Interior Secretary David Bernhardt has announced a proposal for new and expanded hunting and fishing opportunities at 74 national wildlife refuges and 15 national fish hatcheries. The proposal would increase the number of units in the Service’s National Wildlife Refuge System where the public may hunt from 377 to 382, according to press statement released from the DOI.
“President Trump is committed to expanding public access on public lands, and this proposal is executing on that directive by opening and increasing more access to hunting and fishing by the Fish and Wildlife Service at more stations and across more acres than ever before,” said Interior Secretary David Bernhardt. “Hunting and fishing are more than just traditional pastimes as they are also vital to the conservation of our lands and waters, our outdoor recreation economy, and our American way of life. These refuges and hatcheries provide incredible opportunities for sportsmen and women and their families across the country to pass on a fishing and hunting heritage to future generations and connect with wildlife.”
The proposal also outlines a revision of all refuge hunting and fishing regulations in all 50 states to match state regulations.
“Well managed hunting and fishing are the backbone of conservation in this country, but inconsistent or overly complex regulations can act as a disincentive,” said Service Principal Deputy Director Margaret Everson. “By aligning our refuge regulations with our state partners, we are reducing confusion and the regulatory burden on the American public, helping ensure the tradition and benefits of hunting and fishing can continue.”
The Service will seek comments from the public on the proposed rule for 45 days, beginning with publication in the Federal Register in coming days. The notice will be available at http://www.regulations.gov, Docket Number: FWS-HQ-NWRS-2019-0040, and will include details on how to submit your comments. An interim copy of the proposed rule is now available.
Safari Club International will prepare comments in favor of the proposal.