On September 7, the Department of the Interior (DOI) announced the opening of more than 251,000 acres to new or expanded hunting and fishing opportunities within the National Wildlife Refuge System.
Specifically, the 251,000 acres will span across 30 refuges, and will increase the number of units open to hunting to 377, and fishing to 312 different units. In total, there are nearly 600 National Wildlife Refuges spanning over 146 million acres.
The National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 outlined the fundamental conservation mission of the Refuge System while identifying six areas of wildlife depended recreational activities, which includes hunting, fishing, photography, education, observation, and interpretation.
“The National Wildlife Refuge System provides a considerable amount of opportunities for our nation’s sportsmen and women to participate in our time-honored traditions of hunting and fishing. We applaud Secretary Zinke for his commitment to expand hunting and fishing opportunities on public lands and waters for America’s sportsmen and women.” said Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation President Jeff Crane.
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- Lack of access to hunting areas (16.48%)
- Lack of a mentor or instructor to take them (29.50%)
- Age limit restrictions on when they can purchase a license (1.15%)
- Lack of time or competing interests (14.94%)
- Technology (social media, phones, computers) (18.39%)
- Perceived negative public or peer-group opinions (19.54%)