Increased hunting opportunities proposed at Lacreek National Wildlife Refuge
On April 1, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced a proposal to increase public access through new and expanded hunting opportunities at a South Dakota national wildlife refuge. Hunting and fishing programs are administered to ensure sustainable wildlife populations on refuge lands where these activities are compatible with the refuge’s management goals and other recreational activities.
At Lacreek National Wildlife Refuge in Bennett County, the Service proposes to open coyote, bobcat, fox, greater prairie chicken, rabbit and mountain lion hunting on acres already open to hunting and expand existing migratory bird, upland game, and big game hunting to new acres.
When developing these proposals, the Service coordinated with local, state, and tribal partners, including South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks. The goal is to streamline regulations, increase public access opportunities, and support South Dakota hunters and anglers using public lands.
Hunting and fishing activities directly fund wildlife conservation in North America. In order to engage in migratory bird and waterfowl hunting, hunters must purchase a Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (duck stamp) as a license. For every dollar spent on duck stamps, ninety-eight cents directly supports the purchase of vital wildlife habitat or to acquire conservation easements within the National Wildlife Refuge System. In addition, the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act sends revenue from excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, and other related equipment to state wildlife agencies, like South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks. The agencies then use these funds to support wildlife conservation projects, hunter education, and outdoor recreation access. These annual payments to state fish and wildlife agencies have resulted in the recovery of deer, turkeys and many non-game species.
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 $3.2 billion dollars per year and support more than 41,000 jobs.
The proposal is available on the refuge’s website and the public is invited to submit comments from April 1 through 30, 2020. Please submit comments to Steve Hicks, Project Leader, Sandhills National Wildlife Refuge Complex, at 402-376-3789 or Steve_Hicks@fws.gov.