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Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR data is current as of February 20, 2020

Title 50Chapter ISubchapter BPart 20 → Subpart C


Title 50: Wildlife and Fisheries
PART 20—MIGRATORY BIRD HUNTING


Subpart C—Taking


Contents
§20.20   Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program.
§20.21   What hunting methods are illegal?
§20.22   Closed seasons.
§20.23   Shooting hours.
§20.24   Daily limit.
§20.25   Wanton waste of migratory game birds.
§20.26   Emergency closures.

§20.20   Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program.

(a) Information collection requirements. The collections of information contained in §20.20 have been approved by the Office of Management and Budget under 44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq. and assigned clearance number 1018-0015. An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. The information will be used to provide a sampling frame for the national Migratory Bird Harvest Survey. Response is required from licensed hunters to obtain the benefit of hunting migratory game birds. Public reporting burden for this information is estimated to average 2 minutes per response for 3,300,000 respondents, including the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information. Thus the total annual reporting and record-keeping burden for this collection is estimated to be 112,000 hours. Send comments regarding this burden estimate or any other aspect of this collection of information, including suggestions for reducing the burden, to the Service's Information Collection Clearance Officer at the address provided at 50 CFR 2.1(b).

(b) General provisions. Each person hunting migratory game birds in any State except Hawaii must have identified himself or herself as a migratory bird hunter and given his or her name, address, and date of birth to the respective State hunting licensing authority and must have on his or her person evidence, provided by that State, of compliance with this requirement.

(c) Tribal exemptions. Nothing in paragraph (b) of this section shall apply to tribal members on Federal Indian Reservations or to tribal members hunting on ceded lands.

(d) State exemptions. Nothing in paragraph (b) of this section shall apply to those hunters who are exempt from State-licensing requirements in the State in which they are hunting.

(e) State responsibilities. The State hunting licensing authority will ask each licensed migratory bird hunter in the respective State to report approximately how many ducks, geese, doves, and woodcock he or she bagged the previous year, whether he or she hunted coots, snipe, rails, and/or gallinules the previous year, and, in States that have band-tailed pigeon hunting seasons, whether he or she intends to hunt band-tailed pigeons during the current year.

[58 FR 15098, Mar. 19, 1993, as amended at 59 FR 53336, Oct. 21, 1994; 61 FR 46352, Aug. 30, 1996; 62 FR 45708, Aug. 28, 1997; 63 FR 46401, Sept. 1, 1998; 79 FR 43965, July 29, 2014]

§20.21   What hunting methods are illegal?

Migratory birds on which open seasons are prescribed in this part may be taken by any method except those prohibited in this section. No persons shall take migratory game birds:

(a) With a trap, snare, net, rifle, pistol, swivel gun, shotgun larger than 10 gauge, punt gun, battery gun, machinegun, fish hook, poison, drug, explosive, or stupefying substance;

(b) With a shotgun of any description capable of holding more than three shells, unless it is plugged with a one-piece filler, incapable of removal without disassembling the gun, so its total capacity does not exceed three shells. However, this restriction does not apply during:

(1) A light-goose-only season (greater and lesser snow geese and Ross' geese) when all other waterfowl and crane hunting seasons, excluding falconry, are closed.

(2) A Canada goose only season when all other waterfowl and crane hunting seasons, excluding falconry, are closed in the Atlantic, Central, and Mississippi Flyway portions of Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, as set forth below:

(i) During the period of September 1 to September 15, when approved in the annual regulatory schedule in subpart K of this part; and

(ii) During the period of September 16 to September 30, when approved in the annual regulatory schedule in subpart K of this part.

(c) From or by means, aid, or use of a sinkbox or any other type of low floating device, having a depression affording the hunter a means of concealment beneath the surface of the water;

(d) From or by means, aid, or use of any motor vehicle, motor-driven land conveyance, or aircraft of any kind, except that paraplegics and persons missing one or both legs may take from any stationary motor vehicle or stationary motor-driven land conveyance;

(e) From or by means of any motorboat or other craft having a motor attached, or any sailboat, unless the motor has been completely shut off and/or the sails furled, and its progress therefrom has ceased: Provided, That a craft under power may be used to retrieve dead or crippled birds; however, crippled birds may not be shot from such craft under power except in the seaduck area as permitted in subpart K of this part;

(f) By the use or aid of live birds as decoys; although not limited to, it shall be a violation of this paragraph for any person to take migratory waterfowl on an area where tame or captive live ducks or geese are present unless such birds are and have been for a period of 10 consecutive days prior to such taking, confined within an enclosure which substantially reduces the audibility of their calls and totally conceals such birds from the sight of wild migratory waterfowl;

(g) By the use or aid of recorded or electrically amplified bird calls or sounds, or recorded or electrically amplified imitations of bird calls or sounds. However, this restriction does not apply during:

(1) A light-goose-only season (greater and lesser snow geese and Ross' geese) when all other waterfowl and crane hunting seasons, excluding falconry, are closed.

(2) A Canada goose only season when all other waterfowl and crane hunting seasons, excluding falconry, are closed in the Atlantic, Central, and Mississippi Flyway portions of Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, as set forth below:

(i) During the period of September 1 to September 15, when approved in the annual regulatory schedule in subpart K of this part; and

(ii) During the period of September 16 to September 30, when approved in the annual regulatory schedule in subpart K of this part.

(h) By means or aid of any motordriven land, water, or air conveyance, or any sailboat used for the purpose of or resulting in the concentrating, driving, rallying, or stirring up of any migratory bird;

(i) By the aid of baiting, or on or over any baited area, where a person knows or reasonably should know that the area is or has been baited. However, nothing in this paragraph prohibits:

(1) the taking of any migratory game bird, including waterfowl, coots, and cranes, on or over the following lands or areas that are not otherwise baited areas—

(i) Standing crops or flooded standing crops (including aquatics); standing, flooded, or manipulated natural vegetation; flooded harvested croplands; or lands or areas where seeds or grains have been scattered solely as the result of a normal agricultural planting, harvesting, post-harvest manipulation, rice ratooning, post-disaster flooding, or normal soil stabilization practice;

(ii) From a blind or other place of concealment camouflaged with natural vegetation;

(iii) From a blind or other place of concealment camouflaged with vegetation from agricultural crops, as long as such camouflaging does not result in the exposing, depositing, distributing or scattering of grain or other feed; or

(iv) Standing or flooded standing agricultural crops where grain is inadvertently scattered solely as a result of a hunter entering or exiting a hunting area, placing decoys, or retrieving downed birds.

(2) The taking of any migratory game bird, except waterfowl, coots and cranes, on or over lands or areas that are not otherwise baited areas, and where grain or other feed has been distributed or scattered solely as the result of manipulation of an agricultural crop or other feed on the land where grown, or solely as the result of a normal agricultural operation.

(j)(1) While possessing loose shot for muzzle loading or shotshells containing other than the following approved shot types.

Approved shot type*Percent composition by weightField testing device**
Bismuth-tin97 bismuth, and 3 tinHot Shot®***
Iron (steel)iron and carbonMagnet or Hot Shot®.
Iron-tungstenany proportion of tungsten, and ≥1 ironMagnet or Hot Shot®.
Iron-tungsten-nickel≥1 iron, any proportion of tungsten, and up to 40 nickelMagnet or Hot Shot®.
Copper-clad iron84 to 56.59 iron core, with copper cladding up to 44.1 of the shot massMagnet or Hot Shot®
Corrosion-inhibited copper≥99.9 copper with benzotriazole and thermoplastic fluorescent powder coatingsUltraviolet Light.
Tungsten-bronze51.1 tungsten, 44.4 copper, 3.9 tin, and 0.6 iron, or 60 tungsten, 35.1 copper, 3.9 tin, and 1 ironRare Earth Magnet.
Tungsten-iron-copper-nickel40-76 tungsten, 10-37 iron, 9-16 copper, and 5-7 nickelHot Shot® or Rare Earth Magnet.
Tungsten-matrix95.9 tungsten, 4.1 polymerHot Shot®.
Tungsten-polymer95.5 tungsten, 4.5 Nylon 6 or 11Hot Shot®.
Tungsten-tin-ironany proportions of tungsten and tin, and ≥1 ironMagnet or Hot Shot®.
Tungsten-tin-bismuthany proportions of tungsten, tin, and bismuthRare Earth Magnet.
Tungsten-tin-iron-nickel65 tungsten, 21.8 tin, 10.4 iron, and 2.8 nickelMagnet.
Tungsten-iron-polymer41.5-95.2 tungsten, 1.5-52.0 iron, and 3.5-8.0 fluoropolymerRare Earth Magnet or Hot Shot®.

* Coatings of copper, nickel, tin, zinc, zinc chloride, zinc chrome, fluoropolymers, and fluorescent thermoplastic on approved nontoxic shot types also are approved.

** The information in the “Field Testing Device” column is strictly informational, not regulatory.

*** The “HOT*SHOT” field testing device is from Stream Systems of Concord, CA.

(2) Each approved shot type must contain less than 1 percent residual lead (see §20.134).

(3) This shot type restriction applies to the taking of ducks, geese (including brant), swans, coots (Fulica americana), and any other species that make up aggregate bag limits with these migratory game birds during concurrent seasons in areas described in §20.108 as nontoxic shot zones.

[38 FR 22021, Aug. 15, 1973, as amended at 38 FR 22896, Aug. 27, 1973; 44 FR 2599, Jan. 12, 1979; 45 FR 70275, Oct. 23, 1980; 49 FR 4079, Feb. 2, 1984; 52 FR 27364, July 21, 1987; 53 FR 24290, June 28, 1988; 60 FR 64, Jan. 3, 1995; 60 FR 43316, Aug. 18, 1995; 61 FR 42494, Aug. 15, 1996; 62 FR 43447, Aug. 13, 1997; 64 FR 29804, June 3, 1999; 64 FR 32780, June 17, 1999; 64 FR 45405, Aug. 19, 1999; 64 FR 71237, Dec. 20, 1999; 65 FR 53940, Sept. 6, 2000; 66 FR 742, Jan. 4, 2001; 66 FR 32265, June 14, 2001; 68 FR 1392, Jan. 10, 2003; 69 FR 48165, Aug. 9, 2004; 70 FR 49196, Aug. 23, 2005; 71 FR 4297, Jan. 26, 2006; 71 FR 45986, Aug. 10, 2006; 72 FR 46407, Aug. 20, 2007; 73 FR 65277, Nov. 3, 2008; 73 FR 70914, Nov. 24, 2008; 74 FR 53671, Oct. 20, 2009; 74 FR 57615, Nov. 9, 2009; 78 FR 65575, Nov. 1, 2013; 82 FR 51362, Nov. 6, 2017; 84 FR 38885, Aug. 8, 2019]

§20.22   Closed seasons.

No person shall take migratory game birds during the closed season except as provided in part 21 of this chapter.

[73 FR 65951, Nov. 5, 2008]

§20.23   Shooting hours.

No person shall take migratory game birds except during the hours open to shooting as prescribed in subpart K of this part and subpart E of part 21 of this chapter.

[73 FR 65951, Nov. 5, 2008]

§20.24   Daily limit.

No person shall take in any 1 calendar day, more than the daily bag limit or aggregate daily bag limit, whichever applies.

[38 FR 22021, Aug. 15, 1973, as amended at 38 FR 22626, Aug. 23, 1973]

§20.25   Wanton waste of migratory game birds.

No person shall kill or cripple any migratory game bird pursuant to this part without making a reasonable effort to retrieve the bird, and retain it in his actual custody, at the place where taken or between that place and either (a) his automobile or principal means of land transportation; or (b) his personal abode or temporary or transient place of lodging; or (c) a migratory bird preservation facility; or (d) a post office; or (e) a common carrier facility.

[41 FR 31536, July 29, 1976]

§20.26   Emergency closures.

(a) The Director may close or temporarily suspend any season established under subpart K of this part:

(1) Upon a finding that a continuation of such a season would constitute an imminent threat to the safety of any endangered or threatened species or other migratory bird populations.

(2) Upon issuance of local public notice by such means as publication in local newspapers of general circulation, posting of the areas affected, notifying the State wildlife conservation agency, and announcement on local radio and television.

(b) Any such closure or temporary suspension shall be announced by publication of a notice to that effect in the Federal Register simultaneous with the local public notice referred to in paragraph (a)(2) of this section. However, in the event that it is impractical to publish a Federal Register notice simultaneously, due to the restriction in time available and the nature of the particular emergency situation, such notice shall follow the steps outlined in paragraph (a) of this section as soon as possible.

(c) Any closure or temporary suspension under this section shall be effective on the date of publication of the Federal Register notice; or if such notice is not published simultaneously, then on the date and at the time specified in the local notification to the public. Every notice of closure shall include the date and time of closing of the season and the area or areas affected. In the case of a temporary suspension, the date and time when the season may be resumed shall be provided by a subsequent local notification to the public, and by publication in the Federal Register.

[41 FR 31536, July 29, 1976]

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