WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke proclaimed the month of October 2018 as National Hunting and Fishing Month while visiting the Wonders of Wildlife Museum in Springfield, Missouri. The Trump Administration has prioritized public access to Federal lands for sportsmen and sportswomen to expand opportunities for all citizens to enjoy hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation across our nation.

“I am proud to designate the month of October as National Hunting and Fishing month” said Secretary Zinke. “American hunters and anglers are the backbone of conservation efforts, generating over a billion dollars each year for conservation. For more than 150 years, sportsmen and women have led efforts to protect and conserve our Nation’s fish and wildlife. In an effort to serve as good neighbors and stewards of our public lands, the Department has opened millions of acres for hunting, and we are currently working to protect big game migration corridors. I call upon all Americans to join us in recognizing the lasting benefits hunters and anglers have provided our society through their time, tireless efforts, and financial resources.”

“Missouri is a national leader in conservation with more than one million acres of public land in Missouri for our citizens to enjoy every day,” said Missouri Governor Mike Parson. “To be able to provide additional access to public lands on a national scale is a great opportunity for those that enjoy hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation across the country.”

“From our Ozark streams to our northern plains, hunting and fishing has been a strong part of our history and heritage here in Missouri,” said Sara Parker Pauley, Director, Missouri Department of Conservation. “We appreciate Secretary Zinke’s support of these time-honored traditions both in Missouri and across the nation. Hunting, fishing, and wildlife viewing has a big impact in our state, including generating $4.7 billion in economic activity in Missouri.”

Secretary Zinke signed Secretarial Order 3362 on February 9, 2017, which aims to improve habitat quality and western big game winter range and migration corridors for antelope, elk, and mule deer. The order fosters improved collaboration with states and private landowners and facilitates all parties using the best available science to implement conservation activities that help ensure that robust big game populations continue to exist. The order seeks to improve wildlife management and conservation and expand opportunities for big game hunting by improving priority habitats within important and migration corridors across the West. Priority states currently include Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

In September, Secretary Zinke opened more than 251,000 acres to new or expanded hunting and fishing opportunities at 30 national wildlife refuges across the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s National Wildlife Refuge System.

Hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities contributed more than $156 billion in economic activity in communities across the United States in 2016 according to the Service’s National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, published every five years. More than 101 million Americans – 40 percent of the U.S. population 16 and older – pursue wildlife-related recreation – hunting, fishing and birding among others.