The Mule Deer Foundation welcomed last week’s signing by Acting Secretary David Bernhardt of a new Department of the Interior Secretarial Order that will help improve hunting access. Secretarial Order 3373, Evaluating Public Access in BLM Land Disposals and Exchanges will ensure that the Bureau of Land Management will evaluate recreational access when considering land transactions.
“Access to quality hunting and fishing lands is always a challenge, particularly in the West where access to some of the best mule deer hunting is blocked due to checkerboard public/private lands,” commented Mule Deer Foundation President/CEO Miles Moretti. “By requiring the Bureau of Land Management to consider recreational access before making decisions about disposal or exchange, Secretarial Order 3373 will benefit hunters that depend on the agency’s lands for their recreational pursuits. The Mule Deer Foundation appreciates Acting Secretary Bernhardt and his team for their ongoing efforts on behalf of sportsmen and women conservationists.”
Hunter access remains a top priority for the Mule Deer Foundation since much of the best mule deer and black-tailed deer hunting occurs on public land. Through Secretarial Order 3373, the Bureau of Land Management is now required to consider hunting and angling access, as well as other forms of recreation, before making a decision to exchange or dispose of public lands it manages. The order ensures that the agency will make public access a value criterion that makes a tract suitable for retention or identify alternatives to the public access that would be lost should a transaction occur. Currently recreational access is not part of the criteria the agency is required to consider during decisions about land disposal under the Federal Land Policy Management Act.
The Mule Deer Foundation is the only conservation group in North America dedicated to restoring, improving and conserving mule deer and black-tailed deer and their habitat, with a focus on science and program efficiency. MDF is a strong voice for hunters in access, wildlife management and conservation policy issues. MDF acknowledges regulated hunting as a viable management component and is committed to recruitment and retention of men, women and youth into the shooting sports and conservation. Get involved in your state or become a member at www.muledeer.org or call 1-888-375-3337.