Newsroom
Midwest Region

 

July 11, 2012

Contact:
Martha Nudel
703-358-1858
martha_nudel@fws.gov

Claire Cassel
703-358-2357
claire_cassel@fws.gov

Service Proposes New Hunting Opportunities on National Wildlife Refuges in Fourteen States

Mitch Virnig watches for birds coming out of the east on Homstad Wetland on Hamden Slough National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Tina Shaw/USFWS.
Mitch Virnig watches for birds coming out of the east on Homstad Wetland on Hamden Slough National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Tina Shaw/USFWS.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced a proposal to open one new refuge to hunting and to expand hunting opportunities at 16 national wildlife refuges in 14 states. If approved, the proposal would provide additional public hunting opportunities in fulfillment of the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997.

“The National Wildlife Refuge System offers some of the best public hunting and fishing around, helping to connect generations of Americans with this great outdoor tradition,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “Our goal is to increase hunting opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds, wherever these opportunities are compatible with refuge purposes.”

Notice of the proposal was published in the Federal Register on July 11, 2012; the public has until August 10, 2012, to comment on the proposed changes. To comment on the proposed hunting rule changes, please click here or visit http://www.fws.gov/refuges/hunting/huntFishRegs.html.

The proposal would open the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, MI, to migratory bird hunting, upland game hunting and big game hunting for the first time since its establishment in 2001. The refuge is closed to sport fishing.

The proposal calls for closure of Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, HI, to big game hunting. With this change, the refuge will be closed to all hunting activity. The refuge is also closed to sport fishing. The proposal also calls for closure of the Santee National Wildlife Refuge, SC, to migratory bird hunting. The refuge is open to sport fishing.

All but two of the refuges in the proposal are open to sport fishing and would remain so.

Other proposed changes are:   

While definitions of hunting categories vary by refuge and state, migratory bird hunting generally includes ducks and geese. Upland game hunting may cover such animals as game birds, rabbit, squirrel, opossum and coyote. Big game hunting may include such animals as wild turkey, deer and feral hogs. 

Under the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, the Service can permit hunting and fishing along with four other types of wildlife-dependent recreational uses where they are compatible with refuge purpose and mission. Hunting, within specified limits, is permitted on more than 300 national wildlife refuges. Fishing is permitted on more than 270 national wildlife refuges. Other wildlife-dependent recreation on national wildlife refuges includes wildlife observation, photography, interpretation and education.

The National Wildlife Refuge System, managed by the Service, is the nation's premier system of public lands and waters set aside to conserve America's fish, wildlife and plants.

 

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. We are both a leader and trusted partner in fish and wildlife conservation, known for our scientific excellence, stewardship of lands and natural resources, dedicated professionals and commitment to public service. For more information on our work and the people who make it happen, visit www.fws.gov.

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Last updated: November 4, 2013