Hunting and Fishing on National Parks and Fish and Wildlife Refuges

3/1/2017

Americans have the opportunity to hunt and fish on public lands managed by the Department of the Interior as part of the Department’s multiple-use policy.

There are 75 areas managed by the National Park Service that permit hunting. Of those, 66 permit recreational hunting, while seven areas in Alaska allow federal subsistence hunting only through ANILCA, one area (the Badlands) allows only tribal hunting, and one region of the Grand Tetons National Park allows for controlled elk reductions in coordination with the state of Wyoming. A total of 51,097,000 acres managed by the National Park Service are open to hunting at various times during the year, representing approximately 60% of the total acreage of the National Park Service system. 

There are 372 refuges and wetland management districts open to hunting and 308 refuges and wetland management districts open to fishing. When hunting and fishing is compatible with the purposes for which the refuge was established and acquired, hunting and fishing is permitted per the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966, other laws, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's policy:

“As practiced on refuges, hunting and fishing do not pose a threat to the wildlife populations, and in some instances, are actually necessary for sound wildlife management. For example, deer populations will often grow too large for the refuge habitat to support. If some of the deer are not harvested, they destroy habitat for themselves and other animals and die from starvation or disease. The harvesting of wildlife on refuges is carefully regulated to ensure an equilibrium between population levels and wildlife habitat.”

Since each Park and Refuge is different from another, the regulations and permitting process may vary from one area to another. Please check local listings for more information. 

Resources: