« PreviousContinue »
TO ESTABLISH TWO MIGRATORY WATERFOWL ZONES
IN MONTANA, AND
FRIDAY, APRIL 16, 1948
UNITED STATES SENATE,
SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE COMMITTEE ON
INTERSTATE AND FOREIGN COMMERCE,
Washington, D. C.
The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 10:20 a. m., in the committee room of the Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce, the Capitol Building, Senator Homer E. Capehart (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Present: Senator Capehart (chairman of the subcommittee).
We have now for consideration bill, S. 1735, which will be made a part of the record at this point.
(The bill follows:)
[S. 1735, 80th Cong., 1st sess.]
A BILL To establish two migratory waterfowl zones in the State of Montana
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That, for the purposes of administration of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the State of Montana shall be divided into two migratory waterfowl zones. All counties of such State east of the Continental Divide and bordering on the Dominion of Canada shall constitute the northern zone and the remaining counties of such State shall constitute the southern zone. SEC. 2. The regulations issued pursuant to section 3 of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act governing the time of each year during which the hunting, taking, capturing, killing, and possession of migratory waterfowl shall be allowed shall not assign to the two zones of Montanan the same open-season dates. The northern zone of Montana shall be assigned the same open-season dates as the earliest dates assigned to any State which borders on the Dominion of Canada.
SEC. 3. Nothing contained in this Act shall be construed to affect the laws of any State or the laws of the United States, or regulations issued pursuant to such laws (except insofar as such regulations are required to be promulgated or modified by this Act), pertaining to the hunting, taking, capturing, killing, and possession of migratory waterfowl.
[S. 1735, 80th Cong., 2d sess.]
AMENDMENT Intended to be proposed by Mr. MURRAY to the bill (S. 1735) to establish two migratory waterfowl zones in the State of Montana, viz:
On page 1, line 7, after the word "Canada" insert a comma and "and Roosevelt County,".
Mr. CAPEHART. Before we proceed further, I would at this point, like to insert the report of the Secretary of the Interior on S. 1735. (The report is as follows:)
Hon. WALLACE H. WHITE, JR.,
DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, Washington 25, D. C., March 24, 1948.
Chairman, Committee on Interstate and Foreign Commerce,
United States Senate.
MY DEAR SENATOR WHITE: Reference is made to your request for a report on S. 1735, a bill to establish two migratory waterfowl zones in the State of Montana.
I recommend that the proposed legislation be not enacted.
The bill would require, for the purpose of administration of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the State of Montana to be divided into two "migratory waterfowl zones," and the adoption of different open seasons for the hunting of migratory waterfowl for each of the two zones. Such legislation would be contrary to the principles of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which requires that the seasons for hunting to be set with due consideration to the distribution, abundance, breeding habits, and times and lines of migratory flight of such birds.
In the course of their annual migrations, migratory waterfowl follow fairly well-defined lines of flight from their breeding grounds in Alaska, Canada, and the United States to their wintering grounds in the South. Likewise, the flights. of the various species of migratory waterfowl occur within fairly well-defined periods of time. However, the latter is affected very definitely by storms, cold, drought, and other widely varying physical conditions. For many years the several "vertical" lines of flight of the migratory birds have been divided for the purpose of adopting regulations into three horizontal zones extending across the United States. Within each of these horizontal zones the open seasons, as well as the bag limits, for each defined species of waterfowl have been closely uniform. Generally speaking, such a method of regulation has been successful from a conservation standpoint and has provided a maximum of shooting enjoyment, consistent with the requirements of conservation, to a majority of the hunters. Of course, unpredictable changes in the times of flight of the birds has produced great variation in the abundance of those birds at any particular hunting area. Theoretically, the best type of regulation, from the standpoint of the hunter, at least involves progressive open seasons along the line of flight of the birds. For practical, as well as for conservation reasons, it has not been possible to develop such a pattern of regulation to its fullest extent. In a limited way the proposed legislation attempts to arbitrarily fix a pattern of progressive open seasons within the State of Montana.
It is not believed that the legislation would be effective in producing better hunting in either of the "zones" referred to in the bill, and from a conservation standpoint the legislation is highly objectionable in principle in that it arbitrarly, without reference to the lines of flight, the abundance of the birds, or other essential factors, attempts to fix open seasons. Quite aside from the problems of conservation that may be involved, it is believed that the arbitrary division of the State of Montana into two zones in many seasons would work to the detriment and not to the benefit of the hunter.
It is believed that past experience with the more flexible pattern set by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act has proved the real value of such flexibility even though it must be admitted that not every hunter has always been able to enjoy the type of hunting most desired by him.
I have been advised by the Bureau of the Budget that there is no objection to the submission of this report to your committee.
OSCAR L. CHAPMAN, Under Secretary of the Interior.
Senator CAPEHART. We will now hear from Senator Ecton, of Montana. I believe you wish to speak on S. 1735.
STATEMENT OF HON. ZALES N. ECTON, A UNITED STATES SENATOR FROM THE STATE OF MONTANA
Senator ECTON. Yes. I am interested in S. 1735, to establish two migratory waterfowl zones in the State of Montana. I also wish to introduce Congressman Wesley A. D'Ewart, Congressman from the Second District, which is primarily interested in this particular legislation. I would like to ask you to hear the Congressman now.
Senator CAPEHART. We shall be very happy to do so, and you may proceed, Congressman.
STATEMENT OF HON. WESLEY A. D’EWART, A MEMBER OF CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF MONTANA
Representative D'EWART. I appear, Mr. Chairman, in the hope that you will consider favorably S. 1735, having to do, as the Senator said, with changes of regulations with regard to flight zones in northern Montana.
This bill proposes to make two zones in the State of Montana. This is the third largest State in the Union. It has the Continental Divide through it. The variation in climate and altitude are so great that one zone just does not suffice. This bill proposes, because of that situation, to make the counties bordering on Canada east of the Continental Divide and north of the Missouri River into a new zone. The Bureau has objected to this in a bill that I have previously introduced, on the ground that it possibly would make two seasons for killing ducks in one State. That, however, can be avoided by issuing licenses properly to take care of the situation.
The bill as introduced omits one county which should be included. We would like to include Roosevelt County down next to the North Dakota boundary, which is north of the Missouri River. Therefore, we would like to have the bill amended to name the counties in line 6 where it says "and bordering on the Dominion of Canada shall constitute the northern zone."
I will file a statement presenting my position, if I may, for the record.
Senator CAPEHART. Without objection, we will place the statement in the record.
Representative D'EWART. Thank you very much. (The statement follows:)
STATEMENT OF HON. WESLEY A. D'EWART
Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to have an opportunity to speak in favor of legislation which will give proper consideration to the variations in climate and altitude in Montana insofar as they affect the taking of migratory waterfowl.
You have heard many times that Montana is a large State. Only two are larger. Only four or five are larger than my congressional district. When I make a circuit of the 39 counties which I represent I must travel upward of 4,000 miles, from my home which is high in mountain country to the eastern end of the State which is a prairie country with elevations as low as 1,800 feet. Long ago we learned that we must make allowances for vast differences between various areas of our State in any kind of planning or any projects which we
undertook as a State. It is because the Fish and Wildlife Service refuses to recognize our differences in climate, altitude, and topography, and because it insists upon treating all of Montana with the same set of rules, that we ask for the enactment of this legislation.
At the present time Montana, all of it, is in the intermediate zone for the taking of migratory waterfowl. That is, so far as I know, satisfactory to the great majority of the people in southern Montana, which is a region of comparatively open winters and early spring, and western Montana, which is a mountainous region with climate similar to other parts of the Columbia Basin. It is not satisfactory for the people in northern Montana.
In northern Montana we have some of the most enthusiastic duck hunters that I have ever seen. They spend most of the year thinking about duck season and polishing up their shooting equipment. Then comes fall, and the ducks start south. They rest awhile in northern Montana, eating all the grain they can find, and the hunters fairly quiver with anticipation. But by the time the intermediate hunting zone season opens, our northern lakes and rivers are frozen over and the ducks and geese have gone honking south to be picked off by more fortunate hunters in the Yellowstone Valley. The northern Montanans don't even get a chance to get their feet wet in a duck blind. This northern country, the counties listed in this bill, is in itself bigger than a half dozen of your eastern States. Yet it is denied the opportunity to participate in the hunting
It would be reasonable for you to ask why we cannot work this out without legislation. It is true that the Fish and Wildlife Service gives the people of a State some discretion in choosing what zone the State will be placed in. Montana is so large that no matter what choice is made, some large section must suffer, and so this choice does not appeal to us. It is an unreal approach to try to put the State into any one zone or classification. It is also true that the Fish and Wildlife Service last year offered a split season---2 weeks of early hunting to be followed by 2 weeks of no hunting and 2 more weeks of late hunting. That is about the same as cutting the hunting season in two. No State in the Union would stand for that. We have tried in every way possible to solve the matter through discussions with the Fish and Wildlife Service. The Service refuses to budge.
Last year I introduced a bill on this subject which was not quite as specific in its language as the bill now under consideration. The Secretary of the Interior submitted an unfavorable report based on his assertion that the present regulations are properly fixed in terms of the habits, abundance, and distribution of the birds. So far as the State of Montana is concerned, this is not true. The Secretary's second objection was that a division of the State would present opportunities for "excessive hunting pressure and excessive violation of regulations that cannot be adequately controlled, simply because the normal curb on hunters moving from an area requiring one license to an area requiring another license is immediately lifted." This, of course, is no objection at all. Our intention in connection with this legislation is that separate and distinct hunting licenses would be sold for each of the two hunting zones. Anyone who wanted to hunt in both zones would have to buy two licenses, just as anyone in North Dakota must buy a license to hunt in Montana. This arrangement can be made in the State.
I should like to mention that the State legislature and the State Wildlife Federation have repeatedly gone on record in favor of the proposal which is embodied in this legislation.
I would like also to suggest a slight addition to the bill. As it is worded, "all counties east of the Continental Divide and bordering on Canada," it does not completely cover the area where this corrective legislation is needed. You will note on the map of Montana that the Missouri River is the southern boundary and the Canadian border the northern boundary of most of the northeastern Montana counties. Roosevelt County is an integral part of this natural geographic division of the State, but it does not border on Canada. Its southern boundary, however, is the Missouri. I hope that you will amend the bill to include Roosevelt County. Perhaps it would be wise to enumerate the counties concerned, which, with Roosevelt, are Glacier, Toole, Liberty, Hill, Blaine, Phillips, Valley, Daniels, and Sheridan.
Senator CAPEHART. I wish to place in record at this point a statement by Senator Murray, of Montana, in respect to bill S. 1735.
(The statement follows:)
UNITED STATES SENATE,
March 23, 1948.
Hon. HOMER E. CAPEHART,
Chairman, Subcommittee Senate Interstate and
Foreign Commerce Committee,
Senate Office Building, Washington, D. C.
MY DEAR SENATOR CAPEHART: I have been informed by the clerk of the Senate Interstate and Foreign Commerce Committee that public hearings on my bill S. 1735, to establish two migratory waterfowl zones in the State of Montana, will be held by the subcommittee, of which you are chairman, on April 16 at 10 a. m. I will be in Montana at that time, and am therefore taking this opportunity to urge that your subcommittee report favorably on this bill. It has the full support of all the sportsmen's organizations and clubs of the nine northern counties affected. The Montana State Legislature has passed a joint Senate and House memorial urging the division of the State into these two zones. The Montana Wildlife Federation has for the past 3 years recommended this division. The Governor of my State is also on record as favoring it.
For your information I am sending you herewith a letter from Fred C. Gabriel, county attorney, of Phillips County, Malta, Mont., which was written to Senator Hawkes when he was appointed chairman of the subcommittee. This letter sets forth in detail the many reasons why the people of my State are supporting the passage of this bill. I ask that this letter be made a part of the record of the hearings.
I hope that you will find it possible to report S. 1735 favorably to the full committee.
With kind regards, I am
JAMES E. MURRAY.
Senator CAPEHART. Now, Senator Ecton, you may proceed. Senator ECTON. The only thing I wished to say in addition to what Congressman D'Ewart has told you is that this bill has the support of the Sportsmen's Association of Montana. The Governor is in favor of it. I have also received memorials from our State legislature in support of the two-zone system of our State. We are the third largest State in the United States, covering a tremendous area. It is almost impossible to regulate the seasons and provide the sportsmen with adequate hunting seasons under the system that we are operating under now. If you can give this consideration, we will appreciate it. In order not to take up any more of your time, I would like permission to file this brief statement.
Senator CAPEHART. Without objection, the statement will be filed and printed in the record.
Senator ECTON. We wish to thank you.
Senator CAPEHART. Thank you, sir.
(The statement follows:)
STATEMENT OF SENATOR ZALES N. ECTON BEFORE THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON INTERSTATE AND FOREIGN COMMERCE ON S. 1735, TO ESTABLISH TWO MIGRATORY WATERFOWL ZONES IN THE STATE OF MONTANA
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, the opportunity of presenting the following statement and of addressing myself with respect to S. 1735, the bill now currently before your committee, is appreciated. The people of my State are very anxious that this bill be enacted into law.
As other witnesses have no doubt informed you, our State legislature at its last session passed by large majority a joint senate and house memorial urging that the State be divided into two zones, north and south, for the hunting of migratory waterfowl. This was the third session of our legislature to in turn pass such a memorial. The Governor of my State has urged the passage of such