June 24, 2018

We’re All Gonna Die! Interior Proposes End to Obama Era Ban on Hunting on Alaska Preserves

*Editor’s Note* – If you were to read and/or listen to the Press about this proposal, you’d think the end of the world has come. The Associated Press released a piece of lying, sensational, emotional drivel that is probably far from to the truth of what is really taking place.

In brief, the proposal repeals most of the bans Obama placed on hunting and methods of hunting on Alaska public lands. This proposal puts much more control of how wildlife is managed in Alaska back in the hands of state wildlife managers and out of the hands of bureaucratic morons in Washington and their Environmentalist buddies.

Generally speaking, state wildlife managers have a better idea of how their wildlife should be managed and they need tools available to them to do that. It doesn’t necessarily mean all those hunting and trapping methods become free range. To state otherwise is irresponsible, emotional, and borders on criminal.

However, below is the actual proposal as can be found in the Federal Register. Unlike the Press, who NEVER provide links to the actual resource out of fear you might read it and discover their lies, I am posting it below for you to read and decide for yourself if we are all gonna die.

Action

Proposed rule.

Summary

The National Park Service proposes to amend its regulations for sport hunting and trapping in national preserves in Alaska. This proposed rule would remove a regulatory provision issued by the National Park Service in 2015 that prohibited certain sport hunting practices that are otherwise permitted by the State of Alaska. These proposed changes are consistent with Secretary of the Interior Orders 3347 and 3356.

Dates

Comments on the proposed rule must be received by 11:59 p.m. EST on July 23, 2018.

Addresses

You may submit comments, identified by Regulation Identifier Number (RIN) 1024-AE38, by either of the following methods:

  • Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
  • Mail or hand deliver to: National Park Service, Regional Director, Alaska Regional Office, 240 West 5th Ave., Anchorage, AK 99501.
  • Instructions: Comments will not be accepted by fax, email, or in any way other than those specified above. All submissions received must include the words “National Park Service” or “NPS” and must include the docket number or RIN (1024-AE38) for this rulemaking. Comments received will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov,including any personal information provided.
  • Docket: For access to the docket to read background documents or comments received, go to http://www.regulations.gov.

For Further Information Contact

Herbert C. Frost, Regional Director, Alaska Regional Office, 240 West 5th Ave., Anchorage, AK 99501. Phone (907) 644-3510. Email: AKR_Regulations@nps.gov.

Supplementary Information

Background

On October 23, 2015, the National Park Service (NPS) published a final rule (Final Rule) to amend its regulations for sport hunting and trapping in national preserves in Alaska (80 FR 64325). The Final Rule codified prohibitions on certain types of harvest practices that are otherwise permitted by the State of Alaska. The practices are: Taking any black bear, including cubs and sows with cubs, with artificial light at den sites; harvesting brown bears over bait; taking wolves and coyotes (including pups) during the denning season (between May 1 and August 9); taking swimming caribou; taking caribou from motorboats under power; taking black bears over bait; and using dogs to hunt black bears. This rule is inconsistent with State of Alaska’s hunting regulations found at 5 AAC Part 85.

Since the publication of the Final Rule, the Secretary of the Interior issued two Secretarial Orders regarding how the Department of the Interior should manage recreational hunting and trapping in the lands and waters it administers, and directing greater collaboration with state, tribe, and territorial partners in doing so.

On March 2, 2017, Secretary Zinke signed Secretarial Order 3347, Conservation Stewardship and Outdoor Recreation. Part of the stated purpose of Secretarial Order 3347 is to increase outdoor recreation and improve the management of game species and their habitat. Secretarial Order 3347 directs the Department of the Interior to identify specific actions to (1) expand access significantly for recreational hunting and fishing on public lands; and (2) improve recreational hunting and fishing cooperation, consultation, and communication with state wildlife managers.

On September 15, 2017, Secretary Zinke signed Secretarial Order 3356, Hunting, Fishing, Recreational Shooting, and Wildlife Conservation Opportunities and Coordination with State, Tribes, and Territories. Part of the stated purpose of Secretarial Order 3356 is to increase outdoor recreation opportunities for all Americans in greater collaboration with state partners, including opportunities to hunt. Secretarial Order 3356 directs the NPS to (1) identify whether hunting opportunities on Department lands could be expanded; (2) work cooperatively with state wildlife agencies to enhance their access to Department lands for wildlife management actions; (3) work cooperatively with state wildlife agencies to ensure that hunting regulations for Department lands and waters complement the regulations on the surrounding lands and waters; and (4) work in close coordination and cooperation with the appropriate state wildlife agency to begin the necessary process to modify regulations in order to advance shared wildlife conservation goals/objectives that align predator management programs, seasons, and methods of take permitted on all Department-managed lands and waters with corresponding programs, seasons, and methods established by state wildlife management agencies.

The purpose of this proposed rule is to align sport hunting regulations in national preserves in Alaska with State of Alaska regulations and to enhance consistency with harvest regulations on surrounding non-federal lands and waters in furtherance of Secretarial Orders 3347 and 3356. The proposed rule would apply the State of Alaska’s hunting regulations to national preserve lands, with limited exceptions found elsewhere in NPS regulations. See, e.g., 36 CFR 13.42(d).

The 2015 Final Rule prohibits the hunting practices otherwise permitted by the State of Alaska because NPS found those practices: (1) To have intent or potential to alter or manipulate natural predator-prey dynamics, and associated natural ecological processes for the purpose of increasing harvest of ungulates by man; (2) to adversely impact public safety; or (3) to be inconsistent with federal law authorizing sport hunting in national preserves in Alaska. However, states have primary jurisdiction to manage wildlife throughout their state. In addition, NPS has broad discretion in managing wildlife on national preserves under applicable laws, policies, and regulations.

Taking into account the Secretarial Orders described above, NPS has re-considered its earlier conclusions and determined that these previously prohibited practices can be allowed consistent with the goal of aligning its rules with those of the State. Allowing these practices is consistent with NPS Management Policy 4.4.3 which provides that NPS does not allow activities to reduce the numbers of native species for the purpose of increasing the numbers of harvested species. The discussion in the 2015 rule of an action’s “intent or potential” to manipulate predator dynamics goes beyond the plain language of section 4.4.3 of Management Policies. Additionally, the State of Alaska disputes that the hunting methods and seasons (allowed by the state but prohibited by current NPS regulations) are intended to function as a predator control program. Rather, the State asserts the hunting regulations are intended to provide opportunity for harvests of wolves, coyotes, bears, and other species as requested by the public. The State also maintains that any effects to the natural abundances, diversities, distributions, densities, age-class distributions, populations, habitats, genetics, and behaviors of wildlife from implementing its regulations are likely negligible. As noted below, NPS will prepare an environmental assessment for this regulation to determine whether it will have any significant impacts on wildlife or other resources.

With respect to the practices that NPS previously determined to be inconsistent with federal law authorizing harvest for sport purposes in national preserves in Alaska, no applicable federal law or regulation defines “sport hunting.” With regard to NPS’s statement in the 2015 rule that baiting poses an increased public safety risk, the State of Alaska’s position is that baiting does not cause bears to become food-conditioned, and therefore a greater safety concern.

Proposed Rule

For the above stated reasons, the NPS proposes to remove paragraphs (f) and (g) of 36 CFR 13.42. Paragraph (f) states that State of Alaska management actions or laws or regulations that authorize taking of wildlife are not adopted in park areas if they are related to predator reduction efforts, which is defined as efforts with the intent or potential to alter or manipulate natural predator-prey dynamics and associated natural ecological processes, in order to increase harvest of ungulates by humans. Paragraph (g) sets forth a table of prohibited methods of taking wildlife for sport purposes in national preserves in Alaska. Most of these prohibited methods are also prohibited by the State of Alaska. Some of them, however, conflict with authorizations by the State of Alaska as explained above. The NPS believes that removing paragraphs (f) and (g) would implement the directive announced in Secretarial Orders 3347 and 3356 by increasing hunting opportunities in national preserves and promoting consistency between federal regulations and state wildlife harvest regulations. In addition, the proposed rule would remove the definitions of “Big game”, “Cub bear”, “Fur animal”, and “Furbearer” from section 13.1 because those terms are only used in paragraphs (f) and (g).

Compliance With Other Laws, Executive Orders and Department Policy

Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Orders 12866 and 13563)

Executive Order 12866 provides that the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs in the Office of Management and Budget will review all significant rules. The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs has determined that this rule is not significant.

Executive Order 13563 reaffirms the principles of Executive Order 12866 while calling for improvements in the nation’s regulatory system to promote predictability, to reduce uncertainty, and to use the best, most innovative, and least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory ends. The executive order directs agencies to consider regulatory approaches that reduce burdens and maintain flexibility and freedom of choice for the public where these approaches are relevant, feasible, and consistent with regulatory objectives. Executive Order 13563 emphasizes further that regulations must be based on the best available science and that the rulemaking process must allow for public participation and an open exchange of ideas. The NPS has developed this rule in a manner consistent with these requirements.

Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs (Executive Order 13771)

This rule is not an E.O. 13771 regulatory action because this rule is not significant under Executive Order 12866.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

This rule will not have a significant economic effect on a substantial number of small entities under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). This certification is based on the cost-benefit and regulatory flexibility analyses found in the report entitled “Cost-Benefit and Regulatory Flexibility Analyses: Proposed Revisions to Sport Hunting and Trapping Regulations in National Preserves in Alaska” which can be viewed online at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/akro.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. This rule:

(a) Does not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more.

(b) Will not cause a major increase in costs or prices for consumers, individual industries, federal, state, or local government agencies, or geographic regions.

(c) Does not have significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.)

This rule does not impose an unfunded mandate on state, local, or tribal governments or the private sector of more than $100 million per year. The rule does not have a significant or unique effect on state, local or tribal governments or the private sector. It addresses public use of national park lands, and imposes no requirements on other agencies or governments. A statement containing the information required by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act is not required.

Takings (Executive Order 12630)

This rule does not effect a taking of private property or otherwise have takings implications under Executive Order 12630. A takings implication assessment is not required.

Federalism (Executive Order 13132)

Under the criteria in section 1 of Executive Order 13132, the rule does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a Federalism summary impact statement. This proposed rule only affects use of federally-administered lands and waters. It has no outside effects on other areas. A Federalism summary impact statement is not required.

Civil Justice Reform (Executive Order 12988)

This rule complies with the requirements of Executive Order 12988. This rule:

(a) Meets the criteria of section 3(a) requiring that all regulations be reviewed to eliminate errors and ambiguity and be written to minimize litigation; and

(b) Meets the criteria of section 3(b)(2) requiring that all regulations be written in clear language and contain clear legal standards.

Consultation With Indian Tribes (Executive Order 13175 and Department Policy)

The Department of the Interior strives to strengthen its government-to government relationship with Indian Tribes through a commitment to consultation with Indian Tribes and recognition of their right to self-governance and tribal sovereignty. We have evaluated this rule under the criteria in Executive Order 13175 and under the Department’s tribal consultation and Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (ANCSA) Native Corporation policies and have determined that the rule may have substantial direct effect on federally recognized Indian tribes. The NPS has invited Alaska native tribes and corporations to consult on the proposed rule and has consulted with those tribes and corporations that have requested consultation.

Paperwork Reduction Act

This rule does not contain information collection requirements, and a submission to the Office of Management and Budget under the Paperwork Reduction Act is not required. The NPS may not conduct or sponsor and you are not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

National Environmental Policy Act

NPS will prepare an environmental assessment to determine whether this rule will have a significant impact on the quality of the human environment under the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA).

Effects on the Energy Supply (Executive Order 13211)

This rule is not a significant energy action under the definition in Executive Order 13211. A Statement of Energy Effects in not required.

Clarity of This Rule

The NPS is required by Executive Orders 12866 (section 1(b)(12)) and 12988 (section 3(b)(1)(B)), and 13563 (section 1(a)), and by the Presidential Memorandum of June 1, 1998, to write all rules in plain language. This means that each rule the NPS publishes must:

(a) Be logically organized;

(b) Use the active voice to address readers directly;

(c) Use common, everyday words and clear language rather than jargon;

(d) Be divided into short sections and sentences; and

(e) Use lists and tables wherever possible.

If you feel that the NPS has not met these requirements, send the NPS comments by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. To better help the NPS revise the rule, your comments should be as specific as possible. For example, you should identify the numbers of the sections or paragraphs that you find unclear, which sections or sentences are too long, the sections where you feel lists or tables would be useful, etc.

Public Participation

It is the policy of the Department of the Interior, whenever practicable, to afford the public an opportunity to participate in the rulemaking process. Accordingly, interested persons may submit written comments regarding this proposed rule by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section of this document.

Public Availability of Comments

Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask the NPS in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, the NPS cannot guarantee that it will be able to do so.

List of Subjects in 36 CFR Part 13

Alaska, National Parks, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

In consideration of the foregoing, the National Park Service proposes to amend 36 CFR part 13 as set forth below:

Part 13 National Park System Units in Alaska

1. The authority citation for part 13 continues to read as follows:

Authority

16 U.S.C. 3124; 54 U.S.C. 100101, 100751, 320102; Sec. 13.1204 also issued under Sec. 1035, Pub. L. 104-333, 110 Stat. 4240.

§ 13.1
[Amended]

2. In § 13.1 remove the definitions of “Big game”, “Cub bear”, “Fur animal”, and “Furbearer”.

§ 13.42
[Amended]

3. In § 13.42, remove and reserve paragraphs (f) and (g).

David L. Bernhardt,
Deputy Secretary.
[FR Doc. 2018-10735 Filed 5-21-18; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-EJ-P
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Secretary Zinke Proposes Expansion of Hunting and Fishing Opportunities at 30 of America’s National Wildlife Refuges

Press Release from the Department of Interior:

WASHINGTON – Continuing his efforts to increase access to public lands, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke today announced a proposal to open 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 (Service) 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.

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 Service’s National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, published every five years. More than 101 million Americans – 40 percent of the U.S. population 16 and older – pursue wildlife-related recreation – such as hunting, fishing and birding.

“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.

“Public lands should be open for the public to enjoy,” said Chairman Rob Bishop of Utah. “The Department of the Interior’s latest decision to expand acreage and access for hunting and fishing on wildlife refuges was the right move. Secretary Zinke’s decision will help our economy grow and enable those who hunt and fish to spend more time catching game and less time caught in red tape.”

“North Dakota is a sportsman’s paradise. The decision to expand access to public lands by opening more than 248,000 acres across the nation to hunting and fishing will provide new economic opportunities for local communities as well as open up new areas for anglers and hunters,” said Congressman Kevin Cramer. “For the first time, the J. Clark Salyer and Lostwood National Wildlife Refuges will be open to moose hunting. I commend the Secretary’s decision and look forward to working with the department.”

“Hunters, anglers and shooting sports enthusiasts play a crucial role in funding the management and conservation of North America’s wildlife,” said Service 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.”

The Service manages hunting and fishing programs to ensure sustainable wildlife populations while also offering other traditional wildlife-dependent recreation on public lands, such as wildlife watching and photography. 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.

“The proposed expansion of hunting and fishing opportunities through working partnership with the states is a demonstration of Secretary Zinke’s commitment to our nation’s outdoor heritage and the conservation community,” said Virgil Moore, President of the Association of the Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Director of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. “These efforts reaffirm the tremendous value of quality wildlife habitat and outdoor recreational opportunities, including hunting and fishing, in connecting millions of Americans to the outdoors.”

“We applaud Secretary Zinke and the Fish and Wildlife Service for their continued commitment to increasing opportunities for hunting and fishing within the National Wildlife Refuge System,” said Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation President Jeff Crane. “We look forward to continuing to work with the Department of Interior on increasing access for sportsmen and women.”

Hunting and/or fishing will expand or be opened on the following refuges:

Arkansas

California

Florida

Illinois

Illinois and Missouri

Illinois and Wisconsin

Indiana

Maine

Maine and New Hampshire

Maryland

Michigan

Minnesota

Montana

New Jersey

New Jersey and New York

New Mexico

North Dakota

Ohio

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Utah

Wisconsin

  • Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge: Open hunting of certain gamebirds, small mammals and furbearers for the first time, and expand existing migratory game bird and big game hunting.

The Service will seek comments from the public on the proposed rule for 30 days, beginning with publication in the Federal Register in coming days. The notice will be available at www.regulations.gov, docket no. FWS-HQ-NWRS-2018-0020, and will include details on how to submit your comments. An interim copy of the proposed rule is now available at https://www.fws.gov/home/pdfs/Proposed_2018-2019_Hunt_Fish_Rule_signed.pdf.

More than 53 million Americans visit refuges every year. National wildlife refuges provide vital habitat for thousands of species and access to world-class recreation, from fishing, hunting and boating to nature watching, photography and environmental education. In doing so, they support regional economies to the tune of $2.4 billion dollars per year and support more than 35,000 jobs.

Under the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, the Service permits hunting and fishing along with four other types of wildlife-dependent recreation, including wildlife photography, environmental education, wildlife observation and interpretation, when they are compatible with an individual refuge’s purpose and mission. Hunting, within specified limits, is currently permitted on 337 wildlife refuges and 37 wetland management districts. Fishing is currently permitted on 277 wildlife refuges and 34 wetland management districts.

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Secretary Zinke Proposes Expansion of Hunting and Fishing Opportunities at 30 of America’s National Wildlife Refuges

Press Release from the Department of Interior:

WASHINGTON – Continuing his efforts to increase access to public lands, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke today announced a proposal to open 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 (Service) 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.

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 Service’s National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, published every five years. More than 101 million Americans – 40 percent of the U.S. population 16 and older – pursue wildlife-related recreation – such as hunting, fishing and birding.

“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.

“Public lands should be open for the public to enjoy,” said Chairman Rob Bishop of Utah. “The Department of the Interior’s latest decision to expand acreage and access for hunting and fishing on wildlife refuges was the right move. Secretary Zinke’s decision will help our economy grow and enable those who hunt and fish to spend more time catching game and less time caught in red tape.”

“North Dakota is a sportsman’s paradise. The decision to expand access to public lands by opening more than 248,000 acres across the nation to hunting and fishing will provide new economic opportunities for local communities as well as open up new areas for anglers and hunters,” said Congressman Kevin Cramer. “For the first time, the J. Clark Salyer and Lostwood National Wildlife Refuges will be open to moose hunting. I commend the Secretary’s decision and look forward to working with the department.”

“Hunters, anglers and shooting sports enthusiasts play a crucial role in funding the management and conservation of North America’s wildlife,” said Service 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.”

The Service manages hunting and fishing programs to ensure sustainable wildlife populations while also offering other traditional wildlife-dependent recreation on public lands, such as wildlife watching and photography. 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.

“The proposed expansion of hunting and fishing opportunities through working partnership with the states is a demonstration of Secretary Zinke’s commitment to our nation’s outdoor heritage and the conservation community,” said Virgil Moore, President of the Association of the Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Director of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. “These efforts reaffirm the tremendous value of quality wildlife habitat and outdoor recreational opportunities, including hunting and fishing, in connecting millions of Americans to the outdoors.”

“We applaud Secretary Zinke and the Fish and Wildlife Service for their continued commitment to increasing opportunities for hunting and fishing within the National Wildlife Refuge System,” said Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation President Jeff Crane. “We look forward to continuing to work with the Department of Interior on increasing access for sportsmen and women.”

Hunting and/or fishing will expand or be opened on the following refuges:

Arkansas

California

Florida

Illinois

Illinois and Missouri

Illinois and Wisconsin

Indiana

Maine

Maine and New Hampshire

Maryland

Michigan

Minnesota

Montana

New Jersey

New Jersey and New York

New Mexico

North Dakota

Ohio

Oregon

Pennsylvania

Utah

Wisconsin

  • Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge: Open hunting of certain gamebirds, small mammals and furbearers for the first time, and expand existing migratory game bird and big game hunting.

The Service will seek comments from the public on the proposed rule for 30 days, beginning with publication in the Federal Register in coming days. The notice will be available at www.regulations.gov, docket no. FWS-HQ-NWRS-2018-0020, and will include details on how to submit your comments. An interim copy of the proposed rule is now available at https://www.fws.gov/home/pdfs/Proposed_2018-2019_Hunt_Fish_Rule_signed.pdf.

More than 53 million Americans visit refuges every year. National wildlife refuges provide vital habitat for thousands of species and access to world-class recreation, from fishing, hunting and boating to nature watching, photography and environmental education. In doing so, they support regional economies to the tune of $2.4 billion dollars per year and support more than 35,000 jobs.

Under the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, the Service permits hunting and fishing along with four other types of wildlife-dependent recreation, including wildlife photography, environmental education, wildlife observation and interpretation, when they are compatible with an individual refuge’s purpose and mission. Hunting, within specified limits, is currently permitted on 337 wildlife refuges and 37 wetland management districts. Fishing is currently permitted on 277 wildlife refuges and 34 wetland management districts.

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Our outdoor heritage faces an uncertain future

When it comes to Maine’s fabled outdoor heritage, you don’t have to be a social scientist or a statistician to sense what is going on. Changing times are leaving a mark on our culture in countless ways. If you visit a few rod and gun clubs around the state, a common theme shows itself: a predominance of wrinkled gray-haired members and a glaring absence of bright-eyed, fresh-scrubbed youth among the club rolls.

Equally apparent, if you are an older sportsman yourself, who still spends time in the deer woods or on the fishing waters of this state, is that there seems to be a significant absence of active sportsmen like yourself.<<<Read More>>>

 

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Secretary Zinke signs Secretarial Order to Support Sportsmen & Enhance Wildlife Conservation

Order seeks to expand access on public and private lands and to promote hunting and fishing among youth, veterans, and minority communities

9/15/2017

Date: September 15, 2017
Contact: Interior_Press@ios.doi.gov

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke signed Secretarial Order 3356, which will support and expand hunting and fishing, enhance conservation stewardship, improve wildlife management, and increase outdoor recreation opportunities for all Americans. Secretarial Order 3356 is an extension of Secretarial Order 3347, issued on Zinke’s first day, March 2, 2017. That order identified a slate of actions for the restoration of the American sportsmen conservation ethic, which was established by President Theodore Roosevelt.

The new order comes days after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a survey that found there are 2.2 million fewer hunters in America now than in 2011. The order seeks to improve wildlife management and conservation, increase access to public lands for hunting, shooting, and fishing, and puts a new and a greater emphasis on recruiting and retaining new sportsmen conservationists, with a focus on engaging youths, veterans, minorities, and other communities that traditionally have low participation in outdoor recreation activities.

“Hunting and fishing is a cornerstone of the American tradition and hunters and fishers of America are the backbone of land and wildlife conservation,” said Secretary Zinke. “The more people we can get outdoors, the better things will be for our public lands. As someone who grew up hunting and fishing on our public lands – packing bologna sandwiches and heading out at 4AM with my dad – I know how important it is to expand access to public lands for future generations. Some of my best memories are hunting deer or reeling in rainbow trout back home in Montana, and I think every American should be able to have that experience.

“Today’s Secretarial Order is the latest example of how the Trump Administration is actively moving to support hunting and other forms of outdoor recreation on public lands. This means finding ways to expand hunting and fishing on public lands, improving access, and taking necessary actions to facilitate the enjoyment of these time-honored activities by any member of our society.”

Secretarial Order 3356 directs bureaus within the department to:

  • Within 120 days produce a plan to expand access for hunting and fishing on BLM, USFWS and NPS land.
  • Amend national monument management plans to ensure the public’s right to hunt, fish and target shoot.
  • Expand educational outreach programs for underrepresented communities such as veterans, minorities, and youth.
  • In a manner that respects the rights and privacy of the owners of non-public lands, identify lands within their purview where access to Department lands, particularly access for hunting, fishing, recreational shooting, and other forms of outdoor recreation, is currently limited (including areas of Department land that may be impractical or effectively impossible to access via public roads or trails under current conditions, but where there may be an opportunity to gain access through an easement, right-of-way, or acquisition), and provide a report detailing such lands to the Deputy Secretary.
  • Within 365 days, cooperate, coordinate, create, make available, and continuously update online a single “one stop” Department site database of available opportunities for hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting on Department lands.
  • Improve wildlife management through collaboration with state, Tribal,? territorial, and conservation partners.

“On behalf of the 5 million hunters, recreational shooters and members of the NRA, we commend Secretary Zinke for continuing to follow Teddy Roosevelt’s sportsman legacy by opening more land and water to hunting and target shooting,” said Chris Cox, Executive Director of the National Rifle Association. “In the past, management plans for federal lands have been put in place to ban hunting and shooting. Sportsmen and women can now breathe a sigh of relief that those days are over. This administration values access to public lands for sportsmen and we commend them for it.”

“For too long, sportsmen’s access to our federal lands has been restricted, with lost opportunity replacing the ability to enjoy many of our best outdoor spaces. This extension to Secretarial Order 3356 will go a long way to reversing that trend and help grow the next generation of hunters, fishermen, and recreational shooters,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski, Chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “I appreciate this new order and am committed to working with Secretary Zinke and my colleagues to do everything we can to expand and enhance access to our federal lands for all Alaskans, and all Americans, so that we can continue our rich sportsmen’s heritage.”

“Restoring wildlife habitat and expanding opportunities for hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation will help increase wildlife populations and connect millions of Americans with our nation’s natural treasures,” said Collin O’Mara, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “Secretary Zinke’s order demonstrates his commitment to collaborate closely with conservation organizations and state agencies to achieve these critical conservation outcomes. We look forward to working with the Secretary, the Department, and our conservation partners to recover America’s wildlife and connect every American with nature.”

“Secretary Zinke’s action today follows in the great tradition of President Teddy Roosevelt and recognizes the central role that hunters play in conservation and successful wildlife management,” said Lawrence G. Keane, Senior Vice President and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation. “The National Shooting Sports Foundation is deeply grateful to Secretary Zinke for the historic Secretarial Order that he signed  today. NSSF has worked closely with, and in support of, Interior Department officials on these priorities and other positive steps announced today. Today’s action will serve to benefit current and future generations for years to come.”

“Americans depend on reliable and affordable access to public lands to participate in outdoor sporting and recreational activities,” said Chairman Rob Bishop. “Unfortunately, these lands are not being managed to facilitate consistent, open access. Today’s Secretarial Order to increase these opportunities strengthens the foundation of our country’s hunting and fishing heritage and helps ensure that sportsmen and women continue to enjoy access to our federal lands and waterways.”

“For many Americans, hunting and fishing wouldn’t be possible without public land and the access it provides for these pastimes. Secretarial Order 3356 represents a renewed commitment to working with our nation’s sportsmen and women to ensure that our legacy of hunting and fishing-driven conservation continues to stand the test of time,” said Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation President Jeff Crane. “We applaud Secretary Zinke for recognizing the critically important role that expanded federal land access plays in achieving this goal.”

“We support Secretary Zinke’s order to expand opportunities for hunters and anglers on BLM, Fish and Wildlife Service and Park Service lands as well as on private lands,” said David Allen, President and CEO of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. “Access to quality wildlife habitat remains one of the most significant factors impacting hunting and fishing participation throughout the country. This order will help ensure sportsmen and women continue to have opportunities for quality recreational experiences on public lands and potentially private lands.”

“Generations of Idahoans, including me, have passed on their love of hunting, fishing, and shooting sports to their children and grandchildren,” said Senator James Risch, Co-Chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus. “I applaud Secretary Zinke’s quick action to protect those fundamental rights and expand access for sportsmen and women across the country.”

On his first day in office, Secretary Zinke reversed an order that would have banned lead ammo and tackle on National Wildlife Refuge lands, and he began the process of expanding hunting and fishing opportunities on public lands across the Department.

In August, the Secretary announced a proposal to expand hunting and fishing opportunities at 10 national wildlife refuges, and he announced the initial stages of a plan to acquire land to make the Bureau of Land Management Sabinoso Wilderness Area accessible for the first time ever to hunters, hikers, and wildlife watchers.

In addition, Secretary Zinke recently made recommendations to President Trump on 27 national monuments that call for changes to some that, while still protecting the land, would also protect and expand public access to that land for citizens who want to hunt, fish, and hike and experience the joy and beauty of these special places.

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SAM’s Testimony on Right To Hunt Amendment, Makes Claims Not Entirely True

Recently I wrote about a proposed constitutional amendment in Maine that is being presented as an amendment to protect the “right” to hunt, trap and fish – LD 11. I also wrote that this proposal was one that I could support and I was wrong to have made the statement using the words that I did because I failed to succinctly express the full truth in my statement. Please let me explain.

Yesterday, I was reading David Trahan’s (Executive Director of the Sportman’s Alliance of Maine) testimony before the Legislative Committee in support of the proposed amendment.

To many, his words ring true, much because most of us have been taught certain things about our federal and state constitutions and the rights we have been granted under those constitution. Men don’t grant rights to anyone. They simply claim ownership of them and hand them back to us in some kind of limited form or fully deny us of such rights.

Trahan states that when this nation was founded, wildlife was “placed in the public trust” and as such we had the right to take it for sustenance. Therefore, Americans have always possessed the right to hunt, fish and trap. I will have to save for another day any debate on this so-called public trust and our inherent right to hunt, fish and trap. I will proceed from the perspective of most that they do have either a right or a privilege.

As Mr. Trahan also pointed out, man decided that in order to sustain game and other wildlife, they must construct laws to limit that activity. What happened to our inherent “right” to hunt, trap and fish when the limitations by law became enforced? Is anything really a “right” when it is controlled by man? We evidently believe so. When men, because they couldn’t maintain viable game populations through their own disciplines, called upon man-governments to do it for them, it began the process of destroying any semblance of a right to hunt. I ask once again, what happened to a so-called “right” to hunt wildlife “placed in the public trust” when at least some of that right was ceded over to government and restricted?

This is not that much different than the argument of sovereignty, in which most people do not understand sovereignty of an individual or a government agency. How are you a sovereign individual? Oh, you might say, “Nobody tells me what to do! I’m my own man!” But you are not. You might be a legend in your own mind, but you are not a sovereign individual. Once a man agrees to become part of a community, whether it is a small as a neighborhood or as large as a nation, they have agreed to relinquish that sovereignty and place it under the control of the government. Your act of relinquishment places decisions about your life into the hands of the controlling government agencies.

In Maine, at some point in time, the full right to hunt, trap and fish, was ceded to the State Government to control and make the decisions for us as to what, when and how we might harvest game. Trahan points this out in his testimony. In reality, the sportsmen have very little control over their perceived right to hunt. What has evolved since the creation of game and wildlife laws, is that the government agency formulated to oversee hunting, trapping and fishing, call the shots. Yup, proposals for new laws can be presented. Sometimes they get through a committee and most times not. You are heard before a committee but if you can’t get by the committee then what has become of your “right” to hunt, trap and fish. If you do get through committee you are at the mercy of the Legislature. Where then is your protected right?

Many believe that an amendment to the Constitution will guarantee, protect or create a “right” to hunt, trap and fish. They are wrong. I have written many times on this subject and stated that unless an amendment mandated or forced the government to do something, it is nothing more than words on a piece of paper.

The proposed LD 11 states, in reference to the right of the people of Maine to hunt, fish and trap, that this right: “may not be infringed.” (emboldening added) This is not a mandate. It does not force the Legislature, the Governor, Law Enforcement, or anybody else to stop any infringement of a person’s right to hunt, trap and fish. Go ask a lawyer – or at least an intelligent and honest one (yeah I know). Or go research it yourself. “May” is not a mandate – only a suggestion.

Further, the amendment says that this non infringement of the right to hunt, trap and fish is subject to “reasonable” laws enacted by the Legislature and “reasonable” rules adopted by the department in charge of management of game, fish and other wildlife. Is a “reasonable” law or rule an infringement? We’ve already established that the protection against infringement is non binding because the lawyers chose “may” instead of “must.”

So, who decides what “reasonable” means? I hope you are beginning to understand.

The amendment establishes that the department in reference is supposed to “promote wildlife conservation and management” and “maintain natural resources in trust for public use” (emboldening added) and this evidently will “preserve the future of hunting and fishing.” Nothing here is a mandate that forces anybody to do anything. What is wildlife conservation? As it is in operation today, wildlife conservation becomes a matter of which social entity has the most dollars and the loudest mouth to force their idealistic perceptions and conceptions of wildlife conservation.

The Department, according to this amendment will “maintain” natural resources. Maintain them how and to what levels of population that will guarantee, protect or create the “right” to hunt, trap and fish? This, of course, is left up to the Department, which is what takes places now. There is no mandate. There is no protection of any right.

The amendment further states that “public hunting and fishing are the preferred means…” (emboldening added) Where is the mandate here that will guarantee, protect or create a “right” to hunt, trap and fish? The Department might “prefer” to use hunting and fishing but what if they decide to import wolves to control populations of deer and moose? Where is the mandate? Where is the protection of any “right” to hunt, trap and fish? And would such a decision be “reasonable?”

The truth is, that while this is better language than previously proposed in other amendments, voters in Maine should not be misled to believe that this amendment, as written, will guarantee, protect or create for Maine citizens, the “right” to hunt, trap and fish.

And on the reverse of this, as I have already read in a few spreads of clap trap nonsense, such an amendment, as written will not destroy the process to petition the state. This should be obvious once you understand this proposal has nothing in it that is a mandate, forcing anybody to do anything.

When I said this amendment was something I could support, that statement was not accurate and I apologize for misleading people, if I did. First, I could not “support” such and amendment in the literal sense because I am not a legal resident of Maine and therefore could not vote for it if I wanted.

My thinking at the time was that while there still were no mandates in the proposal, perhaps the language was such that it might deter the onslaught of lawsuits and referendums that have been piled onto the Pine Tree State. It may, in fact, increase them. It is difficult to assess.

I will work harder to choose my words and the statements I make more carefully.

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Somethings Do Not Improve With Time

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Fishers Sue to Get Rid of Obama’s New England Ocean Monument

*Editor’s Note* – For those who believe government owned and control property guarantees access.

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A coalition of commercial fishing groups filed a lawsuit on Tuesday to challenge the creation of a national monument off the coast of New England.

President Barack Obama created the monument in September using executive authority under the Antiquities Act. The monument is called the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, and it is made up of nearly 5,000 square miles of underwater canyons and mountains.

The creation of the monument closed the area to most commercial fishing and has been opposed by fishing groups for months. A coalition of the groups filed their lawsuit Tuesday in federal court.<<<Read More>>>

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2016-2017 Refuge-Specific Hunting and Sport Fishing Regulations

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, propose to add 1 national wildlife refuge (NWR or refuge) to the list of areas open for hunting, increase the hunting activities available at 12 other NWRs, open 1 refuge to fishing for the first time, and add pertinent refuge- specific regulations for other NWRs that pertain to migratory game bird hunting, upland game hunting, big game hunting, and sport fishing for the 2016-2017 season.<<<Read More>>>

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Spring Bites

By Eleazer Peabody

It is mid May and the warm days have softened our cool souls from this past winter freeze. Not much rain yet, but the alder leaves are the size of a mouse’s ear and the black flies are venturing forth ready for a blood meal—Fishing Season Is On!!!!

Friday, last, I was passing along Twitchell Brook, heading toward Greenwood City, when I glimpsed a splash in a small pool formed by an eddy around a couple of large boulders. I got the truck off the road best as I could, and set the brake to keep it from rolling down “Falls Hill.” I slid my way down the gravel bank to the side of the brook. Standing on a rock at the edge of the pool, I shaded my eyes to peer into the slow-moving current. I looked long and hard for my first glimpse of a spring “brookie!”

I couldn’t see anything moving, so thought my tired eyes probably saw something else. I had a few minutes to spare, so I climbed back up the bank to the road and walked back down to the truck. Behind the back seat was the old bamboo, long stick and a brass Pfleuger fly reel. I slid them out carefully and fitted the three pieces end to end. After carefully aligning of the eyes, I strung the thick line through to the tip.

Selecting the first fly of the season might seem like an endeavor needing much care, but I am not so sentimental when the trout are hungry! Now was the time for action, and small, brown, anything should do the trick. Tying on the Burnt Miller tested my finger dexterity, especially as I was moving back up the road to the bridge beneath Bald Bluff.

I moved carefully to the side of the brook, taking care not to cast a shadow across the pool. I dabbed the fly gently across the water, using just a short length of line, employing an up and down motion with the rod. I expected a splash from a monster at any minute—the winter dream of any devout angler. Again and again, I tempted any finned creature, but to no avail. I moved downstream along a dead water until I reached the top of Twitchell Brook cascades.

There in the current, I used the flow of the water to add action to the fly. I let it drift back and forth behind all the rocks within reach, and carefully moved down to the next pool. There were a couple of shiners trying to eat a fly that was slightly smaller than them. When I’m fly fishing, I often feel that if there is a trout around, it would be more aggressive and take first pick of new food drifting into his domain. No luck…

In a short while, I came to the place where I first became attracted to this fine stream. Using extra care, I raised the rod from behind an old spruce stub. I pulled the fly back with my fingers, putting a little strain on the rod. I then let go, snapping the fly out into the pool. Splaaash!!!

Holy cow,” I might have said aloud. I thought a beaver had slapped his tail on the water!

I didn’t immediately react to this outburst.

Now, totally startled, and slowly retrieving the line so I can set the hook, my fly floats casually on the breeze back to me. I stepped back to grab the fly, and the moss under foot of the rock I was standing on, let go. The next second my butt was engulfed in a torrent of ice water. I’ve dropped my pipe, and I sucked in a deep breath from the shock.

I didn’t get totally wet, as the pool is only six inches deep there. The icy water now is soaking through my clothes that didn’t get directly immersed – and sends new jolts of incredible shock through my body to my surprised brain! Ahhh…

With my heart beating rapidly, I gulped more short breaths of air.

I pondered what to do next. “Could I possibly try tossing out the fly again? Surely any fish that might be in the water, have heard my cuss words and everything else loud and clear.”

My lower half, now really dripping wet and cold, I am beyond just being startled. I pawed around a couple of moments to find my, now drenched, corncob and instinctively stuck it back in my mouth. “I’ve got to get back to the truck.”

I mostly crawled, on hands and knees, up the bank through the bushes, black flies, and gravel to the side of the road. After I got standing, the tug of wet pants weighed me down more than my hurt pride. Step after squishy step, I dragged my sopping form down to the truck. I unceremoniously dumped my gear in the truck body? then reached in and quickly started up the truck to power up the heater. I worked my rain coat out from behind the seat in the cab to keep my wet form from soaking the truck seat. Sliding carefully in with soggy pants, I put the truck in gear and shudder my way home!

Hot tea and a hotter bath were in order!

Submitted with warming thoughts?
Eleazer Peabody

SpringBitesPhoto

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