Menu
Back to News

Zinke boosts hunting and fishing opportunity in wildlife refuges

Wildlife refuge

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Last week, Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced that 30 wildlife refuges will be opened or provide expanded hunting and fishing opportunities in time for the 2018-2019 season. The decision will open more than 251,000 acres within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wildlife Refuge System and increases the number of public hunting units to 377 and fishing units to 312. The final rule also simplifies “regulations to more closely match state hunting and fishing regulations” and “outlines expanded hunting and fishing opportunities at 136 national wildlife refuges,” according to the Department of the Interior (DOI).

“American sportsmen and women contribute over a billion dollars a year to fund conservation. Without hunters and anglers, we wouldn't be able to conserve wildlife and habitat; and, without access to our public lands like National Wildlife Refuges, many hunters would have nowhere to go,” said Zinke in a press release. “The last thing I want to see is hunting to become an elite sport, rather than a tradition passed on from generation to generation. Today's announcement protects critical conservation funding, and ensures sportsmen have access to public lands for generations to come.”

Gear Shop - Shop Now

While Zinke’s push for public land access and more hunting and fishing opportunities have garnered support within the outdoor industry, some opponents say that opening up wildlife refuges to hunting and fishing isn’t necessary – even though federal law only allows hunting and fishing in these areas if “it does not conflict with conservation,” according to The Hill.

However, those involved with the decision say it will be beneficial.

“Hunting and fishing are family activities that pass down from generation to generation. National wildlife refuges provide all Americans with places to hunt, fish, observe the natural world firsthand and experience the great outdoors,” said Cynthia Martinez, Chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System, in a press release. “We are pleased to be able to offer hunting and fishing opportunities and other recreational activities where they are compatible with national wildlife refuge management goals.”

Per the DOI, hunting and/or fishing will be expanded or opened on the following refuges:

Arkansas

  • Felsenthal National Wildlife Refuge: Expand existing migratory game bird, upland game and big game hunting.

California

  • San Pablo Bay National Wildlife Refuge: Expands existing migratory game bird hunting, and open sport fishing for the first time.

Florida

  • Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge: Opens wild turkey hunting for the first time.

Illinois

  • Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge: Expands existing migratory game bird, upland game and big game hunting.

Illinois and Missouri

  • Great River National Wildlife Refuge: Expands existing migratory game bird, upland game and big game hunting.

Illinois and Wisconsin

  • Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge: Opens migratory game bird, upland game and big game hunting to all legal species in the State of Illinois.

Indiana

  • Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge: Expands existing migratory game bird, upland game, big game hunting and sport fishing

Maine

  • Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge: Expands existing migratory game bird, upland game and big game hunting.
  • Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge: Expands existing white-tailed deer and wild turkey hunting.

Maine and New Hampshire

  • Umbagog National Wildlife Refuge: Opens wild turkey hunting for the first time, and expand existing migratory game bird, upland game and big game hunting.

Maryland

  • Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge: Expands existing migratory game bird and big game hunting.
  • Patuxent Research Refuge: Expands existing white-tailed deer and wild turkey hunting.

Michigan

  • Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge: Opens hunting of certain migratory bird, small game, and furbearers, and expand existing migratory game bird and big game hunting.

Minnesota

  • Glacial Ridge National Wildlife Refuge: Opens certain gamebird and small mammal hunting for the first time, and expand existing migratory game bird, upland game and big game hunting.

Montana

  • Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge: Expands existing big game hunting.
  • Swan River National Wildlife Refuge: Opens big game hunting for the first time.

New Jersey

  • Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge: Opens wild turkey and squirrel hunting for the first time, and expand existing migratory game bird and big game hunting.

New Jersey and New York

  • Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge: Expands existing migratory game bird hunting and sport fishing.

New Mexico

  • Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge: Opens Eurasian-collared dove and Gambel’s quail hunting, and expand existing migratory game bird hunting.

North Dakota

  • J. Clark Salyer National Wildlife Refuge: Opens moose hunting for the first time.
  • Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge: Opens moose hunting for the first time.

Ohio

  • Cedar Point National Wildlife Refuge: Opens white-tailed deer hunting for the first time.
  • Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge: Opens hunting of certain game birds small mammals and furbearers for the first time, and expand existing migratory game bird and big game hunting.

Oregon

  • Cold Springs National Wildlife Refuge: Expands existing migratory game bird, upland game and big game hunting.
  • Upper Klamath National Wildlife Refuge: Expands existing migratory game bird hunting.
  • William L. Finley National Wildlife Refuge: Expands existing sport fishing.

Pennsylvania

  • Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge: Expands existing migratory game bird, upland game and big game hunting.
  • John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum: Opens white-tailed deer hunting for the first time.

Utah

  • Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge: Expands existing migratory game bird and upland game hunting.

Wisconsin

  • Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge: Opens hunting of certain game birds small mammals and furbearers for the first time, and expand existing migratory game bird and big game hunting.

2 Comments

Log in or register to post comments.

buckvigilante
andrew b. - posted 2 months ago on 09-13-2018 09:49:50 am
Colorado
goHUNT INSIDER

Awesome, thanks for keeping us all up to date!

Gary H. - posted 2 months ago on 09-13-2018 09:07:30 am
goHUNT INSIDER

This is great news.

Thanks for publishing this success story.!