Home / General / Trump Administration Opening up 2.3 Million acres to Hunting and Fishing

Trump Administration Opening up 2.3 Million acres to Hunting and Fishing

Have you ever visited or traveled through a wildlife refuge and found it is closed to hunting and fishing? Or maybe it’s open to waterfowl hunting but you can’t shoot turkeys or grouse? I sure have and it always left me scratching my head. A large portion of wildlife refuges are waterfowl production areas and some can be hunted, but also have plentiful resources of big game and fishing that have been untouched for decades. The Trump administration analyzed all the refugees across the county and took a look at what was closed and what was open and for what reasons. They found many areas that could be approved upon and came up with about 50 from all over the country. 

What refuges are going to open you might ask? There are more than 100 of them across the country from Bombay Hook in Delaware to San Diego Bay in California. For a full list of the refuges that are opening click here. Four in Wyoming, two in Montana, three in Colorado, and two in Idaho. Washington leads the pack with seven new openings. A lot of the openings just make sense, for example, Hart Mountain Refuge in Oregon will open to waterfowl and expand upland game bird hunting to new areas already open to other hunting. And then you have other refuges like Fallon National Wildlife Refuge in Nevada that is going to open migratory bird, upland and big game hunting for the first time. The opportunities this is going to create for sportsmen are unprecedented and a huge win for the conservation world. There are even three refuges in Georgia, Texas and South Carolina that will be open to alligator hunting for the first time. These are just to name a few. Once again, check out the link for the new openings in your state. 

As you can expect there is opposition from environmental groups that claim the administration is trying to make up for the areas that it deregulated, like Bears Ears and Grand Escalante, for public use and possible energy exploration, however, most folks are in favor of the regulation change. Ducks Unlimited CEO Adam Putnam said in a statement the timing is perfect since Americans hunkered-down during the pandemic are looking for more areas to recreate.

 I would rather see our public lands be opened for “we the people” to use rather than be off-limits to recreation. Money used to run these refuges ultimately comes from you, the taxpayer and even more-so, hunters and fishermen. Hunters and Fishermen are the most taxed and prodded for cash of any group in the outdoor recreation industry and are the true conservationists. 

Well, that’s my opinion, what about yours? What do you think of this opening up move on refugees across the nation? 

About Dan Pickar

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  1. Hey Dan,

    These new areas in MT have been open to hunting for years. The Lee Metcalf listed as a new area now open to turkey hunting. Wow really!!! I hunt there all the time. I have never seen a turkey. Wolves yes, elk yes, griz yes, lions yes, deer yes. I’ve lived here in MT for 26 years. According to the list a quick glance showed “new species available not new acres. Most of the list included place that had hunting already.

    I think your list is a lot like the administration that made it, pretty light in facts.

    Again I urge you to stick to hunting and what you know. Quit being political.

    • I grew up in Montana and spent 25 years there as well. I also have hunted the Lee Metcalf. There are plenty of turkeys in the Bitterroot and I have seen them around Lee Metcalf. Maybe you’re not looking in the right areas? The point of the literature is to show all the new opportunities that are opening up across the country. Montana is just a fraction of them! As many parts of the country open up in the next week because of the decline of coronavirus I’ll be out hunting and writing and you can continue to sit in your chair complaining! It’s a free country after all! Thanks for reading.

    • Like Joe says, and you make light of, this is so that you can now have the “freedom” to hunt among mines, including strip mines, and oil/gas wells and drilling. All those will definitely make hunting there SO much better! You are drinking way too much koolaid Dan.

  2. ‘I think your list is a lot like the administration that made it, pretty light in facts.

    Again I urge you to stick to hunting and what you know. Quit being political.’

    Really Joe, I think your ‘Freudian slip’ is showing….

  3. Pretty sure that the Washington areas are just gonna create more work for WDFW, as they can’t properly manage the wildlife now!
    Just saying…. as a 44 year WA resident

  4. Re – the Fallon NV Refuge. I hunted waterfowl and game birds in it 60 years ago. Never knew it was closed. I don’t live there and haven’t lived in Fallon for decades.

  5. It annoys me that some people are so sensitive that even listing who gave a directive is taken as a plug.

  6. Too bad….that TDS has even penetrated the hunting community! These openings should have happened years ago. Embrace it & YOU guys (anti-Trump, all the time) stop being political! The anti-hunters don’t have this problem, they are united in their hatred of us.

  7. I am not anti Trump by any means, in fact just the opposite, but I do agree with the first 3 posts.
    Please get your facts straight Dan If these areas have been open to hunting for years the administration should not be trying to take credit for something they didn’t do and gain favor from us hunters and we should hold them accountable not just repeat their untruths.

  8. Blah blah blah – Yackity yak yak. Go hunt!

  9. When exactly are these hunting opportunities opening up? For example, the Black Bear hunting in the swan river refuge in Montana?

  10. Russ from Wyoming

    This is classic, throw some scraps to the low people. “Light on facts,”. Claim all these new acres are being opened to hunters. Get the hunters support. Remember Trump administration’s ultimate goat is to turn over public land to private ownership. This will not be available to average people. These will go to large corporations (oil and Gas etc). Millions of acres will no longer be public land. Remember This!!! He is not looking out for average people. How do you buy into his BS.

    • Chuck Tarinelli

      You are correct. Scraps to outdoors receptionists on one day and huge gifts to the polluters the next. Soon there will be scant PUBLIC lands left.

  11. I heard Mike Lee from Utah is for selling off public land? Is this true?

  12. I’m not familiar with most of these refuges so I can’t weigh in too much. I will say expanding hunting on refuges isn’t always a good thing. For example, last time this administration expanded hunting on refuges they opened the CMR in Montana’s Missouri Breaks to mule deer hunting during the rut. I personally liked to see the mule deer bucks get a break during the rut.

  13. I don’t know that I will ever hunt any of these new areas that are being opened but many of my fellow hunters will. Perhaps just adding a snipe hunt or waterfowl hunt will allow a couple of young hunters to enjoy that benefit. It is very much a plus for anyone that is able to take advantage of these opportunities. Why so negative in the comments above? Our current president is very much an idiot at times but he has been very good for our country and especially for hunting rights. You may disagree with me however vote in the other side and see where your hunting or gun rights are 4 1/2 years from now.

  14. Chuck Tarinelli

    Check out what’s being proposed for the Tongass National Forest, a hunter and fisherman’s paradise in Alaska.

  15. Glenn Thornton

    Announcing “new openings” many of which were in fact already open (I hunt several refuges in WA, OR, MT), and leading the article with caps / bold “Trump Administration” is what made this political, not the subsequent comments. What would be really impactful for hunters (as well as fishermen, campers, birders, motorbikers, hikers, etc.) would be granting access to the TEN MILLION acres of BLM and USFS that is land locked by private land and in accessible to hunters. I don’t think access is a high priority for either party, but pleasing the wealthy landowners who surround this inaccessible property is, and they don’t want us tramping around there on “our” land.

  16. Don’t understand the point, if its already been allowed. Was concerned about fishing in hatcheries, seems to go against the purpose? Any insight?


      There are a lot of new opportunities on many different refuges. Make sure you look at the list for specifics and contact each refuge you have questions. But no, I don’t think there will be any fishing in the hatcheries.

  17. The left conspired with Chinese government and created a flu shot that had covid in it and tried to kill all that took the flu shot this year. Wake up people they hate TRUMP so much they will sacrifice the country to hurt him. Sick fn people, bring on the revolution and put some heads on sticks.

    Yes the bigger issue is the millions upon millions of blm and public land being landlocked without any access by private land owners. They have their own private hunting and fishing preserves and we pay the taxes.

  18. Here you go again Dan, after your last political leaning article you didn’t seem to hear many of the Eastman subscribers say knock it off. So you just can’t help yourself or what? Now you need to insult the first respond-er above, OMG. This is not good! Maybe you’re just getting a little bit full of yourself. All it does is bring out another of the hateful Randi type responses about the ugly left and revolution and heads on sticks. This is full blown BS and you’re helping instigating it. Someone in upper management needs to sit you down and explain many subscribers don’t want to hear “your” politics in their hunting forum. You surely realize customers will leave any business behind when they say enough is enough. Write your articles and keep your politics to yourself please.


      Not one time have I disclose my political views in any article. I simply report on the facts, bottom line. If the Obama Administration expanded the refuges to more opportunities I would have written this article exactly the same. I understand that the Orange Man is polarizing, controversial and people are triggered very very easily. I have not disclosed my support for nor against him. Solely that you and I have more opportunities on refuges as public land owners. Good luck hunting Don.

      • Thank you for your response Dan. I do believe you clearly showed your political views in the “Hunting Industry’s Worst Nightmare?” article and it got pretty ugly. I think your “you can continue to sit in your chair complaining!” comment was not professional. Should the Randi type responses have been blocked in both article responses–you betcha. Rude disgusting responses have zero place on any forum. Words matter, and yes, even calling Trump the Orange man is polarizing and not professional. I think articles can be written without any reference to any political party, person, or leaning during any administration, especially in the polarizing times you mention. No good will come of it for either side. Just give us the the facts man. Thank you for the good luck comment for my archery deer and archery bear hunting, the same to you.

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