Closure of federal lands by shutdown upsets hunting groups

  • Updated: October 8, 2013 - 8:01 PM

Seven major sportsmen’s groups from across the country called on Congress this week to end the shutdown that has closed hundreds of thousands of acres of federal lands to hunting, just as hunting season begins.

They argue that the closure hurts hunters and the $144 billion wildlife recreation economy.

Barring an end to the shutdown, federal waterfowl production areas — popular hunting spots for both waterfowl and upland bird hunters — will remain closed when Minnesota’s pheasant season opens Saturday.

The closure in Minnesota includes nine national wildlife refuges and nine wetland management districts totaling 481,000 acres. Nationwide, the closure includes 329 wildlife refuges and 36,000 waterfowl production areas.

“It’s a slap in the face to all of us, but also to more than 37 million hunters and anglers who contribute more than $720 million in excise taxes for conservation,’’ said Steve Williams, president of the Wildlife Management Institute and former director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Those closed areas were often bought with duck stamp dollars, he said.

Howard Vincent, president and CEO of Pheasants Forever, said the closure of the federal lands will have a “dramatic impact’’ on the pheasant opener, and will put more pressure on other public lands. His group called on Congress to reopen the federal lands.

Meanwhile, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service law enforcement officers remain on duty, meaning hunters apparently could be cited for trespassing on the closed federal lands.

Minnesota conservation officers, as always, can enforce the state’s game and fish laws on federal lands, too, said Maj. Phil Meier, Department of Natural Resources enforcement operations manager. But he said the DNR won’t be directing its resources to look for trespassers on the federal lands.

DOUG SMITH

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Toronto - B. Morrow 12:05 PM
Cleveland - C. Carrasco
LA Angels - H. Santiago 12:08 PM
Detroit - R. Porcello
Atlanta - D. Hale 12:10 PM
NY Mets - Z. Wheeler
Seattle - B. Maurer 12:10 PM
Miami - K. Slowey
St. Louis - S. Miller 12:35 PM
Washington - S. Strasburg
Milwaukee - M. Estrada 12:35 PM
Pittsburgh - G. Cole
NY Yankees - V. Nuno 12:40 PM
Tampa Bay - C. Ramos
Minnesota - P. Hughes 1:10 PM
Kansas City - Y. Ventura
Cincinnati - H. Bailey 1:20 PM
Chicago Cubs - C. Villanueva
Chicago WSox - E. Johnson 2:05 PM
Texas - R. Ross Jr.
Houston - B. Peacock 3:05 PM
Oakland - J. Chavez
Philadelphia - R. Hernandez 3:10 PM
Colorado - J. Nicasio
San Francisco - T. Lincecum 3:10 PM
San Diego - R. Erlin
Arizona - J. Collmenter 3:10 PM
Los Angeles - J. Beckett
Baltimore - U. Jimenez 6:05 PM
Boston - J. Peavy
Dallas 12:00 PM
San Antonio
Charlotte 2:30 PM
Miami
Washington 6:00 PM
Chicago
Portland 8:30 PM
Houston
Philadelphia 0 1st Prd 12:59
NY Rangers 1
Detroit 2:00 PM
Boston
Tampa Bay 6:00 PM
Montreal
Los Angeles 9:00 PM
San Jose

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which quarterback is best in the NFL draft?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close