With prime hunting season set to open in areas around the country, a coalition of sportsmen’s groups on Monday will become the latest interest group to demand an end to the federal government shutdown.
The groups say that furloughs at agencies such as the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management have left hunting and fishing areas on federal grounds shut down. They say the six-day-old stalemate in Washington over a new federal budget has closed more than 329 federal wildlife refuges for hunting and another 271 ponds, streams and rivers used for fishing, not only frustrating outdoorsmen but having a significant negative impact of local economies in the affected regions.
The shutdown comes on top of recent federal budget cuts to wildlife and habitat preservation programs, as well as a separate stalemate on Capitol Hill on a new major farm bill, hunting advocates say.
The protesting groups, who have scheduled a Monday afternoon teleconference with reporters to air their concerns, include the Wildlife Management Institute, the National Wildlife Refuge Association, the Utah-based Mule Deer Foundation and Pheasants Forever Inc.