The Trump administration has proposed expanding or opening hunting and fishing rights on 1.4 million acres of federal lands, allowing greater public access while slashing 7,500 regulations.
What are the details?
Interior Secretary David Bernhardt announced the initiative earlier this month, saying, “President Trump is committed to expanding public access on public lands, and this proposal is executing on that directive by opening and increasing more access to hunting and fishing by the Fish and Wildlife Service at more stations and across more acres than ever before.”
“Hunting and fishing are more than just traditional pastimes as they are also vital to the conservation of our lands and waters, our outdoor recreation economy, and our American way of life,” Bernhardt continued. “These refuges and hatcheries provide incredible opportunities for sportsmen and women and their families across the country to pass on a fishing and hunting heritage to future generations and connect with wildlife.”
The proposal is currently open for public comment and would impact 74 national wildlife refuges and 15 national fish hatcheries. Bernhardt told the Washington Examiner he hopes to have the changes implemented in time for dove season this fall.
According to The Hill, the Interior Department under President Donald Trump has already rolled back a “slew” of regulations imposed by the Obama administration. That’s the point, according to Bernhardt, who said his agency also aims to get rid of some of the confusion, complexity, and overlap between state and federal laws.
“You’ve got to be a lawyer to figure out if you can hunt or can’t hunt,” he told the Examiner.
Sporting groups have come out in praise of the directive. Howard Vincent, president and CEO of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever, said, “We are glad to see that recreational access was identified as a top priority.”
Delta Waterfowl Senior Vice President John Devney issued a statement saying, “Duck hunters have been leaders in investing in the refuge system and this action will provide them with new access and opportunities. We are sincerely grateful to Secretary Bernhardt and the Fish and Wildlife Service staff who have worked hard to create these new opportunities for hunters.”