The Swan Lake National Wildlife Refuge is one of the most visited waterfowl hunting areas in the state of Missouri. This unique wetland complex has provided quality fish and wildlife habitat and hunting and angling opportunities for years, yet as outlined in a June 6th press release, the popular public hunting program has been suspended until further notice.
Our members depend on quality public recreation areas like Swan Lake to continue their rich outdoor traditions. Accordingly, upon recent news of the Swan Lake hunting program closure, our members expressed immediate concern about the impacts that this decision could have on outdoor families in the region. From follow-up conversations with the refuge manager as well as several local retired wildlife management staff members in the area, we have learned that this decision was driven primarily due to a lack of critical resources needed to maintain both visitor use and quality wildlife habitat on the refuge, with full-time staffing levels falling from twelve to just one by August.
BHA stands ready to help restore hunting on the refuge to help ensure hunting access can be retained on the refuge by this fall hunting season. We look forward to working with U.S. Fish & Wildlife staff and our partners in conservation to see how we can assist in ensuring the Swan Lake Wildlife Refuge has the financial resources it needs to effectively manage wildlife and wildlife-related recreation moving forward.
- Missouri Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers