Your fall hunting and fishing season just took a turn for the worse.
As of midnight on October 1st, 561 national wildlife refuges and 368 national parks are now closed to the public. Yes, that’s a lot, so what exactly does that leave hunters and anglers to do? The answer is not much. While 155 national forests and 2,400 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recreation areas, in addition to land managed by the BLM and other federal agencies still remain accessible, 7,000 employees have been furloughed, leaving only emergency response teams available.
You can imagine the impact this is causing as various areas in the country would normally be on schedule for opening day.
In Vermont, rural communities are experiencing immediate effects. Vermont’s seasons for moose, bear, rabbit, squirrel, woodcock and ruffled grouse are currently in session, but can’t be accessed because of the closed refuges.
“This is a time when rural communities across Vermont really count on the local revenues generated by hunting and fishing activities,” said Patrick Berry, Fish & Wildlife commissioner.
Perhaps the biggest areas affected by the government shutdown are the lands and waters of the Mississippi River. 11 boat landings have been closed and barricaded, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s facilities, along with the entire Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge are also closed. While hunting and fishing have directly been affected, commercial use is still being granted. Both lock and dam and dredging operations to keep the channel clear will continue during the shutdown because of their vital government services. Locks will also be open for recreational boaters.
While these are only a few examples of the areas impacted by the government shutdown, the toll taken on hunters and anglers is reverberating nationwide. We can only hope that this hiatus will not last too long, or the entire fall season could be hit hard, leaving local communities’ economies significantly damaged.
Featured image via Hawaii Tribune-Herald