[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 159 (Thursday, August 16, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 49679-49696]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-20072]



[[Page 49679]]

Vol. 77

Thursday,

No. 159

August 16, 2012

Part V





 Department of the Interior





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Fish and Wildlife Service





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50 CFR Part 20





Migratory Bird Hunting; Proposed Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations on 
Certain Federal Indian Reservations and Ceded Lands for the 2012-13 
Season; Proposed Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 77 , No. 159 / Thursday, August 16, 2012 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 49680]]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 20

[Docket No. FWS-R9-MB-2012-0005; FF09M21200-123-FXMB1231099BPP0L2]
RIN 1018-AX97


Migratory Bird Hunting; Proposed Migratory Bird Hunting 
Regulations on Certain Federal Indian Reservations and Ceded Lands for 
the 2012-13 Season

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (hereinafter, Service or 
we) proposes special migratory bird hunting regulations for certain 
Tribes on Federal Indian reservations, off-reservation trust lands, and 
ceded lands for the 2012-13 migratory bird hunting season.

DATES: We will accept all comments on the proposed regulations that are 
postmarked or received in our office by August 27, 2012.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments on the proposals by one of the 
following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments on Docket No. FWS-R9-
MB-2012-0005.
     U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, 
Attn: FWS-R9-MB-2012-0005; Division of Policy and Directives 
Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 
2042-PDM; Arlington, VA 22203.
    We will not accept emailed or faxed comments. We will post all 
comments on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we 
will post any personal information you provide us (see the Public 
Comments section below for more information).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ron W. Kokel, at: Division of 
Migratory Bird Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department 
of the Interior, MS MBSP-4107-ARLSQ, 1849 C Street NW., Washington, DC 
20240; (703) 358-1714.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In the April 17, 2012, Federal Register (77 
FR 23094), we requested proposals from Indian Tribes wishing to 
establish special migratory bird hunting regulations for the 2012-13 
hunting season, under the guidelines described in the June 4, 1985, 
Federal Register (50 FR 23467). In this supplemental proposed rule, we 
propose special migratory bird hunting regulations for 30 Indian 
Tribes, based on the input we received in response to the April 17, 
2012, proposed rule, and our previous rules. As described in that 
proposed rule, the promulgation of annual migratory bird hunting 
regulations involves a series of rulemaking actions each year. This 
proposed rule is part of that series.
    We developed the guidelines for establishing special migratory bird 
hunting regulations for Indian Tribes in response to tribal requests 
for recognition of their reserved hunting rights and, for some Tribes, 
recognition of their authority to regulate hunting by both tribal and 
nontribal hunters on their reservations. The guidelines include 
possibilities for:
    (1) On-reservation hunting by both tribal and nontribal hunters, 
with hunting by nontribal hunters on some reservations to take place 
within Federal frameworks but on dates different from those selected by 
the surrounding State(s);
    (2) On-reservation hunting by tribal members only, outside of the 
usual Federal frameworks for season dates and length, and for daily bag 
and possession limits; and
    (3) Off-reservation hunting by tribal members on ceded lands, 
outside of usual framework dates and season length, with some added 
flexibility in daily bag and possession limits.
    In all cases, the regulations established under the guidelines must 
be consistent with the March 10 to September 1 closed season mandated 
by the 1916 Convention between the United States and Great Britain (for 
Canada) for the Protection of Migratory Birds (Treaty). The guidelines 
apply to those Tribes having recognized reserved hunting rights on 
Federal Indian reservations (including off-reservation trust lands) and 
on ceded lands. They also apply to establishing migratory bird hunting 
regulations for nontribal hunters on all lands within the exterior 
boundaries of reservations where Tribes have full wildlife management 
authority over such hunting or where the Tribes and affected States 
otherwise have reached agreement over hunting by nontribal hunters on 
lands owned by non-Indians within the reservation.
    Tribes usually have the authority to regulate migratory bird 
hunting by nonmembers on Indian-owned reservation lands, subject to 
Service approval. The question of jurisdiction is more complex on 
reservations that include lands owned by non-Indians, especially when 
the surrounding States have established or intend to establish 
regulations governing hunting by non-Indians on these lands. In such 
cases, we encourage the Tribes and States to reach agreement on 
regulations that would apply throughout the reservations. When 
appropriate, we will consult with a Tribe and State with the aim of 
facilitating an accord. We also will consult jointly with tribal and 
State officials in the affected States where Tribes wish to establish 
special hunting regulations for tribal members on ceded lands. Because 
of past questions regarding interpretation of what events trigger the 
consultation process, as well as who initiates it, we provide the 
following clarification.
    We routinely provide copies of Federal Register publications 
pertaining to migratory bird management to all State Directors, Tribes, 
and other interested parties. It is the responsibility of the States, 
Tribes, and others to notify us of any concern regarding any feature(s) 
of any regulations. When we receive such notification, we will initiate 
consultation.
    Our guidelines provide for the continued harvest of waterfowl and 
other migratory game birds by tribal members on reservations where such 
harvest has been a customary practice. We do not oppose this harvest, 
provided it does not take place during the closed season defined by the 
Treaty, and does not adversely affect the status of the migratory bird 
resource. Before developing the guidelines, we reviewed available 
information on the current status of migratory bird populations, 
reviewed the current status of migratory bird hunting on Federal Indian 
reservations, and evaluated the potential impact of such guidelines on 
migratory birds. We concluded that the impact of migratory bird harvest 
by tribal members hunting on their reservations is minimal.
    One area of interest in Indian migratory bird hunting regulations 
relates to hunting seasons for nontribal hunters on dates that are 
within Federal frameworks, but which are different from those 
established by the State(s) where the reservation is located. A large 
influx of nontribal hunters onto a reservation at a time when the 
season is closed in the surrounding State(s) could result in adverse 
population impacts on one or more migratory bird species. The 
guidelines make this unlikely, however, because tribal proposals must 
include:
    (a) Harvest anticipated under the requested regulations;
    (b) Methods that will be employed to measure or monitor harvest 
(such as bag checks, mail questionnaires, etc.);
    (c) Steps that will be taken to limit level of harvest, where it 
could be shown that failure to limit such harvest

[[Page 49681]]

would adversely impact the migratory bird resource; and
    (d) Tribal capabilities to establish and enforce migratory bird 
hunting regulations.
    We may modify regulations or establish experimental special hunts, 
after evaluation and confirmation of harvest information obtained by 
the Tribes.
    We believe the guidelines provide appropriate opportunity to 
accommodate the reserved hunting rights and management authority of 
Indian Tribes while ensuring that the migratory bird resource receives 
necessary protection. The conservation of this important international 
resource is paramount. The guidelines should not be viewed as 
inflexible. In this regard, we note that they have been employed 
successfully since 1985. We believe they have been tested adequately 
and, therefore, we made them final beginning with the 1988-89 hunting 
season (53 FR 31612, August 18, 1988). We should stress here, however, 
that use of the guidelines is not mandatory and no action is required 
if a Tribe wishes to observe the hunting regulations established by the 
State(s) in which the reservation is located.

Service Migratory Bird Regulations Committee Meetings

    Participants at the June 19-20, 2012, meetings reviewed information 
on the current status of migratory shore and upland game birds and 
developed 2012-13 migratory game bird regulations recommendations for 
these species plus regulations for migratory game birds in Alaska, 
Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands; special September waterfowl 
seasons in designated States; special sea duck seasons in the Atlantic 
Flyway; and extended falconry seasons. In addition, we reviewed and 
discussed preliminary information on the status of waterfowl.
    Participants at the previously announced July 25-26, 2012, meetings 
will review information on the current status of waterfowl and develop 
recommendations for the 2012-13 regulations pertaining to regular 
waterfowl seasons and other species and seasons not previously 
discussed at the early-season meetings. In accordance with Department 
of the Interior policy, these meetings are open to public observation 
and you may submit comments on the matters discussed.

Population Status and Harvest

    Preliminary information on the status of waterfowl and information 
on the status and harvest of migratory shore and upland game birds was 
excerpted from various reports and provided in the July 20, 2012, 
Federal Register (77 FR 42920). 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, from our Web site at http://www.fws.gov/migratorybirds/NewsPublicationsReports.html, or from http://www.regulations.gov.

Hunting Season Proposals From Indian Tribes and Organizations

    For the 2012-13 hunting season, we received requests from 24 Tribes 
and Indian organizations. In this proposed rule, we respond to these 
requests and also evaluate anticipated requests for six Tribes from 
whom we usually hear but from whom we have not yet received proposals. 
We actively solicit regulatory proposals from other tribal groups that 
are interested in working cooperatively for the benefit of waterfowl 
and other migratory game birds. We encourage Tribes to work with us to 
develop agreements for management of migratory bird resources on tribal 
lands.
    It should be noted that this proposed rule includes generalized 
regulations for both early- and late-season hunting. A final rule will 
be published in a late-August 2012 Federal Register that will include 
tribal regulations for the early-hunting season. Early seasons 
generally begin around September 1 each year and most commonly include 
such species as American woodcock, sandhill cranes, mourning doves, and 
white-winged doves. Late seasons generally begin on or around September 
24 and most commonly include waterfowl species.
    In this current rulemaking, because of the compressed timeframe for 
establishing regulations for Indian Tribes and because final frameworks 
dates and other specific information are not available, the regulations 
for many tribal hunting seasons are described in relation to the season 
dates, season length, and limits that will be permitted when final 
Federal frameworks are announced for early- and late-season 
regulations. For example, daily bag and possession limits for ducks on 
some areas are shown as the same as permitted in Pacific Flyway States 
under final Federal frameworks, and limits for geese will be shown as 
the same permitted by the State(s) in which the tribal hunting area is 
located.
    The proposed frameworks for early-season regulations were published 
in the Federal Register on July 20, 2012 (77 FR 42920); early-season 
final frameworks will be published in late August. Proposed late-season 
frameworks for waterfowl and coots will be published in mid-August, and 
the final frameworks for the late seasons will be published in mid-
September. We will notify affected Tribes of season dates, bag limits, 
etc., as soon as final frameworks are established. As previously 
discussed, no action is required by Tribes wishing to observe migratory 
bird hunting regulations established by the State(s) where they are 
located. The proposed regulations for the 30 Tribes that meet the 
established criteria are shown below.

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

    The Colorado River Indian Reservation is located in Arizona and 
California. The Tribes own almost all lands on the reservation, and 
have full wildlife management authority.
    In their 2012-13 proposal, the Colorado River Indian Tribes 
requested split dove seasons. They propose that their early season 
begin September 1 and end September 15, 2012. Daily bag limits would be 
10 mourning or white-winged doves in the aggregate. The late season for 
doves is proposed to open November 10, 2012, and close December 24, 
2012. The daily bag limit would be 10 mourning doves. The possession 
limit would be twice the daily bag limit after the first day of the 
season. Shooting hours would be from one-half hour before sunrise to 
noon in the early season and until sunset in the late season. Other 
special tribally set regulations would apply.
    The Tribes also propose duck hunting seasons. The season would open 
October 6, 2012, and run until January 20, 2013. The Tribes propose the 
same season dates for mergansers, coots, and common moorhens. The daily 
bag limit for ducks, including mergansers, would be seven, except that 
the daily bag limits could contain no more than two hen mallards, two 
redheads, two Mexican ducks, two goldeneye, three scaup, one pintail, 
two cinnamon teal, and one canvasback. The possession limit would be 
twice the daily bag limit after the first day of the season. The daily 
bag and possession limit for coots and common moorhens would be 25, 
singly or in the aggregate.
    For geese, the Colorado River Indian Tribes propose a season of 
October 13, 2012, through January 20, 2013. The daily bag limit for 
geese would be three light geese and three dark geese. The possession 
limit would be six light geese and six dark geese after opening day.
    In 1996, the Tribes conducted a detailed assessment of dove 
hunting.

[[Page 49682]]

Results showed approximately 16,100 mourning doves and 13,600 white-
winged doves were harvested by approximately 2,660 hunters who averaged 
1.45 hunter-days. Field observations and permit sales indicate that 
fewer than 200 hunters participate in waterfowl seasons. Under the 
proposed regulations described here and based upon past seasons, we and 
the Tribes estimate harvest will be similar.
    Hunters must have a valid Colorado River Indian Reservation hunting 
permit and a Federal Migratory Bird Stamp in their possession while 
hunting. Other special tribally set regulations would apply. As in the 
past, the regulations would apply both to tribal and nontribal hunters, 
and nontoxic shot is required for waterfowl hunting.
    We propose to approve the Colorado River Indian Tribes regulations 
for the 2012-13 hunting season, given the seasons' dates fall within 
final flyway frameworks (applies to nontribal hunters only).

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

    For the past several years, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai 
Tribes and the State of Montana have entered into cooperative 
agreements for the regulation of hunting on the Flathead Indian 
Reservation. The State and the Tribes are currently operating under a 
cooperative agreement signed in 1990 that addresses fishing and hunting 
management and regulation issues of mutual concern. This agreement 
enables all hunters to utilize waterfowl hunting opportunities on the 
reservation.
    As in the past, tribal regulations for nontribal hunters would be 
at least as restrictive as those established for the Pacific Flyway 
portion of Montana. Goose season dates would also be at least as 
restrictive as those established for the Pacific Flyway portion of 
Montana. Shooting hours for waterfowl hunting on the Flathead 
Reservation are sunrise to sunset. Steel shot or other federally 
approved nontoxic shots are the only legal shotgun loads on the 
reservation for waterfowl or other game birds.
    For tribal members, the Tribe proposes outside frameworks for ducks 
and geese of September 1, 2012, through March 9, 2013. Daily bag and 
possession limits were not proposed for tribal members.
    The requested season dates and bag limits are similar to past 
regulations. Harvest levels are not expected to change significantly. 
Standardized check station data from the 1993-94 and 1994-95 hunting 
seasons indicated no significant changes in harvest levels and that the 
large majority of the harvest is by nontribal hunters.
    We propose to approve the Tribes' request for special migratory 
bird regulations for the 2012-13 hunting season.

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

    Since 1996, the Service and the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior 
Chippewa Indians have cooperated to establish special migratory bird 
hunting regulations for tribal members. The Fond du Lac's May 26, 2012, 
proposal covers land set apart for the band under the Treaties of 1837 
and 1854 in northeastern and east-central Minnesota and the Band's 
Reservation near Duluth.
    The band's proposal for 2012-13 is essentially the same as that 
approved last year except for an expansion of the sandhill crane season 
to include both the 1854 and 1837 ceded territories only and not 
reservation lands. The proposed 2012-13 waterfowl hunting season 
regulations for Fond du Lac are as follows:
    Ducks:
    A. 1854 and 1837 Ceded Territories:
    Season Dates: Begin September 15 and end November 25, 2012.
    Daily Bag Limit: 18 ducks, including no more than 12 mallards (only 
3 of which may be hens), 9 black ducks, 9 scaup, 9 wood ducks, 9 
redheads, 9 pintails, and 9 canvasbacks.
    B. Reservation:
    Season Dates: Begin September 1 and end November 25, 2012.
    Daily Bag Limit: 12 ducks, including no more than 8 mallards (only 
2 of which may be hens), 6 black ducks, 6 scaup, 6 redheads, 6 
pintails, 6 wood ducks, and 6 canvasbacks.
    Mergansers:
    A. 1854 and 1837 Ceded Territories:
    Season Dates: Begin September 15 and end November 25, 2012.
    Daily Bag Limit: 15 mergansers, including no more than 6 hooded 
mergansers.
    B. Reservation:
    Season Dates: Begin September 1 and end November 25, 2012.
    Daily Bag Limit: 10 mergansers, including no more than 4 hooded 
mergansers.
    Canada Geese: All Areas:
    Season Dates: Begin September 1 and end November 25, 2012.
    Daily Bag Limit: 20 geese.
    Sandhill Cranes: 1854 and 1837 Ceded Territories:
    Season Dates: Begin September 1 and end November 25, 2012.
    Daily Bag Limit: Two sandhill cranes. A crane carcass tag is 
required prior to hunting.
    Coots and Common Moorhens (Common Gallinules):
    A. 1854 and 1837 Ceded Territories:
    Season Dates: Begin September 15 and end November 25, 2012.
    Daily Bag Limit: 20 coots and common moorhens, singly or in the 
aggregate.
    B. Reservation:
    Season Dates: Begin September 1 and end November 25, 2012.
    Daily Bag Limit: 20 coots and common moorhens, singly or in the 
aggregate.
    Sora and Virginia Rails: All Areas:
    Season Dates: Begin September 1 and end November 25, 2012.
    Daily Bag Limit: 25 sora and Virginia rails, singly or in the 
aggregate.
    Common Snipe: All Areas:
    Season Dates: Begin September 1 and end November 25, 2012.
    Daily Bag Limit: Eight common snipe.
    Woodcock: All Areas:
    Season Dates: Begin September 1 and end November 25, 2012.
    Daily Bag Limit: Three woodcock.
    Mourning Dove: All Areas
    Season Dates: Begin September 1 and end October 30, 2012.
    Daily Bag Limit: 30 mourning doves.
    The following general conditions apply:
    1. While hunting waterfowl, a tribal member must carry on his/her 
person a valid Ceded Territory License.
    2. Shooting hours for migratory birds are one-half hour before 
sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.
    3. Except as otherwise noted, tribal members will be required to 
comply with tribal codes that will be no less restrictive than the 
provisions of Chapter 10 of the Model Off-Reservation Code. Except as 
modified by the Service rules adopted in response to this proposal, 
these amended regulations parallel Federal requirements in 50 CFR part 
20 as to hunting methods, transportation, sale, exportation, and other 
conditions generally applicable to migratory bird hunting.
    4. Band members in each zone will comply with State regulations 
providing for closed and restricted waterfowl hunting areas.
    5. There are no possession limits for migratory birds except for 
cranes in the Ceded Territories, unless otherwise noted above. For 
purposes of enforcing bag limits, all migratory birds in the possession 
or custody of band members on ceded lands will be considered to have 
been taken on those lands unless tagged by a tribal or State 
conservation warden as having been taken on-

[[Page 49683]]

reservation. All migratory birds that fall on reservation lands will 
not count as part of any off-reservation bag or possession limit.
    The band anticipates harvest will be fewer than 500 ducks and 
geese, and less than 12 sandhill cranes.
    We propose to approve the request for special migratory bird 
hunting regulations for the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa 
Indians.

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

    In the 1995-96 migratory bird seasons, the Grand Traverse Band of 
Ottawa and Chippewa Indians and the Service first cooperated to 
establish special regulations for waterfowl. The Grand Traverse Band is 
a self-governing, federally recognized Tribe located on the west arm of 
Grand Traverse Bay in Leelanau County, Michigan. The Grand Traverse 
Band is a signatory Tribe of the Treaty of 1836. We have approved 
special regulations for tribal members of the 1836 treaty's signatory 
Tribes on ceded lands in Michigan since the 1986-87 hunting season.
    For the 2012-13 season, the Tribe requests that the tribal member 
duck season run from September 15, 2012, through January 15, 2013. A 
daily bag limit of 20 would include no more than 5 pintail, 3 
canvasback, 1 hooded merganser, 5 black ducks, 5 wood ducks, 3 
redheads, and 9 mallards (only 4 of which may be hens).
    For Canada and snow geese, the Tribe proposes a September 1 through 
November 30, 2012, and a January 1 through February 8, 2013, season. 
For white-fronted geese and brant, the Tribe proposes a September 20 
through November 30, 2012, season. The daily bag limit for Canada and 
snow geese would be 10, and the daily bag limit for white-fronted geese 
and including brant would be 5 birds. We further note that, based on 
available data (of major goose migration routes), it is unlikely that 
any Canada geese from the Southern James Bay Population will be 
harvested by the Tribe.
    For woodcock, the Tribe proposes a September 1 through November 14, 
2012, season. The daily bag limit will not exceed five birds. For 
mourning doves, snipe, and rails, the Tribe proposes a September 1 
through November 14, 2012, season. The daily bag limit would be 10 per 
species.
    For sandhill cranes, the Tribe proposes a new season of September 1 
through November 30, 2012. The daily bag limit will not exceed one bird 
daily. All cranes in this proposed hunt area are Eastern Population 
(EP) sandhill cranes (see Sandhill Crane Season under (e) Great Lakes 
Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission for further discussion).
    All other Federal regulations contained in 50 CFR part 20 would 
apply. The Tribe proposes to monitor harvest closely through game bag 
checks, patrols, and mail surveys. Harvest surveys from the 2011-12 
hunting season indicated that approximately 29 tribal hunters harvested 
an estimated 140 ducks and 45 Canada geese.
    We propose to approve the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and 
Chippewa Indians requested 2012-13 special migratory bird hunting 
regulations, including the establishment of a new sandhill crane 
season. However, given the need to closely monitor the harvest of this 
species, we request that Grand Traverse implement either a special 
crane harvest tag or crane harvest reporting system/survey to track 
crane harvest, similar to that implemented by Fond du Lac last year.

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

    Since 1985, various bands of the Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa 
Indians have exercised judicially recognized off-reservation hunting 
rights for migratory birds in Wisconsin. The specific regulations were 
established by the Service in consultation with the Wisconsin 
Department of Natural Resources and the Great Lakes Indian Fish and 
Wildlife Commission. (GLIFWC is an intertribal agency exercising 
delegated natural resource management and regulatory authority from its 
member Tribes in portions of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota). 
Beginning in 1986, a Tribal season on ceded lands in the western 
portion of the Michigan Upper Peninsula was developed in coordination 
with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. We have approved 
regulations for Tribal members in both Michigan and Wisconsin since the 
1986-87 hunting season. In 1987, GLIFWC requested, and we approved, 
regulations to permit Tribal members to hunt on ceded lands in 
Minnesota, as well as in Michigan and Wisconsin. The States of Michigan 
and Wisconsin originally concurred with the regulations, although both 
Wisconsin and Michigan have raised various concerns over the years. 
Minnesota did not concur with the original regulations, stressing that 
the State would not recognize Chippewa Indian hunting rights in 
Minnesota's treaty area until a court with jurisdiction over the State 
acknowledges and defines the extent of these rights. In 1999, the U.S. 
Supreme Court upheld the existence of the tribes' treaty reserved 
rights in Minnesota v. Mille Lacs Band, 199 S.Ct. 1187 (1999).
    We acknowledge all of the States' concerns, but point out that the 
U.S. Government has recognized the Indian treaty reserved rights, and 
that acceptable hunting regulations have been successfully implemented 
in Minnesota, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Consequently, in view of the 
above, we have approved regulations since the 1987-88 hunting season on 
ceded lands in all three States. In fact, this recognition of the 
principle of treaty reserved rights for band members to hunt and fish 
was pivotal in our decision to approve a 1991-92 season for the 1836 
ceded area in Michigan. Since then, in the 2007 Consent Decree the 1836 
Treaty Tribes' and Michigan Department of Natural Resources and 
Environment established court-approved regulations pertaining to off-
reservation hunting rights for migratory birds.
    For 2012, the GLIFWC proposed off-reservation special migratory 
bird hunting regulations on behalf of the member Tribes of the Voigt 
Intertribal Task Force of the GLIFWC (for the 1837 and 1842 Treaty 
areas in Wisconsin and Michigan), the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe and the 
six Wisconsin Bands (for the 1837 Treaty area in Minnesota), and the 
Bay Mills Indian Community (for the 1836 Treaty area in Michigan). 
Member Tribes of the Task Force are: the Bad River Band of the Lake 
Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians, the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of 
Lake Superior Chippewa Indians, the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake 
Superior Chippewa Indians, the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa 
Indians, the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin, the Sokaogon 
Chippewa Community (Mole Lake Band), all in Wisconsin; the Mille Lacs 
Band of Chippewa Indians, and the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior 
Chippewa Indians in Minnesota; the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Chippewa 
Indians, and the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community in Michigan.
    The GLIFWC 2012 proposal has several significant changes from 
regulations approved last season. In the 1837 and 1842 Treaty Areas, 
the GLIFWC proposal would allow the use of electronic calls throughout 
the season; would extend shooting hours by 30 minutes in both the 
morning and the evening to 1 hour before sunrise and 1 hour after 
sunset; would increase the daily bag limits to 50 ducks and remove all 
species restrictions within the daily bag limit for ducks; would allow 
the

[[Page 49684]]

first harvest of sandhill cranes and tundra swans; would open the 
season (other than for geese) on September 4; and would remove 
restrictions for decoy use in Wisconsin. In the 1836 Treaty Area, the 
GLIFWC proposal would remove all species restrictions within the daily 
bag limit for ducks.
    GLIFWC states that the proposed regulatory changes are intended to 
provide tribal members a harvest opportunity within the scope of rights 
reserved in their various treaties and increase tribal subsistence 
harvest opportunities, while protecting migratory bird populations. 
Under the GLIFWC proposed regulations, GLIFWC expects total ceded 
territory harvest to be approximately 1,575 ducks, 300 geese, 50 
sandhill cranes, and 50 tundra swans, which is roughly similar to 
anticipated levels in previous years for those species for which 
seasons were established. GLIWFC further anticipates that tribal 
harvest will remain low given the small number of tribal hunters and 
the limited opportunity to harvest more than a small number of birds on 
most hunting trips.
    Recent GLIFWC harvest surveys (1996-98, 2001, 2004, and 2007-08) 
indicate that tribal off-reservation waterfowl harvest has averaged 
less than 1,050 ducks and 200 geese annually. In the latest survey year 
for which we have specific results (2004), an estimated 53 hunters took 
an estimated 421 trips and harvested 645 ducks (1.5 ducks per trip) and 
84 geese (0.2 geese per trip). Analysis of hunter survey data over 
1996-2004 indicates a general downward trend in both harvest and hunter 
participation.
    While we acknowledge that tribal harvest and participation has 
declined in recent years, we do not believe that the GLIFWC's proposal 
for tribal waterfowl seasons on ceded lands in Wisconsin, Michigan, and 
Minnesota for the 2012-13 season is in the best interest of the 
conservation of migratory birds. More specific discussion follows 
below.

Allowing Electronic Calls

    As we stated last year (76 FR 54676, September 1, 2011), the issue 
of allowing electronic calls and other electronic devices for migratory 
game bird hunting has been highly debated and highly controversial over 
the last 40 years, similar to other prohibited hunting methods such as 
baiting. Electronic calls, i.e., the use or aid of recorded or 
electronic amplified bird calls or sounds, or recorded or electrically 
amplified imitations of bird calls or sounds to lure or attract 
migratory game birds to hunters, was Federally prohibited in 1957 
because of its effectiveness in attracting and aiding the harvest of 
ducks and geese and is generally not considered a legitimate component 
of hunting. In 1999, after much debate, the migratory bird regulations 
were revised to allow the use of electronic calls for the take of light 
geese (lesser snow geese and Ross geese) during a light-goose-only 
season when all other waterfowl and crane hunting seasons, excluding 
falconry, were closed (64 FR 7507, February 16, 1999; 64 FR 71236, 
December 20, 1999; and 73 FR 65926, November 5, 2008). The regulations 
were subsequently changed also in 2006 to allow the use of electronic 
calls for the take of resident Canada geese during Canada-goose-only 
September seasons when all other waterfowl and crane seasons, excluding 
falconry, were closed (71 FR 45964, August 10, 2006). In both 
instances, these changes were made in order to significantly increase 
the harvest of these species due to either serious population 
overabundance, or depredation issues, or public health and safety 
issues, or both.
    Available information from the use of additional hunting methods, 
such as electronic calls, during the special light-goose seasons 
indicate that total harvest increased approximately 50-69 percent. On 
specific days when light-goose special regulations were in effect, the 
mean light goose harvest increased 244 percent. One research study 
found that lesser snow goose flocks were 5.0 times more likely to fly 
within gun range (<=50 meters) in response to electronic calls than to 
traditional calls and the mean number of snow geese killed per hour per 
hunter averaged 9.1 times greater for electronic calls than for 
traditional calls. While these results are only directly applicable to 
light geese, we believe these results are applicable to most waterfowl 
species, and indicative of some likely adverse harvest impacts on other 
geese and ducks.
    Removal of the electronic call prohibition would be inconsistent 
with our long-standing conservation concerns. Given available evidence 
on the effectiveness of electronic calls, and the large biological 
uncertainty surrounding any widespread use of electronic calls, we 
believe the potential for overharvest could contribute to long-term 
population declines. Further, migratory patterns could be affected and 
it is possible that hunter participation could increase beyond GLIFWC's 
estimates (50 percent) and could result in additional conservation 
impacts, particularly on locally breeding populations. Thus, we do not 
support allowing the use of electronic calls in the 1837 and 1842 
Treaty Areas.
    Additionally, given the fact that tribal waterfowl hunting covered 
by this proposal would occur on ceded lands that are not in the 
ownership of the Tribes, we believe the use of electronic calls to take 
waterfowl would lead to confusion on the part of the public, wildlife-
management agencies, and law enforcement officials in implementing the 
requirements of 50 CFR part 20. Further, similar to the impacts of 
baiting, uncertainties concerning the zone of influence attributed to 
the use of electronic calls could potentially increase harvest from 
nontribal hunters operating within areas electronic calls are being 
used, thereby posing risks to the migratory patterns and distribution 
of migratory waterfowl.
    Lastly, we remind GLIFWC that electronic calls are permitted for 
the take of resident Canada geese during Canada-goose-only September 
seasons when all other waterfowl and crane seasons are closed. In the 
case of GLIFWC's proposed seasons, electronic calls could be used 
September 1-14 for resident Canada geese (as long as GLIFWC's duck and 
crane season begins no earlier than September 15). This specific 
regulatory change was implemented in 2006 in order to significantly 
control resident Canada geese due to widespread population 
overabundance, depredation issues, and public health and safety issues.

Expanded Shooting Hours

    Normally, shooting hours for migratory game birds are one-half hour 
before sunrise to sunset. A number of reasons and concerns have been 
cited for extending shooting hours past sunset. Potential impacts to 
some locally breeding populations (e.g., wood ducks), hunter safety, 
difficulty of identifying birds, retrieval of downed birds, and impacts 
on law enforcement are some of the normal concerns raised when 
discussing potential expansions of shooting hours. However, despite 
these concerns, in 2007, we supported the expansion of shooting hours 
by 15 minutes after sunset in the 1837, 1842, and 1836 Treaty Areas (72 
FR 58452, October 15, 2007). We had previously supported this expansion 
in other tribal areas and have not been made aware of any wide-scale 
problems. Further, at that time, we believed that the continuation of a 
specific species restriction within the daily bag limit for mallards, 
and the implementation of a species restriction within the daily bag 
limit for wood ducks, would allay potential conservation concerns for 
these species. We supported the

[[Page 49685]]

increase with the understanding that we would need to closely monitor 
tribal harvest through either GLIFWC's own increased harvest surveys or 
GLIFWC's assisting the Service to survey tribal hunters.
    Last year, in deference to tribal traditions and in the interest of 
cooperation, and in spite of our previously identified concerns 
regarding species identification, species conservation of locally 
breeding populations, retrieval of downed birds, hunter safety, and law 
enforcement impacts, we approved shooting 30 minutes after sunset (an 
extension of 15 minutes from the then-current 15 minutes after sunset) 
(76 FR 54676, September 1, 2011). This was consistent with other Tribes 
in the general area (Fond du Lac, Leech Lake, Oneida, Sault Ste Marie, 
and White Earth). Extending shooting hours on both the front end and 
the back end of the day to 1 hour before sunrise and 1 hour after 
sunset as GLIWFC has proposed would be contrary to public safety and 
only heightens our previously identified concerns. It is widely 
considered dark 45 minutes after sunset (and 45 minutes before 
sunrise), and we see no viable remedies to allay our concerns. Shooting 
this early or late would also significantly increase the potential take 
of non-game birds. Thus, we cannot support increasing the shooting 
hours by 30 minutes in the 1837 and 1842 Treaty Areas (to 60 minutes 
before sunrise and 60 minutes after sunset).

Increasing the Overall Daily Bag Limit for Ducks

    Based on the proposed increased daily bag limits (from 30 to 50 
ducks per day in the 1837 and 1842 Treaty Areas), GLIFWC is estimating 
a relatively small additional duck harvest (1,050 to 1,575 ducks). 
While it is possible that hunter participation and harvest could 
increase beyond their estimates (50 percent), we do not anticipate such 
an increase given their relatively small average daily harvest (2.2 
ducks per day). Further, GLIFWC reports that the largest number of 
ducks reportedly harvested in a single day was 20. Thus, we do not 
anticipate any large-scale harvest shifts or significant biological 
conservation impacts with GLIFWC's proposal. However, we also note that 
GLIFWC's own dated harvest data indicates that present daily bag limits 
do not appear to be a hindrance or limiting factor for Tribal harvest, 
and increasing the daily bag limit to 50 ducks from the present 30-duck 
daily bag limit would be far in excess of anything we currently have 
experience with regarding tribal migratory bird hunting regulations. We 
further note that in 2007, in an effort to obtain the necessary 
information, we implemented a pilot expansion of the daily bag limit 
for ducks to 30 birds per day in the 1837 and 1842 Treaty Areas. We 
supported this with the understanding that we would need to closely 
monitor tribal harvest through either GLIFWC's own increased harvest 
surveys or GLIFWC's assisting the Service to survey tribal hunters. We 
have reiterated our request over the past several years for GLIFWC to 
continue their current harvest survey based on our implementation of 
this pilot bag limit increase for ducks in the 1837 and 1842 Treaty 
Areas in 2007, particularly for species such as mallards, the bag 
limits for which were subsequently significantly increased in 2008 
(from 10 to 30 per day). To date, we have not been presented with any 
new data since the 2008 harvest survey results.

Remove Restrictions on Decoy Use in Wisconsin

    In Wisconsin, State law requires that decoys may not be placed more 
than an hour before legal shooting hours or left out more than 20 
minutes after legal shooting hours. As we stated last year concerning a 
similar decoy restriction in Michigan (76 FR 54676, September 1, 2011), 
while we believe that there may be safety concerns with elimination of 
such a restriction, we take no position on the relative need or lack of 
need for such a restriction. Other than regulations on National 
Wildlife Refuges and other Federal lands, there are no Federal 
restrictions requiring the removal of unattended decoys.
    Additionally, given the fact that tribal waterfowl hunting covered 
by this proposal would occur on ceded lands that are not in the 
ownership of the Tribes, we believe the use of unattended decoys to 
``reserve'' hunting areas in public waters (i.e., those lands in the 
ceded territories outside of lands directly controlled by the Tribes) 
could lead to confusion and frustration on the part of the public, 
hunters, wildlife-management agencies, and law enforcement officials 
due to the inherent difficulties of different sets of hunting 
regulations for different areas and groups of hunters. However, we view 
this issue as a Tribal-State issue, and the Service takes no position 
on it in this proposed rule.

Removal of Species Restrictions for Ducks

    We have several concerns with GLIFWC's proposal to remove all 
species restrictions within the overall duck daily bag limits in the 
1837 and 1842 Treaty Areas. We have a number of duck species that are 
either showing long-term downward population trends (pintails and black 
ducks), or other species for which an increased daily bag limit of 50 
birds per day could potentially have conservation impacts (scaup, 
canvasbacks), particularly on locally-breeding ducks (mallards and wood 
ducks). Overharvest of these species in localized areas due to removal 
of species restrictions could contribute to long-term declines. 
However, while we believe the proposal to eliminate all species 
restrictions within the daily bag limit for ducks could potentially 
have resource conservation impacts on locally-breeding duck 
populations, and would prefer not to implement such a change at this 
time, we are willing to remove the restrictions for tribal harvest in 
the 1836, 1837, and 1842 ceded areas. As we stated last year regarding 
the removal of possession limits (76 FR 54676, September 1, 2011), we 
make this change with some trepidation. However, in the interest of our 
long-term relationship with GLIWFC, and the high importance GLIWFC has 
placed on this issue, we would agree with this important change. We 
note that, should resource conservation impacts be discovered, or 
should a particular species' population status warrant action, we would 
expect that the lack of species restrictions would be revisited and 
adjusted accordingly, especially if a particular species warranted a 
nationwide closed season (e.g., canvasbacks).

Earlier Duck Season Opening Date

    The Migratory Bird Treaty allows the hunting of migratory game 
birds beginning September 1. Generally, we have tried to guide Tribes 
to select an opening date for duck hunting of no earlier than September 
15. This guidance is based on our concern that hunting prior to 
September 15 significantly increases the potential for taking ducks 
that have not yet fully fledged (normally the result of late-nesting or 
renesting hens) or species misidentification due to the fact that some 
species and/or sexes are not yet readily distinguishable. While these 
impacts primarily concern locally-breeding ducks, the potential does 
exist for the take of molt migrants, i.e., birds that have specifically 
migrated to an area to complete the molting process. We would prefer 
that GLIFWC adhere to this guidance and would prefer not to implement 
such a change at this time. However, we see no significant conservation 
implications given the relatively small numbers of tribal hunters and 
are willing to allow

[[Page 49686]]

GLIFWC to begin the duck season on September 4 in the 1836, 1837, and 
1842 ceded areas. We are proposing this change in the interest of our 
long-term relationship with GLIWFC and the understanding that if 
significant conservation impacts are discovered, we would adjust the 
duck season opening date accordingly.

Sandhill Crane Season

    We have no objections to the establishment of a sandhill crane 
season in the 1837 and 1842 Treaty Areas. We note that at least one 
other Tribe currently has a sandhill crane season (see (c) Fond du Lac 
Band of Lake Superior Chippewa in Minnesota elsewhere in this proposed 
rule) and another has proposed establishing a new season this year (see 
(d) Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa in Michigan elsewhere in 
this proposed rule). All cranes in these current and proposed hunt 
areas are Eastern Population (EP) sandhill cranes. EP sandhill cranes 
rebounded from near extirpation in the late 1800s to over 30,000 cranes 
by 1996. As of last year, the current 3-year average population index 
for EP cranes was 51,217 cranes. As a result of this rebound and their 
continued range expansion, the Atlantic and Mississippi Flyway Councils 
developed a cooperative management plan for this population, and 
criteria were developed describing when hunting seasons could be 
opened. The State of Kentucky held its first hunting season on this 
population in 2011-12 and harvested 50 cranes. Further, allowance for 
Tribal harvest is specifically considered in the EP plan.
    GLIFWC estimates that no more than 50 cranes will be harvested 
during the proposed season. We note that two cranes were harvested last 
year in the inaugural Fond du Lac sandhill crane season. We support the 
establishment of GLIFWC's new sandhill crane season. However, given the 
need to closely monitor the harvest of this species, we request that 
GLIFWC implement either a special crane harvest tag or crane harvest 
reporting system/survey to track crane harvest, similar to that 
implemented by Fond du Lac last year, and requested of Grand Traverse 
this year (see (d) Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians 
in Michigan elsewhere in this proposed rule).

Tundra Swan Season

    As we stated with sandhill cranes, we are not opposed to the 
establishment of a tundra swan season in Wisconsin. However, unlike the 
sandhill crane issue, the establishment of a new tundra swan season in 
the ceded territory areas in question involves several significant 
concerns and special considerations. We believe these concerns need 
further study and consideration before any implementation of a new 
tundra swan season in the ceded territories.
    First, the proposed areas in question are also home to trumpeter 
swans. Many cooperators, including GLIFWC, worked together to 
reestablish a breeding trumpeter swan population in the Great Lakes. 
These efforts have been largely successful with the removal of this 
species from the Wisconsin endangered species list in 2009. After a 25-
year recovery program, there are currently about 200 breeding pairs in 
Wisconsin. However, it is very difficult to distinguish between tundra 
and trumpeter swans unless swans vocalize in flight. We have 
significant concerns over the accidental harvest of trumpeter swans by 
tribal hunters hunting during a tundra swan season. Further, within 
Wisconsin, the northern ceded territory is an area of high trumpeter 
swan use containing over 80 percent of the breeding pairs. We believe 
such areas should be avoided either temporally or geographically to the 
extent possible. When a hunting season on tundra swans is ultimately 
implemented, we believe it would be best to focus hunting efforts on 
the primary tundra swan migration concentrations while avoiding areas 
of significant trumpeter swan numbers. Unfortunately, most such areas 
are located outside of the ceded territories of northern Wisconsin.
    In addition to the concerns about potential impacts to trumpeter 
swans, we believe it is imperative that any tribal tundra swan hunting 
proposal follow the Eastern Population of tundra swans management plan 
including a quota permit system and harvest reporting. The EP tundra 
swan management plan was cooperatively developed by the Atlantic, 
Central, and Mississippi Flyway Councils in 2007 and guides the 
management and harvest of EP tundra swans.
    For these reasons, we do not believe that a tribal tundra swan 
hunting season in the ceded territory should be implemented this year. 
Given that all these concerns can be worked through over the next year, 
we do not believe that implementation of a tundra swan season next 
season is unrealistic. We note that both the Service and the State 
wildlife agencies have considerable trumpeter swan information that 
would be helpful in conducting additional biological evaluation and 
harvest planning and are available to work with GLIFWC on these issues.
    The proposed 2012-13 waterfowl hunting season regulations apply to 
all treaty areas (except where noted) for GLIFWC as follows:
    Ducks:
    Season Dates: Begin September 4 and end December 31, 2012.
    Daily Bag Limit: 50 ducks in the 1937 and 1842 Treaty Area; 30 
ducks in the 1836 Treaty Area.
    Mergansers:
    1836 Treaty Area Season Dates: Begin September 15 and end December 
31, 2012.
    1837 and 1842 Treaty Area Season Dates: Begin September 4 and end 
December 31, 2012.
    Daily Bag Limit: 10 mergansers.
    Geese:
    Season Dates: Begin September 1 and end December 31, 2012. In 
addition, any portion of the ceded territory that is open to State-
licensed hunters for goose hunting outside of these dates will also be 
open concurrently for tribal members.
    Daily Bag Limit: 20 geese in aggregate.
    Other Migratory Birds:
    A. Coots and Common Moorhens (Common Gallinules):
    1836 Treaty Area Season Dates: Begin September 15 and end December 
31, 2012.
    1837 and 1842 Treaty Area Season Dates: Begin September 4 and end 
December 31, 2012.
    Daily Bag Limit: 20 coots and common moorhens (common gallinules), 
singly or in the aggregate.
    B. Sora and Virginia Rails:
    1836 Treaty Area Season Dates: Begin September 15 and end December 
31, 2012.
    1837 and 1842 Treaty Area Season Dates: Begin September 4 and end 
December 31, 2012.
    Daily Bag and Possession Limits: 20, singly, or in the aggregate, 
25.
    C. Common Snipe:
    1836 Treaty Area Season Dates: Begin September 15 and end December 
31, 2012.
    1837 and 1842 Treaty Area Season Dates: Begin September 4 and end 
December 31, 2012.
    Daily Bag Limit: 16 common snipe.
    D. Woodcock:
    1836 Treaty Area Season Dates: Begin September 15 and end December 
31, 2012.
    1837 and 1842 Treaty Area Season Dates: Begin September 4 and end 
December 31, 2012.
    Daily Bag Limit: 10 woodcock.
    E. Mourning Dove: 1837 and 1842 Ceded Territories only.
    Season Dates: Begin September 1 and end November 9, 2012.
    Daily Bag Limit: 15 mourning doves.

[[Page 49687]]

    F. Sandhill Cranes: 1837 and 1842 Ceded Territories only.
    Season Dates: Begin September 4 and end December 31, 2012.
    Daily Bag Limit: 1 crane.
General Conditions
    A. All tribal members will be required to obtain a valid tribal 
waterfowl hunting permit.
    B. Except as otherwise noted, tribal members will be required to 
comply with tribal codes that will be no less restrictive than the 
model ceded territory conservation codes approved by Federal courts in 
the Lac Courte Oreilles v. State of Wisconsin (Voigt) and Mille Lacs 
Band v. State of Minnesota cases. Chapter 10 in each of these model 
codes regulates ceded territory migratory bird hunting. Both versions 
of Chapter 10 parallel Federal requirements as to hunting methods, 
transportation, sale, exportation, and other conditions generally 
applicable to migratory bird hunting. They also automatically 
incorporate by reference the Federal migratory bird regulations adopted 
in response to this proposal.
    C. Particular regulations of note include:
    1. Nontoxic shot will be required for all waterfowl hunting by 
tribal members.
    2. Tribal members in each zone will comply with tribal regulations 
providing for closed and restricted waterfowl hunting areas. These 
regulations generally incorporate the same restrictions contained in 
parallel State regulations.
    3. There is no possession limit. For purposes of enforcing bag 
limits, all migratory birds in the possession and custody of tribal 
members on ceded lands will be considered to have been taken on those 
lands unless tagged by a tribal or State conservation warden as taken 
on reservation lands. All migratory birds that fall on reservation 
lands will not count as part of any off-reservation bag or possession 
limit.
    4. The baiting restrictions included in the respective section 
10.05(2)(h) of the model ceded territory conservation codes will be 
amended to include language which parallels that in place for nontribal 
members as published at 64 FR 29799, June 3, 1999.
    5. The shell limit restrictions included in the respective section 
10.05(2)(b) of the model ceded territory conservation codes will be 
removed.
    6. Hunting hours shall be from a half hour before sunrise to 30 
minutes after sunset.
    We propose to approve the above GLIFWC regulations for the 2012-13 
hunting season.

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

    The Jicarilla Apache Tribe has had special migratory bird hunting 
regulations for tribal members and nonmembers since the 1986-87 hunting 
season. The Tribe owns all lands on the reservation and has recognized 
full wildlife management authority. In general, the proposed seasons 
would be more conservative than allowed by the Federal frameworks of 
last season and by States in the Pacific Flyway.
    The Tribe proposed a 2012-13 waterfowl and Canada goose season 
beginning October 13, 2012, and a closing date of November 30, 2012. 
Daily bag and possession limits for waterfowl would be the same as 
Pacific Flyway States. The Tribe proposes a daily bag limit for Canada 
geese of two. Other regulations specific to the Pacific Flyway 
guidelines for New Mexico would be in effect.
    During the Jicarilla Game and Fish Department's 2012-13 season, 
estimated duck harvest was 436, which is within the historical harvest 
range. The species composition in the past has included mainly 
mallards, gadwall, wigeon, and teal. Northern pintail comprised less 
than one percent of the total harvest in 2011. The estimated harvest of 
geese was 23 birds.
    The proposed regulations are essentially the same as were 
established last year. The Tribe anticipates the maximum 2012-13 
waterfowl harvest would be around 500 ducks and 15-25 geese.
    We propose to approve the Tribe's requested 2012-13 hunting 
seasons.

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

    The Kalispel Reservation was established by Executive Order in 
1914, and currently comprises approximately 4,600 acres. The Tribe owns 
all Reservation land and has full management authority. The Kalispel 
Tribe has a fully developed wildlife program with hunting and fishing 
codes. The Tribe enjoys excellent wildlife management relations with 
the State. The Tribe and the State have an operational Memorandum of 
Understanding with emphasis on fisheries but also for wildlife.
    The nontribal member seasons described below pertain to a 176-acre 
waterfowl management unit and 800 acres of reservation land with a 
guide for waterfowl hunting. The Tribe is utilizing this opportunity to 
rehabilitate an area that needs protection because of past land use 
practices, as well as to provide additional waterfowl hunting in the 
area. Beginning in 1996, the requested regulations also included a 
proposal for Kalispel-member-only migratory bird hunting on Kalispel-
ceded lands within Washington, Montana, and Idaho.
    For the 2012-13 migratory bird hunting seasons, the Kalispel Tribe 
proposed tribal and nontribal member waterfowl seasons. The Tribe 
requests that both duck and goose seasons open at the earliest possible 
date and close on the latest date under Federal frameworks.
    For nontribal hunters on reservation, the Tribe requests the 
seasons open at the earliest possible date and remain open, for the 
maximum amount of open days. Specifically, the Tribe requests that the 
season for ducks begin September 22, 2012, and end January 31, 2013. In 
that period, nontribal hunters would be allowed to hunt approximately 
101 days. Hunters should obtain further information on specific hunt 
days from the Kalispel Tribe.
    The Tribe also requests the season for geese run from September 1 
to September 13, 2012, and from October 1, 2012, to January 31, 2013. 
Total number of days should not exceed 107. Nontribal hunters should 
obtain further information on specific hunt days from the Tribe. Daily 
bag and possession limits would be the same as those for the State of 
Washington.
    The Tribe reports past nontribal harvest of 1.5 ducks per day. 
Under the proposal, the Tribe expects harvest to be similar to last 
year and less than 100 geese and 200 ducks.
    All other State and Federal regulations contained in 50 CFR part 
20, such as use of nontoxic shot and possession of a signed migratory 
bird hunting stamp, would be required.
    For tribal members on Kalispel-ceded lands, the Kalispel Tribe 
proposes season dates consistent with Federal flyway frameworks. 
Specifically, the Tribe requests outside frameworks for ducks of 
October 1, 2012, through January 31, 2013, and for geese of September 
1, 2012, through January 31, 2013. The Tribe requests that both duck 
and goose seasons open at the earliest possible date and close on the 
latest date under Federal frameworks. During that period, the Tribe 
proposes that the season run continuously. Daily bag and possession 
limits would be concurrent with the Federal rule.
    The Tribe reports that there was no tribal harvest. Under the 
proposal, the Tribe expects harvest to be less than 200 birds for the 
season with less than 100 geese. Tribal members would be

[[Page 49688]]

required to possess a signed Federal migratory bird stamp and a tribal 
ceded lands permit.
    We propose to approve the regulations requested by the Kalispel 
Tribe, provided that the nontribal seasons conform to Treaty 
limitations and final Federal frameworks for the Pacific Flyway.

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

    The Klamath Tribe currently has no reservation, per se. However, 
the Klamath Tribe has reserved hunting, fishing, and gathering rights 
within its former reservation boundary. This area of former 
reservation, granted to the Klamaths by the Treaty of 1864, is over 1 
million acres. Tribal natural resource management authority is derived 
from the Treaty of 1864, and carried out cooperatively under the 
judicially enforced Consent Decree of 1981. The parties to this Consent 
Decree are the Federal Government, the State of Oregon, and the Klamath 
Tribe. The Klamath Indian Game Commission sets the seasons. The tribal 
biological staff and tribal regulatory enforcement officers monitor 
tribal harvest by frequent bag checks and hunter interviews.
    For the 2012-13 season, the Tribe requests proposed season dates of 
October 1, 2012, through January 31, 2013. Daily bag limits would be 9 
for ducks, 9 for geese, and 9 for coot, with possession limits twice 
the daily bag limit. Shooting hours would be one-half hour before 
sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. Steel shot is required.
    Based on the number of birds produced in the Klamath Basin, this 
year's harvest would be similar to last year's. Information on tribal 
harvest suggests that more than 70 percent of the annual goose harvest 
is local birds produced in the Klamath Basin.
    We propose to approve the Klamath Tribe's requested 2012-13 special 
migratory bird hunting regulations.

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

    The Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe is a federally recognized Tribe 
located in Cass Lake, Minnesota. The reservation employs conservation 
officers to enforce conservation regulations. The Service and the Tribe 
have cooperatively established migratory bird hunting regulations since 
2000.
    For the 2012-13 season, the Tribe requests a duck season starting 
on September 15 and ending December 31, 2012, and a goose season to run 
from September 1 through December 31, 2012. Daily bag limits for ducks 
would be 10, including no more than 5 pintail, 5 canvasback, and 5 
black ducks. Daily bag limits for geese would be 10. Possession limits 
would be twice the daily bag limit. Shooting hours are one-half hour 
before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.
    The annual harvest by tribal members on the Leech Lake Reservation 
is estimated at 500-1,000 birds.
    We propose to approve the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe's special 
migratory bird hunting season.

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

    The Little River Band of Ottawa Indians is a self-governing, 
federally recognized Tribe located in Manistee, Michigan, and a 
signatory Tribe of the Treaty of 1836. We have approved special 
regulations for tribal members of the 1836 treaty's signatory Tribes on 
ceded lands in Michigan since the 1986-87 hunting season. Ceded lands 
are located in Lake, Mason, Manistee, and Wexford Counties. The Band 
normally proposes regulations to govern the hunting of migratory birds 
by Tribal members within the 1836 Ceded Territory as well as on the 
Band's Reservation.
    For the 2012-13 season, we assume the Little River Band of Ottawa 
Indians would propose a duck and merganser season from September 15, 
2012, through January 20, 2013. A daily bag limit of 12 ducks would 
include no more than 2 pintail, 2 canvasback, 3 black ducks, 3 wood 
ducks, 3 redheads, 6 mallards (only 2 of which may be a hen), and 1 
hooded merganser. Possession limits would be twice the daily bag limit.
    For white-fronted geese, snow geese, and brant, the Tribe usually 
proposes a September 20 through November 30 season. Daily bag limits 
would be five geese.
    For Canada geese only, the Tribe will likely propose a September 1, 
2012, through February 8, 2013, season with a daily bag limit of five. 
The possession limit would be twice the daily bag limit.
    For snipe, woodcock, rails, and mourning doves, we expect the Tribe 
will propose a September 1 to November 14, 2012, season. The daily bag 
limit would be 10 common snipe, 5 woodcock, 10 rails, and 10 mourning 
doves. Possession limits for all species would be twice the daily bag 
limit.
    The Tribe monitors harvest through mail surveys. General conditions 
are as follows:
    A. All tribal members will be required to obtain a valid tribal 
resource card and 2012-13 hunting license.
    B. Except as modified by the Service rules adopted in response to 
this proposal, these amended regulations parallel all Federal 
regulations contained in 50 CFR part 20.
    C. Particular regulations of note include:
    (1) Nontoxic shot will be required for all waterfowl hunting by 
tribal members.
    (2) Tribal members in each zone will comply with tribal regulations 
providing for closed and restricted waterfowl hunting areas. These 
regulations generally incorporate the same restrictions contained in 
parallel State regulations.
    D. Tribal members hunting in Michigan will comply with tribal codes 
that contain provisions parallel to Michigan law regarding duck blinds 
and decoys.
    We plan to approve Little River Band of Ottawa Indians' special 
migratory bird hunting seasons upon receipt of their proposal based on 
the provisions described above.

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

    The Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians (LTBB) is a self-
governing, federally recognized Tribe located in Petoskey, Michigan, 
and a signatory Tribe of the Treaty of 1836. We have approved special 
regulations for tribal members of the 1836 treaty's signatory Tribes on 
ceded lands in Michigan since the 1986-87 hunting season.
    For the 2012-13 season, the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa 
Indians propose regulations similar to those of other Tribes in the 
1836 treaty area. LTBB proposes the regulations to govern the hunting 
of migratory birds by tribal members on the LTBB reservation and within 
the 1836 Treaty Ceded Territory. The tribal member duck and merganser 
season would run from September 15, 2012, through January 31, 2013. A 
daily bag limit of 20 ducks and 10 mergansers would include no more 
than 5 hen mallards, 5 pintail, 5 canvasback, 5 scaup, 5 hooded 
merganser, 5 black ducks, 5 wood ducks, and 5 redheads.
    For Canada geese, the Tribe proposes a September 1, 2012, through 
February 8, 2013, season. The daily bag limit for Canada geese would be 
20 birds. We further note that, based on available data (of major goose 
migration routes), it is unlikely that any Canada geese from the 
Southern James Bay Population would be harvested by the Tribe. 
Possession limits are twice the daily bag limit.

[[Page 49689]]

    For woodcock, the Tribe proposes a September 1, 2012, to December 
1, 2012, season. The daily bag limit will not exceed 10 birds. For 
snipe, the Tribe proposes a September 1 to December 31, 2012, season. 
The daily bag limit will not exceed 16 birds. For mourning doves, the 
Tribe proposes a September 1 to November 14, 2012, season. The daily 
bag limit will not exceed 15 birds. For Virginia and sora rails, the 
Tribe proposes a September 1 to December 31, 2012, season. The daily 
bag limit will not exceed 20 birds per species. For coots and 
gallinules, the Tribe proposes a September 15 to December 31, 2012, 
season. The daily bag limit will not exceed 20 birds per species. The 
possession limit will not exceed 2 days' bag limit for all birds.
    All other Federal regulations contained in 50 CFR part 20 would 
apply.
    The Tribe proposes to monitor harvest closely through game bag 
checks, patrols, and mail surveys. In particular, the Tribe proposes 
monitoring the harvest of Southern James Bay Canada geese to assess any 
impacts of tribal hunting on the population.
    We propose to approve the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa 
Indians' requested 2012-13 special migratory bird hunting regulations.

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

    The Lower Brule Sioux Tribe first established tribal migratory bird 
hunting regulations for the Lower Brule Reservation in 1994. The Lower 
Brule Reservation is about 214,000 acres in size and is located on and 
adjacent to the Missouri River, south of Pierre. Land ownership on the 
reservation is mixed, and until recently, the Lower Brule Tribe had 
full management authority over fish and wildlife via an MOA with the 
State of South Dakota. The MOA provided the Tribe jurisdiction over 
fish and wildlife on reservation lands, including deeded and Corps of 
Engineers-taken lands. For the 2012-13 season, the two parties have 
come to an agreement that provides the public a clear understanding of 
the Lower Brule Sioux Wildlife Department license requirements and 
hunting season regulations. The Lower Brule Reservation waterfowl 
season is open to tribal and nontribal hunters.
    For the 2012-13 migratory bird hunting season, the Lower Brule 
Sioux Tribe proposes a nontribal member duck, merganser, and coot 
season length of 97 days, or the maximum number of days allowed by 
Federal frameworks in the High Plains Management Unit for this season. 
The Tribe proposes a duck season from September 29, 2012, through 
January 3, 2013. The daily bag limit would be six birds, including no 
more than two hen mallard and five mallards total, one pintail, two 
redheads, one canvasback, two wood ducks, two scaup, and one mottled 
duck. The daily bag limit for mergansers would be five, only two of 
which could be a hooded merganser. The daily bag limit for coots would 
be 15. Possession limits would be twice the daily bag limits.
    The Tribe's proposed nontribal-member Canada goose season would run 
from October 27, 2012, through February 10, 2013 (107-day season 
length), with a daily bag limit of three Canada geese. The Tribe's 
proposed nontribal member white-fronted goose season would run from 
October 27, 2012, through January 4, 2013, and January 26 through 
February 10, 2013, with a daily bag limit of one white-fronted goose. 
The Tribe's proposed nontribal-member light goose season would run from 
October 27, 2012, through January 6, 2013, and February 2 through March 
10, 2013. The light goose daily bag limit would be 20. Possession 
limits would be twice the daily bag limits.
    For tribal members, the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe proposes a duck, 
merganser, and coot season from September 22, 2012, through March 10, 
2013. The daily bag limit would be six ducks, including no more than 
two hen mallard and five mallards total, one pintail, two redheads, one 
canvasback, two wood ducks, two scaup, and one mottled duck. The daily 
bag limit for mergansers would be five, only two of which could be 
hooded mergansers. The daily bag limit for coots would be 15. 
Possession limits would be twice the daily bag limits.
    The Tribe's proposed Canada goose season for tribal members would 
run from September 22, 2012, through March 10, 2013, with a daily bag 
limit of three Canada geese. The Tribe's proposed white-fronted goose 
tribal season would run from September 22, 2012, through March 10, 
2013, with a daily bag limit of two white-fronted geese. The Tribe's 
proposed light goose tribal season would run from September 22, 2012, 
through March 10, 2013. The light goose daily bag limit would be 20. 
Possession limits would be twice the daily bag limits.
    In the 2011-12 season, hunters harvested 551 geese and 695 ducks. 
In the 2011-12 season, duck harvest species composition was primarily 
mallard (74 percent), gadwall, and green-winged teal (8 percent).
    Goose harvest species composition in 2011-12 at Mni Sho Sho was 
insignificant due to the few hunting days offered compared to previous 
years.
    The Tribe anticipates a duck harvest similar to those of the 
previous 3 years and a goose harvest below the target harvest level of 
3,000 to 4,000 geese. All basic Federal regulations contained in 50 CFR 
part 20, including the use of nontoxic shot, Migratory Waterfowl 
Hunting and Conservation Stamps, etc., would be observed by the Tribe's 
proposed regulations. In addition, the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe has an 
official Conservation Code that was established by Tribal Council 
Resolution in June 1982 and updated in 1996.
    We plan to approve the Tribe's requested regulations for the Lower 
Brule Reservation given that the seasons' dates fall within final 
Federal flyway frameworks (applies to nontribal hunters only).

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

    Since 1996, the Service and the Point No Point Treaty Tribes, of 
which Lower Elwha was one, have cooperated to establish special 
regulations for migratory bird hunting. The Tribes are now acting 
independently and the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe would like to establish 
migratory bird hunting regulations for tribal members for the 2012-13 
season. The Tribe has a reservation on the Olympic Peninsula in 
Washington State and is a successor to the signatories of the Treaty of 
Point No Point of 1855.
    For the 2012-13 season, the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe requests a 
duck and coot season from September 15, 2012, to January 6, 2013. The 
daily bag limit will be seven ducks including no more than two hen 
mallards, one pintail, one canvasback, and two redheads. The daily bag 
and possession limit on harlequin duck will be one per season. The coot 
daily bag limit will be 25. The possession limit will be twice the 
daily bag limit, except as noted above.
    For geese, the Tribe requests a season from September 15, 2012, to 
January 6, 2013. The daily bag limit will be four, including no more 
than three light geese. The season on Aleutian Canada geese will be 
closed.
    For brant, the Tribe proposes to close the season.
    For mourning doves, band-tailed pigeon, and snipe, the Tribe 
requests a season from September 15, 2012, to January 6, 2013, with a 
daily bag limit of 10, 2, and 8, respectively. The

[[Page 49690]]

possession limit will be twice the daily bag limit.
    All Tribal hunters authorized to hunt migratory birds are required 
to obtain a tribal hunting permit from the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe 
pursuant to tribal law. Hunting hours would be from one-half hour 
before sunrise to sunset. Only steel, tungsten-iron, tungsten-polymer, 
tungsten-matrix, and tin shot are allowed for hunting waterfowl. It is 
unlawful to use or possess lead shot while hunting waterfowl.
    The Tribe typically anticipates harvest to be fewer than 10 birds. 
Tribal reservation police and Tribal fisheries enforcement officers 
have the authority to enforce these migratory bird hunting regulations.
    The Service proposes to approve the request for special migratory 
bird hunting regulations for the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe.

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

    The Makah Indian Tribe and the Service have been cooperating to 
establish special regulations for migratory game birds on the Makah 
Reservation and traditional hunting land off the Makah Reservation 
since the 2001-02 hunting season. Lands off the Makah Reservation are 
those contained within the boundaries of the State of Washington Game 
Management Units 601-603.
    The Makah Indian Tribe proposes a duck and coot hunting season from 
September 22, 2012, to January 26, 2013. The daily bag limit is seven 
ducks, including no more than five mallards (only two hen mallard), one 
canvasback, one pintail, three scaup, and one redhead. The daily bag 
limit for coots is 25. The Tribe has a year-round closure on wood ducks 
and harlequin ducks. Shooting hours for all species of waterfowl are 
one-half hour before sunrise to sunset.
    For geese, the Tribe proposes that the season open on September 22, 
2012, and close January 26, 2013. The daily bag limit for geese is four 
and one brant. The Tribe notes that there is a year-round closure on 
Aleutian and dusky Canada geese.
    For band-tailed pigeons, the Tribe proposes that the season open 
September 15, 2012, and close October 28, 2012. The daily bag limit for 
band-tailed pigeons is two.
    The Tribe anticipates that harvest under this regulation will be 
relatively low since there are no known dedicated waterfowl hunters and 
any harvest of waterfowl or band-tailed pigeons is usually incidental 
to hunting for other species, such as deer, elk, and bear. The Tribe 
expects fewer than 50 ducks and 10 geese to be harvested during the 
2012-13 migratory bird hunting season.
    All other Federal regulations contained in 50 CFR part 20 would 
apply. The following restrictions are also usually proposed by the 
Tribe:
    (1) As per Makah Ordinance 44, only shotguns may be used to hunt 
any species of waterfowl. Additionally, shotguns must not be discharged 
within 0.25 miles of an occupied area.
    (2) Hunters must be eligible, enrolled Makah tribal members and 
must carry their Indian Treaty Fishing and Hunting Identification Card 
while hunting. No tags or permits are required to hunt waterfowl.
    (3) The Cape Flattery area is open to waterfowl hunting, except in 
designated wilderness areas, or within 1 mile of Cape Flattery Trail, 
or in any area that is closed to hunting by another ordinance or 
regulation.
    (4) The use of live decoys and/or baiting to pursue any species of 
waterfowl is prohibited.
    (5) Steel or bismuth shot only for waterfowl is allowed; the use of 
lead shot is prohibited.
    (6) The use of dogs is permitted to hunt waterfowl.
    The Service proposes to approve the Makah Indian Tribe's requested 
2012-13 special migratory bird hunting regulations.

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

    Since 1985, we have established uniform migratory bird hunting 
regulations for tribal members and nonmembers on the Navajo Indian 
Reservation (in parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah). The Navajo 
Nation owns almost all lands on the reservation and has full wildlife 
management authority.
    For the 2012-13 season, the Navajo Nation requests special 
migratory bird hunting regulations on the reservation for both tribal 
and nontribal hunters for ducks (including mergansers), Canada geese, 
coots, band-tailed pigeons, and mourning doves. For ducks, mergansers, 
Canada geese, and coots, the Tribe requests the earliest opening dates 
and longest seasons, and the same daily bag and possession limits 
allowed to Pacific Flyway States under final Federal frameworks.
    For both mourning dove and band-tailed pigeons, the Navajo Nation 
proposes seasons of September 1 through September 30, 2012, with daily 
bag limits of 10 and 5, respectively. Possession limits would be twice 
the daily bag limits.
    The Nation requires tribal members and nonmembers to comply with 
all basic Federal migratory bird hunting regulations in 50 CFR part 20 
pertaining to shooting hours and manner of taking. In addition, each 
waterfowl hunter 16 years of age or over must carry on his/her person a 
valid Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (Duck Stamp), which 
must be signed in ink across the face. Special regulations established 
by the Navajo Nation also apply on the reservation.
    The Tribe anticipates a total harvest of fewer than 500 mourning 
doves; fewer than 10 band-tailed pigeons; fewer than 1,000 ducks, 
coots, and mergansers; and fewer than 1,000 Canada geese for the 2012-
13 season. The Tribe will measure harvest by mail survey forms. Through 
the established Navajo Nation Code, titles 17 and 18, and 23 U.S.C. 
1165, the Tribe will take action to close the season, reduce bag 
limits, or take other appropriate actions if the harvest is detrimental 
to the migratory bird resource.
    We propose to approve the Navajo Nation's special migratory bird 
season.

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

    Since 1991-92, the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin and the 
Service have cooperated to establish uniform regulations for migratory 
bird hunting by tribal and nontribal hunters within the original Oneida 
Reservation boundaries. Since 1985, the Oneida Tribe's Conservation 
Department has enforced the Tribe's hunting regulations within those 
original reservation limits. The Oneida Tribe also has a good working 
relationship with the State of Wisconsin and the majority of the 
seasons and limits are the same for the Tribe and Wisconsin.
    In a June 18, 2012, letter, the Tribe proposed special migratory 
bird hunting regulations. For ducks, the Tribe described the general 
outside dates as being September 15 through December 2, 2012, with a 
closed segment of November 17 to 25, 2012. The Tribe proposes a daily 
bag limit of six birds, which could include no more than six mallards 
(three hen mallards), six wood duck, one redhead, two pintail, and one 
hooded merganser.
    For geese, the Tribe requests a season between September 1 and 
December 30, 2012, with a daily bag limit of five Canada geese from 
September 1 through 14, 2012, and three from September 15, 2012, 
through December 30, 2012. The Tribe will close the season November 17 
to 25, 2012. If a quota of 300 geese is attained before the season 
concludes,

[[Page 49691]]

the Tribe will recommend closing the season early.
    For woodcock, the Tribe proposes a season between September 1 and 
November 4, 2012, with a daily bag and possession limit of 5 and 10, 
respectively.
    For mourning dove, the Tribe proposes a season between September 1 
and November 4, 2012, with a daily bag and possession limit of 10 and 
20, respectively.
    The Tribe proposes shooting hours be one-half hour before sunrise 
to one-half hour after sunset. Nontribal hunters hunting on the 
Reservation or on lands under the jurisdiction of the Tribe must comply 
with all State of Wisconsin regulations, including shooting hours of 
one-half hour before sunrise to sunset, season dates, and daily bag 
limits. Tribal members and nontribal hunters hunting on the Reservation 
or on lands under the jurisdiction of the Tribe must observe all basic 
Federal migratory bird hunting regulations found in 50 CFR part 20, 
with the following exceptions: Oneida members would be exempt from the 
purchase of the Migratory Waterfowl Hunting and Conservation Stamp 
(Duck Stamp); and shotgun capacity is not limited to three shells.
    The Service proposes to approve the request for special migratory 
bird hunting regulations for the Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin.

(q) Point No Point Treaty Council Tribes, Kingston, Washington (Tribal 
Members Only)

    We are establishing uniform migratory bird hunting regulations for 
tribal members on behalf of the Point No Point Treaty Council Tribes, 
consisting of the Port Gamble S'Klallam and Jamestown S'Klallam Tribes. 
The two tribes have reservations and ceded areas in northwestern 
Washington State and are the successors to the signatories of the 
Treaty of Point No Point of 1855. These proposed regulations will apply 
to tribal members both on and off reservations within the Point No 
Point Treaty Areas; however, the Port Gamble S'Klallam and Jamestown 
S'Klallam Tribal season dates differ only where indicated below.
    For the 2012-13 season, we expect the Point No Point Treaty Council 
to request special migratory bird hunting regulations for the 2012-13 
hunting season for both the Jamestown S'Klallam and Port Gamble 
S'Klallam Tribes. For ducks and coots hunting season, based on past 
experience, the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe will likely propose the 
season open September 15, 2012, and close February 1, 2013. The Port 
Gamble S'Klallam Tribes usually proposes the season open from September 
1, 2012, to February 1, 2013. The daily bag limit would be seven ducks, 
including no more than two hen mallards, one canvasback, one pintail, 
two redhead, and four scoters. The daily bag limit for coots would be 
25. The daily bag limit and possession limit on harlequin ducks would 
be one per season. The daily possession limits are double the daily bag 
limits except where noted.
    For geese, the Point No Point Treaty Council will likely propose 
the season open on September 15, 2012, and close March 10, 2013. The 
daily bag limit for geese would be four, not to include more than three 
light geese. The Council notes that there is a year-round closure on 
Aleutian and cackling Canada geese. For brant, we expect the Council to 
propose the season open on November 13, 2012, and close January 31, 
2013. The daily bag limit for brant would be two.
    For band-tailed pigeons and snipe, we expect the Port Gamble 
S'Klallam Tribe to propose the season open September 1, 2012, and close 
March 10, 2013. The Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe will likely propose the 
season open September 15, 2012, and close March 10, 2013. The daily bag 
limit for band-tailed pigeons will probably be two and eight for snipe. 
For mourning dove, we expect the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe to propose 
the season open September 1, 2012, and close January 31, 2013. The 
Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe will likely propose the season open September 
15, 2012, and close January 14, 2013. The daily bag limit for mourning 
dove would be 10.
    The Tribe usually anticipates a total harvest of fewer than 200 
birds for the 2012-13 season. The tribal fish and wildlife enforcement 
officers have the authority to enforce these tribal regulations.
    We propose to approve the Point No Point Treaty Council Tribe's 
special migratory bird seasons upon receipt of the Tribe's proposal.

(r) Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, Sault Ste. Marie, 
Michigan (Tribal Members Only)

    The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians is a federally 
recognized self-governing Indian Tribe, distributed throughout the 
eastern Upper Peninsula and northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan. The 
Tribe has retained the right to hunt, fish, trap, and gather on the 
lands ceded in the Treaty of Washington (1836).
    In a May 31, 2012, letter, the Tribe proposed special migratory 
bird hunting regulations. For ducks, mergansers, and common snipe, the 
Tribe proposes outside dates as September 15 through December 31, 2012. 
The Tribe proposes a daily bag limit of 20 ducks, which could include 
no more than 10 mallards (5 hen mallards), 5 wood duck, 5 black duck, 
and 5 canvasback. The merganser daily bag limit is 10 in the aggregate 
and 16 for common snipe.
    For geese, coot, gallinule, sora, and Virginia rail, the Tribe 
requests a season from September 1 to December 31, 2012. The daily bag 
limit for geese is 20, in the aggregate. The daily bag limit for coot, 
gallinule, sora, and Virginia rail is 20 in the aggregate.
    For woodcock, the Tribe proposes a season between September 2 and 
December 1, 2012, with a daily bag and possession limit of 10 and 20, 
respectively.
    For mourning dove, the Tribe proposes a season between September 1 
and November 14, 2012, with a daily bag and possession limit of 10 and 
20, respectively.
    All Sault Ste. Marie Tribe members exercising hunting treaty rights 
within the 1836 Ceded Territory are required to submit annual harvest 
reports including date of harvest, number and species harvested, and 
location of harvest. Hunting hours would be from one-half hour before 
sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. All other regulations in 50 CFR 
part 20 apply including the use of only nontoxic shot for hunting 
waterfowl.
    The Service proposes to approve the request for special migratory 
bird hunting regulations for the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa 
Indians.

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

    Almost all of the Fort Hall Indian Reservation is tribally owned. 
The Tribes claim full wildlife management authority throughout the 
reservation, but the Idaho Fish and Game Department has disputed tribal 
jurisdiction, especially for hunting by nontribal members on 
reservation lands owned by non-Indians. As a compromise, since 1985, we 
have established the same waterfowl hunting regulations on the 
reservation and in a surrounding off-reservation State zone. The 
regulations were requested by the Tribes and provided for different 
season dates than in the remainder of the State. We agreed to the 
season dates because they would provide additional protection to 
mallards and pintails. The State of Idaho concurred with the zoning 
arrangement. We have no objection to the State's use of this zone again 
in the 2012-13 hunting season, provided the duck and goose hunting

[[Page 49692]]

season dates are the same as on the reservation.
    In a proposal for the 2012-13 hunting season, the Shoshone-Bannock 
Tribes requested a continuous duck (including mergansers) season, with 
the maximum number of days and the same daily bag and possession limits 
permitted for Pacific Flyway States under the final Federal frameworks. 
The Tribes propose a duck and coot season with, if the same number of 
hunting days is permitted as last year, an opening date of October 6, 
2012, and a closing date of January 19, 2013. The Tribes anticipate 
harvest will be between 2,000 and 5,000 ducks.
    The Tribes also requested a continuous goose season with the 
maximum number of days and the same daily bag and possession limits 
permitted in Idaho under Federal frameworks. The Tribes propose that, 
if the same number of hunting days is permitted as in previous years, 
the season would have an opening date of October 6, 2012, and a closing 
date of January 19, 2013. The Tribes anticipate harvest will be between 
4,000 and 6,000 geese.
    The Tribe requests a common snipe season with the maximum number of 
days and the same daily bag and possession limits permitted in Idaho 
under Federal frameworks. The Tribes propose that, if the same number 
of hunting days is permitted as in previous years, the season would 
have an opening date of October 6, 2012, and a closing date of January 
19, 2013.
    Nontribal hunters must comply with all basic Federal migratory bird 
hunting regulations in 50 CFR part 20 pertaining to shooting hours, use 
of steel shot, and manner of taking. Special regulations established by 
the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes also apply on the reservation.
    We note that the requested regulations are nearly identical to 
those of last year, and we propose to approve them for the 2012-13 
hunting season given that the seasons' dates fall within the final 
Federal flyway frameworks (applies to nontribal hunters only).

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

    Since 1996, the Service and the Point No Point Treaty Tribes, of 
which the Skokomish Tribe was one, have cooperated to establish special 
regulations for migratory bird hunting. The Tribes have been acting 
independently since 2005, and the Skokomish Tribe would like to 
establish migratory bird hunting regulations for tribal members for the 
2012-13 season. The Tribe has a reservation on the Olympic Peninsula in 
Washington State and is a successor to the signatories of the Treaty of 
Point No Point of 1855.
    The Skokomish Tribe requests a duck and coot season from September 
16, 2012, to February 28, 2013. The daily bag limit is seven ducks, 
including no more than two hen mallards, one pintail, one canvasback, 
and two redheads. The daily bag and possession limit on harlequin duck 
is one per season. The coot daily bag limit is 25. The possession limit 
is twice the daily bag limit except as noted above.
    For geese, the Tribe requests a season from September 16, 2012, to 
February 28, 2013. The daily bag limit is four, including no more than 
three light geese. The season on Aleutian Canada geese is closed. For 
brant, the Tribe proposes a season from November 1, 2012, to February 
15, 2013, with a daily bag limit of two. The possession limit is twice 
the daily bag limit.
    For mourning doves, band-tailed pigeon, and snipe, the Tribe 
requests a season from September 16, 2012, to February 28, 2013, with a 
daily bag limit of 10, 2, and 8, respectively. The possession limit is 
twice the daily bag limit.
    All Tribal hunters authorized to hunt migratory birds are required 
to obtain a tribal hunting permit from the Skokomish Tribe pursuant to 
tribal law. Hunting hours would be from one-half hour before sunrise to 
sunset. Only steel, tungsten-iron, tungsten-polymer, tungsten-matrix, 
and tin shot are allowed for hunting waterfowl. It is unlawful to use 
or possess lead shot while hunting waterfowl.
    The Tribe anticipates harvest to be fewer than 150 birds. The 
Skokomish Public Safety Office enforcement officers have the authority 
to enforce these migratory bird hunting regulations.
    We propose to approve the Skokomish Tribe's requested migratory 
bird hunting season.

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

    The Spokane Tribe of Indians wishes to establish waterfowl seasons 
on their reservation for its membership to access as an additional 
resource. An established waterfowl season on the reservation will allow 
access to a resource for members to continue practicing a subsistence 
lifestyle.
    The Spokane Indian Reservation is located in northeastern 
Washington State. The reservation comprises approximately 157,000 
acres. The boundaries of the Reservation are the Columbia River to the 
west, the Spokane River to the south (now Lake Roosevelt), Tshimikn 
Creek to the east, and the 48th Parallel as the north boundary. Tribal 
membership comprises approximately 2,300 enrolled Spokane Tribal 
Members.
    These proposed regulations would allow Tribal Members, spouses of 
Spokane Tribal Members, and first-generation descendants of a Spokane 
Tribal Member with a tribal permit and Federal Waterfowl stamp an 
opportunity to utilize the reservation and ceded lands for waterfowl 
hunting. It will also benefit tribal membership through access to this 
resource throughout Spokane Tribal ceded lands in eastern Washington. 
By Spokane Tribal Referendum, spouses of Spokane Tribal Members and 
children of Spokane Tribal Members not enrolled are allowed to harvest 
game animals within the Spokane Indian Reservation with the issuance of 
hunting permits.
    For the 2012-13 season, the Tribe requests to establish duck 
seasons that would run from September 2, 2012, through January 31, 
2013. The tribe is requesting the daily bag limit for ducks to be 
consistent with final Federal frameworks. The possession limit is twice 
the daily bag limit.
    The Tribe proposes a season on geese starting September 2, 2012, 
and ending on January 31, 2013. The tribe is requesting the daily bag 
limit for geese to be consistent with final Federal frameworks. The 
possession limit is twice the daily bag limit.
    Based on the quantity of requests the Spokane Tribe of Indians has 
received, the tribe anticipates harvest levels for the 2012-13 season 
for both ducks and geese to be below 100 total birds with goose harvest 
at fewer than 50. Hunter success will be monitored through mandatory 
harvest reports returned within 30 days of the season closure.
    We propose to approve the Spokane Tribe's requested 2012-13 special 
migratory bird hunting regulations.

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

    The Squaxin Island Tribe of Washington and the Service have 
cooperated since 1995 to establish special tribal migratory bird 
hunting regulations. These special regulations apply to tribal members 
on the Squaxin Island Reservation, located in western Washington near 
Olympia, and all lands within the traditional hunting grounds of the 
Squaxin Island Tribe.
    Based on past experience, for the 2012-13 season, we expect the 
Tribe will request to establish duck and coot seasons that would run 
from September 1, 2012, through January 15, 2013. The daily bag limit 
for ducks would be five

[[Page 49693]]

per day and could include only one canvasback. The season on harlequin 
ducks is closed. For coots, the daily bag limit is 25. For snipe, the 
Tribe will likely propose that the season start on September 15, 2012, 
and end on January 15, 2013. The daily bag limit for snipe would be 
eight. For band-tailed pigeon, we expect the Tribe to propose that the 
season start on September 1, 2012, and end on December 31, 2012. The 
daily bag limit would be five. The possession limit would be twice the 
daily bag limit.
    We expect the Tribe to propose a season on geese starting September 
15, 2012, and ending on January 15, 2013. The daily bag limit for geese 
would be four, including no more than two snow geese. The season on 
Aleutian and cackling Canada geese would be closed. For brant, the 
Tribe will likely propose that the season start on September 1, 2012, 
and end on December 31, 2012. The daily bag limit for brant would be 
two. The possession limit would be twice the daily bag limit.
    We propose to approve the Tribe's requested 2012-13 special 
migratory bird hunting regulations upon receipt of the Tribe's 
proposal.

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

    The Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians and the Service have cooperated 
to establish special regulations for migratory game birds since 2001. 
For the 2012-13 season, the Tribe requests regulations to hunt all open 
and unclaimed lands under the Treaty of Point Elliott of January 22, 
1855, including their main hunting grounds around Camano Island, Skagit 
Flats, and Port Susan to the border of the Tulalip Tribes Reservation. 
Ceded lands are located in Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, and Kings 
Counties, and a portion of Pierce County, Washington. The Stillaguamish 
Tribe of Indians is a federally recognized Tribe and reserves the 
Treaty Right to hunt (U.S. v. Washington).
    The Tribe proposes that duck (including mergansers) and goose 
seasons run from October 1, 2012, to February 15, 2013. The daily bag 
limit on ducks (including sea ducks and mergansers) is 10 and must 
include no more than 7 mallards (only 3 of which can be hens), 3 
pintails, 3 redheads, 3 scaup, and 3 canvasbacks. For geese, the daily 
bag limit is six. Possession limits are totals of these two daily bag 
limits.
    The Tribe proposes that coot, brant, and snipe seasons run from 
October 1, 2012, to January 31, 2013. The daily bag limit for coot is 
25. The daily bag limit on brant is three. The daily bag limit for 
snipe is 10. Possession limits are twice the daily bag limit.
    The Tribe proposes that band-tailed pigeon and dove seasons run 
from September 1, 2012, to October 31, 2012. The daily bag limit for 
band-tailed pigeon is four. The daily bag limit on dove is 10. 
Possession limits are twice the daily bag limit.
    Harvest is regulated by a punch card system. Tribal members hunting 
on lands under this proposal will observe all basic Federal migratory 
bird hunting regulations found in 50 CFR part 20, which will be 
enforced by the Stillaguamish Tribal law enforcement. Tribal members 
are required to use steel shot or a nontoxic shot as required by 
Federal regulations.
    The Tribe anticipates a total harvest of 200 ducks, 100 geese, 50 
mergansers, 100 coots, and 100 snipe. Anticipated harvest needs include 
subsistence and ceremonial needs. Certain species may be closed to 
hunting for conservation purposes, and consideration for the needs of 
certain species will be addressed.
    The Service proposes to approve the 2012-13 Stillaguamish Tribe's 
request for special migratory bird hunting regulations for the 
Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians.

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

    In 1996, the Service and the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community 
began cooperating to establish special regulations for migratory bird 
hunting. The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community is a federally 
recognized Indian Tribe consisting of the Swinomish, Lower Skagit, 
Samish, and Kikialous. The Swinomish Reservation was established by the 
Treaty of Point Elliott of January 22, 1855, and lies in the Puget 
Sound area north of Seattle, Washington.
    For the 2012-13 season, we anticipate that the Tribal Community 
will request to establish a migratory bird hunting season on all areas 
that are open and unclaimed and consistent with the meaning of the 
treaty. The Tribal Community usually requests to establish duck, 
merganser, Canada goose, brant, and coot seasons opening on the 
earliest possible date allowed by the final Federal frameworks for the 
Pacific Flyway and closing 30 days after the State of Washington closes 
its season. The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community requests an 
additional three birds of each species over the numbers allowed by the 
State for daily bag and possession limits.
    The Community normally anticipates that the regulations will result 
in the harvest of approximately 300 ducks, 50 Canada geese, 75 
mergansers, 100 brant, and 50 coot. The Swinomish utilize a report card 
and permit system to monitor harvest and will implement steps to limit 
harvest where conservation is needed. All tribal regulations will be 
enforced by tribal fish and game officers.
    On reservation, the Tribal Community will likely propose a hunting 
season for the above-mentioned species beginning on the earliest 
possible opening date and closing March 9, 2013. The Swinomish manage 
harvest by a report card and permit system, and we anticipate harvest 
will be similar to that expected off reservation.
    We believe the estimated harvest by the Swinomish will be minimal 
and will not adversely affect migratory bird populations. Upon receipt 
of the 2012-13 Swinomish hunting proposal, we propose to approve the 
Tribe's requested 2012-13 special migratory bird hunting regulations.

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

    The Tulalip Tribes are the successors in interest to the Tribes and 
bands signatory to the Treaty of Point Elliott of January 22, 1855. The 
Tulalip Tribes' government is located on the Tulalip Indian Reservation 
just north of the City of Everett in Snohomish County, Washington. The 
Tribes or individual tribal members own all of the land on the 
reservation, and they have full wildlife management authority. All 
lands within the boundaries of the Tulalip Tribes Reservation are 
closed to nonmember hunting unless opened by Tulalip Tribal 
regulations.
    The Tribe proposes tribal and nontribal hunting regulations for the 
2012-13 season. Migratory waterfowl hunting by Tulalip Tribal members 
is authorized by Tulalip Tribal Ordinance No. 67. For ducks, 
mergansers, coot, and snipe, the proposed season for tribal members is 
from September 7, 2012, through February 28, 2013. In the case of 
nontribal hunters hunting on the reservation, the season would be the 
latest closing date and the longest period of time allowed under the 
final Pacific Flyway Federal frameworks. Daily bag and possession 
limits for Tulalip Tribal members would be 7 and 14 ducks, 
respectively, except that for blue-winged teal, canvasback, harlequin, 
pintail, and wood duck, the bag and possession limits would be the same 
as those established in accordance

[[Page 49694]]

with final Federal frameworks. For nontribal hunters, bag and 
possession limits would be the same as those permitted under final 
Federal frameworks. For coot, daily bag and possession limits are 25 
and 50, respectively, and for snipe 8 and 16, respectively. Nontribal 
hunters should check with the Tulalip tribal authorities regarding 
additional conservation measures that may apply to specific species 
managed within the region. Ceremonial hunting may be authorized by the 
Department of Natural Resources at any time upon application of a 
qualified tribal member. Such a hunt must have a bag limit designed to 
limit harvest only to those birds necessary to provide for the 
ceremony.
    For geese, tribal members propose a season from September 7, 2012, 
through February 28, 2013. Nontribal hunters would be allowed the 
longest season and the latest closing date permitted by the Pacific 
Flyway Federal frameworks. For tribal hunters, the goose daily bag and 
possession limits would be 7 and 14, respectively, except that the bag 
limits for brant, cackling Canada geese, and dusky Canada geese would 
be those established in accordance with final Federal frameworks. For 
nontribal hunters hunting on reservation lands, the daily bag and 
possession limits would be those established in accordance with final 
Federal frameworks for the Pacific Flyway. The Tulalip Tribes also set 
a maximum annual bag limit for those tribal members who engage in 
subsistence hunting of 365 ducks and 365 geese.
    All hunters on Tulalip Tribal lands are required to adhere to 
shooting hour regulations set at one-half hour before sunrise to 
sunset, special tribal permit requirements, and a number of other 
tribal regulations enforced by the Tribe. Each nontribal hunter 16 
years of age and older hunting pursuant to Tulalip Tribes' Ordinance 
No. 67 must possess a valid Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and 
Conservation Stamp and a valid State of Washington Migratory Waterfowl 
Stamp. Each hunter must validate stamps by signing across the face.
    Although the season length requested by the Tulalip Tribes appears 
to be quite liberal, harvest information indicates a total take by 
tribal and nontribal hunters of fewer than 1,000 ducks and 500 geese 
annually.
    We propose to approve the Tulalip Tribe's request to have a special 
season.

(z) Upper Skagit Indian Tribe, Sedro Woolley, Washington (Tribal 
members only)

    The Upper Skagit Indian Tribe and the Service have cooperated to 
establish special regulations for migratory game birds since 2001. The 
Tribe has jurisdiction over lands within Skagit, Island, and Whatcom 
Counties, Washington. The Tribe issues tribal hunters a harvest report 
card that will be shared with the State of Washington.
    For the 2012-13 season, the Tribe requests a duck season starting 
October 1, 2012, and ending February 28, 2013. The Tribe proposes a 
daily bag limit of 15 with a possession limit of 20. The Tribe requests 
a coot season starting October 1, 2012, and ending February 15, 2013. 
The coot daily bag limit is 20 with a possession limit of 30.
    The Tribe proposes a goose season from October 1, 2012, to February 
28, 2013, with a daily bag limit of 7 geese and a possession limit of 
10. For brant, the Tribe proposes a season from November 1 to November 
10, 2012, with a daily bag and possession limit of 2.
    The Tribe proposes a mourning dove season between September 1 and 
December 31, 2012, with a daily bag limit of 12 and possession limit of 
15.
    The anticipated migratory bird harvest under this proposal would be 
100 ducks, 5 geese, 2 brant, and 10 coots. Tribal members must have the 
tribal identification and tribal harvest report card on their person to 
hunt. Tribal members hunting on the Reservation will observe all basic 
Federal migratory bird hunting regulations found in 50 CFR part 20, 
except shooting hours would be 15 minutes before official sunrise to 15 
minutes after official sunset.
    The Service proposes to approve the request for special migratory 
bird hunting regulations for the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe.

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

    The Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head is a federally recognized Tribe 
located on the island of Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts. The Tribe 
has approximately 560 acres of land, which it manages for wildlife 
through its natural resources department. The Tribe also enforces its 
own wildlife laws and regulations through the natural resources 
department.
    For the 2012-13 season, the Tribe proposes a duck season of October 
13, 2012, through October 21, 2012, and October 29, 2012, through 
February 23, 2013. The Tribe proposes a daily bag limit of six birds, 
which could include no more than four hen mallards, four mottled ducks, 
one fulvous whistling duck, four mergansers, three scaup, two hooded 
mergansers, three wood ducks, one canvasback, two redheads, two 
pintail, and four of all other species not listed. The season for 
harlequin ducks is closed. The Tribe proposes a teal (green-winged and 
blue) season of October 11, 2012, through February 23, 2013. A daily 
bag limit of six teal would be in addition to the daily bag limit for 
ducks.
    For sea ducks, the Tribe proposes a season between October 6, 2012, 
and February 23, 2013, with a daily bag limit of seven, which could 
include no more than one hen eider and four of any one species unless 
otherwise noted above.
    For Canada geese, the Tribe requests a season between September 5 
and September 22, 2012, and October 29, 2012, and February 23, 2013, 
with a daily bag limit of 8 Canada geese. For snow geese, the tribe 
requests a season between September 5 to September 22, 2012, and 
November 26, 2012, to February 23, 2013, with a daily bag limit of 15 
snow geese.
    For woodcock, the Tribe proposes a season between October 11 and 
November 24, 2012, with a daily bag limit of three. For sora and 
Virginia rails, the Tribe requests a season of September 1, 2012, 
through November 10, 2012, with a daily bag limit of 5 sora and 10 
Virginia rails. For snipe, the Tribe requests a season of September 1, 
2012, through December 16, 2012, with a daily bag limit of 8.
    Prior to 2012, the Tribe had 22 registered tribal hunters and 
estimates harvest to be no more than 15 geese, 25 mallards, 25 teal, 50 
black ducks, and 50 of all other species combined. Tribal members 
hunting on the Reservation will observe all basic Federal migratory 
bird hunting regulations found in 50 CFR part 20. The Tribe requires 
hunters to register with the Harvest Information Program.
    We propose to approve the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head's requested 
2012-13 special migratory bird hunting regulations.

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

    The White Earth Band of Ojibwe is a federally recognized tribe 
located in northwest Minnesota and encompasses all of Mahnomen County 
and parts of Becker and Clearwater Counties. The reservation employs 
conservation officers to enforce migratory bird regulations. The Tribe 
and the Service first cooperated to establish special tribal 
regulations in 1999.

[[Page 49695]]

    For the 2012-13 migratory bird hunting season, the White Earth Band 
of Ojibwe requests a duck season to start September 17 and end December 
11, 2012. For ducks, they request a daily bag limit of 10, including no 
more than 2 mallards, 1 pintail, and 1 canvasback. For mergansers, the 
Tribe proposes the season to start September 17 and end December 18, 
2012. The merganser daily bag limit would be five with no more than two 
hooded mergansers. For geese, the Tribe proposes an early season from 
September 1 through September 25, 2012, and a late season from 
September 26, 2012, through December 19, 2012. The early season daily 
bag limit is eight geese, and the late season daily bag limit is five 
geese.
    For coots, dove, rail, woodcock, and snipe, the Tribe proposes a 
September 1 through November 30, 2012, season with daily bag limits of 
20 coots, 25 doves, 25 rails, 10 woodcock, and 10 snipe. Shooting hours 
are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. 
Nontoxic shot is required.
    Based on past harvest surveys, the Tribe anticipates harvest of 
1,000 to 2,000 Canada geese and 1,000 to 1,500 ducks. The White Earth 
Reservation Tribal Council employs four full-time conservation officers 
to enforce migratory bird regulations.
    We propose to approve the White Earth Band of Ojibwe's request to 
have a special season.

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

    The White Mountain Apache Tribe owns all reservation lands, and the 
Tribe has recognized full wildlife management authority. As in past 
years, the White Mountain Apache Tribe has requested regulations that 
are essentially unchanged from those agreed to since the 1997-98 
hunting year.
    The hunting zone for waterfowl is restricted and is described as: 
the length of the Black River west of the Bonito Creek and Black River 
confluence and the entire length of the Salt River forming the southern 
boundary of the reservation; the White River, extending from the Canyon 
Day Stockman Station to the Salt River; and all stock ponds located 
within Wildlife Management Units 4, 5, 6, and 7. Tanks located below 
the Mogollon Rim, within Wildlife Management Units 2 and 3, will be 
open to waterfowl hunting during the 2012-12 season. The length of the 
Black River east of the Black River/Bonito Creek confluence is closed 
to waterfowl hunting. All other waters of the reservation would be 
closed to waterfowl hunting for the 2012-13 season.
    For nontribal and tribal hunters, the Tribe proposes a continuous 
duck, coot, merganser, gallinule, and moorhen hunting season, with an 
opening date of October 12, 2012, and a closing date of January 28, 
2013. The Tribe proposes a separate scaup season, with an opening date 
of October 20, 2012, and a closing date of December 2, 2012. The Tribe 
proposes a daily duck (including mergansers) bag limit of seven, which 
may include no more than two redheads, two pintail, seven mallards 
(including no more than two hen mallards), one canvasback, and three 
scaup. The daily bag limit for coots, gallinules, and moorhens would be 
25, singly or in the aggregate.
    For geese, the Tribe proposes a season from October 20, 2012, 
through January 28, 2013. Hunting would be limited to Canada geese, and 
the daily bag limit would be three.
    Season dates for band-tailed pigeons and mourning doves would run 
for the maximum season lengths in the Pacific Flyway, in Wildlife 
Management Unit 10 and all areas south of Y-70 and Y-10 in Wildlife 
Management Unit 7, only. Proposed daily bag limits for band-tailed 
pigeons and mourning doves would be 3 and 10, respectively.
    Possession limits for the above species are twice the daily bag 
limits. Shooting hours would be from one-half hour before sunrise to 
sunset. There would be no open season for sandhill cranes, rails, and 
snipe on the White Mountain Apache lands under this proposal.
    A number of special regulations apply to tribal and nontribal 
hunters, which may be obtained from the White Mountain Apache Tribe 
Game and Fish Department.
    We plan to approve the White Mountain Apache Tribe's 2012-13 
hunting seasons.

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

    The Yankton Sioux Tribe has yet to submit a waterfowl hunting 
proposal for the 2012-13 season. The Yankton Sioux tribal waterfowl 
hunting season usually would be open to both tribal members and 
nontribal hunters. The waterfowl hunting regulations would apply to 
tribal and trust lands within the external boundaries of the 
reservation.
    For ducks (including mergansers) and coots, we expect the Yankton 
Sioux Tribe to propose a season starting October 9, 2012, and running 
for the maximum amount of days allowed under the final Federal 
frameworks. Daily bag and possession limits would be six ducks, which 
may include no more than five mallards (no more than two hens), one 
canvasback (when the season is open), two redheads, three scaup, one 
pintail, or two wood ducks. The bag limit for mergansers would be five, 
which would include no more than one hooded merganser. The coot daily 
bag limit would be 15.
    For geese, the Tribe will likely request a dark goose (Canada 
geese, brant, white-fronted geese) season starting October 29, 2012, 
and closing January 31, 2013. The daily bag limit would be three geese 
(including no more than one white-fronted goose or brant). Possession 
limits would be twice the daily bag limit.
    For white geese, the proposed hunting season would start October 
29, 2012, and run for the maximum amount of days allowed under the 
final Federal frameworks for the State of South Dakota. Daily bag and 
possession limits would equal the maximum allowed under Federal 
frameworks.
    All hunters would have to be in possession of a valid tribal 
license while hunting on Yankton Sioux trust lands. Tribal and 
nontribal hunters must comply with all basic Federal migratory bird 
hunting regulations in 50 CFR part 20 pertaining to shooting hours and 
the manner of taking. Special regulations established by the Yankton 
Sioux Tribe also apply on the reservation.
    During the 2005-06 hunting season, the Tribe reported that 90 
nontribal hunters took 400 Canada geese, 75 light geese, and 90 ducks. 
Forty-five tribal members harvested fewer than 50 geese and 50 ducks.
    We plan to approve the Yankton Sioux 2012-13 hunting seasons upon 
receipt of their proposal based on the provisions described above.

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 the ADDRESSES section. We will not 
accept comments sent by email or fax. We will not consider hand-
delivered comments

[[Page 49696]]

that we do not receive, or mailed comments that are not postmarked, by 
the date specified in the DATES section.
    We will post all comments in their entirety--including your 
personal 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, Room 4107, 
4501 North Fairfax Drive, Arlington, VA 22203.
    For each series of proposed rulemakings, we will establish specific 
comment periods. We will consider, but possibly may not respond in 
detail to, each comment. As in the past, we will summarize all comments 
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 proposed rule; for descriptions of our 
actions to ensure compliance with the following statutes and Executive 
Orders, see our April 17, and May 17, 2012, proposed rules (77 FR 23094 
and 77 FR 29516):
     National Environmental Policy Act;
     Endangered Species Act;
     Regulatory Flexibility Act;
     Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act;
     Paperwork Reduction Act;
     Unfunded Mandates Reform Act;
     Executive Orders 12630, 12866, 13563, 12988, 13175, 13132, 
and 13211.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 20

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

    Based on the results of migratory game bird studies, and having due 
consideration for any data or views submitted by interested parties, 
this proposed rulemaking may result in the adoption of special hunting 
regulations for migratory birds beginning as early as September 1, 
2012, on certain Federal Indian reservations, off-reservation trust 
lands, and ceded lands. Taking into account both reserved hunting 
rights and the degree to which tribes have full wildlife management 
authority, the regulations only for tribal members or for both tribal 
and nontribal hunters may differ from those established by States in 
which the reservations, off-reservation trust lands, and ceded lands 
are located. The regulations will specify open seasons, shooting hours, 
and bag and possession limits for rails, coot, gallinules, woodcock, 
common snipe, band-tailed pigeons, mourning doves, white-winged doves, 
ducks, mergansers, and geese.
    The rules that eventually will be promulgated for the 2012-13 
hunting season are authorized under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act 
(MBTA) of July 3, 1918 (40 Stat. 755; 16 U.S.C. 703 et seq.), as 
amended. The MBTA authorizes and directs the Secretary of the Interior, 
having due regard for the zones of temperature and for the 
distribution, abundance, economic value, breeding habits, and times and 
lines of flight of migratory game birds, to determine when, to what 
extent, and by what means such birds or any part, nest, or egg thereof 
may be taken, hunted, captured, killed, possessed, sold, purchased, 
shipped, carried, exported, or transported.

    Dated: August 9, 2012.
Michael J. Bean,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 2012-20072 Filed 8-15-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P