Texas national wildlife refuges to open for migratory bird hunting

Texas hunting and fishing news and updates

Two Texas national wildlife refuges will open for migratory bird hunting under rules enacted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, which already is open to big game hunting and sport fishing, will add migratory bird hunting, while Balcones Canyonlands National Wildlife Refuge will expand hunting for migratory birds, upland game and big game.

The service manages hunting and fishing programs on refuges to ensure sustainable wildlife populations, while offering traditional wildlife-dependent recreation on public lands.

Under the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, the service can permit hunting and fishing where compatible with the refuge’s purpose and mission. Hunting, within specified limits, is permitted on more than 335 wildlife refuges, while fishing is permitted on more than 271 wildlife refuges.

Hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities on national wildlife refuges help stimulate the economy and generate funding for wildlife conservation. Banking on Nature, a service report released in November, shows that refuges pumped $2.4 billion into the economy. Across the country, refuges returned an average $4.87 in total economic output for every $1 appropriated in fiscal year 2011.

Will Leschper is founder of The Texas Outdoor Digest. He has been recognized for Excellence in Craft by the Outdoor Writers Association of America and the Texas Outdoor Writers Association. He is Conservation Editor of Texas Fish & Game Magazine and is a regular contributor to the Journal of the Texas Trophy Hunters, in addition to writing for plenty of of now-defunct publications.