Statement of Scope
Department of Natural Resources
Rule No.: WM-18-17 (E)
Relating to: Establishing the 2018 migratory bird season framework and regulations in Ch. NR 10 Wis. Admin. Code
Rule Type: Emergency
1. Finding/nature of emergency (Emergency Rule only):
The emergency rule procedure, pursuant to s. 227.24, Stats., is necessary and justified in establishing rules to protect the public welfare. The federal government and state legislature have delegated to the appropriate agencies rule-making authority to control the hunting of migratory birds. The State of Wisconsin must comply with federal regulations in the establishment of migratory bird hunting seasons and conditions. Federal regulations are not made available to states until the same year that the regulations must be implemented in order to have annual migratory bird hunting seasons. This order is designed to bring state hunting regulations into conformity with the federal regulations. Normal rule-making procedures will not allow the promulgation of permanent rules prior to when the seasons should be open. Failure to modify our rules will result in the failure to provide hunting opportunity and continuation of rules which conflict with federal regulations.
2. Detailed description of the objective of the proposed rule:
These rule orders will establish the 2018 migratory bird hunting season framework which primarily includes hunting seasons and regulations for ducks and geese.
3. Description of the existing policies relevant to the rule, new policies proposed to be included in the rule, and an analysis of policy alternatives:
These rules may modify season dates, bag limits, and other regulations for the duck and goose hunting seasons, most of which begin in September. These seasons are part of the federal migratory bird season frameworks and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service needs to be informed of the State of Wisconsin Natural Resources Board decisions on these seasons by late April, 2018.
In previous years, the department has adopted rules as late as August after receiving the final federal framework in late July. Beginning in 2016, states received the same season’s federal framework information as early as March and could adopt rules in April. While this new timeline affords states additional time to prepare for migratory bird hunting seasons, the adoption of emergency rules is still necessary under this timeline. Publication and the effective date of a permanent rule is unlikely to occur prior to the start of many of the fall seasons in September of the same year.
This is an annual rule that will be consistent with a federal framework and is not a change from past policies. Migratory game bird hunting is regulated by the United States Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), in 50 CFR part 20, who will offer a final season framework to Wisconsin in the spring of 2018. The State of Wisconsin’s season proposal will be based on the federal framework, flyway agreements, and local conditions.
At this time, the department anticipates that the federal season framework may include an expansion of Canada goose hunting opportunities in 2018. For example, expanded opportunities could include an increase in the daily bag limit. Additional season framework changes are possible or likely but cannot be reliably anticipated at this time.
The department is proposing eliminating the Horicon Canada Goose Zone. The Horicon Canada Goose Zone is no longer required to fulfill the function of the management tool for which it was intended and has seen a significant decline in hunter participation and harvest. This proposal would simplify and liberalize Canada goose hunting regulations with little to no impact biologically on Canada goose populations.
These rules may make additional updates such as correcting cross-reference citations, updating road names on maps, changes needed in order to update application forms, or revisions which are necessary for consistency with recently enacted legislation.
The department may include other, minor, non-controversial rule proposals including ones which have passed at the annual Spring Fish & Wildlife Hearings as advisory questions by the Conservation Congress.
Migratory birds include wild ducks, geese, brant, doves, rails, coots, gallinules, woodcock, Wilson's snipe and jacksnipe.
4. Detailed explanation of statutory authority for the rule (including the statutory citation and language):
The chapter on wild animals and plants, in s. 29.014, “rule making for this chapter”, establishes that the department shall maintain open and closed seasons for fish and game and any limits, rest days, and conditions for taking fish and game. This grant of rule-making authority allows the department to promulgate rules related to migratory game bird hunting and hunting and trapping for other species. Special regulations on the taking of certain wild animals are authorized under s. 29.192, including specific language that authorizes rules related to Canada goose hunting. The establishment of migratory game bird refuges is authorized in s. 23.09 (2) (b) relating to the department’s ability to designate locations reasonably necessary for the purpose of providing safe retreats in which birds may rest and replenish adjacent hunting grounds. Wisconsin’s boundary waters with other states are popular waterfowl hunting locations. Specific authority to regulate hunting in and on all interstate boundary waters and outlying waters is established in s. 29.041. Sections 23.11 and 29.014, Stats. allow for the protection of natural resources on state lands such as migratory bird refuges, establish general department powers, and authority to establish hunting and trapping regulations on department managed lands.
5. Estimate of amount of time that state employees will spend developing the rule and of other resources necessary to develop the rule:
Approximately 640 hours will be needed by the department prior to and following the hearings.
6. List with description of all entities that may be affected by the proposed rule:
These rules will impact migratory game bird hunters and those who enjoy viewing waterfowl in Wisconsin.
7. Summary and preliminary comparison with any existing or proposed federal regulation that is intended to address the activities to be regulated by the proposed rule: