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Plan to expand hunting, fishing in wildlife refuges revealed

(WSIL) — The Trump Administration unveiled plans to expand hunting and fishing in the nation’s wildlife refuges. 

U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said Wednesday the plan affects 1.4 million acres, including 74 national wildlife refuges, as well as Crab Orchard and Cypress Creek refuges. The plan would also allow hunting and fishing for the first time at 15 national fish hatcheries.

The proposal would increase the number of units in the Service’s National Wildlife Refuge System where the public may hunt from 377 to 382, and the number where fishing would be permitted would be increased from 312 to 316.

The proposal for Illinois refuges includes:

  • Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge: Open coot, snipe, rail, woodcock, crow, mourning and white-winged dove, bobcat, skunk, woodchuck, Hungarian partridge and pheasant for the first time on acres already open to hunting. Expand existing migratory game bird, upland game and big game hunting to further align with state regulations and offer special opportunities for targeted demographics on 44,219 acres
  • Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge: Open rail, crow, bobcat, skunk, woodchuck, Hungarian partridge and pheasant hunting for the first time on 76 new acres and acres 

The department also wants to revise hunting and fishing rules at refuges in all states to more closely match state regulations.

The plan is to finalize the proposal by September after public comment.

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