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May 31st, 2018

Secretary Zinke Creates Hunting and Shooting Sports Council

Zinke Secretary Interior Hunting Shooting Sports Council Department NSSF Boone Crockett
Utah Monument photo by DOI. Inset graphic from Ammoland.com, DOI source.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has announced the newly-appointed members of the Hunting and Shooting Sports Conservation Council (HSSCC). The Council, established on January 9, 2018, is intended to provide the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture with advice regarding the establishment and implementation of existing and proposed policies and authorities with regard to wildlife and habitat conservation. The Advisory Council will meet at least twice a year.

The Council will also examine ways to benefit wildlife resources; encourage partnership among the public, the sporting conservation organizations, state, tribal, territorial, and federal government; and benefit recreational hunting and recreational shooting sports.

“We have assembled here some of the best conservationists in America,” Secretary Zinke said. “Over a century ago, Teddy Roosevelt established the American conservation ethic — best science, best practices, greatest good, longest term. These sportsmen carry on the American conservation ethic in the modern day. Bringing these experts together will be key to ensuring the American tradition of hunting and shooting, as well as the conservation benefits of these practices, carries on.”

Departement interior DOI Hunting sShooting Conservation Council
Secretary Ryan Zinke (left) believes we can learn important conservation lessons from President Theodore Roosevelt (right), an avid hunter.

“America’s hunters and recreational shooters have a champion in Secretary Ryan Zinke,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “Zinke is fighting for our sportsmen and women to have greater access to our public lands. I am pleased to work with the Trump Administration’s new Hunting and Shooting Sports Conservation Council to make it easier for Americans to enjoy our public lands.”

“Comprised of national leaders throughout the hunting and recreational shooting communities, the HSSCC is widely regarded as one of the most effective and productive federal advisory committees across the federal government,” said Lawrence Keane, NSSF Senior V.P. and General Counsel.

Departement interior DOI Hunting sShooting Conservation Council
Julie Golob Photo Courtesy Shooting Sports USA.

“What an exciting time for our hunting and shooting sports! This Shooting Sports Council is yet another way Secretary Zinke and staff is making the expansion of our great American heritage a priority,” said Smith & Wesson Pro Shooter Julie Golob.

“President Trump and Sec Zinke continue to make major positive structural changes to America’s land and wildlife conservation systems,” said Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife Founder Don Peay. “This new Council, made up of the most accomplished hunter/conservationists in North America, will assist in revitalizing conservation of our nation’s natural treasures for generations!”

Zinke Secretary Interior Hunting Shooting Sports Council Department NSSF Boone Crockett

“I am very pleased and honored to be appointed to this Council by Secretary Zinke,” said Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Chief Conservation Officer Blake Henning. “I look forward to representing the interests of big game and big game hunters as this Council does important work.”

“I am honored to be asked by Secretary Zinke to serve on the federal advisory council,” said Bob Model, Chairman of the Boone and Crockett Club. “Sportsmen and women are vital stakeholders in federal land management.”

Members of the Hunting and Shooting Sports Conservation Council are listed below
MEMBER NAME ORGANIZATION
Mike Budzik Retired Chief of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources
Chris Cox Executive Director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA)
Jeff Crane President of Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF)
John Devney Vice President of U.S. Policy for Delta Waterfowl
Dan Forester Vice President and Chief Conservation Officer, Archery Trade Association
Ward “Trig” French Chairman of the Hunter’s Leadership Forum
Julie Golob World and National Shooting Champion, Team Smith & Wesson
John Green CEO of Crossroads Strategies and Board Member of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation
Dale Hall CEO of Ducks Unlimited and former Director of the USFWS
Blake Henning Chief Conservation Officer for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
Graham Hill Principal and Founding Partner, Ice Miller Strategies LLC. NRA Board of Directors member
Larry Keane Senior V.P. for Governmental and Public Affairs, Asst. Sec. and General Counsel for National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF); General Counsel, Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institutes (SAAMI)
Bob Model Former President of the Boone & Crockett Club; President/CEO of Mule Deer Foundation; previous Deputy Director of Utah’s Div. of Wildlife Resources
Collin O’Mara President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation
Donald Peay Founder and Former CEO of Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife (SFW)
Eva Shockey Co-Host of Jim Shockey’s Hunting Adventures on Outdoor Channel
David Spady President of the Liberty and Property Rights Coalition

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May 25th, 2018

Dept. of Interior May Open 248,000 Acres for Hunting and Fishing

Secretary Interior Ryan Zinke Wildlife Refuge Hunting Fishing
Report based on Press Release from U.S. Department of Interior

Continuing his efforts to increase access to public lands, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has proposed opening more than 248,000 acres to new or expanded hunting and fishing opportunities at 30 National Wildlife Refuges.

Opportunities include places like Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge in Illinois and Wisconsin, and deer hunting in Philadelphia at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge being proposed for the first time. The proposal also outlines expanded hunting and fishing opportunities at 136 national wildlife refuges. If finalized, this would bring the number of units of the National Wildlife Refuge System where the public may hunt to 377, and the number where fishing would be permitted to 312.

“As stewards of our public lands, Interior is committed to opening access wherever possible for hunting and fishing so that more families have the opportunity to pass down this American heritage,” Zinke said. “These 30 refuges will provide incredible opportunities for American sportsmen and women across the country to access the land and connect with wildlife.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) proposal would open more new acres to hunting and fishing than in the past and takes steps to simplify regulations to more closely match state hunting and fishing regulations. The changes would be implemented in time for the upcoming 2018-2019 hunting seasons.

Secretary Interior Ryan Zinke Wildlife Refuge Hunting Fishing

Hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities contributed more than $156 billion in economic activity in communities across the United States in 2016 according to the USFWS’s National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, published every five years. More than 101 million Americans pursue wildlife-related recreation — such as hunting, fishing and birding. The Refuge System is an unparalleled network of 566 national wildlife refuges and 38 wetland management districts. There is a national wildlife refuge within an hour’s drive of most major metropolitan areas.

“Ensuring public lands are open for multiple uses supports local economies and provides important opportunities for recreation. Further, this proposal means that families and individuals across our nation will be better able to participate in our nation’s tradition of hunting and fishing. We appreciate Secretary Zinke and the Interior Department for advancing this priority, and we will continue to work to improve access to public lands for our sportsmen,” said Senator John Hoeven.

Secretary Interior Ryan Zinke Wildlife Refuge Hunting Fishing

“Hunters, anglers and shooting sports enthusiasts play a crucial role in funding the management and conservation of North America’s wildlife,” said USFWS Principal Deputy Director Greg Sheehan. “We are providing sportsmen and women with more access to our national wildlife refuges and streamlining regulations to more closely align with our state partners. And that’s good news for our customers.”

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March 13th, 2017

Secretary Zinke Signs Orders Supporting Hunters and Anglers

Secretary Interior Ryan Zinke Day One Washington
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke signs orders. Photo courtesy Ducks Unlimited.

On his first official day as the 52nd Secretary of the Department of Interior, Ryan Zinke issued his first two secretarial orders benefitting the sportsmen and outdoor communities. Zinke invited various members from the sportsmen’s community for the signing ceremony of the secretarial orders that help expand public land access, as well as opportunities to hunt, fish and recreate across the country.

“Today’s actions by Secretary Zinke are a clear indication that sportsmen and women around the country will have a voice at the Department of Interior,” said Ducks Unlimited CEO Dale Hall. “Providing places for all Americans to hunt, fish and recreate is vitally important, as hunters and anglers are North America’s greatest conservationists. I want to thank Secretary Zinke for his strong commitment and look forward to working with him in his new capacity at the Department of Interior.”

Order 3346 overturns the lead ammunition and fishing tackle ban on Fish and Wildlife Service lands, waters, and facilities, but does not apply to waterfowl hunting. Lead shot has been banned for waterfowl hunting since 1991, and Secretary Zinke’s orders do not affect waterfowl hunters on public lands. The second order, 3347, directs bureaus and agencies to immediately identify areas where recreation and fishing can be expanded. The order also requests the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council and Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council to provide recommendations on enhancing and expanding access on public lands and improving habitat for fish and wildlife.

Secretary Ryan Zinke, who hails from Montana, is an NRA member and an avid outdoorsman. He served as a U.S. Navy SEAL from 1986 to 2008, retiring at the rank of commander.
Secretary Interior Ryan Zinke Day One Washington

Secretary Zinke was confirmed with bipartisan support by the Senate on March 1, 2017 with a vote of 68 to 31. Before joining the Department of Interior, Zinke was elected to Congress in January 2014 after a 22-year career with the U.S. Navy. During his term as U.S. Representative from Montana, he has served as a member of the House Natural Resources Committee and has been a strong advocate of keeping public lands open to public use.

Story based on Ducks Unlimited press release.

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January 26th, 2017

Last-Minute FWS Order on Lead Ammo and Tackle Issued

NWS National Wildlife services ammo ban lead tackle

On January 19, 2017, the last day of the Obama Administration, Daniel Ashe, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), issued a surprise Director’s Order calling for a ban on traditional ammunition and tackle in National Wildlife Refuges. FWS Director’s Order No. 219, issued on January 19th, directs the Fish and Wildlife Service to phase in a ban on the use of traditional lead ammunition and fishing tackle for all activities on National Wildlife Refuge lands and waters. According to the NRA, this last-minute “unilateral action was taken without scientific evidence to support it and without consulting state fish and wildlife agencies.”

In response to this eleventh-hour “back-stabbing” by the FWS, the National Rifle Association (NRA) yesterday called on the U.S. Senate to swiftly confirm Congressman Ryan Zinke (R. Montana) as Secretary of the Interior. The FWS operates under the Department of the Interior. Presumably, FWS Director’s Order no. 219 would not have been issued if Zinke was in charge of the Interior Department. Hopefully Zinke can reverse the damage done, once he is confirmed as Secretary.

NWS National Wildlife services ammo ban lead tackle
Photo courtesy NRAILA.org

“It is more important than ever that we have a Secretary of the Interior who respects the Second Amendment and will stand up for our rights,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “On behalf of the NRA’s five million members, I urge the Senate to swiftly confirm President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of the Interior, Congressman Ryan Zinke. The NRA looks forward to working with the Trump administration to reverse this government overreach.”

Operative Provisions of FWS Director’s Order No. 219:

Sec. 5 What steps will the Service take to phase in the use of nontoxic ammunition and fishing tackle?

a. The Service will continue to support targeted research to understand the human, fish, and wildlife health benefits of using nontoxic ammunition and fishing tackle.

b. The Service will continue to work with states and other partners on education efforts regarding the benefits and effectiveness of nontoxic ammunition and fishing tackle.

c. To ensure the public experiences a consistent approach to nontoxic ammunition and fishing tackle requirements, over the next 24 months, each Regional Director, in coordination with relevant Assistant Directors, should work with individual states, regional state fish and wildlife associations, and tribes to identify opportunities to expand existing state, Federal, or tribal requirements for use of nontoxic ammunition and fishing tackle on Service lands, waters and facilities.

i. Where states have enacted nontoxic ammunition or fishing tackle requirements for certain forms of hunting and fishing on state lands such requirements should be expanded to national wildlife refuges in those states through amendments to state or Service regulations, as appropriate.

ii. Where states have enacted nontoxic ammunition or fishing tackle requirements for certain forms of hunting and fishing that apply to state, private, and Federal lands throughout their states, Regions should ensure these requirements are enacted and enforced on Service lands, waters, and facilities in those states.

iii. Where individual Federal land units administered by other Federal agencies including the National Park Service, the National Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Department of Defense, or other agencies, have enacted requirements for the use of nontoxic ammunition or fishing tackle, Regions should adopt such requirements on Service lands, waters and facilities in the same states as those units through amendments to Service hunting and fishing regulations, as appropriate.

iv. Where individual tribes have enacted requirements for the use of nontoxic ammunition or fishing tackle, the Regions should adopt such requirements on Service lands, waters and facilities in the same states as those tribal lands through amendments to Service hunting and fishing regulations, in consultation with the appropriate tribe and state.

d. When available information indicates negative impacts of lead ammunition or fish tackle on sensitive, vulnerable or Service trust resources, the appropriate Regional Director, in coordination with the appropriate Assistant Director(s), will take steps to expeditiously require the use of nontoxic ammunition or fishing tackle to the fullest extent practical under Service jurisdiction to benefit such species or resources.

e. The Assistant Director, Migratory Birds, in consultation with National Flyway Councils and individual states, will establish a process to phase in a requirement for the use of nontoxic ammunition for recreational hunting of mourning doves and other upland game birds.

Sec. 6 When is this Order effective? This Order is effective immediately. It remains in effect until we incorporate it into the Fish and Wildlife Service Manual, or until we amend, supersede, or revoke it, whichever comes first. If we do not amend, supersede, or revoke it, the provisions of this Order will terminate on July 31, 2018.

[Signed] Daniel M. Ashe, DIRECTOR

Date: January 19, 2017

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December 20th, 2016

Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke Picked as Interior Secretary

Ryan Zinke Representative Commander SEAL Interior Secretary

On December 15, 2016, President-elect Donald Trump announced his intent to nominate U.S. Representative Ryan Zinke (R-Montana) to become Secretary of the Department of the Interior. Congressman Zinke is a patriot and an outdoorsman. He served as a Navy SEAL from 1986 until 2008, retiring with the rank of Commander.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) praised President-Elect Donald Trump’s selection of Commander Zinke to be the next Secretary of the Interior. “In Congressman Zinke we have a true friend of American sportsmen who believes in the inestimable value of our public lands. We are confident Congressman Zinke will work to preserve and promote our hunting and related outdoor traditions. He is an American hero, a lifelong hunter and angler, and a true conservationist in the tradition of Teddy Roosevelt,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF Senior VP and General Counsel. “The Secretary of the Interior is arguably the nation’s single most important position with regard to the management of federal lands, wildlife habitat, and natural resources. Competing interests must be balanced with what will be in the best long-term interest of the nation. We look forward to enthusiastically supporting his nomination in Congress and then working with Secretary Zinke to help him achieve that mission.”

“I can still remember the first time dad took me out hunting. I think every kid should have that experience, which is why I oppose shutting down the forest to target shooting. Hunting and recreational shooting are two very important outdoor activities shared and enjoyed by residents and tourists alike,” — Rep. Ryan Zinke

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