USFWS Press Release

Topgun 30-06

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Press Release
Service Proposes Expansion of Hunting and Fishing Opportunities on National Wildlife Refuges
June 9, 2015

Contact(s):
Vanessa Kauffman
703-358-2138
[email protected]


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe today announced as part of Great Outdoors Month the agency is proposing to expand fishing and hunting opportunities on 21 refuges throughout the National Wildlife Refuge System. The proposed rule also modifies existing refuge-specific regulations for more than 100 additional refuges and wetland management districts.

“The Service is committed to strengthening and expanding hunting and fishing opportunities,” said Ashe. “By expanding hunting and fishing programs across the Refuge System we are furthering a rich tradition of providing quality recreational opportunities to the American people. These programs support local economies, help people connect with the outdoors, and encourage people to value nature.”

National wildlife refuges provide premier outdoor recreational opportunities across the Nation. There are more than 560 national wildlife refuges and 38 wetland management districts, including one within an hour’s drive from most major metropolitan areas. The Service manages refuge hunting and fishing programs to ensure sustainable wildlife populations, while offering traditional wildlife-dependent recreation on public lands.

Under the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, the Service permits hunting and fishing along with four other types of wildlife-dependent recreation when they are compatible with an individual refuge’s purpose and mission. Hunting, within specified limits, is permitted on 335 wildlife refuges. Fishing is permitted on 271 wildlife refuges.

Hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities on refuges help stimulate the economy and generate funding for wildlife conservation. The Service’s report Banking on Nature shows that refuges pump $2.4 billion into the economy and support more than 35,000 jobs. More than 47 million people visit refuges every year.

Other wildlife-dependent recreation on national wildlife refuges includes wildlife photography, environmental education, wildlife observation and interpretation.

The Service proposes opening the following refuge to hunting for the first time:

Oregon

Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge: Open to migratory bird hunting (youth only).
The Service proposes opening the following refuges to sport fishing for the first time:

North Dakota

Ardoch National Wildlife Refuge: Open to sport fishing.
Lake Alice National Wildlife Refuge: Open to sport fishing.
Rose Lake National Wildlife Refuge: Open to sport fishing.
Silver Lake National Wildlife Refuge: Open to sport fishing.
The Service also proposes expanding hunting and sport fishing on the following refuges:

California

Sacramento River National Wildlife Refuge: Expand big game hunting. The refuge is already open to migratory bird hunting, upland game hunting, and sport fishing.
Delaware

Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge: Expand migratory bird hunting, upland game hunting, and big game hunting. The refuge is already open to sport fishing.
Florida

St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge: Expand upland game hunting and big game hunting. The refuge is already open to migratory bird hunting and sport fishing.
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge: Add big game hunting. The refuge is already open to migratory bird hunting and sport fishing.
Illinois

Great River National Wildlife Refuge, IL and MO: Expand upland game hunting and big game hunting. The refuge is already open to migratory bird hunting and sport fishing.
Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge, IL and MO: Expand migratory bird hunting and big game hunting. The refuge is already open to upland game hunting and sport fishing.
Indiana

Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge and Management Area: Expand migratory bird hunting, upland game hunting, big game hunting, and sport fishing.
Iowa

Northern Tallgrass Prairie National Wildlife Refuge, IA and MN: Expand migratory bird hunting, upland game hunting, and big game hunting.
Louisiana

Bayou Cocodrie National Wildlife Refuge: Expand upland game hunting and big game hunting. The refuge is already open to migratory bird hunting and sport fishing.
Michigan

Seney National Wildlife Refuge: Expand migratory bird hunting, upland game hunting, and big game hunting. The refuge is already open to sport fishing.
Minnesota

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge: Expand upland game hunting. The refuge is already open to migratory bird hunting, big game hunting, and sport fishing.
Northern Tallgrass Prairie National Wildlife Refuge, IA and MN: Expand migratory bird hunting, upland game hunting, and big game hunting.
Missouri

Great River National Wildlife Refuge, IL and MO: Expand upland game hunting and big game hunting. The refuge is already open to migratory bird hunting and sport fishing.
Mingo National Wildlife Refuge: Expand big game hunting. The refuge is already open to migratory bird hunting, upland game hunting and sport fishing.
Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge: Expand migratory bird hunting, upland game hunting, and big game hunting. The refuge is already open to sport fishing.
Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge, IL and MO: Expand migratory bird hunting and big game hunting. The refuge is already open to upland game hunting and sport fishing.
New Jersey/New York

Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge: Add upland game hunting and expand big game hunting. The refuge is already open to migratory bird hunting and sport fishing.
Oregon

William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge: Expand big game hunting.
Vermont

Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge: Expand migratory bird hunting, upland game hunting and big game hunting. The refuge is already open to sport fishing.
The Service is seeking comments from the public for 30 days regarding information pertaining to the proposed rule. Please go to www.regulations.gov Docket No. FWS-HQ-NWRS-2015-0029 for additional information. The proposed rule will publish in the Federal Register on June 11, 2015, comments must be received by July 13, 2015.
 

jryoung

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BHAs follow up.

http://www.backcountryhunters.org/i...-increased-access-opportunities-for-sportsmen

Expanded Hunting and Fishing on Wildlife Refuges Represents Increased Access, Opportunities for Sportsmen

WASHINGTON – A decision by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to expand hunting and angling opportunities on 21 national wildlife refuges across the country drew praise from Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, which works on increasing sportsmen’s access to places to hunt and fish, particularly on publicly owned lands.

USFWS Director Dan Ashe announced the proposal, which was published in the Federal Register today and which would modify existing regulations for more than 100 other refuges and federal wetland management districts. Sportsmen welcomed the good news.

“I’ve hunted waterfowl my entire life on national wildlife refuges that have been funded almost exclusively by sportsmen’s dollars,” said BHA Executive Director Land Tawney. “Refuges are just that: places that provide much-needed solitude and challenge our members crave. Access and opportunity are critical to Americans’ continued ability to enjoy our time-honored traditions of hunting and fishing, and likewise they are central to the mission of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers.

Tawney continued, “Our heartfelt thanks go to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Director Ashe for having the foresight to understand what will sustain our outdoor heritage in the long term, for having the wisdom to support activities that benefit America’s economy, and for persevering to advance this new rule in a political climate that is challenging at best.”

Hunting and angling on national wildlife refuges play an important role in America’s robust outdoor-reliant economy. Refuges are responsible for $2.4 billion in economic output annually and support more than 35,000 jobs. More than 47 million visitors travel to wildlife refuges every year.

BHA members likewise applauded the USFWS announcement.

“We’re excited to hear of the expanded opportunity for big game hunting and collaboration between the USFWS and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife on the 5,350 acres the Sacramento River NWR has open to hunting,” said J.R. Young, treasurer of BHA’s California chapter and a resident of Los Gatos, California. “The Sacramento River is the lifeblood of Northern California’s incredible habitat that supports migrating waterfowl in Pacific Flyway, salmon spawning from the Pacific Ocean and hundreds of other species of fish and wildlife. This expanded opportunity will greatly benefit the public lands hunters and anglers of California.”

“Minnesotans value opportunities to hunt, fish and spend time in the outdoors, and so the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to expand hunting on two of the national wildlife refuges located in our state is good news,” said Erik Jensen, co-chair of BHA’s Minnesota chapter and a Minneapolis resident. “The expansion of upland hunting on the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge increases the ability of urban and suburban residents to access time afield, all too valuable during a time when lack of access acts as a deterrent to sportsmen continuing to pursue our passions. Just as important, the Northern Tallgrass Prairie National Wildlife Refuge provides outstanding wildlife habitat in a part of the state where accessing private lands nearby can be challenging at best. We appreciate the Service’s actions in support of public lands sportsmen – and their help in sustaining Minnesotans’ outdoor traditions.”

More than 560 national wildlife refuges and 38 wetland management districts are located in the United States. Hunting and angling play an important role in the management of fish and wildlife populations on many of these properties and provide opportunities for time afield during an era where sportsmen’s access is steadily decreasing. Regulated hunting is permitted on 335 wildlife refuges, and fishing is allowed on 271 refuges.
 

Corax

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Jul 19, 2011
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Texas
I hunted deer for many years in the Great Swamp NWR when I lived in New Jersey. 10,000 acres of swamp and hardwoods - I found a spot a mile from the road and hiked (and waded) back in with a Rem 870 and a homemade copy of a Baker climbing tree stand. Looking back on those tree stands, I am glad I can still walk.
 

1_pointer

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My dad had a Baker back in the day. While cutting edge for the time, they are death traps compared to what we have today. He took an unexpected ride down a tree on one. Last time he used it.
 

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