The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced a proposal that would be the largest expansion of opportunities for access to hunting and fishing. The move is part of the Department of Interior’s efforts to increase the amount of recreational access on public lands.
According to a press release from the US FWS, these new opportunities would include turkey hunting and sport fishing in Florida at the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge. The proposal also aims to open migratory game bird hunting to certain areas of Texas, along with big game hunting. Areas of Virginia would also be opened for similar activities.
Martha Williams, Service Principal Deputy Director for the FWS, said, “We are committed to ensuring Americans of all backgrounds have access to hunting and fishing and other recreational activities on our public lands. 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.”
She continued, “Our lands have also provided a much-needed outlet to thousands during the pandemic and we hope these additional opportunities will provide a further connection with nature, recreation and enjoyment.”
Another proposed change would allow fishing at the Green Lake National Fish Hatchery in Maine.
The FWS plans to have the proposed changes ready for the upcoming 2021-2022 hunting seasons, according to the press release. The department’s website has a full list of the planned expansions.