More Wildlife Refuges Opened to Hunting and Fishing

Yesterday, just as the Republican National Convention was getting underway, the Bush administration announced that it will open an additional 243,500 acres of land in 17 national wildlife refuges and wetlands to recreational hunting and fishing. Much of the 95-million-acre national refuge system, with its 544 wildlife refuges and thousands of small wetlands areas, is already open to sportsfolk. Some enviros suspected that the move was an election-year ploy to buy the votes of recreational hunters and anglers, who are represented by powerful groups like the National Rifle Association and Ducks Unlimited, and millions of whom live in swing states. “I do think politics are at play,” said Betsy Loyless of the League of Conservation Voters. However, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Steve Williams described the move as “just another example of the president’s commitment to sportsmen.”