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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 26th, 2010

Arizona 2010 Outdoor Expo At Ben Avery This Weekend

This weekend, March 27-28, the Arizona Game and Fish Department hosts its Outdoor Expo 2010 at the largest public shooting complex in the nation — the Ben Avery Shooting Facility, located just west of Interstate 17 on Carefree Highway. At the Expo, you can try out many different shooting disciplines. Plus there will be archery classes, mounted (horseback) shooting demos, wildlife info sessions, and many other outdoor activities. This is a very popular event — the 2009 Expo drew over 35,000 visitors. Both Admission and parking are FREE.

Ben Avery Outdoor Expo

Outdoor Expo visitors will be able to test the latest firearms from companies like Glock, Smith & Wesson, and Ruger. Visitors can also try a variety of specialty shooting disciplines, such as cowboy action shooting, black powder, tactical pistol, and silhouette shooting.

Ben Avery Outdoor ExpoBen Avery Outdoor Expo

Gatling Gun Ben AveryShotgun fans can shoot skeet, trap or sporting clays at Ben Avery’s enhanced Clay Target Center. Kids can shoot .22s and air guns while learning more about firearm safety. Guests (of all ages) can take an archery class or try out “3D Archery” on a walking course through the desert. There will be many exciting demonstrations at the 2009 Outdoor Expo. Visitors can witness a Dillon Aero mini-gun demonstration or even shoot a vintage Gatling Gun.

For more information, visit the Outdoor Expo website, www.azgfd.gov/expo, or CLICK HERE to view the 2010 Outdoor Expo promo video.

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February 20th, 2010

New Rule Allows Guns in Nat'l Parks and Wildlife Refuges

Starting Monday, February 22, 2010, you can bring loaded firearms into most U.S. National Parks and National Wildlife Refuges, provided this is allowed by state law. The new federal Park and Refuge policy applies to all firearms, whether long guns (rifles, shotguns), or pistols (including concealed handguns allowed under state permit). All Federal firearms statutes otherwise apply. The new law lifts a 94-year-old ban on guns in National Parks unless they were unloaded or unassembled. The new law, sponsored by U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn (Oklahoma), and backed by the NRA, only addresses possession and has no impact on authorized uses of guns.

National Wildlife Refuge

The new “gun-friendly” policy was announced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) on February 18th, as a result of new legislation enacted by Congress. Starting on February 22nd, the law allows an individual to lawfully possess a firearm within the boundaries of a National Wildlife Refuge or National Park in accordance with federal, state and local firearms laws. The new gun policy applies to all 551 units of the National Wildlife Refuge System, as well as National Monuments and nearly all the 392 units of the National Park System. Under previous regulations, tight restrictions were imposed on guns in National Parks.

CLICK HERE for Official USFWS News Release on Gun Policies

National Wildlife RefugeThe USFWS and National Park Service will look to the laws of the state and locality in which the Park, Monument, or Refuge is located to govern possession of firearms therein. Visitors will be allowed to possess firearms on National Wildlife Refuges provided they comply with applicable provisions of federal, state and local law. Persons with firearm “carry” permits will be able to possess firearms on a refuge in accordance with the provisions of the state-issued permit. The USFWS stated that the new law applies throughout the National Wildlife Refuge System, and the National Park System. However, the Associated Press reported that loaded firearms will still be restricted in 20 of the National Parks and that, generally, “guns will not be allowed in visitor centers or rangers’ offices, because firearms are banned in federal buildings.”

Predictably, the Brady Campaign assailed the new policy. “It really is sad that we’ve become such a paranoid society that people want to take guns pretty much everywhere — including National Parks”, stated Brady Campaign President Paul Helmke. Conversely, the NRA, which lobbied to have firearms allowed in National Parks, announced: “This common-sense measure will enhance the self-defense rights of law-abiding Americans and also ensure uniformity of firearm laws within a state”.

New Policies Do Not Alter Hunting Regulations in Wildlife Refuges
The USFWS stressed that: “While the law will change the application of rules regarding possession of firearms, it has no impact on the authorized uses of firearms on National Wildlife Refuges. This new law does NOT change or expand hunting opportunities on National Wildlife Refuges or exempt hunters from state or federal hunting regulations. Each person who hunts on a National Wildlife Refuge must have the required state license(s) required by the Refuge, as well as any permits and/or user fees.”

Visitors wishing to possess firearms on any unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System should carefully read and understand the laws of the state in which the refuge they plan to visit is located — as well as applicable local and county laws and ordinances that derive from that respective state’s law. For more information on hunting within National Wildlife Refuges, go to: http://www.fws.gov/refuges/hunting/.

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