EDGEFIELD, S.C. — The National Wild Turkey Federation applauds Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's announcement of expanded or new access to more than a quarter million acres at 30 national wildlife refuges for hunting and fishing opportunities.
"Hunting participation is on the decline, in part, due to lack of opportunities for the pursuit of outdoor sports on our public lands," NWTF CEO Becky Humphries said. "The recent removal of this barrier through the announcement by Secretary Zinke and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is applauded and strongly supported by the NWTF and its dedicated volunteers and members."
According to the USFWS, the changes increase public hunting access to 377 units and fishing to 312 units across 136 refuges and also simplify regulations to more closely match state hunting and fishing regulations. The changes also are scheduled to be implemented in time for the upcoming 2018-2019 hunting seasons.
Secretary Zinke remarked in the USFWS's release, “American sportsmen and women contribute over a billion dollars a year to fund conservation. Without hunters and anglers, we wouldn't be able to conserve wildlife and habitat; and, without access to our public lands like national wildlife refuges, many hunters would have nowhere to go. The last thing I want to see is hunting to become an elite sport, rather than a tradition passed on from generation to generation. Today’s announcement protects critical conservation funding and ensures sportsmen have access to public lands for generations to come.”
For more information on specific refuges affected, read the USFWS full release.
About the National Wild Turkey Federation
When the National Wild Turkey Federation was founded in 1973, there were about 1.3 million wild turkeys in North America. After decades of work, that number hit a historic high of almost 7 million turkeys. To succeed, the NWTF stood behind science-based conservation and hunters’ rights. Today, the NWTF is focused on the future of hunting and conservation through its Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative – a charge that mobilizes science, fundraising and devoted volunteers to conserve or enhance more than 4 million acres of essential wildlife habitat, recruit at least 1.5 million hunters and open access to 500,000 acres for hunting. For more information, visit NWTF.org.