16 USC § 704
Determination as to when and how migratory birds may be taken, killed, or possessed
through Pub. L. 116-344, except Pub. Ls. 116-260 and 116-283

(a) Subject to the provisions and in order to carry out the purposes of the conventions, referred to in section 703 of this title, the Secretary of the Interior is authorized and directed, from time to time, having due regard to the zones of temperature and to the distribution, abundance, economic value, breeding habits, and times and lines of migratory flight of such birds, to determine when, to what extent, if at all, and by what means, it is compatible with the terms of the conventions to allow hunting, taking, capture, killing, possession, sale, purchase, shipment, transportation, carriage, or export of any such bird, or any part, nest, or egg thereof, and to adopt suitable regulations permitting and governing the same, in accordance with such determinations, which regulations shall become effective when approved by the President.

(b) It shall be unlawful for any person to—

(1) take any migratory game bird by the aid of baiting, or on or over any baited area, if the person knows or reasonably should know that the area is a baited area; or

(2) place or direct the placement of bait on or adjacent to an area for the purpose of causing, inducing, or allowing any person to take or attempt to take any migratory game bird by the aid of baiting on or over the baited area.

(c) Federal Framework Closing Date for Hunting of Ducks, Mergansers, and Coots.—

(1) Regulations relating to framework closing date.—

(A) In general.—In promulgating regulations under subsection (a) relating to the Federal framework for the closing date up to which the States may select seasons for migratory bird hunting, except as provided in paragraph (2), the Secretary shall, with respect to the hunting season for ducks, mergansers, and coots—

(i) subject to subparagraph (B), adopt the recommendation of each respective flyway council (as defined in section 20.152 of title 50, Code of Federal Regulations) for the Federal framework if the Secretary determines that the recommendation is consistent with science-based and sustainable harvest management; and

(ii) allow the States to establish the closing date for the hunting season in accordance with the Federal framework.

(B) Requirement.—The framework closing date promulgated by the Secretary under subparagraph (A) shall not be later than January 31 of each year.

(2) Special hunting days for youths, veterans, and active military personnel.—

(A) In general.—Notwithstanding the Federal framework closing date under paragraph (1) and subject to subparagraphs (B) and (C), the Secretary shall allow States to select 2 days for youths and 2 days for veterans (as defined in section 101 of title 38) and members of the Armed Forces on active duty, including members of the National Guard and Reserves on active duty (other than for training), to hunt eligible ducks, geese, swans, mergansers, coots, moorhens, and gallinules, if the Secretary determines that the addition of those days is consistent with science-based and sustainable harvest management. Such days shall be treated as separate from, and in addition to, the annual Federal framework hunting season lengths.

(B) Requirements.—In selecting days under subparagraph (A), a State shall ensure that—

(i) the days selected—

(I) may only include the hunting of duck, geese, swan, merganser, coot, moorhen, and gallinule species that are eligible for hunting under the applicable annual Federal framework;

(II) are not more than 14 days before or after the Federal framework hunting season for ducks, mergansers, and coots; and

(III) are otherwise consistent with the Federal framework; and

(ii) the total number of days in a hunting season for any migratory bird species, including any days selected under subparagraph (A), is not more than 107 days.

(C) Limitation.—A State may combine the 2 days allowed for youths with the 2 days allowed for veterans and members of the Armed Forces on active duty under subparagraph (A), but in no circumstance may a State have more than a total of 4 additional days added to its regular hunting season for any purpose.

(3) Regulations.—The Secretary shall promulgate regulations in accordance with this subsection for the Federal framework for migratory bird hunting for the 2019–2020 hunting season and each hunting season thereafter.


2019—Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 116–9 added subsec. (c).

1998—Pub. L. 105–312 designated existing provisions as subsec. (a) and added subsec. (b).

1936—Act June 20, 1936, substituted "conventions" for "convention" in two places.

Effective Date of 1936 Amendment

Act June 20, 1936, ch. 634, §2, 49 Stat. 1556, provided in part that the amendment by section 2 is effective as of the day aforesaid (June 30, 1937). See note under section 703 of this title.

Transfer of Functions

Transfer of functions of Secretary of Agriculture to Secretary of the Interior by Reorg. Plan, No. II of 1939, see Transfer of Functions note set out under section 701 of this title.

Delegation of Functions

For delegation to Secretary of the Interior of authority vested in President, see Ex. Ord. No. 10752, Feb. 12, 1958, 23 F.R. 973, set out as a note under section 715j of Title 15, Commerce and Trade.

Secretary of the Interior empowered to promulgate regulations under this section without approval, ratification, or other action of President, see section 2(b) of Ex. Ord. No. 10250, June 5, 1951, 16 F.R. 5385, set out as a note under section 301 of Title 3, The President.

Baiting of Migratory Game Birds

Pub. L. 115–334, title XII, §12601, Dec. 20, 2018, 132 Stat. 5003, provided that:

"(a) Definitions.—In this section:

"(1) Normal agricultural operation.—The term 'normal agricultural operation' has the meaning given the term in section 20.11 of title 50, Code of Federal Regulations (as in effect on the date of enactment of this Act [Dec. 20, 2018]).

"(2) Post-disaster flooding.—The term 'post-disaster flooding' means the destruction of a crop through flooding in accordance with practices required by the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation for agricultural producers to obtain crop insurance under the Federal Crop Insurance Act (7 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.) on land on which a crop was not harvestable due to a natural disaster (including any hurricane, storm, tornado, flood, high water, wind-driven water, tidal wave, tsunami, earthquake, volcanic eruption, landslide, mudslide, drought, fire, snowstorm, or other catastrophe that is declared a major disaster by the President in accordance with section 401 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5170)) in the crop year—

"(A) in which the natural disaster occurred; or

"(B) immediately preceding the crop year in which the natural disaster occurred.

"(3) Rice ratooning.—The term 'rice ratooning' means the agricultural practice of harvesting rice by cutting the majority of the aboveground portion of the rice plant but leaving the roots and growing shoot apices intact to allow the plant to recover and produce a second crop yield.

"(b) Regulations to Exclude Rice Ratooning and Post-disaster Flooding.—Not later than 30 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture, shall revise part 20 of title 50, Code of Federal Regulations, to clarify that rice ratooning and post-disaster flooding, when carried out as part of a normal agricultural operation, do not constitute baiting.

"(c) Reports.—Not less frequently than once each year—

"(1) the Secretary of Agriculture shall submit to the Secretary of the Interior a report that describes any changes to normal agricultural operations across the range of crops grown by agricultural producers in each region of the United States in which the official recommendations described in section 20.11(h) of title 50, Code of Federal Regulations (as in effect on the date of enactment of this Act), are provided to agricultural producers; and

"(2) the Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture and after seeking input from the heads of State departments of fish and wildlife or the Regional Migratory Bird Flyway Councils of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, shall publicly post a report on the impact that rice ratooning and post-disaster flooding have on the behavior of migratory game birds that are hunted in the area in which rice ratooning and post-disaster flooding, respectively, have occurred."

Report on Effects of 1998 Amendments

Pub. L. 105–312, title I, §104, Oct. 30, 1998, 112 Stat. 2956, directed that no later than 5 years after Oct. 30, 1998, the Secretary of the Interior submit to the appropriate Senate and House committees a report analyzing the effect of certain amendments made by Pub. L. 105–312, and the general practice of baiting, on migratory bird conservation and law enforcement efforts under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (16 U.S.C. 703 et seq.).

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