Feds to Open More Wildlife Refuge Land to Hunting, Fishing

By author of The Realblog with Stephanie Mallory

The proposal would provide recreational access to more acreage nationwide than the entire state of Delaware

The proposal would also allow alligator hunting at three national wildlife refuges. (author image)The Trump administration announced last week that it plans to open 2.3 million acres of land for hunting and fishing at more than 100 national wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries under a proposal aimed at providing more recreational access on public lands.

According to the Associated Press, the proposal would allow fishing for the first time at several national wildlife refuges, including San Diego Bay in California, Alamosa in Colorado, Bombay Hook in Delaware, Umbagog in Maine and New Hampshire, and Everglades Headwaters in Florida.

The proposal would also allow alligator hunting at three national wildlife refuges: Banks Lake in Georgia, Laguna Atascosa in Texas and Savannah in Georgia and South Carolina.

In Arizona, hunters would be able to pursue mountain lions and mule deer at Cabeza Prieta and bobcats, foxes, and mountain lions at Buenos Aires national wildlife refuges. In Oregon, migratory bird hunting will be allowed for the first time at Wapato Lake and Hart Mountain national wildlife refuges.

The 2020-2021 Station-Specific Hunting and Fishing Proposed Rule National Wildlife Refuges and National Fish Hatcheries Narratives breaks down by state all of the suggested changes in the proposal.

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said in a statement: “America’s hunters and anglers now have something significant to look forward to in the fall as we plan to open and expand hunting and fishing opportunities across more acreage nationwide than the entire state of Delaware."

Of course, there are some who do not support this proposal.

Western Values Project director Jayson O’Neill criticized both the timing of the announcement and past decisions the Trump administration has made that he says damages public lands.

“Instead of responding to pleas by state and local officials for needed agency resources, assistance, and help during this generational pandemic, Secretary Bernhardt made a tone-deaf announcement that by no means could ever make up for the hunting opportunities and wildlife lost as a result of Trump’s deregulatory agenda decimating our public lands and environmental protections," O'Neill said.

People will have 60 days to comment on the proposal.

For more crazy outdoor stories, visit The Realblog and check out Realtree's Facebook page.