Hunting

Southeast: States Provide Hunter Education Course Options and Ease Restrictions during COVID-19 Pandemic

As the nation continues to adjust to social distancing requirements, some state fish and wildlife agencies are providing alternatives to hunter education course requirements while other states are easing access restrictions for anglers that were imposed due to COVID-19.

These waivers and revisions allow sportsmen and women to participate in hunting and fishing activities as long as the necessary social distancing requirements are maintained. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) and conservation partners are promoting the #ResponsibleRecreation social media campaign that encourages people to hunt and fish while adhering to the Centers for Disease Control guidelines. In a related effort, CSF and other members of the American Wildlife Conservation Partners sent a letter to governors to encourage them to maintain open access for hunters and anglers.

Kentucky

The Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources altered the range day requirement for their internet-based hunter’s education course. In response to the COVID-related restrictions, a “virtual range day” has been instituted for those wanting to complete the hunter education course prior to May 15. A few different vendors offer an online hunter education course, including one that offers the course for free. Interested individuals can access the courses and the virtual range day here.

North Carolina

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC) waived the field day component for their hunter education course for individuals who want to purchase their hunting license during the COVID-19 pandemic. The WRC offers three online hunter education courses, ranging from $13.00 to $29.00, as an alternative to the traditional classroom course. Upon successful completion, the hunter can print the temporary hunter education card to purchase their license. Those interested in this convenient alternative can access the online course offerings here.

Mississippi

In an effort to ease restrictions for anglers in Mississippi, Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus Member Governor Tate Reeves issued Executive Order 1473, which allows the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks (MDWFP) to reopen state lakes and state park lakes for fishing and boating on April 20. The MDWFP announced that bank fishing will also be permitted on these lakes as long as social distancing requirements are observed.

South Carolina

In similar fashion, Governor Henry McMaster granted authority to local governments or managing authorities to reopen public boat landings and ramps for launching and retrieving boats on April 17. Executive Order 2020-25 also clarified that while public access may be reopened for lakes, the rafting or beaching of boats is still prohibited for the duration of the State of Emergency.

With turkey seasons and fishing seasons underway across the South, CSF commends these efforts to ease restrictions for hunters and anglers during this time.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Seeks Comments on Firearm Possession Revision

Last week, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) published an announcement to seek public comment on a proposed revision to an existing regulation governing the possession and transportation of firearms and other sporting equipment at USACE managed projects and locations.

Currently, sportsmen and women are prohibited from possessing firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment on USACE managed lands and waters unless the equipment is unloaded during transportation to hunting and fishing sites, in possession at authorized shooting ranges, or written permission has been received from a USACE District Commander. As such, sportsmen and women may not possess such equipment for personal protection while participating in outdoor recreation activities unless they have received written permission.

This proposed revision will eliminate the requirement to obtain written permission to carry a firearm and other equipment on USACE projects, which will strengthen the ability of sportsmen and women to safely participate in hunting and fishing on federal lands and waters. Furthermore, the proposal will also align USACE’s regulations to be more consistent with other federal land management agencies as well as state and local regulations regarding the possession for firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment.

The public comment closes on June 12.

NRA Urges Governors to Keep Public Lands Open

The National Rifle Association, along with other pro-hunting organizations, sent a letter to governors of all 50 states on Friday urging them to keep public lands open for hunting and fishing during the COVID-19 pandemic.​

“Now, perhaps more than ever, families need access to hunting and fishing grounds so they can put food on the table for their families,” said Jason Oumet, executive director, National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action. “There is no reason why people should be prohibited from spending time alone in America’s wide-open spaces. At its core, hunting is the original social distancing.”

The NRA teamed with the Dallas Safari Club, Hunter Nation and Safari Club International in the effort. The letter outlines the reasons why keeping public lands is crucial during this period while strongly supporting efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, such as social distancing.

In part, the letter reads:

“Closing these areas significantly limits the ability of our nation’s millions of sportsmen and women who take to our woods, waters, and wild lands every year to pursue their passion for the outdoors — an activity that is, at its core, America’s most traditional form of “social distancing.” Further, given the economic effects of COVID-19, it is more important than ever to allow hunters and anglers access to healthy and inexpensive sources of food to support their families.”

The letter was sent to governors of all 50 states Friday morning.

Girls with Guns Unveils New Hunting Gear at SHOT

logoChances are if you are a female interested in the outdoors, hunting, or shooting, you have heard of Girls With Guns (GWG). GWG started in 2008 with apparel designed to be fashionable while still allowing a young woman to wear camouflage to the store. From humble beginnings in a garage, GWG started out designing and embroidering their own hats and now their items can be found in national chains such as Cabela’s and Dick’s.

Norissa Harman and Jen Adams are two friends who are young, fashionable, and avid hunters. They grew tired of having to wear small men’s, and probably large boy’s, clothing while hunting. When you are out in the field hunting, ill-fitting clothes can cause many problems, such as exposed skin, being noisy, and restricted movement. They eventually expanded their clothing line to include hunting clothes, designed by women for women.   Continue reading

Fall is in the Air. NSSF Infographic Depicts Economic Impact of US Hunters.

There is a chill in the air, the leaves are turning colors before falling to the ground and millions of American hunters are heading into the woods to take advantage of fall hunting opportunities.  These hunters have a bigger impact than just a stroll through the forest and a chance at filling their freezers.

The infographic below from NSSF depicts some of the nearly $40 billion economic impact (higher than the revenues of Google!) of hunting in America.  Part of this impact comes from the $790+ million in hunting license and $817 million in duck stamps.

Check out the graphic below to see the impact that nearly 20 million hunters make. Continue reading

Shooters Can Help Prevent Fires During Hot Dry Months

Photo Courtesy US ArmySummer doesn’t officially start until June 21 this year but in our area we’ve already had plenty of summer-like weather.  We’re still getting some of the spring rain but the temps are climbing and the sun is… well, hot.  I’ve watched numerous fires burn hundreds or thousands acres after a round touched off a blaze.  The picture at right shows one such fire at Fort Knox, which burned over 12,000 acres over the course of a week and required thousands of firefighter man-hours, all sparked by a tracer round.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has recently launched an awareness campaign to help remind the shooting community that they can do their part to prevent wildfires.  NSSF offers several tips: Continue reading

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