Americans may soon have more places to hunt and fish. U.S Secretary of the Interior (DOI) David Bernhardt proposed expanding opportunities for hunting and fishing across more than 1.4 million acres via 74 national wildlife refuges and 15 national fish hatcheries.
“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,” said Secretary Bernhardt. “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 Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation greatly appreciates Secretary Bernhardt’s continued efforts to increase access to public lands for hunting and fishing. This announcement is yet another example of the DOI’s commitment to sportsmen and women and follows the department’s action last year to open more than 248,000 acres of national wildlife refuge lands to hunting and fishing.
Hunters and anglers contribute over a billion dollars a year to fund conservation. Hunting is also a critical wildlife management tool and pastime supported by three out of four Americans.
Comments will be welcome on the proposed rule for 45 days, beginning with publication in the Federal Register. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service intends to finalize the proposed changes in time for the upcoming 2019-2020 hunting seasons.
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(Photo source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)