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Migratory bird hunting frameworks proposed for coming season

The Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) is proposing new rules for the next migratory bird hunting season. In the Federal Register of Thursday, July 31, 2014, FWS announced that it is taking comments on its proposal for recreational hunting dates and bag limits for the 2014-2015 season for various migratory birds. FWS also set the frameworks for the duck hunting seasons.

FWS is taking comments on its proposal through Aug. 31.Go to http://www.regulations.gov and look up Docket No. FWS-HQ-MB-2014-0017. Or you can mail or hand deliver comments to Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-HQ-MB-2014-0017, Division of Policy & Directives Management, FWS, FWS Headquarters, MS: BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803. If you have any questions, contact Ron Kokel, FWS, Department of the Interior, MS: MB, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803; (703) 358-1967.

FWS' proposal will set the framework for states to choose bag limits, hours and dates for hunting. Based on its earlier proposals, meetings and public comments; FWS says it plans to issue final regulatory frameworks around Aug. 16. The frameworks will reflect the fact that bird populations will be affected by the colder, snowier and rainier winter and spring than average this year across the affected areas of the United States and Canada.

FWS determined that the population of blue-winged teal remains about the same as last year, about 75 percent above the average since 1955. It is slightly down for sandhill cranes, but still slightly above the historic average. Population in some parts of the country went down slightly for American woodcock. It went down an estimated 5.6 percent for band-tailed pigeons. Data are incomplete for mourning doves.

Regarding ducks, FWS says it will propose regulations for each of the four flyways after receiving more information later this summer. It is looking at a 16-day September teal season in the Atlantic, Central and Mississippi flyways this year.