP2 77112 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 238 / Friday, December 11, 2015 / Proposed Rules and that part of Charles County west of Route 301 to the Virginia State line. Regular Seasons Resident Population (RP) Zone: Allegany, Frederick, Garrett, Montgomery, and Washington Counties; that portion of Prince George’s County west of Route 3 and Route 301; that portion of Charles County west of Route 301 to the Virginia State line; and that portion of Carroll County west of Route 31 to the intersection of Route 97, and west of Route 97 to the Pennsylvania line. AP Zone: Remainder of the State. Massachusetts NAP Zone: Central and Coastal Zones (see duck zones). AP Zone: The Western Zone (see duck zones). Special Late Season Area: The Central Zone and that portion of the Coastal Zone (see duck zones) that lies north of the Cape Cod Canal, north to the New Hampshire line. New Hampshire Same zones as for ducks. jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS New Jersey AP Zone: North and South Zones (see duck zones). RP Zone: The Coastal Zone (see duck zones). Special Late Season Area: In northern New Jersey, that portion of the State within a continuous line that runs east along the New York State boundary line to the Hudson River; then south along the New York State boundary to its intersection with Route 440 at Perth Amboy; then west on Route 440 to its intersection with Route 287; then west along Route 287 to its intersection with Route 206 in Bedminster (Exit 18); then north along Route 206 to its intersection with Route 94: Then west along Route 94 to the tollbridge in Columbia; then north along the Pennsylvania State boundary in the Delaware River to the beginning point. In southern New Jersey, that portion of the State within a continuous line that runs west from the Atlantic Ocean at Ship Bottom along Route 72 to Route 70; then west along Route 70 to Route 206; then south along Route 206 to Route 536; then west along Route 536 to Route 322; then west along Route 322 to Route 55; then south along Route 55 to Route 553 (Buck Road); then south along Route 553 to Route 40; then east along Route 40 to route 55; then south along Route 55 to Route 552 (Sherman Avenue); then west along Route 552 to Carmel Road; then south along Carmel Road to Route 49; then east along Route 49 to Route 555; then VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:00 Dec 10, 2015 Jkt 238001 south along Route 555 to Route 553; then east along Route 553 to Route 649; then north along Route 649 to Route 670; then east along Route 670 to Route 47; then north along Route 47 to Route 548; then east along Route 548 to Route 49; then east along Route 49 to Route 50; then south along Route 50 to Route 9; then south along Route 9 to Route 625 (Sea Isle City Boulevard); then east along Route 625 to the Atlantic Ocean; then north to the beginning point. New York Lake Champlain Goose Area: The same as the Lake Champlain Waterfowl Hunting Zone, which is that area of New York State lying east and north of a continuous line extending along Route 11 from the New York-Canada International boundary south to Route 9B, south along Route 9B to Route 9, south along Route 9 to Route 22 south of Keeseville, south along Route 22 to the west shore of South Bay along and around the shoreline of South Bay to Route 22 on the east shore of South Bay, southeast along Route 22 to Route 4, northeast along Route 4 to the New York-Vermont boundary. Northeast Goose Area: The same as the Northeastern Waterfowl Hunting Zone, which is that area of New York State lying north of a continuous line extending from Lake Ontario east along the north shore of the Salmon River to Interstate 81, south along Interstate Route 81 to Route 31, east along Route 31 to Route 13, north along Route 13 to Route 49, east along Route 49 to Route 365, east along Route 365 to Route 28, east along Route 28 to Route 29, east along Route 29 to Route 22 at Greenwich Junction, north along Route 22 to Washington County Route 153, east along CR 153 to the New YorkVermont boundary, exclusive of the Lake Champlain Zone. East Central Goose Area: That area of New York State lying inside of a continuous line extending from Interstate Route 81 in Cicero, east along Route 31 to Route 13, north along Route 13 to Route 49, east along Route 49 to Route 365, east along Route 365 to Route 28, east along Route 28 to Route 29, east along Route 29 to Route 147 at Kimball Corners, south along Route 147 to Schenectady County Route 40 (West Glenville Road), west along Route 40 to Touareuna Road, south along Touareuna Road to Schenectady County Route 59, south along Route 59 to State Route 5, east along Route 5 to the Lock 9 bridge, southwest along the Lock 9 bridge to Route 5S, southeast along Route 5S to Schenectady County Route 58, southwest along Route 58 to the NYS Thruway, south along the Thruway to PO 00000 Frm 00026 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 Route 7, southwest along Route 7 to Schenectady County Route 103, south along Route 103 to Route 406, east along Route 406 to Schenectady County Route 99 (Windy Hill Road), south along Route 99 to Dunnsville Road, south along Dunnsville Road to Route 397, southwest along Route 397 to Route 146 at Altamont, west along Route 146 to Albany County Route 252, northwest along Route 252 to Schenectady County Route 131, north along Route 131 to Route 7, west along Route 7 to Route 10 at Richmondville, south on Route 10 to Route 23 at Stamford, west along Route 23 to Route 7 in Oneonta, southwest along Route 7 to Route 79 to Interstate Route 88 near Harpursville, west along Route 88 to Interstate Route 81, north along Route 81 to the point of beginning. West Central Goose Area: That area of New York State lying within a continuous line beginning at the point where the northerly extension of Route 269 (County Line Road on the NiagaraOrleans County boundary) meets the International boundary with Canada, south to the shore of Lake Ontario at the eastern boundary of Golden Hill State Park, south along the extension of Route 269 and Route 269 to Route 104 at Jeddo, west along Route 104 to Niagara County Route 271, south along Route 271 to Route 31E at Middleport, south along Route 31E to Route 31, west along Route 31 to Griswold Street, south along Griswold Street to Ditch Road, south along Ditch Road to Foot Road, south along Foot Road to the north bank of Tonawanda Creek, west along the north bank of Tonawanda Creek to Route 93, south along Route 93 to Route 5, east along Route 5 to Crittenden-Murrays Corners Road, south on CrittendenMurrays Corners Road to the NYS Thruway, east along the Thruway 90 to Route 98 (at Thruway Exit 48) in Batavia, south along Route 98 to Route 20, east along Route 20 to Route 19 in Pavilion Center, south along Route 19 to Route 63, southeast along Route 63 to Route 246, south along Route 246 to Route 39 in Perry, northeast along Route 39 to Route 20A, northeast along Route 20A to Route 20, east along Route 20 to Route 364 (near Canandaigua), south and east along Route 364 to Yates County Route 18 (Italy Valley Road), southwest along Route 18 to Yates County Route 34, east along Route 34 to Yates County Route 32, south along Route 32 to Steuben County Route 122, south along Route 122 to Route 53, south along Route 53 to Steuben County Route 74, east along Route 74 to Route 54A (near Pulteney), south along Route 54A to Steuben County Route 87, east E:\FR\FM\11DEP2.SGM 11DEP2 jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 238 / Friday, December 11, 2015 / Proposed Rules along Route 87 to Steuben County Route 96, east along Route 96 to Steuben County Route 114, east along Route 114 to Schuyler County Route 23, east and southeast along Route 23 to Schuyler County Route 28, southeast along Route 28 to Route 409 at Watkins Glen, south along Route 409 to Route 14, south along Route 14 to Route 224 at Montour Falls, east along Route 224 to Route 228 in Odessa, north along Route 228 to Route 79 in Mecklenburg, east along Route 79 to Route 366 in Ithaca, northeast along Route 366 to Route 13, northeast along Route 13 to Interstate Route 81 in Cortland, north along Route 81 to the north shore of the Salmon River to shore of Lake Ontario, extending generally northwest in a straight line to the nearest point of the International boundary with Canada, south and west along the International boundary to the point of beginning. Hudson Valley Goose Area: That area of New York State lying within a continuous line extending from Route 4 at the New York-Vermont boundary, west and south along Route 4 to Route 149 at Fort Ann, west on Route 149 to Route 9, south along Route 9 to Interstate Route 87 (at Exit 20 in Glens Falls), south along Route 87 to Route 29, west along Route 29 to Route 147 at Kimball Corners, south along Route 147 to Schenectady County Route 40 (West Glenville Road), west along Route 40 to Touareuna Road, south along Touareuna Road to Schenectady County Route 59, south along Route 59 to State Route 5, east along Route 5 to the Lock 9 bridge, southwest along the Lock 9 bridge to Route 5S, southeast along Route 5S to Schenectady County Route 58, southwest along Route 58 to the NYS Thruway, south along the Thruway to Route 7, southwest along Route 7 to Schenectady County Route 103, south along Route 103 to Route 406, east along Route 406 to Schenectady County Route 99 (Windy Hill Road), south along Route 99 to Dunnsville Road, south along Dunnsville Road to Route 397, southwest along Route 397 to Route 146 at Altamont, southeast along Route 146 to Main Street in Altamont, west along Main Street to Route 156, southeast along Route 156 to Albany County Route 307, southeast along Route 307 to Route 85A, southwest along Route 85A to Route 85, south along Route 85 to Route 443, southeast along Route 443 to Albany County Route 301 at Clarksville, southeast along Route 301 to Route 32, south along Route 32 to Route 23 at Cairo, west along Route 23 to Joseph Chadderdon Road, southeast along Joseph Chadderdon Road to Hearts Content Road (Greene County Route 31), VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:00 Dec 10, 2015 Jkt 238001 southeast along Route 31 to Route 32, south along Route 32 to Greene County Route 23A, east along Route 23A to Interstate Route 87 (the NYS Thruway), south along Route 87 to Route 28 (Exit 19) near Kingston, northwest on Route 28 to Route 209, southwest on Route 209 to the New York-Pennsylvania boundary, southeast along the New York-Pennsylvania boundary to the New York-New Jersey boundary, southeast along the New York-New Jersey boundary to Route 210 near Greenwood Lake, northeast along Route 210 to Orange County Route 5, northeast along Orange County Route 5 to Route 105 in the Village of Monroe, east and north along Route 105 to Route 32, northeast along Route 32 to Orange County Route 107 (Quaker Avenue), east along Route 107 to Route 9W, north along Route 9W to the south bank of Moodna Creek, southeast along the south bank of Moodna Creek to the New WindsorCornwall town boundary, northeast along the New Windsor-Cornwall town boundary to the Orange-Dutchess County boundary (middle of the Hudson River), north along the county boundary to Interstate Route 84, east along Route 84 to the Dutchess-Putnam County boundary, east along the county boundary to the New York-Connecticut boundary, north along the New YorkConnecticut boundary to the New YorkMassachusetts boundary, north along the New York-Massachusetts boundary to the New York-Vermont boundary, north to the point of beginning. Eastern Long Island Goose Area (NAP High Harvest Area): That area of Suffolk County lying east of a continuous line extending due south from the New York-Connecticut boundary to the northernmost end of Roanoke Avenue in the Town of Riverhead; then south on Roanoke Avenue (which becomes County Route 73) to State Route 25; then west on Route 25 to Peconic Avenue; then south on Peconic Avenue to County Route (CR) 104 (Riverleigh Avenue); then south on CR 104 to CR 31 (Old Riverhead Road); then south on CR 31 to Oak Street; then south on Oak Street to Potunk Lane; then west on Stevens Lane; then south on Jessup Avenue (in Westhampton Beach) to Dune Road (CR 89); then due south to international waters. Western Long Island Goose Area (RP Area): That area of Westchester County and its tidal waters southeast of Interstate Route 95 and that area of Nassau and Suffolk Counties lying west of a continuous line extending due south from the New York-Connecticut boundary to the northernmost end of Sound Road (just east of Wading River Marsh); then south on Sound Road to PO 00000 Frm 00027 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 77113 North Country Road; then west on North Country Road to Randall Road; then south on Randall Road to Route 25A, then west on Route 25A to the Sunken Meadow State Parkway; then south on the Sunken Meadow Parkway to the Sagtikos State Parkway; then south on the Sagtikos Parkway to the Robert Moses State Parkway; then south on the Robert Moses Parkway to its southernmost end; then due south to international waters. Central Long Island Goose Area (NAP Low Harvest Area): That area of Suffolk County lying between the Western and Eastern Long Island Goose Areas, as defined above. South Goose Area: The remainder of New York State, excluding New York City. Special Late Canada Goose Area: That area of the Central Long Island Goose Area lying north of State Route 25A and west of a continuous line extending northward from State Route 25A along Randall Road (near Shoreham) to North Country Road, then east to Sound Road and then north to Long Island Sound and then due north to the New YorkConnecticut boundary. North Carolina SJBP Hunt Zone: Includes the following Counties or portions of Counties: Anson, Cabarrus, Chatham, Davidson, Durham, Halifax (that portion east of NC 903), Montgomery (that portion west of NC 109), Northampton, Richmond (that portion south of NC 73 and west of U.S. 220 and north of U.S. 74), Rowan, Stanly, Union, and Wake. RP Hunt Zone: Includes the following Counties or portions of Counties: Alamance, Alleghany, Alexander, Ashe, Avery, Beaufort, Bertie (that portion south and west of a line formed by NC 45 at the Washington Co. line to U.S. 17 in Midway, U.S. 17 in Midway to U.S. 13 in Windsor, U.S. 13 in Windsor to the Hertford Co. line), Bladen, Brunswick, Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Carteret, Caswell, Catawba, Cherokee, Clay, Cleveland, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Davie, Duplin, Edgecombe, Forsyth, Franklin, Gaston, Gates, Graham, Granville, Greene, Guilford, Halifax (that portion west of NC 903), Harnett, Haywood, Henderson, Hertford, Hoke, Iredell, Jackson, Johnston, Jones, Lee, Lenoir, Lincoln, McDowell, Macon, Madison, Martin, Mecklenburg, Mitchell, Montgomery (that portion that is east of NC 109), Moore, Nash, New Hanover, Onslow, Orange, Pamlico, Pender, Person, Pitt, Polk, Randolph, Richmond (all of the county with exception of that portion that is south of NC 73 and west of U.S. 220 and north of U.S. 74), Robeson, Rockingham, E:\FR\FM\11DEP2.SGM 11DEP2 77114 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 238 / Friday, December 11, 2015 / Proposed Rules Rutherford, Sampson, Scotland, Stokes, Surry, Swain, Transylvania, Vance, Warren, Watauga, Wayne, Wilkes, Wilson, Yadkin, and Yancey. Northeast Hunt Unit: Includes the following Counties or portions of Counties: Bertie (that portion north and east of a line formed by NC 45 at the Washington County line to U.S. 17 in Midway, U.S. 17 in Midway to U.S. 13 in Windsor, U.S. 13 in Windsor to the Hertford Co. line), Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Dare, Hyde, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrrell, and Washington. Pennsylvania Resident Canada Goose Zone: All of Pennsylvania except for SJBP Zone and the area east of route SR 97 from the Maryland State Line to the intersection of SR 194, east of SR 194 to intersection of U.S. Route 30, south of U.S. Route 30 to SR 441, east of SR 441 to SR 743, east of SR 743 to intersection of I–81, east of I–81 to intersection of I–80, and south of I–80 to the New Jersey State line. SJBP Zone: The area north of I–80 and west of I–79 including in the city of Erie west of Bay Front Parkway to and including the Lake Erie Duck zone (Lake Erie, Presque Isle, and the area within 150 yards of the Lake Erie Shoreline). AP Zone: The area east of route SR 97 from Maryland State Line to the intersection of SR 194, east of SR 194 to intersection of U.S. Route 30, south of U.S. Route 30 to SR 441, east of SR 441 to SR 743, east of SR 743 to intersection of I–81, east of I–81 to intersection of I– 80, south of I–80 to New Jersey State line. Rhode Island Special Area for Canada Geese: Kent and Providence Counties and portions of the towns of Exeter and North Kingston within Washington County (see State regulations for detailed descriptions). jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS South Carolina Canada Goose Area: Statewide except for the following area: East of U.S. 301: That portion of Clarendon County bounded to the North by S–14–25, to the East by Hwy 260, and to the South by the markers delineating the channel of the Santee River. West of U.S. 301: That portion of Clarendon County bounded on the North by S–14–26 extending southward to that portion of Orangeburg County bordered by Hwy 6. Vermont Same zones as for ducks. VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:00 Dec 10, 2015 Jkt 238001 Virginia AP Zone: The area east and south of the following line—the Stafford County line from the Potomac River west to Interstate 95 at Fredericksburg, then south along Interstate 95 to Petersburg, then Route 460 (SE) to City of Suffolk, then south along Route 32 to the North Carolina line. SJBP Zone: The area to the west of the AP Zone boundary and east of the following line: The ‘‘Blue Ridge’’ (mountain spine) at the West VirginiaVirginia Border (Loudoun CountyClarke County line) south to Interstate 64 (the Blue Ridge line follows county borders along the western edge of Loudoun-Fauquier-Rappahannock– Madison-Greene-Albemarle and into Nelson Counties), then east along Interstate Rt. 64 to Route 15, then south along Rt. 15 to the North Carolina line. RP Zone: The remainder of the State west of the SJBP Zone. Mississippi Flyway Arkansas Northwest Zone: Baxter, Benton, Boone, Carroll, Conway, Crawford, Faulkner, Franklin, Johnson, Logan, Madison, Marion, Newton, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Searcy, Sebastian, Scott, Van Buren, Washington, and Yell Counties. Illinois Early Canada Goose Seasons North September Canada Goose Zone: That portion of the State north of a line extending west from the Indiana border along Interstate 80 to I–39, south along I–39 to Illinois Route 18, west along Illinois Route 18 to Illinois Route 29, south along Illinois Route 29 to Illinois Route 17, west along Illinois Route 17 to the Mississippi River, and due south across the Mississippi River to the Iowa border. Central September Canada Goose Zone: That portion of the State south of the North September Canada Goose Zone line to a line extending west from the Indiana border along I–70 to Illinois Route 4, south along Illinois Route 4 to Illinois Route 161, west along Illinois Route 161 to Illinois Route 158, south and west along Illinois Route 158 to Illinois Route 159, south along Illinois Route 159 to Illinois Route 3, south along Illinois Route 3 to St. Leo’s Road, south along St. Leo’s road to Modoc Road, west along Modoc Road to Modoc Ferry Road, southwest along Modoc Ferry Road to Levee Road, southeast along Levee Road to County Route 12 (Modoc Ferry entrance Road), south along County Route 12 to the Modoc Ferry route and southwest on the Modoc PO 00000 Frm 00028 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 Ferry route across the Mississippi River to the Missouri border. South September Canada Goose Zone: That portion of the State south and east of a line extending west from the Indiana border along Interstate 70, south along U.S. Highway 45, to Illinois Route 13, west along Illinois Route 13 to Greenbriar Road, north on Greenbriar Road to Sycamore Road, west on Sycamore Road to N. Reed Station Road, south on N. Reed Station Road to Illinois Route 13, west along Illinois Route 13 to Illinois Route 127, south along Illinois Route 127 to State Forest Road (1025 N), west along State Forest Road to Illinois Route 3, north along Illinois Route 3 to the south bank of the Big Muddy River, west along the south bank of the Big Muddy River to the Mississippi River, west across the Mississippi River to the Missouri border. South Central September Canada Goose Zone: The remainder of the State between the south border of the Central September Canada Goose Zone and the North border of the South September Canada Goose Zone Regular Seasons North Zone: That portion of the State north of a line extending west from the Indiana border along Interstate 80 to I– 39, south along I–39 to Illinois Route 18, west along Illinois Route 18 to Illinois Route 29, south along Illinois Route 29 to Illinois Route 17, west along Illinois Route 17 to the Mississippi River, and due south across the Mississippi River to the Iowa border. Central Zone: That portion of the State south of the North Goose Zone line to a line extending west from the Indiana border along I–70 to Illinois Route 4, south along Illinois Route 4 to Illinois Route 161, west along Illinois Route 161 to Illinois Route 158, south and west along Illinois Route 158 to Illinois Route 159, south along Illinois Route 159 to Illinois Route 3, south along Illinois Route 3 to St. Leo’s Road, south along St. Leo’s road to Modoc Road, west along Modoc Road to Modoc Ferry Road, southwest along Modoc Ferry Road to Levee Road, southeast along Levee Road to County Route 12 (Modoc Ferry entrance Road), south along County Route 12 to the Modoc Ferry route and southwest on the Modoc Ferry route across the Mississippi River to the Missouri border. South Zone: Same zone as for ducks. South Central Zone: Same zone as for ducks. Indiana Same zones as for ducks but in addition: E:\FR\FM\11DEP2.SGM 11DEP2 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 238 / Friday, December 11, 2015 / Proposed Rules Late Canada Goose Season Zone: That part of the State encompassed by the following Counties: Adams, Allen, Boone, Clay, De Kalb, Elkhart, Greene, Hamilton, Hancock, Hendricks, Huntington, Johnson, Kosciusko, Lagrange, La Porte, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Morgan, Noble, Parke, Shelby, Starke, Steuben, St. Joseph, Sullivan, Vermillion, Vigo, Wells, and Whitley. jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Iowa Early Canada Goose Seasons Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Goose Zone: Includes portions of Linn and Johnson Counties bounded as follows: Beginning at the intersection of the west border of Linn County and Linn County Road E2W; then south and east along County Road E2W to Highway 920; then north along Highway 920 to County Road E16; then east along County Road E16 to County Road W58; then south along County Road W58 to County Road E34; then east along County Road E34 to Highway 13; then south along Highway 13 to Highway 30; then east along Highway 30 to Highway 1; then south along Highway 1 to Morse Road in Johnson County; then east along Morse Road to Wapsi Avenue; then south along Wapsi Avenue to Lower West Branch Road; then west along Lower West Branch Road to Taft Avenue; then south along Taft Avenue to County Road F62; then west along County Road F62 to Kansas Avenue; then north along Kansas Avenue to Black Diamond Road; then west on Black Diamond Road to Jasper Avenue; then north along Jasper Avenue to Rohert Road; then west along Rohert Road to Ivy Avenue; then north along Ivy Avenue to 340th Street; then west along 340th Street to Half Moon Avenue; then north along Half Moon Avenue to Highway 6; then west along Highway 6 to Echo Avenue; then north along Echo Avenue to 250th Street; then east on 250th Street to Green Castle Avenue; then north along Green Castle Avenue to County Road F12; then west along County Road F12 to County Road W30; then north along County Road W30 to Highway 151; then north along the Linn-Benton County line to the point of beginning. Des Moines Goose Zone: Includes those portions of Polk, Warren, Madison and Dallas Counties bounded as follows: Beginning at the intersection of Northwest 158th Avenue and County Road R38 in Polk County; then south along R38 to Northwest 142nd Avenue; then east along Northwest 142nd Avenue to Northeast 126th Avenue; then east along Northeast 126th Avenue to Northeast 46th Street; then south along Northeast 46th Street to Highway VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:00 Dec 10, 2015 Jkt 238001 931; then east along Highway 931 to Northeast 80th Street; then south along Northeast 80th Street to Southeast 6th Avenue; then west along Southeast 6th Avenue to Highway 65; then south and west along Highway 65 to Highway 69 in Warren County; then south along Highway 69 to County Road G24; then west along County Road G24 to Highway 28; then southwest along Highway 28 to 43rd Avenue; then north along 43rd Avenue to Ford Street; then west along Ford Street to Filmore Street; then west along Filmore Street to 10th Avenue; then south along 10th Avenue to 155th Street in Madison County; then west along 155th Street to Cumming Road; then north along Cumming Road to Badger Creek Avenue; then north along Badger Creek Avenue to County Road F90 in Dallas County; then east along County Road F90 to County Road R22; then north along County Road R22 to Highway 44; then east along Highway 44 to County Road R30; then north along County Road R30 to County Road F31; then east along County Road F31 to Highway 17; then north along Highway 17 to Highway 415 in Polk County; then east along Highway 415 to Northwest 158th Avenue; then east along Northwest 158th Avenue to the point of beginning. Cedar Falls/Waterloo Goose Zone: Includes those portions of Black Hawk County bounded as follows: Beginning at the intersection of County Roads C66 and V49 in Black Hawk County, then south along County Road V49 to County Road D38, then west along County Road D38 to State Highway 21, then south along State Highway 21 to County Road D35, then west along County Road D35 to Grundy Road, then north along Grundy Road to County Road D19, then west along County Road D19 to Butler Road, then north along Butler Road to County Road C57, then north and east along County Road C57 to U.S. Highway 63, then south along U.S. Highway 63 to County Road C66, then east along County Road C66 to the point of beginning. Regular Seasons Same zones as for ducks. Kentucky Western Zone: That portion of the State west of a line beginning at the Tennessee State line at Fulton and extending north along the Purchase Parkway to Interstate Highway 24, east along I–24 to U.S. Highway 641, north along U.S. 641 to U.S. 60, northeast along U.S. 60 to the Henderson County line, then south, east, and northerly along the Henderson County line to the Indiana State line. PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 77115 Pennyroyal/Coalfield Zone: Butler, Daviess, Ohio, Simpson, and Warren Counties and all counties lying west to the boundary of the Western Goose Zone. Louisiana North Zone: That portion of the State north of the line from the Texas border at Hwy 190/12 east to Hwy 49, then south on Hwy 49 to I–10, then east on I–10 to I–12, then east on I–12 to 1–10, then east on I–10 to the Mississippi State line. South Zone: Remainder of the State. Michigan North Zone: Same as North duck zone. Middle Zone: Same as Middle duck zone. South Zone: Same as South duck zone. Tuscola/Huron Goose Management Unit (GMU): Those portions of Tuscola and Huron Counties bounded on the south by Michigan Highway 138 and Bay City Road, on the east by Colwood and Bay Port Roads, on the north by Kilmanagh Road and a line extending directly west off the end of Kilmanagh Road into Saginaw Bay to the west boundary, and on the west by the Tuscola-Bay County line and a line extending directly north off the end of the Tuscola-Bay County line into Saginaw Bay to the north boundary. Allegan County GMU: That area encompassed by a line beginning at the junction of 136th Avenue and Interstate Highway 196 in Lake Town Township and extending easterly along 136th Avenue to Michigan Highway 40, southerly along Michigan 40 through the city of Allegan to 108th Avenue in Trowbridge Township, westerly along 108th Avenue to 46th Street, northerly along 46th Street to 109th Avenue, westerly along 109th Avenue to I–196 in Casco Township, then northerly along I–196 to the point of beginning. Saginaw County GMU: That portion of Saginaw County bounded by Michigan Highway 46 on the north; Michigan 52 on the west; Michigan 57 on the south; and Michigan 13 on the east. Muskegon Wastewater GMU: That portion of Muskegon County within the boundaries of the Muskegon County wastewater system, east of the Muskegon State Game Area, in sections 5, 6, 7, 8, 17, 18, 19, 20, 29, 30, and 32, T10N R14W, and sections 1, 2, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 24, and 25, T10N R15W, as posted. Southern Michigan Late Season Canada Goose Zone: Same as the South Duck Zone excluding Tuscola/Huron E:\FR\FM\11DEP2.SGM 11DEP2 77116 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 238 / Friday, December 11, 2015 / Proposed Rules Goose Management Unit (GMU), Allegan County GMU, Saginaw County GMU, and Muskegon Wastewater GMU. Minnesota Early Canada Goose Seasons Northwest Goose Zone: That portion of the State encompassed by a line extending east from the North Dakota border along U.S. Highway 2 to State Trunk Highway (STH) 32, north along STH 32 to STH 92, east along STH 92 to County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 2 in Polk County, north along CSAH 2 to CSAH 27 in Pennington County, north along CSAH 27 to STH 1, east along STH 1 to CSAH 28 in Pennington County, north along CSAH 28 to CSAH 54 in Marshall County, north along CSAH 54 to CSAH 9 in Roseau County, north along CSAH 9 to STH 11, west along STH 11 to STH 310, and north along STH 310 to the Manitoba border. Intensive Harvest Zone: That portion of the State encompassed by a line extending east from the junction of US 2 and the North Dakota border, US 2 east to MN 32 N, MN 32 N to MN 92 S, MN 92 S to MN 200 E, MN 200 E to US 71 S, US 71 S to US 10 E, US 10 E to MN 101 S, MN 101 S to Interstate 94 E, Interstate 94 E to US 494 S, US 494 S to US 212 W, US 212 W to MN 23 S, MN 23 S to US 14 W, US 14 W to the South Dakota border, South Dakota Border north to the North Dakota border, North Dakota border north to US 2 E. Rest of State: Remainder of Minnesota. jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Regular Seasons Same zones as for ducks but in addition: Rochester Goose Zone: That part of the State within the following described boundary: Beginning at the intersection of State Trunk Highway (STH) 247 and County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 4, Wabasha County; thence along CSAH 4 to CSAH 10, Olmsted County; thence along CSAH 10 to CSAH 9, Olmsted County; thence along CSAH 9 to CSAH 22, Winona County; thence along CSAH 22 to STH 74; thence along STH 74 to STH 30; thence along STH 30 to CSAH 13, Dodge County; thence along CSAH 13 to U.S. Highway 14; thence along U.S. Highway 14 to STH 57; thence along STH 57 to CSAH 24, Dodge County; thence along CSAH 24 to CSAH 13, Olmsted County; thence along CSAH 13 to U.S. Highway 52; thence along U.S. Highway 52 to CSAH 12, Olmsted County; thence along CSAH 12 to STH 247; thence along STH 247 to the point of beginning. VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:00 Dec 10, 2015 Jkt 238001 Missouri Same zones as for ducks. Ohio Same zones as for ducks. Tennessee Northwest Goose Zone: Lake, Obion, and Weakley Counties and those portions of Gibson and Dyer Counties north of State Highways 20 and 104 and east of U.S. Highways 45 and 45W. Remainder of State: That portion of Tennessee outside of the Northwest Goose Zone. Early Canada Goose Seasons Early-Season Subzone A: That portion of the State encompassed by a line beginning at the intersection of U.S. Highway 141 and the Michigan border near Niagara, then south along U.S. 141 to State Highway 22, west and southwest along State 22 to U.S. 45, south along U.S. 45 to State 22, west and south along State 22 to State 110, south along State 110 to U.S. 10, south along U.S. 10 to State 49, south along State 49 to State 23, west along State 23 to State 73, south along State 73 to State 60, west along State 60 to State 23, south along State 23 to State 11, east along State 11 to State 78, then south along State 78 to the Illinois border. Early-Season Subzone B: The remainder of the State. Regular Seasons Same zones as for ducks but in addition: Horicon Zone: That portion of the State encompassed by a boundary beginning at the intersection of State 23 and State 73 and moves south along State 73 until the intersection of State 73 and State 60, then moves east along State 60 until the intersection of State 60 and State 83, and then moves north along State 83 until the intersection of State 83 and State 33 at which point it moves east until the intersection of State 33 and U.S. 45, then moves north along U.S. 45 until the intersection of U.S. 45 and State 23, at which point it moves west along State 23 until the intersection of State 23 and State 73. Central Flyway Colorado (Central Flyway Portion) Northern Front Range Area: All areas in Boulder, Larimer, and Weld Counties from the Continental Divide east along the Wyoming border to U.S. 85, south on U.S. 85 to the Adams County line, and all lands in Adams, Arapahoe, Broomfield, Clear Creek, Denver, Douglas, Gilpin, and Jefferson Counties. Frm 00030 Montana (Central Flyway Portion) Zone N: Same as Zone 1 for ducks. Zone S: Same as Zone 2 for ducks. Wisconsin PO 00000 North Park Area: Jackson County. South Park and San Luis Valley Area: All of Alamosa, Chaffee, Conejos, Costilla, Custer, Fremont, Lake, Park, Rio Grande, and Teller Counties, and those portions of Saguache, Mineral and Hinsdale Counties east of the Continental Divide. Remainder: Remainder of the Central Flyway portion of Colorado. Eastern Colorado Late Light Goose Area: That portion of the State east of Interstate Highway 25. Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 Nebraska Dark Geese Niobrara Unit: That area contained within and bounded by the intersection of the South Dakota State line and the eastern Cherry County line, south along the Cherry County line to the Niobrara River, east to the Norden Road, south on the Norden Road to U.S. Hwy 20, east along U.S. Hwy 20 to NE Hwy 14, north along NE Hwy 14 to NE Hwy 59 and County Road 872, west along County Road 872 to the Knox County Line, north along the Knox County Line to the South Dakota State line. Where the Niobrara River forms the boundary, both banks of the river are included in the Niobrara Unit. East Unit: That area north and east of U.S. 81 at the Kansas-Nebraska State line, north to NE Hwy 91, east to U.S. 275, south to U.S. 77, south to NE 91, east to U.S. 30, east to Nebraska-Iowa State line. Platte River Unit: That area north and west of U.S. 81 at the Kansas-Nebraska State line, north to NE Hwy 91, west along NE 91 to NE 11, north to the Holt County line, west along the northern border of Garfield, Loup, Blaine and Thomas Counties to the Hooker County line, south along the Thomas-Hooker County lines to the McPherson County line, east along the south border of Thomas County to the western line of Custer County, south along the CusterLogan County line to NE 92, west to U.S. 83, north to NE 92, west to NE 61, south along NE 61 to NE 92, west along NE 92 to U.S. Hwy 26, south along U.S. Hwy 26 to Keith County Line, south along Keith County Line to the Colorado State line. Panhandle Unit: That area north and west of Keith-Deuel County Line at the Nebraska-Colorado State line, north along the Keith County Line to U.S. Hwy 26, west to NE Hwy 92, east to NE Hwy 61, north along NE Hwy 61 to NE Hwy 2, west along NE 2 to the corner E:\FR\FM\11DEP2.SGM 11DEP2 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 238 / Friday, December 11, 2015 / Proposed Rules formed by Garden-Grant-Sheridan Counties, west along the north border of Garden, Morrill, and Scotts Bluff Counties to the intersection of the Interstate Canal, west to the Wyoming State line. North-Central Unit: The remainder of the State. Light Geese Rainwater Basin Light Goose Area: The area bounded by the junction of NE Hwy. 92 and NE Hwy. 15, south along NE Hwy. 15 to NE Hwy. 4, west along NE Hwy. 4 to U.S. Hwy. 34, west along U.S. Hwy. 34 to U.S. Hwy. 283, north along U.S. Hwy. 283 to U.S. Hwy. 30, east along U.S. Hwy. 30 to NE Hwy. 92, east along NE Hwy. 92 to the beginning. Remainder of State: The remainder portion of Nebraska. New Mexico (Central Flyway Portion) Dark Geese Middle Rio Grande Valley Unit: Sierra, Socorro, and Valencia Counties. Remainder: The remainder of the Central Flyway portion of New Mexico. North Dakota Missouri River Canada Goose Zone: The area within and bounded by a line starting where ND Hwy 6 crosses the South Dakota border; then north on ND Hwy 6 to I–94; then west on I–94 to ND Hwy 49; then north on ND Hwy 49 to ND Hwy 200; then north on Mercer County Rd. 21 to the section line between sections 8 and 9 (T146N– R87W); then north on that section line to the southern shoreline to Lake Sakakawea; then east along the southern shoreline (including Mallard Island) of Lake Sakakawea to U.S. Hwy 83; then south on U.S. Hwy 83 to ND Hwy 200; then east on ND Hwy 200 to ND Hwy 41; then south on ND Hwy 41 to U.S. Hwy 83; then south on U.S. Hwy 83 to I–94; then east on I–94 to U.S. Hwy 83; then south on U.S. Hwy 83 to the South Dakota border; then west along the South Dakota border to ND Hwy 6. Rest of State: Remainder of North Dakota. junction; that portion of Potter County east of U.S. Highway 83; that portion of Sully County east of U.S. Highway 83; portions of Hyde, Buffalo, Brule, and Charles Mix counties north and east of a line beginning at the Hughes-Hyde County line on State Highway 34, east to Lees Boulevard, southeast to State Highway 34, east 7 miles to 350th Avenue, south to Interstate 90 on 350th Avenue, south and east on State Highway 50 to Geddes, east on 285th Street to U.S. Highway 281, and north on U.S. Highway 281 to the Charles Mix-Douglas County boundary; that portion of Bon Homme County north of State Highway 50; McPherson, Edmunds, Kingsbury, Brookings, Lake, Moody, Miner, Faulk, Hand, Jerauld, Douglas, Hutchinson, Turner, Union, Clay, Yankton, Aurora, Beadle, Davison, Hanson, Sanborn, Spink, Brown, Harding, Butte, Lawrence, Meade, Oglala Lakota (formerly Shannon), Jackson, Mellette, Todd, Jones, Haakon, Corson, Ziebach, and McCook Counties; and those portions of Minnehaha and Lincoln counties outside of an area bounded by a line beginning at the junction of the South Dakota-Minnesota State line and Minnehaha County Highway 122 (254th Street) west to its junction with Minnehaha County Highway 149 (464th Avenue), south on Minnehaha County Highway 149 (464th Avenue) to Hartford, then south on Minnehaha County Highway 151 (463rd Avenue) to State Highway 42, east on State Highway 42 to State Highway 17, south on State Highway 17 to its junction with Lincoln County Highway 116 (Klondike Road), and east on Lincoln County Highway 116 (Klondike Road) to the South Dakota-Iowa State line, then north along the South DakotaIowa and South Dakota-Minnesota border to the junction of the South Dakota-Minnesota State line and Minnehaha County Highway 122 (254th Street). jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS South Dakota Regular Seasons Unit 1: Same as that for the September Canada Goose Season. Unit 2: Remainder of South Dakota. Unit 3: Bennett County. Early Canada Goose Seasons Special Early Canada Goose Unit: The Counties of Campbell, Marshall, Roberts, Day, Clark, Codington, Grant, Hamlin, Deuel, Walworth; that portion of Perkins County west of State Highway 75 and south of State Highway 20; that portion of Dewey County north of Bureau of Indian Affairs Road 8, Bureau of Indian Affairs Road 9, and the section of U.S. Highway 212 east of the Bureau of Indian Affairs Road 8 Texas Northeast Goose Zone: That portion of Texas lying east and north of a line beginning at the Texas-Oklahoma border at U.S. 81, then continuing south to Bowie and then southeasterly along U.S. 81 and U.S. 287 to I–35W and I–35 to the juncture with I–10 in San Antonio, then east on I–10 to the Texas-Louisiana border. Southeast Goose Zone: That portion of Texas lying east and south of a line VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:00 Dec 10, 2015 Jkt 238001 PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 77117 beginning at the International Toll Bridge at Laredo, then continuing north following I–35 to the juncture with I–10 in San Antonio, then easterly along I– 10 to the Texas-Louisiana border. West Goose Zone: The remainder of the State. Wyoming (Central Flyway Portion) Dark Geese Zone G1: Big Horn, Converse, Hot Springs, Natrona, Park, and Washakie Counties; and Fremont County excluding those portions south or west of the Continental Divide. Zone G1A: Goshen and Platte Counties. Zone G2: Campbell, Crook, Johnson, Niobrara, Sheridan, and Weston Counties. Zone G3: Albany and Laramie Counties; and that portion of Carbon County east of the Continental Divide. Pacific Flyway Arizona Same zones as for ducks. California Northeastern Zone: In that portion of California lying east and north of a line beginning at the intersection of Interstate 5 with the California-Oregon line; south along Interstate 5 to its junction with Walters Lane south of the town of Yreka; west along Walters Lane to its junction with Easy Street; south along Easy Street to the junction with Old Highway 99; south along Old Highway 99 to the point of intersection with Interstate 5 north of the town of Weed; south along Interstate 5 to its junction with Highway 89; east and south along Highway 89 to main street Greenville; north and east to its junction with North Valley Road; south to its junction of Diamond Mountain Road; north and east to its junction with North Arm Road; south and west to the junction of North Valley Road; south to the junction with Arlington Road (A22); west to the junction of Highway 89; south and west to the junction of Highway 70; east on Highway 70 to Highway 395; south and east on Highway 395 to the point of intersection with the California-Nevada State line; north along the California-Nevada State line to the junction of the CaliforniaNevada-Oregon State lines west along the California-Oregon State line to the point of origin. Colorado River Zone: Those portions of San Bernardino, Riverside, and Imperial Counties east of a line extending from the Nevada border south along U.S. 95 to Vidal Junction; south on a road known as ‘‘Aqueduct Road’’ E:\FR\FM\11DEP2.SGM 11DEP2 jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 77118 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 238 / Friday, December 11, 2015 / Proposed Rules in San Bernardino County through the town of Rice to the San BernardinoRiverside County line; south on a road known in Riverside County as the ‘‘Desert Center to Rice Road’’ to the town of Desert Center; east 31 miles on I–10 to the Wiley Well Road; south on this road to Wiley Well; southeast along the Army-Milpitas Road to the Blythe, Brawley, Davis Lake intersections; south on the Blythe-Brawley paved road to the Ogilby and Tumco Mine Road; south on this road to U.S. 80; east 7 miles on U.S. 80 to the Andrade-Algodones Road; south on this paved road to the Mexican border at Algodones, Mexico. Southern Zone: That portion of southern California (but excluding the Colorado River Zone) south and east of a line extending from the Pacific Ocean east along the Santa Maria River to CA 166 near the City of Santa Maria; east on CA 166 to CA 99; south on CA 99 to the crest of the Tehachapi Mountains at Tejon Pass; east and north along the crest of the Tehachapi Mountains to CA 178 at Walker Pass; east on CA 178 to U.S. 395 at the town of Inyokern; south on U.S. 395 to CA 58; east on CA 58 to I–15; east on I–15 to CA 127; north on CA 127 to the Nevada border. Imperial County Special Management Area: The area bounded by a line beginning at Highway 86 and the Navy Test Base Road; south on Highway 86 to the town of Westmoreland; continue through the town of Westmoreland to Route S26; east on Route S26 to Highway 115; north on Highway 115 to Weist Rd.; north on Weist Rd. to Flowing Wells Rd.; northeast on Flowing Wells Rd. to the Coachella Canal; northwest on the Coachella Canal to Drop 18; a straight line from Drop 18 to Frink Rd.; south on Frink Rd. to Highway 111; north on Highway 111 to Niland Marina Rd.; southwest on Niland Marina Rd. to the old Imperial County boat ramp and the water line of the Salton Sea; from the water line of the Salton Sea, a straight line across the Salton Sea to the Salinity Control Research Facility and the Navy Test Base Road; southwest on the Navy Test Base Road to the point of beginning. Balance of State Zone: The remainder of California not included in the Northeastern, Colorado River, and Southern Zones. North Coast Special Management Area: Del Norte and Humboldt Counties. Sacramento Valley Special Management Area: That area bounded by a line beginning at Willows south on I–5 to Hahn Road; easterly on Hahn Road and the Grimes-Arbuckle Road to Grimes; northerly on CA 45 to the junction with CA 162; northerly on CA 45/162 to Glenn; and westerly on CA VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:00 Dec 10, 2015 Jkt 238001 162 to the point of beginning in Willows. Colorado (Pacific Flyway Portion) Same zones as for ducks. Idaho Canada Geese and Brant Zone 1: All lands and waters within the Fort Hall Indian Reservation, including private in-holdings; Bannock County; Bingham County, except that portion within the Blackfoot Reservoir drainage; Caribou County within the Fort Hall Indian Reservation; and Power County east of State Highway 37 and State Highway 39. Zone 2: Adams, Benewah, Blaine, Bonner, Bonneville, Boundary, Butte, Camas, Clark, Clearwater, Custer, Franklin, Fremont, Idaho, Jefferson, Kootenai, Latah, Lemhi, Lewis, Madison, Nez Perce, Oneida, Shoshone, Teton, and Valley Counties; and Power County west of State Highway 37 and State Highway 39. Zone 3: Ada, Boise, Canyon, Cassia, Elmore, Gem, Gooding, Jerome, Lincoln, Minidoka, Owyhee, Payette, Twin Falls, and Washington Counties. Zone 4: Bear Lake County; Bingham County within the Blackfoot Reservoir drainage; and Caribou County, except that portion within the Fort Hall Indian Reservation. White-Fronted Geese Same zones as for ducks. Light Geese Zone 1: All lands and waters within the Fort Hall Indian Reservation, including private in-holdings; Bannock County; Bingham County east of the west bank of the Snake River, west of the McTucker boat ramp access road, and east of the American Falls Reservoir bluff, except that portion within the Blackfoot Reservoir drainage; Caribou County within the Fort Hall Indian Reservation; and Power County below the American Falls Reservoir bluff, and within the Fort Hall Indian Reservation. Zone 2: Bingham County west of the west bank of the Snake River, east of the McTucker boat ramp access road, and west of the American Falls Reservoir bluff; Power County, except below the American Falls Reservoir bluff and those lands and waters within the Fort Hall Indian Reservation. Zone 3: Ada, Boise, Canyon, Cassia, Elmore, Gem, Gooding, Jerome, Lincoln, Minidoka, Owyhee, Payette, Twin Falls, and Washington Counties. Zone 4: Adams, Bear Lake, Benewah, Blaine, Bonner, Bonneville, Boundary, Butte, Camas, Clark, Clearwater, Custer, Franklin, Fremont, Idaho, Jefferson, PO 00000 Frm 00032 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 Kootenai, Latah, Lemhi, Lewis, Madison, Nez Perce, Oneida, Shoshone, Teton, and Valley Counties; Caribou County, except the Fort Hall Indian Reservation; Bingham County within the Blackfoot Reservoir drainage. Montana (Pacific Flyway Portion) East of the Divide Zone: The Pacific Flyway portion of Montana located east of the Continental Divide. West of the Divide Zone: The Pacific Flyway portion of Montana located west of the Continental Divide. Nevada Same zones as for ducks. New Mexico (Pacific Flyway Portion) North Zone: The Pacific Flyway portion of New Mexico located north of I–40. South Zone: The Pacific Flyway portion of New Mexico located south of I–40. Oregon Northwest Permit Zone: Benton, Clackamas, Clatsop, Columbia, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Tillamook, Washington, and Yamhill Counties. Lower Columbia/N. Willamette Valley Management Area: Those portions of Clatsop, Columbia, Multnomah, and Washington Counties within the Northwest Special Permit Zone. Tillamook County Management Area: That portion of Tillamook County beginning at the point where Old Woods Rd crosses the south shores of Horn Creek, north on Old Woods Rd to Sand Lake Rd at Woods, north on Sand Lake Rd to the intersection with McPhillips Dr, due west (∼200 yards) from the intersection to the Pacific coastline, south on the Pacific coastline to Neskowin Creek, east along the north shores of Neskowin Creek and then Hawk Creek to Salem Ave, east on Salem Ave in Neskowin to Hawk Ave, east on Hawk Ave to Hwy 101, north on Hwy 101 to Resort Dr, north on Resort Dr to a point due west of the south shores of Horn Creek at its confluence with the Nestucca River, due east (∼80 yards) across the Nestucca River to the south shores of Horn Creek, east along the south shores of Horn Creek to the point of beginning. Southwest Zone: Those portions of Douglas, Coos, and Curry Counties east of Highway 101, and Josephine and Jackson Counties. South Coast Zone: Those portions of Douglas, Coos, and Curry Counties west of Highway 101. Eastern Zone: Baker, Crook, Deschutes, Gilliam, Grant, Hood River, E:\FR\FM\11DEP2.SGM 11DEP2 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 238 / Friday, December 11, 2015 / Proposed Rules Jefferson, Morrow, Sherman, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa, Wasco, and Wheeler Counties. Klamath County Zone: Klamath County. Harney and Lake County Zone: Harney and Lake Counties. Malheur County Zone: Malheur County. jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Utah Northern Zone: Boundary begins at the intersection of the eastern boundary of Public Shooting Grounds Waterfowl Management Area and SR–83 (Promontory Road); east along SR–83 to I–15; south on I–15 to the Perry access road; southwest along this road to the Bear River Bird Refuge boundary; west, north, and then east along the refuge boundary until it intersects the Public Shooting Grounds Waterfowl Management Area boundary; east and north along the Public Shooting Grounds Waterfowl Management Area boundary to SR–83. Wasatch Front Zone: Boundary begins at the Weber-Box Elder county line at I– 15; east along Weber county line to U.S.–89; south on U.S.–89 to I–84; east and south and along I–84 to I–80; south along I–80 to U.S.–189; south and west along U.S.–189 to the Utah County line; southeast and then west along this line to I–15; north on I–15 to U.S.–6; west on U.S.–6 to SR–36; north on SR–36 to I– 80; north along a line from this intersection to the southern tip of Promontory Point and Promontory Road; east and north along this road to the causeway separating Bear River Bay from Ogden Bay; east on this causeway to the southwest corner of Great Salt Lake Mineral Corporations (GSLMC) west impoundment; north and east along GSLMC’s west impoundment to the northwest corner of the impoundment; directly north from this point along an imaginary line to the southern boundary of Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge; east along this southern boundary to the Perry access road; northeast along this road to I–15; south along I–15 to the Weber-Box Elder county line. Washington County Zone: Washington County. Balance of State Zone: The remainder of Utah not included in the Northern, Wasatch Front, and Washington County Zones. Washington Area 1: Skagit, Island, and Snohomish Counties. Area 2A (Southwest Permit Zone): Clark, Cowlitz, and Wahkiakum Counties. VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:00 Dec 10, 2015 Jkt 238001 Area 2B (Southwest Permit Zone): Grays Harbor and Pacific Counties. Area 3: All areas west of the Pacific Crest Trail and west of the Big White Salmon River that are not included in Areas 1, 2A, and 2B. Area 4: Adams, Benton, Chelan, Douglas, Franklin, Grant, Kittitas, Lincoln, Okanogan, Spokane, and Walla Walla Counties. Area 5: All areas east of the Pacific Crest Trail and east of the Big White Salmon River that are not included in Area 4. Brant Pacific Flyway California Northern Zone: Del Norte, Humboldt, and Mendocino Counties. Balance of State Zone: The remainder of the State not included in the Northern Zone. Washington Puget Sound Zone: Skagit County. Coastal Zone: Pacific County. Swans Central Flyway South Dakota Aurora, Beadle, Brookings, Brown, Brule, Buffalo, Campbell, Clark, Codington, Davison, Day, Deuel, Edmunds, Faulk, Grant, Hamlin, Hand, Hanson, Hughes, Hyde, Jerauld, Kingsbury, Lake, Marshall, McCook, McPherson, Miner, Minnehaha, Moody, Potter, Roberts, Sanborn, Spink, Sully, and Walworth Counties. Pacific Flyway Montana (Pacific Flyway Portion) Open Area: Cascade, Chouteau, Hill, Liberty, and Toole Counties and those portions of Pondera and Teton Counties lying east of U.S. 287–89. Nevada Open Area: Churchill, Lyon, and Pershing Counties. Utah Open Area: Those portions of Box Elder, Weber, Davis, Salt Lake, and Toole Counties lying west of I–15, north of I–80, and south of a line beginning from the Forest Street exit to the Bear River National Wildlife Refuge boundary; then north and west along the Bear River National Wildlife Refuge boundary to the farthest west boundary of the Refuge; then west along a line to Promontory Road; then north on Promontory Road to the intersection of SR 83; then north on SR 83 to I–84; then north and west on I–84 to State Hwy 30; PO 00000 Frm 00033 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 77119 then west on State Hwy 30 to the Nevada-Utah State line; then south on the Nevada-Utah State line to I–80. Doves Alabama South Zone: Baldwin, Barbour, Coffee, Covington, Dale, Escambia, Geneva, Henry, Houston, and Mobile Counties. North Zone: Remainder of the State. Florida Northwest Zone: The Counties of Bay, Calhoun, Escambia, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Liberty, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, Walton, Washington, Leon (except that portion north of U.S. 27 and east of State Road 155), Jefferson (south of U.S. 27, west of State Road 59 and north of U.S. 98), and Wakulla (except that portion south of U.S. 98 and east of the St. Marks River). South Zone: Remainder of State. Louisiana North Zone: That portion of the State north of a line extending east from the Texas border along State Highway 12 to U.S. Highway 190, east along U.S. 190 to Interstate Highway 12, east along Interstate Highway 12 to Interstate Highway 10, then east along Interstate Highway 10 to the Mississippi border. South Zone: The remainder of the State. Mississippi North Zone: That portion of the State north and west of a line extending west from the Alabama State line along U.S. Highway 84 to its junction with State Highway 35, then south along State Highway 35 to the Louisiana State line. South Zone: The remainder of Mississippi. Texas North Zone: That portion of the State north of a line beginning at the International Bridge south of Fort Hancock; north along FM 1088 to TX 20; west along TX 20 to TX 148; north along TX 148 to I–10 at Fort Hancock; east along I–10 to I–20; northeast along I–20 to I–30 at Fort Worth; northeast along I– 30 to the Texas-Arkansas State line. South Zone: That portion of the State south and west of a line beginning at the International Bridge south of Del Rio, proceeding east on U.S. 90 to State Loop 1604 west of San Antonio; then south, east, and north along Loop 1604 to I–10 east of San Antonio; then east on I–10 to Orange, Texas. Special White-winged Dove Area in the South Zone: That portion of the State south and west of a line beginning at the International Toll Bridge in Del E:\FR\FM\11DEP2.SGM 11DEP2 77120 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 238 / Friday, December 11, 2015 / Proposed Rules Rio; then northeast along U.S. Highway 277 Spur to U.S. Highway 90 in Del Rio; then east along U.S. Highway 90 to State Loop 1604; then along Loop 1604 south and east to Interstate Highway 37; then south along Interstate Highway 37 to U.S. Highway 181 in Corpus Christi; then north and east along U.S. 181 to the Corpus Christi Ship Channel, then eastwards along the south shore of the Corpus Christi Ship Channel to the Gulf of Mexico. Central Zone: That portion of the State lying between the North and South Zones. Tennessee Oklahoma Hunt Zone: That portion of the State south of Interstate 40 and east of State Highway 56. Closed Zone: Remainder of the State. South Dakota Band-Tailed Pigeons Kansas California North Zone: Alpine, Butte, Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Tehama, and Trinity Counties. South Zone: The remainder of the State not included in the North Zone. That portion of the State west of a line beginning at the Oklahoma border, north on I–35 to Wichita, north on I–135 to Salina, and north on U.S. 81 to the Nebraska border. New Mexico North Zone: North of a line following U.S. 60 from the Arizona State line east to I–25 at Socorro and then south along I–25 from Socorro to the Texas State line. South Zone: The remainder of the State not included in the North Zone. Regular Season Open Area: The Central Flyway portion of the State except for that area south and west of Interstate 90, which is closed to sandhill crane hunting. Special Season Open Area: Carbon County. Washington Western Washington: The State of Washington excluding those portions lying east of the Pacific Crest Trail and east of the Big White Salmon River in Klickitat County. Regular-Season Open Area: Chaves, Curry, De Baca, Eddy, Lea, Quay, and Roosevelt Counties. Woodcock New Jersey North Zone: That portion of the State north of NJ 70. South Zone: The remainder of the State. Sandhill Cranes jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Mississippi Flyway Minnesota Northwest Goose Zone: That portion of the State encompassed by a line extending east from the North Dakota border along U.S. Highway 2 to State Trunk Highway (STH) 32, north along STH 32 to STH 92, east along STH 92 to County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 2 in Polk County, north along CSAH 2 to CSAH 27 in Pennington County, north along CSAH 27 to STH 1, east along STH 1 to CSAH 28 in Pennington County, north along CSAH 28 to CSAH 54 in Marshall County, north along CSAH 54 to CSAH 9 in Roseau County, north along CSAH 9 to STH 11, west along STH 11 to STH 310, and north along STH 310 to the Manitoba border. VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:00 Dec 10, 2015 Jkt 238001 Central Flyway The Central Flyway portion of the State except the San Luis Valley (Alamosa, Conejos, Costilla, Hinsdale, Mineral, Rio Grande, and Saguache Counties east of the Continental Divide) and North Park (Jackson County). Montana: New Mexico Special Season Open Areas Middle Rio Grande Valley Area: The Central Flyway portion of New Mexico in Socorro and Valencia Counties. Estancia Valley Area: Those portions of Santa Fe, Torrance, and Bernallilo Counties within an area bounded on the west by New Mexico Highway 55 beginning at Mountainair north to NM 337, north to NM 14, north to I–25; on the north by I–25 east to U.S. 285; on the east by U.S. 285 south to U.S. 60; and on the south by U.S. 60 from U.S. 285 west to NM 55 in Mountainair. Southwest Zone: Area bounded on the south by the New Mexico-Mexico border; on the west by the New MexicoArizona border north to Interstate 10; on the north by Interstate 10 east to U.S. 180, north to N.M. 26, east to N.M. 27, north to N.M. 152, and east to Interstate 25; on the east by Interstate 25 south to Interstate 10, west to the Luna County line, and south to the New MexicoMexico border. North Dakota Area 1: That portion of the State west of U.S. 281. Area 2: That portion of the State east of U.S. 281. Frm 00034 Fmt 4701 That portion of the State west of U.S. 281. Texas Colorado PO 00000 That portion of the State west of I–35. Sfmt 4702 Zone A: That portion of Texas lying west of a line beginning at the international toll bridge at Laredo, then northeast along U.S. Highway 81 to its junction with Interstate Highway 35 in Laredo, then north along Interstate Highway 35 to its junction with Interstate Highway 10 in San Antonio, then northwest along Interstate Highway 10 to its junction with U.S. Highway 83 at Junction, then north along U.S. Highway 83 to its junction with U.S. Highway 62, 16 miles north of Childress, then east along U.S. Highway 62 to the Texas-Oklahoma State line. Zone B: That portion of Texas lying within boundaries beginning at the junction of U.S. Highway 81 and the Texas-Oklahoma State line, then southeast along U.S. Highway 81 to its junction with U.S. Highway 287 in Montague County, then southeast along U.S. Highway 287 to its junction with Interstate Highway 35W in Fort Worth, then southwest along Interstate Highway 35 to its junction with Interstate Highway 10 in San Antonio, then northwest along Interstate Highway 10 to its junction with U.S. Highway 83 in the town of Junction, then north along U.S. Highway 83 to its junction with U.S. Highway 62, 16 miles north of Childress, then east along U.S. Highway 62 to the Texas-Oklahoma State line, then south along the Texas-Oklahoma State line to the south bank of the Red River, then eastward along the vegetation line on the south bank of the Red River to U.S. Highway 81. Zone C: The remainder of the State, except for the closed areas. Closed areas: (A) That portion of the State lying east and north of a line beginning at the junction of U.S. Highway 81 and the Texas-Oklahoma State line, then southeast along U.S. Highway 81 to its junction with U.S. Highway 287 in Montague County, then southeast along U.S. Highway 287 to its junction with I–35W in Fort Worth, then southwest along I–35 to its junction with U.S. Highway 290 East in Austin, then east along U.S. Highway 290 to its junction with Interstate Loop 610 in Harris County, then south and east along Interstate Loop 610 to its junction with Interstate Highway 45 in Houston, then south on Interstate Highway 45 to State Highway 342, then to the shore of the Gulf of Mexico, and then north and E:\FR\FM\11DEP2.SGM 11DEP2 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 238 / Friday, December 11, 2015 / Proposed Rules east along the shore of the Gulf of Mexico to the Texas-Louisiana State line. (B) That portion of the State lying within the boundaries of a line beginning at the Kleberg-Nueces County line and the shore of the Gulf of Mexico, then west along the County line to Park Road 22 in Nueces County, then north and west along Park Road 22 to its junction with State Highway 358 in Corpus Christi, then west and north along State Highway 358 to its junction with State Highway 286, then north along State Highway 286 to its junction with Interstate Highway 37, then east along Interstate Highway 37 to its junction with U.S. Highway 181, then north and west along U.S. Highway 181 to its junction with U.S. Highway 77 in Sinton, then north and east along U.S. Highway 77 to its junction with U.S. Highway 87 in Victoria, then south and east along U.S. Highway 87 to its junction with State Highway 35 at Port Lavaca, then north and east along State Highway 35 to the south end of the Lavaca Bay Causeway, then south and east along the shore of Lavaca Bay to its junction with the Port Lavaca Ship Channel, then south and east along the Lavaca Bay Ship Channel to the Gulf of Mexico, and then south and west along the shore of the Gulf of Mexico to the Kleberg-Nueces County line. Wyoming Regular Season Open Area Campbell, Converse, Crook, Goshen, Laramie, Niobrara, Platte, and Weston Counties. Special Season Open Areas Riverton-Boysen Unit: Portions of Fremont County. Park and Big Horn County Unit: All of Big Horn, Hot Springs, Johnson, Natrona, Park, Sheridan, and Washakie Counties. Pacific Flyway Arizona Special Season Area: Game Management Units 28, 30A, 30B, 31, and 32. jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Idaho Area 1: All of Bear Lake County and all of Caribou County except that portion lying within the Grays Lake Basin. Area 2: All of Teton County except that portion lying west of State Highway 33 and south of Packsaddle Road (West 400 North) and north of the North Cedron Road (West 600 South) and east of the west bank of the Teton River. VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:00 Dec 10, 2015 Jkt 238001 Area 3: All of Fremont County except the Chester Wetlands Wildlife Management Area. Area 4: All of Jefferson County. Area 5: All of Bannock County east of Interstate-15 and south of U.S. Highway 30; and all of Franklin County. Montana Zone 1 (Warm Springs Portion of Deer Lodge County): Those portions of Deer Lodge County lying within the following described boundary: beginning at the intersection of I–90 and Highway 273, then westerly along Highway 273 to the junction of Highway 1, then southeast along said highway to Highway 275 at Opportunity, then east along said highway to East Side County road, then north along said road to Perkins Lake, then west on said lane to I–90, then north on said interstate to the junction of Highway 273, the point of beginning. Except for sections 13 and 24, T5N, R10W; and Warm Springs Pond number 3. Zone 2 (Ovando-Helmville Area): That portion of the Pacific Flyway, located in Powell County lying within the following described boundary: beginning at the junction of State Routes 141 and 200, then west along Route 200 to its intersection with the Blackfoot River at Russell Gates Fishing Access Site (Powell-Missoula County line), then southeast along said river to its intersection with the Ovando-Helmville Road (County Road 104) at Cedar Meadows Fishing Access Site, then south and east along said road to its junction with State Route 141, then north along said route to its junction with State Route 200, the point of beginning. Zone 3 (Dillon/Twin Bridges/ Cardwell Areas): That portion of Beaverhead, Madison, and Jefferson counties lying within the following described boundaries: Beginning at Dillon, then northerly along US Hwy 91 to its intersection with the Big Hole River at Brown’s Bridge north of Glen, then southeasterly and northeasterly along the Big Hole River to High Road, then east along High Road to State Highway 41, then east along said highway to the Beaverhead River, then north along said river to the Jefferson River and north along the Jefferson River to the Ironrod Bridge, then northeasterly along State Highway 41 to the junction with State Highway 55, then northeasterly along said highway to the junction with I–90, then east along I–90 to Cardwell and Route 359 then south along Route 359 to the Parrot Hill/Cedar Hill Road then southwesterly along said road and the Cemetery Hill Road to the Parrot Ditch road to the PO 00000 Frm 00035 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4702 77121 Point of Rocks Road to Carney Lane to the Bench Road to the Waterloo Road and Bayers Lanes, to State Highway 41, then east along State Highway 41 to the Beaverhead River, then south along the Beaverhead River to the mouth of the Ruby River, then southeasterly along the Ruby River to the East Bench Road, then southwesterly along the East Bench Road to the East Bench Canal, then southwesterly along said canal to the Sweetwater Road, then west along Sweetwater Road to Dillon, the point of beginning, plus the remainder of Madison County and all of Gallatin County. Zone 4 (Broadwater County): Broadwater County. Utah Cache County: Cache County. East Box Elder County: That portion of Box Elder County beginning on the Utah-Idaho State line at the Box ElderCache County line; west on the State line to the Pocatello Valley County Road; south on the Pocatello Valley County Road to I–15; southeast on I–15 to SR–83; south on SR–83 to Lamp Junction; west and south on the Promontory Point County Road to the tip of Promontory Point; south from Promontory Point to the Box ElderWeber County line; east on the Box Elder-Weber County line to the Box Elder-Cache County line; north on the Box Elder-Cache County line to the Utah-Idaho State line. Rich County: Rich County. Uintah County: Uintah County. Wyoming Area 1 (Bear River): All of the Bear River and Ham’s Fork River drainages in Lincoln County. Area 2 (Salt River Area): All of the Salt River drainage in Lincoln County south of the McCoy Creek Road. Area 3 (Eden Valley Area): All lands within the Bureau of Reclamation’s Eden Project in Sweetwater County. Area 5 (Uintah County Area): Uinta County. All Migratory Game Birds in Alaska North Zone: State Game Management Units 11–13 and 17–26. Gulf Coast Zone: State Game Management Units 5–7, 9, 14–16, and 10 (Unimak Island only). Southeast Zone: State Game Management Units 1–4. Pribilof and Aleutian Islands Zone: State Game Management Unit 10 (except Unimak Island). Kodiak Zone: State Game Management Unit 8. E:\FR\FM\11DEP2.SGM 11DEP2 77122 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 238 / Friday, December 11, 2015 / Proposed Rules All Migratory Game Birds in the Virgin Islands Ruth Cay Closure Area: The island of Ruth Cay, just south of St. Croix. jstallworth on DSK7TPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS All Migratory Game Birds in Puerto Rico Municipality of Culebra Closure Area: All of the municipality of Culebra. Desecheo Island Closure Area: All of Desecheo Island. Mona Island Closure Area: All of Mona Island. El Verde Closure Area: Those areas of the municipalities of Rio Grande and Loiza delineated as follows: (1) All lands between Routes 956 on the west and 186 on the east, from Route 3 on the VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:00 Dec 10, 2015 Jkt 238001 north to the juncture of Routes 956 and 186 (Km 13.2) in the south; (2) all lands between Routes 186 and 966 from the juncture of 186 and 966 on the north, to the Caribbean National Forest Boundary on the south; (3) all lands lying west of Route 186 for 1 kilometer from the juncture of Routes 186 and 956 south to Km 6 on Route 186; (4) all lands within Km 14 and Km 6 on the west and the Caribbean National Forest Boundary on the east; and (5) all lands within the Caribbean National Forest Boundary whether private or public. Cidra Municipality and adjacent areas: All of Cidra Municipality and portions of Aguas Buenas, Caguas, Cayey, and Comerio Municipalities as PO 00000 Frm 00036 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 9990 encompassed within the following boundary: beginning on Highway 172 as it leaves the municipality of Cidra on the west edge, north to Highway 156, east on Highway 156 to Highway 1, south on Highway 1 to Highway 765, south on Highway 765 to Highway 763, south on Highway 763 to the Rio Guavate, west along Rio Guavate to Highway 1, southwest on Highway 1 to Highway 14, west on Highway 14 to Highway 729, north on Highway 729 to Cidra Municipality boundary to the point of the beginning. [FR Doc. 2015–31169 Filed 12–10–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P E:\FR\FM\11DEP2.SGM 11DEP2

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 238 (Friday, December 11, 2015)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 77087-77122]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-31169]



[[Page 77087]]

Vol. 80

Friday,

No. 238

December 11, 2015

Part II





Department of the Interior





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 Fish and Wildlife Service





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50 CFR Part 20





 Migratory Bird Hunting; Proposed Frameworks for Migratory Bird Hunting 
Regulations; Proposed Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 80 , No. 238 / Friday, December 11, 2015 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 77088]]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 20

[Docket No. FWS-HQ-MB-2015-0034; FF09M21200-167-FXMB1231099BPP0]
RIN 1018-BA70


Migratory Bird Hunting; Proposed Frameworks for Migratory Bird 
Hunting Regulations

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; supplemental.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (hereinafter Service or we) 
is proposing to establish the 2016-17 hunting regulations for certain 
migratory game birds. We annually prescribe frameworks, or outer 
limits, for dates and times when hunting may occur and the number of 
birds that may be taken and possessed in hunting seasons. These 
frameworks are necessary to allow State selections of seasons and 
limits and to allow recreational harvest at levels compatible with 
population and habitat conditions.

DATES: You must submit comments on the proposed migratory bird hunting 
frameworks by January 11, 2016.

ADDRESSES: Comments: 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 on Docket No. FWS-HQ-
MB-2015-0034.
     U.S. mail or hand delivery: Public Comments Processing, 
Attn: FWS-HQ-MB-2015-0034; Division of Policy, Performance, and 
Management Programs; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; MS: BPHC; 5275 
Leesburg Pike; Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.
    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 Review of Public Comments and Flyway Council 
Recommendations section, below, for more information).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ron W. Kokel, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Department of the Interior, MS: MB, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls 
Church, VA 22041-3803; (703) 358-1967.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: As part of DOI's retrospective regulatory 
review, we developed a schedule for migratory game bird hunting 
regulations that is more efficient and will provide dates much earlier 
than was possible under the old process. This will facilitate planning 
for the States and all parties interested in migratory bird hunting. 
Beginning with the 2016-17 hunting season, we are using a new schedule 
for establishing our annual migratory game bird hunting regulations. We 
will combine the current early- and late-season regulatory actions into 
a single process, based on predictions derived from long-term 
biological information and harvest strategies, to establish migratory 
bird hunting seasons much earlier than the system we have used for many 
years. Under the new process, we will develop proposed hunting season 
frameworks for a given year in the fall of the prior year. We will 
finalize those frameworks a few months later, thereby enabling the 
State agencies to select and publish their season dates in early 
summer.

Regulations Schedule for 2016

    On August 6, 2015, we published in the Federal Register (80 FR 
47388) a proposal to amend 50 CFR part 20. The proposal provided a 
background and overview of the migratory bird hunting regulations 
process, and addressed the establishment of seasons, limits, and other 
regulations for hunting migratory game birds under Sec. Sec.  20.101 
through 20.107, 20.109, and 20.110 of subpart K. Major steps in the 
2016-17 regulatory cycle relating to open public meetings and Federal 
Register notifications were also identified in the August 6, 2015, 
proposed rule. Further, we explained that all sections of subsequent 
documents outlining hunting frameworks and guidelines were organized 
under numbered headings. Those headings are:

1. Ducks
    A. General Harvest Strategy
    B. Regulatory Alternatives
    C. Zones and Split Seasons
    D. Special Seasons/Species Management
    i. September Teal Seasons
    ii. September Teal/Wood Duck Seasons
    iii. Black ducks
    iv. Canvasbacks
    v. Pintails
    vi. Scaup
    vii. Mottled ducks
    viii. Wood ducks
    ix. Youth Hunt
    x. Mallard Management Units
    xi. Other
2. Sea Ducks
3. Mergansers
4. Canada Geese
    A. Special Seasons
    B. Regular Seasons
    C. Special Late Seasons
5. White-fronted Geese
6. Brant
7. Snow and Ross's (Light) Geese
8. Swans
9. Sandhill Cranes
10. Coots
11. Moorhens and Gallinules
12. Rails
13. Snipe
14. Woodcock
15. Band-tailed Pigeons
16. Doves
17. Alaska
18. Hawaii
19. Puerto Rico
20. Virgin Islands
21. Falconry
22. Other

    Subsequent documents will refer only to numbered items requiring 
attention. Therefore, it is important to note that we will omit those 
items requiring no attention, and remaining numbered items will be 
discontinuous and appear incomplete.
    The August 6 proposed rule also provided detailed information on 
the proposed 2016-17 regulatory schedule and announced the Service 
Regulations Committee (SRC) and Flyway Council meetings.
    On October 20-21, 2015, we held open meetings with the Flyway 
Council Consultants, at which the participants reviewed information on 
the current status of migratory game birds and developed 
recommendations for the 2016-17 regulations for these species.
    This document deals specifically with proposed frameworks for the 
migratory bird hunting regulations. It will lead to final frameworks 
from which States may select season dates, shooting hours, areas, and 
limits.
    We have considered all pertinent comments received through October 
23, 2015, on the August 6, 2015, proposed rulemaking document in 
developing this document. In addition, new proposals for certain 
regulations are provided for public comment. The comment period is 
specified above under DATES. We will publish final regulatory 
frameworks for migratory game bird hunting in the Federal Register on 
or around February 28, 2016.

Population Status and Harvest

    The following paragraphs provide information on the status and 
harvest of migratory game birds excerpted from various reports. Due to 
the overlapping nature this first year of the new regulatory process 
for establishing the annual migratory game bird hunting regulations, 
most all of this information was previously reported in the July 21, 
2015, and August 25, 2015, proposed rules for the 2015-16 migratory 
game bird hunting seasons (80 FR 43266 and 80 FR 51658). However, as an 
aid to the reader, we are providing it again here. We are also 
providing updated status information for the Mid-Continent

[[Page 77089]]

Population of sandhill cranes from the March, 2015 surveys.
    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://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/NewsPublicationsReports.html.

Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey

    Federal, provincial, and State agencies conduct surveys each spring 
to estimate the size of breeding populations and to evaluate habitat 
conditions. 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, western Canada, and the north 
central 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.
    Despite an early spring over most of the survey area, habitat 
conditions during the 2015 Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat 
Survey (WBPHS) were similar to or poorer than last year. With the 
exception of portions of southern Saskatchewan and central latitudes of 
eastern Canada, in many areas the decline in habitat conditions was due 
to average to below-average annual precipitation. The total pond 
estimate (Prairie Canada and United States combined) was 6.3  0.2 million, which was 12 percent below the 2014 estimate of 7.2 
 0.2 million but 21 percent above the long-term average of 
5.2  0.03 million. The 2015 estimate of ponds in Prairie 
Canada was 4.2  0.1 million. This estimate was 10 percent 
below the 2014 estimate of 4.6  0.2 million but 19 percent 
above the long-term average (3.5  0.02 million). The 2015 
pond estimate for the north central United States was 2.2  
0.09 million, which was 16 percent below the 2014 estimate of 2.6 
 0.1 million and 28 percent above the long-term average 
(1.7  0.02 million).
    Additional details of the 2015 Survey were provided in the July 21, 
2015, Federal Register and are available from our Web site at http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds.

Breeding Population Status

    In the traditional survey area, which includes strata 1-18, 20-50, 
and 75-77, the total duck population estimate (excluding scoters 
[Melanitta spp.], eiders [Somateria spp. and Polysticta stelleri], 
long-tailed ducks [Clangula hyemalis], mergansers [Mergus spp. and 
Lophodytes cucullatus], and wood ducks [Aix sponsa]) was 49.5  0.8 [SE] million birds. This estimate is similar to the 2014 
estimate of 49.2  0.8 million, and is 43 percent higher 
than the long-term average (1955-2014). This year also marks the 
highest estimates in the time series for mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) 
and green-winged teal (A. crecca). Estimated mallard abundance was 11.6 
 0.4 million, which was similar to the 2014 estimate of 
10.9  0.3 million, and 51 percent above the long-term 
average of 7.7  0.04 million. Estimated abundance of 
gadwall (A. strepera; 3.8  0.2 million) and American wigeon 
(A. americana; 3.0  0.2 million) were similar to last 
year's estimates, and were 100 percent and 17 percent above their long-
term averages of 1.9  0.02 million and 2.6  
0.02 million, respectively. The estimated abundance of green-winged 
teal was 4.1  0.3 million, which was 19 percent above the 
2014 estimate of 3.4  0.2 million and 98 percent above the 
long-term average (2.1  0.02 million). Estimated blue-
winged teal (A. discors; 8.5  0.4 million) abundance was 
similar to the 2014 estimate, and 73 percent above the long-term 
average of 4.9  0.04 million.
Estimated Abundance of Northern Shovelers
    (A. clypeata; 4.4  0.2 million) was 17 percent below 
the 2014 estimate but 75 percent above the long-term average of 2.5 
 0.02 million. Northern pintail abundance (A. acuta; 3.0 
 0.2 million) was similar to the 2014 estimate and 24 
percent below the long-term average of 4.0  0.04 million. 
Abundance estimates for redheads (Aythya americana; 1.2  
0.1 million) and canvasbacks (A. valisineria; 0.8  0.06 
million) were similar to their 2014 estimates and were 71 percent and 
30 percent above their long-term averages of 0.7  0.01 
million and 0.6  0.01 million, respectively. Estimated 
abundance of scaup (A. affinis and A. marila combined; 4.4  
0.3 million) was similar to the 2014 estimate and 13 percent below the 
long-term average of 5.0  0.05 million.
    The eastern survey area was restratified in 2005, and is now 
composed of strata 51-72. In the eastern survey area, estimated 
abundance of American black ducks (Anas rubripes) was 0.5  
.04 million, which was 11 percent below last year's estimate and 13 
percent below the 1990-2014 average. The estimated abundance of 
mallards (0.4  0.1 million) and mergansers (0.4  0.04 million) were similar to the 2014 estimates and their 1990-
2014 averages. Abundance estimates of green-winged teal (0.2  0.04 million) and goldeneyes (common and Barrow's [Bucephala 
clangula and B. islandica], 0.4  0.4 million) were similar 
to their 2014 estimates, and were 14 percent and 15 percent below their 
1990-2014 averages of 0.3  0.04 million and 0.4  0.07 million, respectively. The abundance estimate of ring-
necked ducks (Aythya collaris, 0.5  0.07 million) was 
similar to the 2014 estimate and the 1990-2014 average.

Status of Geese and Swans

    We provide information on the population status and productivity of 
North American Canada geese (Branta canadensis), brant (B. bernicla), 
snow geese (Chen caerulescens), Ross's geese (C. rossii), emperor geese 
(C. canagica), white-fronted geese (Anser albifrons), and tundra swans 
(Cygnus columbianus). Production of arctic-nesting geese depends 
heavily upon the timing of snow and ice melt, and spring and early-
summer temperatures.
    In 2015, conditions in the Arctic and boreal areas important for 
geese were variable. Compared to last year, snow and ice conditions 
were less extensive in the western Arctic, more extensive in the 
central Arctic, and similar in the eastern Arctic. Breeding conditions 
were good on Bylot Island in the eastern Arctic, and an average to 
above-average fall flight was expected for greater snow geese. 
Biologists reported later-than-average spring phenology at Southampton 
Island, the northern and western coastal areas of the Hudson Bay, and 
the southern portion of Baffin Island. Atlantic brant have had 3 years 
of low production, and below-average production was expected again this 
year. Habitat conditions across Atlantic Canada were generally good, 
except for a more persistent spring snow pack and ice coverage in 
higher elevation areas in Newfoundland and Labrador. Nesting conditions 
were below average on the Ungava Peninsula, and lakes and ponds along 
the eastern Hudson Bay coast remained frozen in mid-June. North 
Atlantic Population and Atlantic Population Canada goose numbers were 
similar to recent averages, and average fall flights were expected. Of 
the Canada goose populations that migrate through the Mississippi 
Flyway, Eastern Prairie Population numbers were similar to last year, 
and average to above-average production was expected; Southern James 
Bay Population and Mississippi Valley Population breeding numbers were 
down relative to recent years, with

[[Page 77090]]

average and below-average fall flights predicted, respectively. Ice 
breakup and nesting phenology in the Queen Maud Gulf region of the 
central Arctic were similar to long-term averages, and nesting 
conditions and habitat were good to above average in the western Arctic 
and Northwest Territories. Thus, average to above-average production 
was expected for Ross's, mid-continent snow, mid-continent white-
fronted, and lesser and Central Flyway Arctic nesting Canada geese.
    Alaska experienced an early spring and mild breakup of ice with 
minimal flooding on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta and other interior areas 
of the State. With less persistent ice and snow cover and favorable 
breeding conditions in the western Arctic and Alaska, the outlook for 
goose and swan populations nesting in these areas was good to 
excellent. With the exception of cackling Canada geese, indices for 
geese and swans that breed on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta were lower this 
year compared to last year, though later survey timing relative to the 
early spring conditions may have contributed to lower counts. Record 
high counts were observed this year for the Wrangel Island Population 
of lesser snow geese and dusky Canada geese, and the spring index for 
emperor geese was the highest recorded in over three decades.
    Across much of the Canadian and U.S. prairies, spring phenology was 
early. Habitat conditions were generally rated good to fair on the 
Canadian prairies and fair to poor on the U.S. prairies. Southern and 
central portions of the western United States were exceptionally dry, 
and habitat conditions there were generally poor. However, production 
of temperate-nesting Canada geese over most of their North American 
range is expected to be average, and similar to previous years.
    Of the 28 goose and swan populations included in the report, 6 had 
significant positive trends during the most recent 10-year period (P < 
0.05): Western Prairie and Great Plains Population, dusky, and Aleutian 
Canada geese; and mid-continent, Western Central Flyway, and Western 
Arctic and Wrangel Island light geese. Three populations, Atlantic 
brant, and the Atlantic and Southern James Bay Populations of Canada 
geese, showed a statistically significant negative 10-year trend. Of 
the 13 populations for which primary indices included variance 
estimates, Ross's geese statistically significantly increased and 2 
populations statistically significantly decreased (Southern James Bay 
Population and Mississippi Valley Population Canada geese) in 2015 
compared to 2014. Of the 15 populations for which primary indices did 
not include variance estimates, 8 populations were higher than last 
year, and 7 populations were lower.

Waterfowl Harvest and Hunter Activity

    National surveys of migratory bird hunters were conducted during 
the 2013-14 and 2014-15 hunting seasons. More than 1 million waterfowl 
hunters harvested 13,716,400 ( 6 percent) ducks and 
3,360,400 ( 6 percent) geese in 2013, and more than 1 
million waterfowl hunters harvested 13,267,800 ( 4 percent) 
ducks and 3,321,100 ( 11 percent) geese in 2014. Mallard, 
green-winged teal, gadwall, blue-winged/cinnamon teal, and wood duck 
(Aix sponsa) were the five most-harvested duck species in the United 
States, and Canada goose was the predominant goose species in the goose 
harvest.

Sandhill Cranes

    The annual indices to abundance of the Mid-Continent Population 
(MCP) of sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis) have been relatively stable 
since 1982, but have shown more inter-annual variability in recent 
years. The spring 2015 estimate of sandhill cranes in the Central 
Platte River Valley (CPRV), Nebraska, was 452,616 birds. This estimate 
is 31 percent lower than the estimate from March 2014. The 3-year 
average for photo-corrected counts (which are more accurate than ocular 
estimates because they account for birds present but not seen by aerial 
crews) for 2013-15 was 623,812, which is above 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 2014-15. An estimated 7,825 Central Flyway hunters 
participated in these seasons, which was 24 percent lower than the 
number that participated in the previous season. Hunters harvested 
15,776 MCP cranes in the U.S. portion of the Central Flyway during the 
2014-15 seasons, which was 27 percent lower than the harvest for the 
previous year but 6 percent higher than the long-term average. The 
retrieved harvest of MCP cranes in hunt areas outside of the Central 
Flyway (Arizona, Pacific Flyway portion of New Mexico, Minnesota, 
Alaska, Canada, and Mexico combined) was 13,221 during 2014-15. The 
preliminary estimate for the North American MCP sport harvest, 
including crippling losses, was 32,666 birds, which was a 19 percent 
decrease from the previous year's estimate. The long-term (1982-2012) 
trends for the MCP indicate that harvest has been increasing at a 
higher rate than population growth.
    The fall 2014 pre-migration survey for the Rocky Mountain 
Population (RMP) resulted in a count of 19,668 cranes. The 3-year 
average was 18,482 sandhill cranes, which is within the established 
population objective of 17,000-21,000 for the RMP. Hunting seasons 
during 2014-15 in portions of Arizona, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, 
Utah, and Wyoming resulted in a harvest of 624 RMP cranes, an 8 percent 
decrease from the previous year's harvest.
    The Eastern Population (EP) sandhill crane fall survey index 
(83,479) increased by 30 percent in 2014, and a combined total of 401 
cranes were harvested in Kentucky's fourth hunting season and 
Tennessee's second season.

Woodcock

    The American woodcock (Scolopax minor) is managed as two management 
regions, the Eastern and the Central. Singing Ground and Wing-
collection Surveys are conducted to assess population status. The 
Singing Ground Survey is intended to measure long-term changes in 
woodcock population levels.
    Singing Ground Survey data for 2015 indicate that the number of 
singing male woodcock per route in the Eastern and Central Management 
Regions was unchanged from 2014. There was a statistically significant, 
declining 10-year trend in woodcock heard for the Eastern Management 
Region during 2005-15, while the 10-year trend in the Central 
Management Region was not significant. This marks the second year in a 
row that the 10-year trend in the Eastern Management Region has shown a 
decline. Both management regions have a long-term (1968-2015) declining 
trend (-1.1 percent per year in the Eastern Management Region and -0.7 
percent per year in the Central Management Region).
    The Wing-collection Survey provides an index to recruitment. Wing-
collection Survey data indicate that the 2014 recruitment index for the 
U.S. portion of the Eastern Region (1.49 immatures per adult female) 
was 6.9 percent less than the 2013 index, and 8.9 percent less than the 
long-term (1963-2013) average. The recruitment index for the U.S. 
portion of the Central Region (1.39 immatures per adult female) was 9.7 
percent less than the 2013 index and 10.6 percent less than the long-
term (1963-2013) average.
    During the 2014-15 seasons, hunters in the Eastern Region harvested 
58,600 birds, which was 6.2 percent below the number for the previous 
season and 31.4 percent below the long-term (1999-2013) average. In the 
Central Region, 141,500 woodcock were harvested, 21.4

[[Page 77091]]

percent less than in 2013 and 36.5 percent less than the long-term 
average.

Band-Tailed Pigeons

    Two subspecies of band-tailed pigeon (Columba fasciata) occur north 
of Mexico, and are managed as two separate populations: Interior and 
Pacific Coast. Information on the abundance and harvest of band-tailed 
pigeons is collected annually in the United States and British 
Columbia. Abundance information comes from the Breeding Bird Survey 
(BBS) and the Mineral Site Survey (MSS, specific to the Pacific Coast 
Population). Harvest and hunter participation are estimated from the 
Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP).
    The BBS provided evidence that the abundance of Pacific Coast band-
tailed pigeons decreased (-1.8 percent per year) over the long term 
(1968-2014). No trends in abundance were evident during the recent 10- 
and 5-year periods for both the BBS and MSS. Harvest estimates indicate 
that 2,900 active hunters took 12,000 pigeons and spent 8,800 days 
afield in 2014. Composition of harvest was 25 percent hatching-year 
pigeons.
    For Interior band-tailed pigeons, the BBS provided evidence that 
abundance decreased (-5.5 percent per year) over the long term (1968-
2014). Similar to Pacific Coast birds, no trends in abundance were 
evident during the recent 10- and 5-year periods. An estimated 1,500 
hunters harvested 1,500 pigeons and spent 3,300 days afield in 2014.

Mourning Doves

    Doves in the United States are managed in three management units, 
Eastern (EMU), Central (CMU), and Western (WMU). We annually summarize 
information collected in the United States on survival, recruitment, 
abundance, and harvest of mourning doves (Zenaida macroura). We report 
on trends in the number of doves heard and seen per route from the all-
bird BBS, and provide absolute abundance estimates based on band 
recovery and harvest data. Harvest and hunter participation are 
estimated from the HIP.
    BBS data suggested that the abundance of mourning doves over the 
last 49 years increased in the Eastern Management Unit (EMU) and 
decreased in the Central (CMU) and Western (WMU) Management Units. 
Estimates of absolute abundance are available only since 2003 and 
indicate that there are about 274 million doves in the United States. 
Predicted abundances for 2015 (and lower 70 percent credible intervals 
[CI]) are 79.3 million birds (64.3) for the EMU, 139.5 million (124.3) 
for the CMU, and 52.6 million (45.0) for the WMU.
    Current (2014) HIP estimates for mourning dove total harvest, 
active hunters, and total days afield in the United States were 
13,809,500 birds, 839,600 hunters, and 2,386,700 days afield. Harvest 
and hunter participation at the unit level were: EMU, 4,889,800 birds, 
310,200 hunters, and 791,300 days afield; CMU, 7,654,700 birds, 427,100 
hunters, and 1,333,600 days afield; and WMU, 1,265,000 birds, 102,300 
hunters, and 261,800 days afield.

Review of Public Comments and Flyway Council Recommendations

    The preliminary proposed rulemaking, which appeared in the August 
6, 2015, Federal Register, opened the public comment period for 
migratory game bird hunting regulations and discussed the regulatory 
alternatives for the 2016-17 duck hunting season. Comments are 
summarized below and numbered in the order used in the August 6, 2015, 
proposed rule. We have included only the numbered items pertaining to 
issues for which we received written comments. Consequently, the issues 
do not follow in successive numerical order.
    We received recommendations from all four Flyway Councils. Some 
recommendations supported continuation of last year's frameworks. Due 
to the comprehensive nature of the annual review of the frameworks 
performed by the Councils, support for continuation of last year's 
frameworks is assumed for items for which no recommendations were 
received. Council recommendations for changes in the frameworks are 
summarized below.
    We seek additional information and comments on the recommendations 
in this supplemental proposed rule. New proposals and modifications to 
previously described proposals are discussed below. Wherever possible, 
they are discussed under headings corresponding to the numbered items 
in the August 6, 2015, proposed rule.

General

    Written Comments: A commenter protested the entire migratory bird 
hunting regulations process, the killing of all migratory birds, and 
status and habitat data on which the migratory bird hunting regulations 
are based.
    Service Response: Our long-term objectives continue to include 
providing opportunities to harvest portions of certain migratory game 
bird populations and to limit harvests to levels compatible with each 
population's ability to maintain healthy, viable numbers. Having taken 
into account the zones of temperature and the distribution, abundance, 
economic value, breeding habits, and times and lines of flight of 
migratory birds, we believe that the hunting seasons provided for 
herein are compatible with the current status of migratory bird 
populations and long-term population goals. Additionally, we are 
obligated to, and do, give serious consideration to all information 
received as public comment. While there are problems inherent with any 
type of representative management of public-trust resources, we believe 
that the Flyway-Council system of migratory game bird management has 
been a longstanding example of State-Federal cooperative management 
since its establishment in 1952. However, as always, we continue to 
seek new ways to streamline and improve the process.

1. Ducks

A. General Harvest Strategy

    Council Recommendations: The Atlantic, Mississippi, Central, and 
Pacific Flyway Councils recommended the adoption of the ``liberal'' 
regulatory alternative.
    Service Response: We propose to continue using adaptive harvest 
management (AHM) to help determine appropriate duck-hunting regulations 
for the 2016-17 season. AHM permits sound resource decisions in the 
face of uncertain regulatory impacts and provides a mechanism for 
reducing that uncertainty over time. We use AHM to evaluate four 
alternative regulatory levels for duck hunting based on the population 
status of mallards. (We enact other hunting regulations for species of 
special concern, such as canvasbacks, scaup, and pintails).
    The prescribed regulatory alternative for the Atlantic, 
Mississippi, Central, and Pacific Flyways is based on the status of 
mallard populations that contribute primarily to each Flyway. In the 
Atlantic Flyway, we set hunting regulations based on the population 
status of mallards breeding in eastern North America (Federal survey 
strata 51-54 and 56, and State surveys in New England and the mid-
Atlantic region). In the Central and Mississippi Flyways, we set 
hunting regulations based on the status and dynamics of mid-continent 
mallards. Mid-continent mallards are those breeding in central North 
America (Federal survey strata 13-18, 20-50, and 75-77, and State 
surveys in Minnesota,

[[Page 77092]]

Wisconsin, and Michigan). In the Pacific Flyway, we set hunting 
regulations based on the status and dynamics of western mallards. 
Western mallards are those breeding in Alaska and the northern Yukon 
Territory (as based on Federal surveys in strata 1-12), and in 
California and Oregon (as based on State-conducted surveys).
    For the 2016-17 season, we recommend continuing to use independent 
optimization to determine the optimal regulatory choice for each 
mallard stock. This means that we would develop regulations for eastern 
mallards, mid-continent mallards, and western mallards independently, 
based upon the breeding stock that contributes primarily to each 
Flyway. We detailed implementation of this AHM decision framework for 
western and mid-continent mallards in the July 24, 2008, Federal 
Register (73 FR 43290) and for eastern mallards in the July 20, 2012, 
Federal Register (77 FR 42920). We further documented how adjustments 
were made to these decision frameworks in order to be compatible with 
the new regulatory schedule (http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/pdf/management/AHM/SEIS&AHMReportFinal.pdf).
    For the 2016-17 hunting season, we are continuing to consider the 
same regulatory alternatives as those used last year. The nature of the 
``restrictive,'' ``moderate,'' and ``liberal'' alternatives has 
remained essentially unchanged since 1997, except that extended 
framework dates have been offered in the ``moderate'' and ``liberal'' 
regulatory alternatives since 2002 (67 FR 47224; July 17, 2002).
    The optimal AHM strategies for mid-continent, eastern, and western 
mallards for the 2016-17 hunting season were calculated using: (1) 
Harvest-management objectives specific to each mallard stock; (2) the 
2016-17 regulatory alternatives (see further discussion below under B. 
Regulatory Alternatives); and (3) current population models and 
associated weights. Based on ``liberal'' regulatory alternatives 
selected for the 2015 hunting season, the 2015 survey results of 11.79 
million mid-continent mallards (traditional survey area minus Alaska 
and the Old Crow Flats area of the Yukon Territory, plus Minnesota, 
Wisconsin, and Michigan) and 4.15 million ponds in Prairie Canada, 0.73 
million eastern mallards (0.19 million and 0.54 million respectively in 
northeast Canada and the northeastern United States), and 0.73 million 
western mallards (0.26 million in California-Oregon and 0.47 million in 
Alaska), the optimal regulatory choice for all four Flyways is the 
``liberal'' alternative. Therefore, we concur with the recommendations 
of the Atlantic, Mississippi, Central, and Pacific Flyway Councils 
regarding selection of the ``liberal'' regulatory alternative for the 
2016-17 season and propose to adopt the ``liberal'' regulatory 
alternative, as described in the August 6, 2015, Federal Register.

B. Regulatory Alternatives

    Council Recommendations: The Atlantic and Mississippi Flyway 
Councils recommended that the framework closing date for ducks be 
extended to January 31 in the ``moderate'' and ``liberal'' regulatory 
alternatives.
    Service Response: We do not support the Councils' recommendation to 
extend the duck season framework closing date to January 31 at this 
time. We note that the current framework opening and closing dates were 
developed through a cooperative effort between all four Flyway Councils 
and that framework dates are only one of several components that 
comprise the regulatory packages utilized in AHM. Regulatory packages 
also consider season length, daily bag limits, and shooting hours. We 
believe the current regulatory packages in the Atlantic and Mississippi 
Flyways should remain unchanged until revisions to the AHM protocols 
have been completed. Those efforts will include examination of duck 
harvest management objectives, model updates, and revisions to 
regulatory packages, including framework dates. We prefer that the 
issue of framework dates and any other component of the regulatory 
packages be addressed through this cooperative process and would prefer 
a comprehensive approach to revising regulatory packages rather than 
making incremental changes.

D. Special Seasons/Species Management

i. September Teal Seasons
    For the 2016-17 season, we will utilize the 2015 breeding 
population estimate of 8.3 million blue-winged teal from the 
traditional survey area and the criteria developed for the teal season 
harvest strategy. Thus, a 16-day September teal season in the Atlantic, 
Central, and Mississippi Flyways is appropriate for the 2016 season.
iii. Black Ducks
    Council Recommendations: The Atlantic and Mississippi Flyway 
Councils recommended that the Service continue to follow the 
International Black Duck AHM Strategy for the 2016-17 season.
    Service Response: In 2012, we adopted the International Black Duck 
AHM Strategy (77 FR 49868; August 17, 2012). The formal strategy is the 
result of 14 years of technical and policy decisions developed and 
agreed upon by both Canadian and U.S. agencies and waterfowl managers. 
The strategy clarifies what harvest levels each country will manage for 
and reduces conflicts over country-specific regulatory policies. 
Further, the strategy allows for attainment of fundamental objectives 
of black duck management: Resource conservation, perpetuation of 
hunting tradition, and equitable access to the black duck resource 
between Canada and the United States while accommodating the 
fundamental sources of uncertainty, partial controllability and 
observability, structural uncertainty, and environmental variation. The 
underlying model performance is assessed annually, with a comprehensive 
evaluation of the entire strategy (objectives and model set) planned 
after 6 years.
    A copy of the strategy is available at the address indicated under 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT, or from our Web site at http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/NewsPublicationsReports.html.
    For the 2016-17 season, the optimal country-specific regulatory 
strategies were calculated using: (1) The black duck harvest objective 
(98 percent of long-term cumulative harvest); (2) 2016-17 country-
specific regulatory alternatives; (3) current parameter estimates for 
mallard competition and additive mortality; and (4) 2015 survey results 
of 0.54 million breeding black ducks and 0.41 million breeding mallards 
in the core survey area. The optimal regulatory choices for the 2016-17 
season are the ``moderate'' package in Canada and the ``restrictive'' 
package in the United States.
iv. Canvasbacks
    Council Recommendations: The Mississippi, Central, and Pacific 
Flyway Councils recommended a full season for canvasbacks with a 2-bird 
daily bag limit. The Atlantic Flyway Council recommended a full season 
for canvasbacks with a 1-bird daily bag limit. Season lengths would be 
60 days in the Atlantic and Mississippi Flyways, 74 days in the Central 
Flyway, and 107 days in the Pacific Flyway.
    Service Response: Since 1994, we have followed a canvasback harvest 
strategy whereby if canvasback population status and production are 
sufficient to permit a harvest of one canvasback per day nationwide for 
the

[[Page 77093]]

entire length of the regular duck season, while still attaining an 
objective of 500,000 birds the following spring, the season on 
canvasbacks should be opened. A partial season would be allowed if the 
estimated allowable harvest was below that associated with a 1-bird 
daily bag limit for the entire season. If neither of these conditions 
can be met, the harvest strategy calls for a closed season on 
canvasbacks nationwide. In 2008 (73 FR 43290; July 24, 2008), we 
announced our decision to modify the canvasback harvest strategy to 
incorporate the option for a 2-bird daily bag limit for canvasbacks 
when the predicted breeding population the subsequent year exceeds 
725,000 birds.
    As we discussed in the August 6, 2015, proposed rule, the current 
harvest strategy relies on information that is not yet available under 
this new regulatory process. Thus, the current canvasback harvest 
management strategy is no longer usable for the 2016-17 season and 
beyond. We further stated that we do not yet have a new harvest 
strategy to propose for use in the future and that we would review the 
most recent information on canvasback populations, habitat conditions, 
and harvests with the goal of compiling the best information available 
for use in making a harvest management decision for the 2016-17 season.
    As such, we support the Mississippi, Central, and Pacific Flyways' 
recommendation for a 2-canvasback daily bag limit for the 2016-17 
season and will offer the opportunity to all four Flyways. This past 
year's spring survey resulted in an estimate of 757,000 canvasbacks and 
4.15 million Canadian ponds. The former canvasback harvest strategy 
predicts a 2016 canvasback breeding population of 727,000 birds under 
the current 2015-16 ``liberal'' duck season with a 2-canvasback daily 
bag limit. Our analysis indicates that the expected harvest associated 
with a 2-bird bag limit during the 2016 season poses a very small 
possibility of the spring 2017 canvasback abundance falling below 
500,000 birds given the current abundance of canvasbacks. However, we 
also recognize that in previous years where 2 canvasbacks per day were 
allowed in the daily bag limit, the following year required a more 
restrictive daily bag limit, and we are prepared to recommend 
restrictions for the 2017-18 season if necessary. Thus, we strongly 
encourage the Flyways to begin working with Service staff to develop a 
process for informing canvasback harvest management decisions prior to 
the Flyway meetings next March.
v. Pintails
    Council Recommendations: The Atlantic, Mississippi, Central, and 
Pacific Flyway Councils recommended a full season for pintails, 
consisting of a 2-bird daily bag limit and a 60-day season in the 
Atlantic and Mississippi Flyways, a 74-day season in the Central 
Flyway, and a 107-day season in the Pacific Flyway.
    Service Response: The current derived pintail harvest strategy was 
adopted by the Service and Flyway Councils in 2010 (75 FR 44856; July 
29, 2010). For the 2016-17 season, an optimal regulatory strategy for 
pintails was calculated with: (1) An objective of maximizing long-term 
cumulative harvest, including a closed-season constraint of 1.75 
million birds; (2) the regulatory alternatives and associated predicted 
harvest; and (3) current population models and their relative weights. 
Based on a ``liberal'' regulatory alternative with a 2-bird daily bag 
limit in 2015, the 2015 survey results of 3.04 million pintails 
observed at a mean latitude of 55.9 and a latitude-adjusted breeding 
population of 4.16 million birds, the optimal regulatory choice for all 
four Flyways for the 2016-17 hunting season is the ``liberal'' 
alternative with a 2-bird daily bag limit.
vi. Scaup
    Council Recommendations: The Atlantic, Mississippi, Central, and 
Pacific Flyway Councils recommended use of the ``moderate'' regulation 
package, consisting of a 60-day season with a 2-bird daily bag in the 
Atlantic Flyway and a 3-bird daily bag in the Mississippi Flyway, a 74-
day season with a 3-bird daily bag limit in the Central Flyway, and an 
86-day season with a 3-bird daily bag limit in the Pacific Flyway.
    Service Response: In 2008, we adopted and implemented a new scaup 
harvest strategy (73 FR 43290 on July 24, 2008, and 73 FR 51124 on 
August 29, 2008) with initial ``restrictive,'' ``moderate,'' and 
``liberal'' regulatory packages adopted for each Flyway.
    For scaup, optimal regulatory strategies for the 2016-17 season 
were calculated using: (1) An objective to achieve 95 percent of long-
term cumulative harvest, (2) current scaup regulatory alternatives, and 
(3) updated model parameters and weights. Based on a ``moderate'' 
regulatory alternative selected in 2015 and the 2015 survey results of 
4.40 million scaup, the optimal regulatory choice for the 2016-17 
season for all four Flyways is the ``moderate'' regulatory alternative.
ix. Youth Hunt
    Council Recommendations: The Atlantic Flyway Council recommended 
allowing the States to use their definitions of age for youth hunters 
as the age requirement for participation in youth hunting days.
    The Mississippi and Central Flyway Councils recommended that we 
allow States to use their established definitions of age for youth 
hunters as the age requirement for participation in youth hunting days, 
not to include anyone over the age of 17.
    The Pacific Flyway Council recommended striking the participation 
restriction that youth hunters must be 15 years of age or younger and 
allowing each State to use their established definition for the age of 
youth hunters as long as it is 17 years of age or younger. The Council 
further recommended retaining other participation restrictions 
requiring that an adult at least 18 years of age must accompany the 
youth hunter into the field.
    Service Response: Since its inception in 1996, the Special Youth 
Waterfowl Days have fostered greater involvement of youth in waterfowl 
hunting and conservation. However, we recognize that many States allow 
individuals 17 years and younger to participate in youth hunting 
seasons other than those for waterfowl, whereas the current Federal 
framework for the Youth Waterfowl Hunt is 15 years and younger. We 
further recognize that this difference has caused some confusion and 
frustration from youth hunters, especially those between the ages of 15 
and 17. Thus, we agree that allowing individual States to have a common 
definition of youth age for all of their different youth hunting 
seasons would simplify the issue for many States. States would still 
have the option to adopt an age restriction younger than 17 if they so 
choose. For those youth hunters 16 years of age and older, the 
requirement to possess a Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and 
Conservation Stamp (also known as Federal Duck Stamp) would remain in 
effect, as would the requirement that any youth hunter must be 
accompanied by an adult at least 18 years of age.

2. Sea Ducks

    Council Recommendations: The Atlantic Flyway Council recommended 
that sea ducks in the Atlantic Flyway be exposed to no more than 60 
days of hunting in any Special Sea Duck Area, or regular duck hunting 
area or zone. They further recommended that in ``Special Sea Duck 
Areas,'' the bag limit

[[Page 77094]]

for sea ducks would be 5, to include no more than 4 eiders, 4 scoters, 
or 4 long-tailed ducks. In regular duck season areas and in States with 
no special sea duck areas, sea ducks would count toward the total bag 
of 6 ducks, which could include no more than 4 eiders, 4 scoters, and 4 
long-tailed ducks. Splits would be allowed in the Special Sea Duck Area 
if the sea duck season is set concurrently with the regular duck 
season; otherwise, season dates in the Special Sea Duck Area could not 
be split. Lastly, the Council recommended that the taking of crippled 
waterfowl under power be allowed to continue in Special Sea Duck Areas 
as they are currently delineated (50 CFR 20.105) (regardless of whether 
a special sea duck season is held).
    Service Response: We agree with the Atlantic Flyway Council's 
recommendations to reduce the harvest of sea ducks. The recent Sea Duck 
Harvest Potential Assessment indicates that the likelihood of 
overharvest of scoter, Atlantic common eider, and long-tailed duck 
populations ranges from 48 percent (Eastern black scoter) to 95 percent 
(long-tailed duck). Further, sea ducks have a low reproduction rate 
normally offset by the longevity of adults. As such, hunting mortality 
is almost entirely additive. One of the incentives for sea duck hunting 
has been the opportunity for hunters to achieve a high daily bag limit 
(7 ducks). The Atlantic Flyway Council believes, and we concur, that 
reducing the general daily bag limit to 5 will reduce that incentive, 
but still allow special sea duck hunting opportunity. They further 
estimate that the recommended changes in season length, daily bag 
limits, and area restrictions are expected to achieve an approximate 
harvest reduction of 25 percent.

4. Canada Geese

A. Special Early Seasons

    Council Recommendations: The Pacific Flyway Council recommended 
generalizing the special early Canada goose season frameworks in the 
Pacific Flyway to apply to all States except Alaska. Specifically, the 
Council recommended a Canada goose season of up to 15 days during 
September 1-20 with a daily bag limit of not more than 5 Canada geese, 
except in Pacific County, Washington, where the daily bag limit could 
not exceed 15 Canada geese. The Council recommended that all areas open 
to hunting of Canada geese in each State must be described, delineated, 
and designated as such in each State's hunting regulations.
    Service Response: We agree with the Pacific Flyway Council's 
recommendation to generalize the special early Canada goose season 
framework to apply to all Pacific Flyway States except Alaska. The 
special early Canada goose hunting season is generally designed to 
reduce or control overabundant resident Canada goose populations. Early 
Canada goose seasons are currently allowed in 6 of 11 Pacific Flyway 
States excluding Alaska. Allowing a general season length of up to 15 
days during September 1-20 and a bag limit of up to 5 Canada geese in 
all of the Pacific Flyway States except Alaska will simplify and 
standardize the early Canada goose season framework among Pacific 
Flyway States and provide a tool to help reduce or control the 
abundance of resident Canada geese in all Pacific Flyway States. The 
Flyway-wide framework is more consistent with the frameworks for other 
species and the special early Canada goose season frameworks in other 
Flyways.

B. Regular Seasons

    Council Recommendations: The Mississippi Flyway Council recommended 
that the opening and closing framework dates for all geese in the 
Mississippi Flyway be September 1 to February 15 beginning in 2016. 
They also recommended that the frameworks for Canada geese in the 
Mississippi Flyway, beginning in 2016, allow 107 days with up to a 5-
bird daily bag limit September 1-30 (except in the Intensive Harvest 
Zone in Minnesota, which may have up to a 10-bird daily bag limit) and 
a 3-bird daily bag limit for the remainder of the season. Seasons could 
be split into 4 segments.
    Service Response: As we have previously indicated (77 FR 58448, 
September 20, 2012), we support the Mississippi Flyway Council 
recommendations to move from State-specific frameworks to Flyway-wide 
Canada goose frameworks. Management of Canada geese in the Mississippi 
Flyway is complicated by the need to balance potentially conflicting 
objectives for arctic, subarctic, and temperate (resident) breeding 
populations. Increased abundance of temperate-breeding Canada geese has 
caused conflicts with people and human activities, and regulations have 
been gradually liberalized to increase harvest of such birds to reduce 
those conflicts. The Council believes that hunting is an important 
means of controlling goose populations in the Mississippi Flyway, but 
notes that Canada goose harvest has declined since 2006, even with 
recent liberalizations enacted in the flyway. The Council believes the 
recommended season structure will allow State managers additional 
flexibility in days, dates, and bag limits to meet management needs and 
the desires of goose hunters in their State, and we concur.
    We also agree with the Council's recommendation to adjust the 
opening and closing framework dates for all geese in the Mississippi 
Flyway to September 1 through February 15 beginning in 2016. The 
Council's recommendation to change the goose framework opening date 
from the Saturday nearest September 24 to September 1 is compatible 
with the recent change in our regulatory schedule that combines the 
early and late season regulations processes (see also 5. White-fronted 
Geese and 7. Snow and Ross's (Light) Geese, below).
    Lastly, we note that the Council is developing a general Canada 
Goose Management Plan for the flyway, which will incorporate aspects of 
existing management plans for migrant populations (Eastern Prairie 
Population (EPP), Mississippi Valley Population (MVP), and Southern 
James Bay Population (SJBP)) and the temperate-nesting Giant Canada 
Goose population. Although the Flyway no longer recognizes zones for 
EPP, MVP and SJBP populations, we note that portions of the SJBP 
population migrate to the Atlantic Flyway. Therefore, we urge the 
Mississippi Flyway Council to consult with the Atlantic Flyway Council 
as the general Canada goose management plan is being developed for the 
Mississippi Flyway.

5. White-Fronted Geese

    Council Recommendations: The Mississippi Flyway Council recommended 
that the opening and closing framework dates for all geese in the 
Mississippi Flyway be September 1 to February 15 beginning in 2016.
    Service Response: We agree with the Mississippi Flyway Council's 
recommendation to adjust the opening and closing framework dates for 
all geese in the Mississippi Flyway to September 1 through February 15 
beginning in 2016. Currently, framework dates for white-fronted geese 
are from the Saturday nearest Sept. 24 to the Sunday nearest Feb. 15. 
Adjusting the framework dates for other geese (snow and white-fronted 
geese) will allow States flexibility to open and/or close all goose 
seasons on the same date. Since the numbers of white-fronted geese 
present in the Mississippi Flyway in September are low, we expect no 
impacts from this change.

[[Page 77095]]

6. Brant

    Council Recommendations: The Atlantic Flyway Council recommends 
that the 2016-17 season for Atlantic brant follow the Atlantic Flyway 
Brant Hunt plan pending the results of the 2016 Atlantic Flyway mid-
winter waterfowl survey. The Council also recommended that if the 
results of the 2016 mid-winter survey are not available, then the 
results of the most recent mid-winter survey should be used.
    Service Response: As we discussed in the August 6, 2015, proposed 
rule, the current harvest strategy used to determine the Atlantic brant 
season frameworks does not fit well within the new regulatory process, 
similar to the RMP sandhill crane issue discussed below under 9. 
Sandhill Cranes. In developing the annual proposed frameworks for 
Atlantic brant in the past, the Atlantic Flyway Council and the Service 
used the number of brant counted during the Mid-winter Waterfowl Survey 
(MWS) in the Atlantic Flyway, and took into consideration the brant 
population's expected productivity that summer. The MWS is conducted 
each January, and expected brant productivity is based on early-summer 
observations of breeding habitat conditions and nesting effort in 
important brant nesting areas. Thus, the data under consideration were 
available before the annual Flyway and SRC decision-making meetings 
took place in late July. Although the former regulatory alternatives 
for Atlantic brant were developed by factoring together long-term 
productivity rates (observed during November and December productivity 
surveys) with estimated observed harvest under different framework 
regulations, the primary decision-making criterion for selecting the 
annual frameworks was the MWS count.
    Under the new regulatory schedule for the 2016-17 migratory bird 
hunting regulations, neither the expected 2016 brant production 
information (available summer 2016) nor the 2016 MWS count (conducted 
in January 2016) is yet available. However, the 2016 MWS will be 
completed and winter brant data will be available by the expected 
publication of the final frameworks (late February 2016). Therefore, in 
the September 24, 2015, Federal Register (80 FR 57664), we adopted the 
Atlantic Flyway's changes to the then-current Atlantic brant hunt plan 
strategies. Current harvest packages (strategies) for Atlantic brant 
hunting seasons are now as follows:
     If the mid-winter waterfowl survey (MWS) count is <100,000 
Atlantic brant, the season would be closed.
     If the MWS count is between 100,000 and 115,000 brant, 
States could select a 30-day season with a 1-bird daily bag limit.
     If the MWS count is between 115,000 and 130,000 brant, 
States could select a 30-day season with a 2-bird daily bag limit.
     If the MWS count is between 130,000 and 150,000 brant, 
States could select a 50-day season with a 2-bird daily bag limit.
     If the MWS count is between 150,000 and 200,000 brant, 
States could select a 60-day season with a 2-bird daily bag limit.
     If the MWS count is >200,000 brant, States could select a 
60-day season with a 3-bird daily bag limit.
    Under all the above open-season alternatives, seasons would be 
between the Saturday nearest September 24 and January 31. Further, 
States could split their seasons into 2 segments.
    When we acquire the 2016 MWS brant count in January 2016, we will 
select the appropriate Atlantic brant hunting season for 2016-17 from 
the above Atlantic brant hunt strategies and publish the result in the 
final frameworks rule.

7. Snow and Ross's (Light) Geese

    Council Recommendations: The Mississippi Flyway Council recommended 
that the opening and closing framework dates for all geese in the 
Mississippi Flyway be September 1 to February 15 beginning in 2016.
    Service Response: As we stated above under 5. White-fronted Geese, 
we agree with the Mississippi Flyway Council's recommendation to adjust 
the opening and closing framework dates for all geese in the 
Mississippi Flyway to September 1 through February 15 beginning in 
2016. Currently, framework dates for snow geese are from the Saturday 
nearest Sept. 24 to the Sunday nearest Feb. 15. Adjusting the framework 
dates for other geese (snow and white-fronted geese) will allow States 
flexibility to open and/or close all goose seasons on the same date. 
Since there are low numbers of snow geese present in the Mississippi 
Flyway in September, we expect no impacts from this change.

9. Sandhill Cranes

    Council Recommendations: The Mississippi Flyway Council recommended 
that Tennessee be allowed an additional year (2016-17) of their 
experimental sandhill crane hunting season under harvest guidelines set 
for their experimental season.
    The Central and Pacific Flyway Council's recommended (1) the 
addition of a new Rocky Mountain Population (RMP) sandhill crane 
hunting unit in Carbon County Montana, (2) a new hunt area for RMP 
sandhill cranes in Sheridan, Johnson, and Natrona Counties, Wyoming, 
and (3) that allowable harvest be determined based on the formula 
described in the Pacific and Central Flyway Management Plan for RMP 
sandhill cranes.
    Service Response: We agree with the Mississippi Flyway Council to 
allow Tennessee an additional year under the existing experimental 
season. The Council notes that harvest during the first 2 years of the 
experiment was well below the permitted number, 342 and 393 cranes, 
respectively, in 2013 and 2014. The approved Tennessee sandhill crane 
hunt plan allows Tennessee to issue 775 hunters a total of 2,325 
permits (3 per person). This permit allocation was based on a peak 
number of cranes observed in Tennessee (23,334 during 2009-13), so the 
continued allotment of permits would still fall within guidelines set 
by the Eastern Population Crane Management Plan. While the 2015-16 
season marks the completion of Tennessee's experimental 3-year sandhill 
crane season, Tennessee will collect and analyze population and hunter 
data during the 2015-16 season and prepare a final report on the 
experimental season for distribution at the late summer 2016 Flyway 
meeting. We expect a proposal for an operational season will likely be 
made at that time.
    We also agree with the Central and Pacific Flyway Council's 
recommendation for new RMP sandhill crane hunting areas in Montana 
(Carbon County) and Wyoming (Sheridan, Johnson, and Natrona Counties). 
The new hunt areas are consistent with the Pacific and Central Flyway 
Council's RMP sandhill crane management plan hunting area requirements.
    Regarding the RMP crane harvest, as we discussed in the August 6, 
2015, proposed rule, the current harvest strategy used to calculate the 
allowable harvest of the RMP of sandhill cranes does not fit well 
within the new regulatory process, similar to the Atlantic brant issue 
discussed above under 6. Brant. Currently, results of the fall survey 
of RMP sandhill cranes, upon which the annual allowable harvest is 
based, will continue to be released between December 15 and January 31 
each year, which is after the date for which proposed frameworks will 
be formulated in the new regulatory process. If the usual procedures 
for

[[Page 77096]]

determining allowable harvest were used, data 2-4 years old would be 
used to determine the annual allocation for RMP sandhill cranes. Due to 
the variability in fall survey counts and recruitment for this 
population, and their impact on the annual harvest allocations, we 
agree that relying on data that is 2-4 years old is not ideal.
    Thus, we agree that the formula to determine the annual allowable 
harvest for RMP sandhill cranes should be used under the new regulatory 
schedule and propose to utilize it as such. That formula uses 
information on abundance and recruitment collected annually through 
operational monitoring programs, as well as constant values based on 
past research or monitoring for survival of fledglings to breeding age 
and harvest retrieval rate. The formula is:

    H = C x P x R x L x f

Where:

H = total annual allowable harvest;
C = the average of the three most recent, reliable fall population 
indices;
P = the average proportion of fledged chicks in the fall population 
in the San Luis Valley during the most recent 3 years for which data 
are available;
R = estimated recruitment of fledged chicks to breeding age (current 
estimate is 0.5);
L = retrieval rate of 0.80 (allowance for an estimated 20 percent 
crippling loss based on hunter interviews); and
f = (C/16,000)\3\ (a variable factor used to adjust the total 
harvest to achieve a desired effect on the entire population)

    A final estimate for the allowable harvest would be available to 
publish in the final rule, allowing us to use data that is 1-3 years 
old as is currently practiced.

14. Woodcock

    In 2011, we implemented a harvest strategy for woodcock (76 FR 
19876, April 8, 2011). The harvest strategy provides a transparent 
framework for making regulatory decisions for woodcock season length 
and bag limit while we work to improve monitoring and assessment 
protocols for this species. Utilizing the criteria developed for the 
strategy, the 3-year average for the Singing Ground Survey indices and 
associated confidence intervals fall within the ``moderate package'' 
for both the Eastern and Central Management Regions. As such, a 
``moderate season'' for both management regions for the 2016-17 season 
is appropriate.
    Specifics of the harvest strategy can be found at http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/NewsPublicationsReports.html.

16. Doves

    Council Recommendations: The Atlantic and Mississippi Flyway 
Councils recommended use of the ``standard'' season framework 
comprising a 90-day season and 15-bird daily bag limit for States 
within the Eastern Management Unit. The daily bag limit could be 
composed of mourning doves and white-winged doves, singly or in 
combination.
    The Mississippi and Central Flyway Councils recommended the use of 
the ``standard'' season package of a 15-bird daily bag limit and a 90-
day season for the 2016-17 mourning dove season in the States within 
the Central Management Unit.
    The Pacific Flyway Council recommended use of the ``standard'' 
season framework for States in the Western Management Unit (WMU) 
population of mourning doves. In Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and 
Washington, the season length would be no more than 60 consecutive days 
with a daily bag limit of 15 mourning and white-winged doves in the 
aggregate. In Arizona and California, the season length would be no 
more than 60 consecutive days, which could be split between two 
periods, September 1-15 and November 1-January 15. In Arizona, during 
the first segment of the season, the daily bag limit would be 15 
mourning and white-winged doves in the aggregate, of which no more than 
10 could be white-winged doves. During the remainder of the season, the 
daily bag limit would be 15 mourning doves. In California, the daily 
bag limit would be 15 mourning and white-winged doves in the aggregate, 
of which no more than 10 could be white-winged doves.
    Service Response: Based on the harvest strategies and current 
population status, we agree with the recommended selection of the 
``standard'' season frameworks for doves in the Eastern, Central, and 
Western Management Units for the 2016-17 season.

17. Alaska

    Council Recommendations: The Pacific Flyway Council recommended 
increasing the daily bag limit for brant from 2 to 3, and increasing 
the daily bag limit for light geese from 4 to 6.
    Service Response: We agree with the Pacific Flyway Council's 
recommendation to increase the daily bag limit in Alaska from 2 to 3 
brant. The Flyway management plan for Pacific brant allows harvest to 
increase by two times the current level if the 3-year average 
population index exceeds 135,000 brant based on the mid-winter 
waterfowl survey. The 3-year (2013-2015) average is 157,700 brant, and 
is near the population objective of 162,000 brant. Increasing the daily 
bag limit from 2 to 3 brant will allow additional hunting opportunity 
while maintaining the season length at the maximum of 107 days for 
brant, and is not expected to increase harvest appreciably from that 
anticipated with a 2-brant daily bag limit.
    We also agree with the Pacific Flyway Council's recommendation to 
increase the light goose daily bag limit from 4 to 6 light geese in 
Alaska. Two populations of light geese occur in Alaska, and both are 
above Flyway management plan objectives based on the most recent 
breeding population indices. The population estimate for the Western 
Arctic Population (WAP) of lesser snow geese was 451,000 in 2013 (most 
recent estimate), which is above the objective of 200,000 geese. Most 
of WAP lesser snow geese nest in the Egg River colony on Banks Island, 
Canada, but t