U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to Open Hunting Seasons on National Wildlife Refuges in Eight States

According to reports from the National Rifle Association, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing new hunting seasons in National Wildlife Refuges in eight states, including: Colorado, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Minnesota, Iowa, Utah and Texas.

The new proposal will work in accordance with the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, legislation that helped the Secretary of the Interior and others to govern the Refuge System as a related group of wildlands. New hunting proposals are as follows:

* The Bayou Sauvage National Wildlife Refuge in Louisiana (shown below) would waterfowl and coot hunting; the refuge currently allows fishing.

* The Coldwater River National Wildlife Refuge in Mississippi would hunting of ducks, geese, squirrel, rabbit, raccoon, deer and hogs. The refuge           currently allows fishing.

* The Currituck National Wildlife Refuge in North Carolina would open for deer and hog hunting.

* The Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Minnesota would expand the land area permitting migratory bird, upland game and big game hunting.

* The Northern Tallgrass Prairie National Wildlife Refuge in Minnesota and Iowa would expand areas for migratory bird, upland and big game hunting in addition to expanding  the species allowed for hunting.

* The Ouray National Wildlife Refuge in Utah (shown below) would permit turkey and elk hunting; the refuge currently allows migratory bird hunting and fishing.

* Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge in Minnesota would expand land available for migratory bird hunting, and would open the reserve to turkey and deer hunting. The refuge currently permits fishing.

* Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge in Texas would open three new units for hunting of rabbits, squirrels, feral hogs and whitetail deer. The refuge currently allows migratory bird hunting and fishing.

* The Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge in Colorado (shown below) would offer elk hunting for the first time, and would also permit migratory bird hunting, upland game hunting and general fishing.

In addition, under the 1997 Act, each refuge is required to be managed under a specific comprehensive conservation plan. As such, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s hunting proposals will act in accordance with individual conservation plans for the aforementioned refuges. Prospective hunters are encouraged to check with individual refuge websites for hunting guidelines and definition.