National Elk Refuge seeks public comment on new hunting opportunities

JACKSON, Wyo. — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Elk Refuge is proposing opening up opportunities to hunt white-tailed deer and pronghorn on areas already open to other hunting.

The Elk refuge is seeking public comment until June 21, 2021.

The proposal is part of a larger plan to expand hunting and sport fishing on national wildlife refuges, across 2.1 million acres at 90 refuges. It is part of the Department of the Interior’s efforts to increase recreational access on public lands.

Currently, the National Elk Refuge permits elk and bison hunting, with special guidelines. The new hunting plan being proposed would allow for the hunting of pronghorn and white-tailed deer.

The complete draft of the hunting plan can be found here.

“We are committed to ensuring Americans of all backgrounds have access to hunting and fishing and other recreational activities on our public lands,” said U.S Fish and Wildlife Service Principal Deputy Director Martha Williams. “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 a further connection with nature, recreation and enjoyment.”

This proposed rule would open or expand 939 opportunities for hunting or sport fishing (an opportunity is one species on one field station). The expansion proposed in this rule is the largest in recent history.

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 age 16 and older — pursue wildlife-related recreation, including hunting and fishing.

For questions and to provide comments on the proposal, email Frank Durbian, Project Leader, National Elk Refuge or call 307-201-5409.

About The Author

Buckrail @ Lindsay

Lindsay Vallen is a Community News Reporter covering a little bit of everything; with an interest in politics, wildlife, and amplifying community voices. Originally from the east coast, Lindsay has called Wilson, Wyoming home since 2017. In her free time, she enjoys snowboarding, hiking, cooking, and completing the Jackson Hole Daily crosswords.

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