On Aug. 10, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released a proposed rule to expand hunting and fishing within ten national wildlife refuges (NWR). This proposal came as part of an annual review of refuge hunting and sport fishing programs.
NWRs have over 45 million visitors every year who participate in a number of recreational activities. Hunting and fishing are two of the “Big 6” wildlife-dependent recreational activities available on refuges, along with wildlife observation, photography, environmental education, and interpretation. In a statement, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said, “The last thing I want to see is hunting and fishing become elite sports. These ten refuges will provide incredible opportunities for sportsmen and anglers across the country to access the land and connect with the wildlife.”
Refuges included in the proposed expansion of hunting and fishing opportunities are: Des Lacs NWR in North Dakota, Upper Souris NWR in North Dakota, Savannah NWR in Georgia and South Carolina, Patoka River NWR in Indiana, Minnesota Valley NWR in Minnesota, Sequoyah NWR in Oklahoma, Baskett Slough NWR and Siletz Bay NWR in Oregon, and Horicon NWR and Fox River NWR in Wisconsin.
The 30-day comment period for the proposed rule closes on Sep. 11, 2017.