Maintaining the Good Name of Hunters during Challenging Times
With opening weekend upon us in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota, the closure of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Waterfowl Production Areas (WPA’s) are on all our minds. My family traditionally hunts a number of WPAs in west central Minnesota on opening weekend, and like you, we’re re-evaluating our game plan.
It’s an unfortunate situation sportsmen and sportswomen have been put in by our elected officials. Based on the emails I’ve received, anger is boiling over within our ranks; however, wingshooters and other hunters have always held themselves to a higher standard. We understand there’s merit in a philosophical argument against the closure of ‘public lands,’ but the fines any upland or waterfowl hunter can face for trespassing are real. Pheasants Forever has demanded Congress and the Administration to re-open Waterfowl Production Areas for public hunting, but in the event they are not open by this weekend, we are urging hunters to honor the closures and maintain the good name of sportsmen and women in Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, South Dakota and across the pheasant range as seasons begin.
I’ve heard personally from many of you this past week and I’ve done my best to communicate your views directly to officials in Washington, D.C. I urge all sportsmen and sportswomen to turn to civil engagement by contacting and politely expressing your concerns to your elected and appointed public officials. Should the situation change we will update this information as soon as possible. Until then, enjoy the many state-owned open public areas, and of course private lands with permission.
Have a great opener, hunt smart and hunt safe.
The D.C. Minute is written by Dave Nomsen, Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s Vice President of Governmental Relations.
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