The US government is proposing the largest expansion of hunting and fishing opportunities to date

The Featherstone National Wildlife Refuge is among the public areas that allow for expanded hunting and fishing opportunities as part of the proposed rule changes. Credit: Judy Gallagher

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced new opportunities for hunting and fishing in 90 national game reserves and a national fish hatchery.

Hunters and anglers looking for a new place to wet a line or stalk quarry – take note. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) today announced a proposal for new or expanded hunting and recreational fishing opportunities. This includes hunting and fishing for game species on 2.1 million acres in 90 national game reserves and on land of a national fish hatchery.

Improving access to public land and water is central to the Biden Harris government’s approach to protection, according to a Home Office press release. The new proposed regulation would open or expand 939 opportunities for hunting or sport fishing.

An “opportunity” is a species on a field station. The publication claims that this proposed expansion is “the largest in recent history”.

“We are committed to ensuring that Americans of all backgrounds have access to hunting, fishing and other recreational activities in our public areas,” said Martha Williams, USFWS assistant director.

“Hunters and anglers are some of our most passionate conservationists and play an important role in securing the future of diverse and healthy wildlife populations. Our country has provided much-needed access for thousands of people during the pandemic, and we hope that these additional opportunities will create a further connection to nature, relaxation and enjoyment. “

New proposed sanctuaries include turkey hunting and sport fishing at the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. Migratory bird, highland and big game hunting in the Muleshoe and Neches River National Game Reserves in Texas; and migratory bird hunting and sport fishing at Featherstone National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia.

The proposal includes the opening of sport fishing at the Green Lake National Fish Hatchery in Maine.

Hunting, fishing as an economic driver

Hunting, fishing, and other outdoor activities contributed more than $ 156 billion to economic activity in communities across the United States in 2016, according to the USFWS National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation. More than 101 million Americans – 40% of the US population ages 16 and older – are engaged in wildlife-related recreation.

While most of the new rules aim to expand the possibilities, they also aim to clarify the hunting and fishing regulations in federal government-administered shelters. Most hunting and fishing laws are set by states.

However, in federal housing there are sometimes additional regulations that can confuse users. The proposed rule aims to bring the rules for hunting and fishing refugees into line with government regulations. And if these rules deviate from state regulations for safety or conservation compatibility reasons, the proposal is intended to create consistency across all shelters in a particular state.

The USFWS worked closely with states to develop the proposed rule.

Public comment period

The USFWS will solicit comments from the public on the proposed rule for 60 days, beginning with the publication in the Federal Register on May 4, 2021. The notice will be available here under file number FWS-HQ-NWRS-2021-0027. You will also find details on how to submit your comments.

The USFWS intends to finalize the proposed changes in time for the upcoming 2021-2022 hunting seasons. A full list of all shelters and hatcheries included in the proposal is included in the proposed rule.

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