Effective November 8, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) published a final rule to open or expand opportunities for hunting and fishing on 10 national wildlife refuges across the country. This expansion will increase hunting and fishing opportunities on 132,000 refuge acres across the nation. Hunting is now permitted on a total of 373 refuges and fishing is allowed on 311 refuges throughout the system.
The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) applauds FWS for their continued commitment to providing hunting and fishing opportunities for America’s 40 million sportsmen and women and recognizes that this expansion supports conservation efforts across the country.
Sportsmen and women spend $90 billion annually on their pursuits. And in 2015 alone, hunters and anglers contributed nearly $3 billion to fish and wildlife conservation funding through excise taxes on sporting equipment as well as through hunting and fishing license sales. This revenue supports 80 percent of state fish and wildlife agency funding and goes towards improved access to public land, improved water quality, soil conservation, habitat restoration, hunter and boater safety programs, and much more.
In a recent FWS statement, FWS Deputy Director Greg Sheehan stated, “The nation’s sportsmen and women lead the conservation of wildlife and their habitats throughout our nation. They are passionate about the outdoors and are committed to sustainably managing these resources for all Americans to enjoy. Refuges provide all Americans with places to hunt, fish, observe the natural world firsthand and experience the great outdoors.”
Hunting and/or fishing will be expanded or opened in the following states: Georgia and South Carolina (Savannah National Wildlife Refuge), Indiana (Patoka River), Minnesota (Minnesota Valley), North Dakota (Des Lacs and Upper Souris), Oklahoma (Sequoyah), Oregon (Baskett Slough and Siletz Bay), Wisconsin (Fox River and Horicon).
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- Facilitating voter registration at the time of hunting/fishing license purchase (9.63%)
- Addressing Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in deer populations (12.83%)
- Increasing public access to private lands (24.06%)
- Granting more fish and wildlife management authority to the states (33.16%)
- Other (20.32%)