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WIN: Interior Proposes Expansion of Hunting, Fishing on 30 More Wildlife Refuges

This proposal will open up roughly 248,000 acres to new or expanded hunting and fishing opportunities.

Yesterday, the Department of Interior announced its intention to expand hunting and fishing opportunities on 30 wildlife refuge comprising roughly 248, 000 acres. This is in line with his past secretarial orders and efforts to increase public access for these outdoor activities—which weren't seen on such a large scale until now.

What would this proposed plan do? It would open up new hunting and fishing opportunities across 30 wildlife refuges and expand such opportunities in 136 wildlife refuges. Moreover, it would simplify regulations to better reflect state hunting and fishing regulations, and go into effect during the 2018-2019 seasons. If approved, this measure would allow hunting to transpire across 377 wildlife refuges, while allowing fishing to occur on 312 wildlife refuges. An official DOI release said new opportunities would be permitted on "Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge in Illinois and Wisconsin," while allowing "deer hunting in Philadelphia at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge" for the first time.

“As stewards of our public lands, Interior is committed to opening access wherever possible for hunting and fishing so that more families have the opportunity to pass down this American heritage,” Zinke said. “These 30 refuges will provide incredible opportunities for American sportsmen and women across the country to access the land and connect with wildlife.”

Arkansas

California

Florida

Illinois

Illinois and Missouri

Illinois and Wisconsin

Indiana

Maine

Maine and New Hampshire

Maryland

Michigan

Minnesota

Montana

New Jersey

New Jersey and New York

New Mexico

North Dakota

Ohio

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Utah

Wisconsin

  • Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge: Open hunting of certain gamebirds, small mammals and furbearers for the first time, and expand existing migratory game bird and big game hunting.

This isn't the first time Zinke and his department have expanded hunting and fishing opportunities during their young tenure thus far. Last fall, his department opened up these opportunities across 10 national wildlife refuges and similar public lands.

Very encouraging news. Let's hope the naysayers—including those masquerading as sportsmen's groups resisting DOI leadership—applaud this proposal.

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