What sportsman doesn’t appreciate good news on the hunting and fishing fronts?
Remember back in August when the NRA applauded Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke’s proposal to open or expand hunting and fishing on 10 national wildlife refuges? NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox was quick to thank him for championing the rights of hunters and anglers and for restoring a common sense approach to wildlife management policies. As NRAHLF.org reported on Aug. 15, the next step was for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to post a notice on the Federal Register announcing it would accept public comments on the rule for 30 days. The result? The USFWS just finalized the move, bringing the number of refuges where the public may hunt and fish to 373 and 311, respectively.
As noted by USFWS Principal Deputy Director Greg Sheehan, “Refuges provide all Americans with places to hunt, fish, observe the natural world firsthand and experience the great outdoors.” Considering that hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities contributed more than $156.3 billion in economic activity nationwide—according to the USFWS’ National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation published every five years—Sheehan said the USFWS is pleased to enhance opportunities where they are compatible with refuge management goals.
Clearly, Secretary Zinke and his team recognize that American sportsmen lead the charge for the conservation of wildlife species and their habitats. Also worth noting, in addition to the 10 wildlife refuges accounting for 132,000 acres of public lands, the new rule opens more than 60,000 acres of Refuge System lands for hunting game species that were not previously authorized in these areas.
Hunting and/or fishing is opening or expanding on the following 10 national wildlife refuges:
Upper Souris National Wildlife Refuge: Open moose and turkey hunting for the first time. Expand upland game and big game hunting. (The refuge is already open to upland game hunting, other big game hunting and sport fishing.)
Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge: Expand upland game and big game hunting. (The refuge is already open to migratory game bird hunting, upland game and big game hunting and sport fishing.)