Conservation groups welcomed the federal plan to expand hunting and fishing access on national wildlife refuges | Instant News

The proposed rule is the single largest expansion of hunting and fishing opportunities in the history of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency said in a news release.

“American hunters and anglers now have something significant to look forward to in the fall when we plan to open and expand hunting and fishing opportunities in more national areas than the entire state of Delaware,” Bernhardt said in a statement.

Conservation groups offer broad support for the proposal, which will take effect in time for the autumn hunting season.

“This is good news for Delta Waterfowl members and supporters when we all need something positive to look forward to,” John Devney, Delta Waterfowl’s senior vice president at Bismarck, said in a news release. “With the anticipated agreement of these recommendations in time for the 2020-2021 hunting season, this expansion creates exciting new opportunities for duck and goose hunters when we fall into the fields this fall.”

While no protected land in North Dakota was included in the proposal, Rydell National Wildlife Refuge in Polk County in northwest Minnesota and North Tallgrass Prairie National Wildlife Refuge in Rock County in southwest Minnesota are among the protected lands scheduled to increase public access.

FWS has expanded hunting and fishing opportunities in several North Dakota sanctuaries in recent years, including opening Lostwood and J. Clark Salyer national wildlife reserves for deer hunting in 2018.

In the case of Rydell, which covers 2,120 hectares, the “Closed” and “Refuge” hunting units will now be three units: Closed, Hunting Unit A and Hunting Unit B. According to Gregg Knutsen, protection manager, 200 hectares Closed Unit will remain as is , without poaching allowed. Unit B hunting, covering around 450 hectares, includes all public roads and refugee biking trails and surrounds the Closed Unit. Unit B hunting will be open for special disability hunting and young deer hunting as in the past.

The remaining protected land, around 1,375 hectares, is adjacent to the cycling and walking paths and will become Hunting Unit A.

According to Knutsen, Hunt Unit A will be open for special hunting for people with disabilities and for hunting young deer and also for new opportunities specifically for shotguns: spring and turkey hunting, rough grouse, pheasants, Hungarian jungle fowl, tree squirrels, rabbits and hares, woodcocks, pigeon and prairie chicken, the latter only for hunters who draw Minnesota prairie chicken permits.

The hunting of waterfowl will be limited to hunting Minnesota’s young waterfowl for two days, and the hunting of deer, in addition to hunting of disabled people and youth, will only be archery, Knutsen said.

“The point is that we propose to open a shelter to many new opportunities, while maintaining the disabled and the hunting of young people as a priority activity,” Knutsen said in an email. “For security reasons mainly – due to the small size of the evacuation and high public use – the extended hunting of deer will only become archery (following the country’s seasonal framework), no rifle is permitted to hunt small games, and hunting for waterfowl will be limited to only in the two-day youth season. “

Restricting waterfowl hunting is a biological decision, given the importance of the Rydell wetlands as a haven for waterfowl during autumn migration, Knutsen said.

Ducks Unlimited is also included among conservation groups who praise the rules proposed by Bernhardt.

“Because millions of people across the country feel trapped in their own homes because of the COVID-19 virus, having the opportunity to hunt and fish in the serenity of the wilderness or the serenity of the lake may be more important now than ever before. , “CEO of Ducks Unlimited, Adam Putnam said in a statement. “It’s important to follow local directions about recreation, but there has never been a better time to enjoy the silence on our public land and stay away from the crowd. This increased access will be important for our overall health and well-being both now and in the future. “

The FWS opens a 60-day comment period on proposed rules Thursday, April 9.

Further info:, Map number: FWS-HQ-NWRS-2020-0013.

Brad Dokken

Brad Dokken

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