40% of US active with wildlife


Staff Report



Secretary Zinke Declares October National Hunting and Fishing Month

WASHINGTON – Just days before National Hunting and Fishing Day – which is held on September 23rd every year – U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke declared October will officially be recognized as National Hunting and Fishing Month at the Department. Zinke championed the order to recognize the lasting and positive impact of hunters and anglers on wildlife and habitat conservation in America. This order comes on the heels of several major sportsmen actions from Interior including Wednesday’s announcement of the addition of 600 acres of land in Arizona’s Santa Teresa Mountains to make Wilderness Areas accessible for hunting and fishing.

“​I grew up in northwest Montana surrounded by public lands and waters. ​Some of my best memories are hunting and fishing with my dad and granddad, and then later teaching my own kids to hunt and fish. That’s something I want more families to experience,​ which is exactly why increasing access to public lands is so important,​” said Secretary ​Ryan ​Zinke. “Hunters and anglers are the backbone of wildlife and habitat conservation in America, ​and they contribute billions of dollars to conservation. From my perspective, the more sportsmen we have in the woods and waters, the better our wildlife and land will be. Formally recognizing the contributions of hunters and anglers to wildlife and habitat conservation is long overdue.”

“Hunters, anglers, and target shooters are the best conservationists who contribute so much through the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson Acts,” said Richard Childress, second Vice President of the National Rifle Association, NASCAR driver, and honorary chair of Hunting and Fishing Day. “Last year, they contributed $1.2 billion toward conservation and protecting our natural resources. We need more mentors taking young people out and teaching them to hunt and fish, so I’m glad Secretary Zinke is promoting hunting and fishing at the federal level.”

The declaration was signed Wednesday night at the grand opening of the Wonders of Wildlife Museum in Springfield, Missouri. Event speakers included former Presidents George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter.

President George H.W. Bush sent a video message​ with a virtual ribbon cutting. Earlier in the day Secretary Zinke scuba dove in the shark-filled aquarium and conducted a question and answer session with a fifth grade class of young conservationists.

Hunters and anglers contribute billions of dollars to conservation through initiatives like the Federal Duck Stamp, which sells for $25 and raises nearly $40 million each year to provide critical funds to conserve and protect wetland habitats in the National Wildlife Refuge System. Excises taxes on firearms, ammo and tackle also generate more than a billion dollars per year through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration and Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration acts.

This September and October, the Department of the Interior is setting its sights on the continued role that hunters and anglers play in wildlife conservation.

Earlier this month, Secretary Zinke signed a directive to support and expand hunting and fishing, enhance conservation stewardship, improve wildlife management, and increase outdoor recreation opportunities for all Americans. The order expanded hunting, fishing and shooting on public lands and sought innovative solutions to open private land. It also focused on wildlife and habitat conservation and restoration as well as better collaboration with states, tribes and territorial governments. The move was widely praised by sportsmen and wildlife conservation organizations.

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.

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.

“It’s imperative that we have people like Secretary Zinke speaking about and promoting hunting and fishing. It’s not only our heritage, it’s also the key to true conservation,” said Craig Morgan, a country music performer who performed at the event.

“It is refreshing that Secretary Zinke understands the value of hunting and fishing to American conservation,”​ said Major David Eaton, who spoke at the event. “The more public game lands become available to Americans, the better off our country will be.”

In addition, Secretary Zinke recently made recommendations to President Trump on 27 national monuments, calling 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, hike, and experience the joy and beauty of those public lands.​

New 5-Year Report Shows 101.6 Million Americans Participated in Hunting, Fishing & Wildlife Activities

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Survey Preliminary Findings Show Importance of Increasing Access to Public Lands

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Interior announced a new report by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that shows that 101.6 million Americans—40 percent of the U.S. population 16 years old and older—participated in wildlife-related activities in 2016, such as hunting, fishing, and wildlife-watching.

The survey illustrates gains in wildlife watching—particularly around the home—and fishing, with moderate declines in the number of hunters nationally. The findings reflect a continued interest in engaging in the outdoors. These activities are drivers behind an economic powerhouse, where participants spent $156 billion—the most in the last 25 years, adjusted for inflation.

“This report absolutely underscores the need to increase public access to public lands across the United States,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “Hunting and fishing are a part of the American heritage. As a kid who grew up hunting and fishing on public lands who later took my own kids out on the same land, I know how important it is to expand access for future generations. Many folks east of the Mississippi River rely on friends with large acreages or pay high rates for hunting and fishing clubs. This makes access to wildlife refuges and other public lands more important.”

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 of 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.

The survey, the 13th in a series conducted nearly every five years since 1955, shows that the most substantial increases in participation involve wildlife-watching—observing and photographing wildlife. The report indicates these activities surged 20 percent from 2011 to 2016, from 71.8 million to 86 million participants during that time. Expenditures by wildlife watchers also rose sharply—28 percent—between 2011 and 2016, from $59.1 billion to $75.9 billion. Around-the-home wildlife-watching increased 18 percent from 2011, from 68.6 million in 2011 to 81.1 million participants in 2016. More modest gains were made for away-from-home wildlife watchers: 5 percent increase from 2011 to 2016, from 22.5 million to 23 million participants.

More Americans also went fishing. The report indicates an 8 percent increase in angling participation since 2011, from 33.1 million anglers to 35.8 million in 2016. The greatest increases in participation—10 percent—were seen in the Great Lakes area. Total expenditures by anglers nationwide rose 2 percent from 2011 to 2016, from $45 billion to $46.1 billion.

Hunting participation dropped by about 2 million participants, but still remained strong at 11.5 million hunters. Total expenditures by hunters declined 29 percent from 2011 to 2016, from $36.3 billion to $25.6 billion. However, expenditures for related items such as taxidermy and camping equipment experienced a 27-percent uptick, and hunting trip-related expenses increased 15 percent.

Regarding the decrease in participation in hunting, Zinke said: “Hunters and anglers are at the backbone of American conservation, so the more sportsmen and women we have, the better off our wildlife will be. Some of our wildlife refuges have great mentored hunting programs. I’d like to see these programs replicated and expanded across the country, and reach into areas where kids don’t traditionally get the opportunity to hunt, fish, and connect with wildlife. Some of my best family time growing up and raising my own kids was hunting an elk, enjoying a pheasant, or reeling in a rainbow. These are the memories and traditions I want to share with future generations.”

“No one does more for our wildlife and or wild places than hunters. Any decline in hunting numbers, real or perceived, is of great concern since hunting provides the lion’s share of funding for nationwide conservation work thanks to excise taxes on firearms, ammunition and archery equipment that garner more than $1.6 annually,” said David Allen, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation president and CEO. “The RMEF remains committed to growing and ensuring the future of our hunting heritage as well as elk, other wildlife and their habitat.”

This year’s survey also gathered two new categories of data: archery and target shooting. Findings show there are more than 32 million target shooters using firearms and 12.4 million people engaged in archery, not including hunting.

“Hunters and anglers form the foundation of wildlife conservation in the United States, consistently generating more funding for habitat and wildlife management than any other source,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Principal Deputy Director Greg Sheehan. “Industry, federal, and state fish and wildlife agency initiatives that focus on hunter and angler recruitment, retention and reactivation are crucial to sustaining these conservation dollars and ensuring the next generation of wildlife enthusiasts have the opportunity, access and awareness to pursue these time-honored American traditions.”

“I praise Secretary Zinke for his support of hunting and land access. The hunting and shooting sports community is grateful for an Administration that recognizes the economic, recreational and traditional values of hunting and target shooting,” said John Frampton, President and CEO of the Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports. “Although the numbers of hunters have declined, we are optimistic they will rebound as a result of

Secretary Zinke’s leadership, state wildlife agencies, non-government organizations, and industries working together. Hunting in this country is not only part of our national heritage, it is an important to our country’s economy, as indicated by the expenditures in the survey.”

As a partnership effort with states and national conservation organizations, the survey has become one of the most important sources of information on fish and wildlife recreation in the United States. Federal, state, and private organizations use this detailed information to manage wildlife, market products, and look for trends. Conducted by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, the survey is based on a 22,416-household sample surveyed through computer-assisted telephone and in-person interviews.

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

WASHINGTON – 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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Staff Report

For more information about the survey and to view the preliminary report, please visit https://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/Subpages/NationalSurvey/National_Survey.htm.

For more information about the survey and to view the preliminary report, please visit https://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/Subpages/NationalSurvey/National_Survey.htm.