Delta Waterfowl Applauds Expansion of Hunting Access on National Wildlife Refuges

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June 10, 2022

Delta Waterfowl Applauds Expansion of Hunting Access on National Wildlife Refuges

BISMARCK, NORTH DAKOTA — Delta Waterfowl commends the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on its plans to open or expand access at 19 national wildlife refuges. The proposed rule would offer new opportunities for hunting and fishing on about 54,000 acres.

“This proposed rule highlights the Administration’s commitment to building on and increasing access for hunters and anglers on lands and waters in the National Wildlife Refuge System,” said Martha Williams, director of the USFWS. “Responsible hunting and fishing help to promote healthy wildlife habitats while boosting local economies.”

As in previous years, Delta Waterfowl provided the USFWS with a list of priority refuges for opening or expanding waterfowl hunting access. Input and feedback from Delta’s volunteers and members informs these recommendations.

“This is another great step toward enhancing public waterfowl hunting access at key locations across the country,” said Cyrus Baird, senior director of government affairs for Delta Waterfowl. “This has been one of Delta’s highest organizational focuses. We see this as a generational opportunity to create increases in public land access on the national scale.”

By working jointly with USFWS and the Department of the Interior, The Duck Hunters Organization continues to advocate for waterfowlers. In this year’s proposal, 12 of the 19 national wildlife refuges will offer new or augmented opportunities for migratory bird hunters.

Waterfowl hunting will be permitted for the first time in three national wildlife refuges:

Great Thicket (Maine/New York)

James River (Virginia)

Wallops Island (Virginia)

At six more sites, the proposed rule would allow expanded opportunities for duck and goose hunting starting in the 2022-23 season:

Pakota River (Indiana)

Crab Orchard (Illinois)

Blackwater (Maryland)

Baskett Slough (Oregon)

Erie (Pennsylvania)

Rappahannock River Valley (Virginia)

In addition, three national wildlife refuges will offer increased hunting access for other migratory birds:

Patuxent Research Refuge (Maryland)

Chincoteague (Virginia)

San Diego (California)

Four of the refuges on this year’s NWR access list were among those prioritized by Delta Waterfowl, including Baskett Slough (Oregon), Blackwater (Maryland), Crab Orchard (Illinois) and James River (Virginia). With anticipated approval, the changes will take effect in time for waterfowl hunting seasons this fall.

A complete online list of the refuges is available at:

Delta Waterfowl will provide a mechanism within the next couple of weeks for our members, volunteers and supporters to communicate directly with the USFWS about these new opportunities. Be on the lookout for an email from our Duck Hunters Action Alert System so you can let your voice be heard.

Delta Waterfowl is The Duck Hunters Organization, a leading conservation group working to produce ducks and secure the future of waterfowl hunting in North America. Visit

For more information, contact John Devney at (701) 471-4235 or