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132,000 Acres of Land Are About to Be Opened for Public Hunting and Fishing

Ron Holmes/USFWS

Hunting and fishing opportunities set to expand in 10 national wildlife refuges under new rule from USFWS.

According to a release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the USFWS plans to offer more hunting and fishing opportunities in national wildlife refuges beginning this month.

“In a continuing effort to increase access to hunting and fishing on public lands, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced a final rule to open or expand opportunities across 132,000 acres on 10 national wildlife refuges,” the release stated. “This will bring the number of refuges where the public may hunt up to 373 and up to 311 where fishing is permitted.”

The USFWS touted the economic benefits of its decision, stating that “hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities contributed more than $156.3 billion in economic activity across the United States according to the Service’s National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, published every five years. More than 101.6 million Americans—40 percent of the U.S. population 16 and older—pursue wildlife-related recreation.”

“The nation’s sportsmen and women lead the conservation of wildlife and their habitats throughout our nation. They are passionate about the outdoors and are committed to sustainably managing these resources for all Americans to enjoy. Refuges provide all Americans with places to hunt, fish, observe the natural world firsthand and experience the great outdoors,” said USFWS Principal Deputy Director Greg Sheehan. “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.”

The move from the USFWS comes on the heels of a proposal by the National Parks Service to increase fees for its most popular destinations. So, while visiting some of America’s protected lands may become more difficult, sportsmen and women will be able to take advantage of expanded hunting and fishing opportunities in the following refuges:

Georgia and South Carolina

Savannah National Wildlife Refuge: Expand migratory game bird hunting, upland game and big game hunting. The refuge is already open to migratory game bird hunting, upland game and big game hunting, and sport fishing.

Indiana

Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge: Expand migratory game bird hunting, upland game and big game hunting, and sport fishing. The refuge is already open to migratory game bird hunting, upland game and big game hunting, and sport fishing.

Minnesota

Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge: Expand migratory game bird hunting, upland game and big game hunting. The refuge is already open to migratory game bird hunting, upland game and big game hunting, and sport fishing.

North Dakota

Des Lacs National Wildlife Refuge: Open moose hunting for the first time. The refuge is already open to upland game and other big game hunting.

Upper Souris National Wildlife Refuge: Open moose and turkey hunting for the first time. Expand upland game and big game hunting. The refuge is already open to upland game hunting, other big game hunting, and sport fishing.

Oklahoma

Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge: Expand upland game and big game hunting. The refuge is already open to migratory game bird hunting, upland game and big game hunting, and sport fishing.

Oregon

Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge: Expand migratory game bird hunting. The refuge is already open to migratory game bird hunting.

Siletz Bay National Wildlife Refuge: Open sport fishing for the first time. The refuge is already open to migratory game bird hunting.

Wisconsin

Fox River National Wildlife Refuge: Expand big game hunting. The refuge is already open to big game hunting.

Horicon National Wildlife Refuge: Expand migratory game bird hunting and upland game and big game hunting. The refuge is already open to migratory game bird hunting, upland game and big game hunting, and sport fishing.

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132,000 Acres of Land Are About to Be Opened for Public Hunting and Fishing