Milwaukee, WI, United States (4E Sports) – The hunting industry is losing millions of dollars in revenue due to closure of several federal-owned hunting grounds as result of the government shutdown.
In 2011, the National Shooting Sports Foundation reported that hunters and anglers spent $38.3 billion on equipment, travel and more, as well as $11.8 billion in fees, mostly licenses, most of which goes to states.
Recently, seven sportsmen’s organizations joined a conference call this week to protest the shutdown and discuss steps to address the situation.
“If you are a hunter, the beginning of October is prime time,” said Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service said about 35 million Americans hunt or fish and more than half of them on federal lands. Four federal agencies administer 609 million acres of land, most of it in the western states.
Several states are already implementing several steps to address the problem.
In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker ordered the state Department of Natural Resources to remove barriers to a boat launch access to the Mississippi put up by federal officials.
In explaining the move, Walker said that the river access, along with the parkland that abuts the waterway, is funded 18 percent by the state and the rest by the federal government.
“It’s duck hunting season coming up, we’ve got the migratory birds flying over,” Wisconsin Natural Resources Secretary Cathy Stepp said. “If we are able to fill the gap, the governor said, let’s do it. We stand to lose tremendously more if we shut the park.”
Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell, whose state is made up of 60 percent or 225 million acres of federal land, wrote federal Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to demand access to the lands for hunters, fishermen and recreational users.
Parnell cited federal laws, including the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, that say federal lands and waters are to be open and accessible without fees or permits.