U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service expands hunting, fishing opportunities at 10 national wildlife refuges

A young waterfowl hunter at Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge during the annual Youth Waterfowlers Program. (USFWS)

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Tuesday, Nov. 7 a final rule to open or expand opportunities across 132,000 acres on 10 national wildlife refuges.

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 said in the news release. The final rule will become effective upon publication in the Federal Register on Nov. 8, the USFWS said.

Hunting and/or fishing will expand or be opened on 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.

Under the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, the USFWS permits hunting and fishing along with four other types of wildlife-dependent recreation, including wildlife photography, environmental education, wildlife observation and interpretation, when they are compatible with an individual refuge’s purpose and mission. Hunting, within specified limits, is currently permitted on 336 wildlife refuges and 37 wetland management districts. Fishing is currently permitted on 277 wildlife refuges and 34 wetland management districts.

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