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National Wildlife Refuges Open for Hunting

National Wildlife Refuges Open for Hunting

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Washington, DC --(Ammoland.com)- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe today announced the agency will expand hunting and fishing 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 rule also modifies existing refuge-specific regulations for more than 75 additional refuges and wetland management districts.

The Service manages its hunting and fishing programs on refuges to ensure sustainable wildlife populations, while offering traditional wildlife-dependent recreation on public lands.

“For more than a century, hunters and anglers have been the backbone of conservation in this country and a driving force behind the expansion of the National Wildlife Refuge System,” said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. “By providing more hunting and fishing opportunities on refuges, we are supporting a great recreational heritage passed down from generation to generation, creating economic growth in local communities and helping to ensure that conservation stays strong in America.”

Under the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, the Service can permit hunting and fishing where they are compatible with the refuge’s purpose and mission. Hunting, within specified limits, is permitted on more than 335 wildlife refuges. Fishing is permitted on more than 271 wildlife refuges.

“Hunting and fishing are time-honored ways to enjoy the outdoors and teach people to value nature,” said Director Ashe. “Our National Wildlife Refuge System has millions of acres of public land and water to provide quality hunting and fishing experiences. We hope these expanded hunting and fishing programs will allow more Americans to experience this connection with nature.”

Hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities on national wildlife refuges help stimulate the economy and generate funding for wildlife conservation. Banking on Nature, a Service report released in November, showed refuges pumped $2.4 billion into the economy. Across the country, refuges returned an average $4.87 in total economic output for every $1 appropriated in Fiscal Year 2011.

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

The Service’s final rule opens the following refuges to hunting for the first time:

New York

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Wyoming

In addition, the Service expands hunting and sport fishing on the following refuges:

California

Florida

  • Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge: Add big game hunting. The refuge is already open to migratory bird hunting.
  • St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge: Expand migratory bird hunting, upland game hunting and big game hunting. The refuge is also already open to sport fishing.

Idaho

Illinois

Indiana

Iowa

  • Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge: Expand migratory bird hunting, upland game hunting and big game hunting.
  • Northern Tallgrass Prairie National Wildlife Refuge: Expand migratory bird hunting, upland game hunting and big game hunting.
  • Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge: Expand migratory bird hunting, upland game hunting, big game hunting and sport fishing.

Maine

Missouri

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

New Mexico

Oregon

Texas

Vermont

Washington

To view a complete list of all hunting/sport fishing opportunities on refuges, please visit the following guides: http://www.fws.gov/refuges/hunting/ and http://www.fws.gov/refuges/fishingguide/.

The National Wildlife Refuge System protects wildlife and wildlife habitat on more than 150 million acres of land and water from the Caribbean to the Pacific, Maine to Alaska. Refuges also improve human health, provide outdoor recreation and support local economies. Visit our home page at www.fws.gov/refuges. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information, visit www.fws.gov, or connect with us through any of these social media channels: Facebook, TwitterYouTubeand Flickr.

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