Recently, the Department of the Interior announced the Administration’s efforts to continue increasing public access on public lands and waters by announcing the expansion of new hunting and fishing opportunities on more than 1.4 million acres across the nation.
The expansion spans across 77 National Wildlife Refuges and 15 National Fish Hatcheries that are managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and are now open to hunting and/or fishing, or the Department has expanded opportunities for new game species. Over the total 567 National Wildlife Refuge systems, hunting is permitted on 344 wildlife refuges and fishing is currently permitted on 282 refuges. The announcement comes before the start of many hunting seasons across the country, which demonstrates the Department’s commitment to America’s sportsmen and women.
“This is the largest single effort to expand hunting and fishing access in recent history,” said Secretary Bernhardt. “President Trump has made increasing public access and streamlining government functions priorities of his administration, and this new rule delivers on both fronts given the unprecedented expansion of public acreage and removal or revision of 5,000 hunting and fishing regulations to more closely match state laws. This is a big win for sportsmen and sportswomen across the country and our collective conservation efforts.”
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?