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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 2017-18 migratory bird hunting season.

As part of DOI's retrospective regulatory review, we developed a schedule for migratory game bird hunting regulations that is more efficient and will provide dates much earlier than was possible under the old process. This will facilitate planning for the States and all parties interested in migratory bird hunting. Beginning in the summer of 2015, with the development of the 2016-17 hunting seasons, we are using a new schedule for establishing our annual migratory game bird hunting regulations. We will combine the current early- and late-season regulatory actions into a single process, based on predictions derived from long-term biological information and harvest strategies, to establish migratory bird hunting seasons much earlier than the system we have used for many years. Under the new process, we will develop proposed hunting season frameworks for a given year in the fall of the prior year. We will finalize those frameworks a few months later, thereby enabling the State agencies to select and publish their season dates in early summer. This rulemaking is part of that process.

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.

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