Delta Waterfowl Applauds U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Expansion of Hunting Access on National Wildlife Refuges

BISMARCK, NORTH DAKOTA — Delta Waterfowl commends the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on today’s announcement that it plans to open or expand hunting and fishing at 90 national wildlife refuges, which includes new or increased opportunities to hunt waterfowl at 43 refuges. 

The latest round of NWR access expansions includes key refuges from a priority list provided by Delta Waterfowl to the USFWS. Delta’s input was a grassroots effort in partnership with the organization’s regional events directors, volunteers and members across the United States. With anticipated approval, the refuge openings and expansions will occur in time for waterfowl hunting seasons this fall. 

“Opening up additional acres for waterfowl hunting is great news for Delta’s members and supporters,” said John Devney, senior vice president of policy. “We appreciate the good work by Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, USFWS Principal Deputy Director Martha Williams and members of the USFWS Hunt/Fish Teams to continue to expand opportunities for hunting on public lands.” 

The action would increase the number of refuges where public hunting is allowed to 434, while fishing is permitted on 378. 

“We are committed to ensuring Americans of all backgrounds have access to hunting and fishing and other recreational activities on our public lands,” Williams said. “Hunters and anglers are some of our most ardent conservationists and they play an important role in ensuring the future of diverse and healthy wildlife populations. Our lands have also provided a much-needed outlet to thousands during the pandemic and we hope these additional opportunities will provide further connection with nature, recreation and enjoyment.” 

A total of 11 national wildlife refuges will allow duck and goose hunting for the first time, including: 

Choctaw (Alabama) 
Franklin Island (Maine) 
Pond Island (Maine/New Hampshire) 
Harbor Island (Michigan) 
Great Swamp (New Jersey) 
Mackay Island (North Carolina/Virginia) 
William L. Finley (Oregon) 
Neches River (Texas) 
Eastern Shore of Virginia
Featherstone (Virginia) 
Fisherman Island (Virginia) 

Notably, waterfowl hunting opportunities also will expand on eight refuges in Louisiana, as well as two each in Mississippi, Arkansas and Illinois. 

A complete online list of the refuges is available at: https://www.fws.gov/home/feature/2021/2021-2022-Station-Specific-Hunting-and-Fishing-Proposed-Rule-Narratives.pdf 

The USFWS will seek comments from the public on the proposed rule for 60 days, beginning with publication in the Federal Register on May 4, 2021. Delta Waterfowl encourages all members to express support for the proposal by logging on to http://www.regulations.gov, Docket Number: FWS-HQ-NWRS-2021-0027, to submit comments. 

For more information, contact John Devney at (701) 471-4235 or jdevney@deltawaterfowl.org.

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