Expanded Hunting/Fishing on Refuges Proposed
In advance of National Hunting and Fishing Day on September 28th, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today announced that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to expand fishing and hunting opportunities throughout the National Wildlife Refuge System, opening up new hunting programs on six refuges and expanding existing hunting and fishing programs on another 20 refuges. The proposed rule also modifies existing refuge-specific regulations for more than 75 additional refuges and wetland management districts.
“Sportsmen and women were a major driving force behind the creation and expansion of the National Wildlife Refuge System more than a century ago and continue to be some of its strongest supporters, especially through their volunteer work and financial contributions,” Jewell said. “Keeping our hunting and angling heritage strong by providing more opportunities on our refuges will not only help raise up a new generation of conservationists, but also support local businesses and create jobs in local communities.”
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 recreation where they are compatible with the refuge’s purpose and mission. Hunting, within specified limits, is permitted on more than 329 wildlife refuges. Fishing is permitted on more than 271 wildlife refuges.
Supporting Traditional Pastimes
The Service manages its hunting and fishing programs on refuges to ensure sustainable wildlife populations, while offering historical wildlife-dependent recreation on public lands.
Other wildlife-dependent recreation on national wildlife refuges includes wildlife photography, environmental education, wildlife observation and interpretation.
Meanwhile, under the proposal, the Service would expand hunting and sport fishing on the following refuges:
Notice of the 2013-2014 proposed Refuge-Specific Hunting and Sport Fishing Regulations will publish in the Federal Register September 24, 2013. Written comments and information can be submitted by one of the following methods:
Comments and materials, as well as supporting documentation, will also be available for public inspection at regulations.gov under the above docket number. In addition, more details on the kinds of information the Service is seeking is available in the notice.