Safari Club International (SCI) commends the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) announcement of its final ruleto expand hunting and fishing opportunities on 2.1 million acres of National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs) across the country. The expansion will take effect in time for the upcoming 2021-2022 hunting seasons.
Under this historic expansion, seven NWRs that are currently closed to hunting and sport fishing will open for the first time. Additionally, the USFWS opened or expanded hunting and sport fishing at 81 other NWRs, and at one unit of the National Fish Hatchery System (NFH).
The USFWS also made changes to existing station-specific regulations to reduce the regulatory burden on the public, making it easier for hunters and anglers to utilize Service lands and waters.
Members of SCI played an integral role in the approval of this rule by submitting hundreds of public comments to the USFWS in early July. Comments submitted by SCI members expressed support for several elements of the proposal and noted how it will address an increased need for outdoor recreational opportunities that arose due to the renewed interest in hunting and fishing during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s encouraging to see the USFWS leadership take action to sustain America’s longstanding hunting and fishing traditions as well as our country’s rich wildlife. SCI is proud to support this final rule by the USFWS as it will have lasting impacts on conservation efforts and wildlife management for decades to come,” said SCI CEO W. Laird Hamberlin.