11978 Turkle Pond Rd
Hunting Program Update
September 26, 2011
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provides opportunities for hunting and other wildlife-dependent recreational uses on national wildlife refuges provided the activities are evaluated and are found to be compatible with the refuge’s purpose and the agency’s mission.
Hunting has been and will remain a priority public use at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge offers annual waterfowl, deer, and upland game hunts in line with State approved seasons. It is considered a premier area for waterfowl hunting.
The Service considers hunting to be an important tool for wildlife management and has allowed hunting on refuges for decades. Hunting gives resource managers a valuable tool to control populations of some species that might otherwise exceed the carrying capacity of their environment and threaten the well-being of other wildlife species, and in some instances, that of human health and safety.
Administratively, the Service must evaluate new or modified uses of a refuge – such as recreational activities, new trails or construction projects – and find them compatible with the refuge’s purpose.
When the Service evaluates the compatibility of new or expanded refuge hunts, it considers the overall impacts of the hunts on resident wildlife, migratory species, threatened and endangered species, visitor services, refuge facilities, cultural resources, ecosystems, and neighboring lands. The analysis must factor in the cumulative impacts of past, present, and future hunts on wildlife species, refuge resources, and other wildlife-dependent refuge activities.
The compatibility determinations for recreational uses at Prime Hook NWR date back to 1994. After 15 years, the Service must reevaluate a compatibility determination. This evaluation is underway at Prime Hook NWR as part of its development of a comprehensive conservation plan (CCP).
There are several specific recreational uses on the refuge that were not evaluated as part of the 1994 compatibility determinations because they either occur on lands acquired after 1994 or have been constructed since that time. The Service has re-evaluated these uses during the development of the CCP.
The Service is taking the following actions: