U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Hunting and Fishing

What does the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service do for hunters?


The Service's Division of Migratory Bird Management works with State fish and wildlife agencies and the governments of Canada and Mexico to set hunting seasons for migratory birds that ensure healthy game populations in years to come and fair distribution of hunting opportunities throughout the migration routes.

Through the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, the Service is working with partners in Mexico and Canada to restore continental waterfowl populations to the numbers seen in the 1970's. The National Wetlands Inventory maps the status and trends of wetlands habitat so essential to waterfowl and other wildlife populations, and you can even find the wetlands in the area where you plan to hunt.

Many of the more than 520 National Wildlife Refuges and additional Waterfowl Production Areas managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service are located along the migratory flyways, serving as breeding and wintering grounds and as "rest stops" for these birds. For example, in the "duck factory" of the upper midwest, the National Wildlife Refuge System manages just 2% of the landscape, yet 23% of the region's waterfowl breed there. In addition, most of the units in the system are open for some form of hunting, not just waterfowl, but also for big game such as deer and elk, and for upland game such as grouse, pheasant, and rabbits.

The Service's Federal Aid program collects a federal excise tax on hunting equipment and ammunition and distributed some $165 million to State agencies in 1999 to support wildlife management programs, the purchase of wildlife habitat, and hunter education and safety classes. Federal Aid also publishes the National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation and comprehensive reports on participation in hunting and fishing for each State every five years.

The Service's Division of Law Enforcement enforces the laws that ensure fair opportunities for everybody today and healthy wildlife populations for tomorrow. Many State wildlife law enforcement officers are also Federal deputies and assist in enforcing Federal wildlife laws, especially those relating to migratory bird hunting.

collage pictures, credit USFWS


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