U.S. District Judge Gerhard Gesell as ordered the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service to restudy its regulations on shooting hours for migratory game birds to determine if predawn and husk hunting is a danger to protected specials.
The judge's order was in response to a case brought by the Defenders of Wildlife, who contended in testimony that twilight shooting can result in hunter identification error between [word Illegible] and protected species."
Fish and Wildlife Service rules for several years have set hours for hunting migratory game birds in season at [word Illegible] half-hour before sunrise until sunlit.
In his ruling, Judge Gesell wrote that the regulations establishing those hours "were arbitrary and unlawful or failure to weigh the impact of such hours on protected species."
Ron Lambertson, assistant solicitor or Fish and Wildlife, said the agency already has filed one report on the effects of twilight shooting and intends to file two more before hunting hours or the 1977-78 season are set.
The issue is a hot one because waterfowl hunting in this and other areas [word Illegible] best in the early morning and late evening, when the birds move between their overnight roosts and their daytime feeding grounds. Many hunters leave their blinds during the middle of the day because there is practically no movement of birds.
If the early morning and late eveing hours were cut back, the hunting would be substantially less productive.
Protected species in the Maryland and Virginia areas that conceivably could be mistaken for game birds are [Word Illegible] and canvasback ducks.Both are banned to hunters in the two rates.