The order, in accordance with the deadlines specified by the Dingell Act, sets up a task force and timeframes for moving forward on actionable steps within each DOI office or bureau. It outlines instructions for establishing plans, tracking progress and complying with budgetary guidelines through the next few years.
Order No. 3374 sets up the inter-departmental infrastructure to carry out the goals of the Act. The ones of particular interest to hunters include:
Expanding hunting and fishing opportunities on dozens of wildlife refuges and thousands more acres of other public lands. The Dingell Act requires that public lands be open to hunting and fishing unless closed, and those closures must be for the minimal amount of time possible.
Allowing sportsmen to carry unarmed bows across National Park Service lands. This was finalized by the DOI in October 2018.
Identifying hunting and fishing opportunities on federal lands, which is something the DOI has been working on since September 2017.
Developing shooting ranges on public lands. Although NRA-ILA continues to advance this goal to full effect, the DOI has been allowing the Bureau of Land Management to manage appropriate public lands as target shooting ranges.
President Donald J. Trump has tapped Bernhardt to fully take on the secretary’s role. The National Rifle Association fully backs his choice. As mentioned, Bernhardt underwent his Senate confirmation hearing on March 28, so a vote is expected on his nomination later this week.
About the Author: Erin C. Healy is the associate editor of the NRA Hunters' Leadership Forum. She edited a lifestyle magazine on Cape Cod for 14 years and provided marketing services for her local guntry club prior to joining BLADE magazine and serving in the U.S. Army. She's an NRA Life Member, a National Wild Turkey Federation member and sends her Jack Russell Terriers to ground as often as possible.