President Trump Signs Major Lands Bill, Which Includes Federal Duck Hunting Season Extension, Special Hunts for Vets, Military and Youths

WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Trump today signed into law a major lands bill that includes U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith’s legislation allowing states to extend duck hunting season to January 31 and to schedule special hunts for military, veterans, and youths.
The Natural Resources Management Act (S.47), which passed the Senate and House with overwhelming bipartisan support, is made up of public lands, natural resources, and water bills.  The duck hunting provisions are based on the Migratory Bird Framework and Hunting Opportunities for Veterans Act (S.2942), the first bill Hyde-Smith introduced as Mississippi’s newest U.S. Senator.
“The President signing this bill caps a long-fought effort by sportsmen over the years to bring some common sense to how federal duck hunting seasons are scheduled,” Hyde-Smith said.
“States will now have the option to extend the season a few more days, which can make a difference both for hunters and small businesses.  The fact we’ve also carved out special hunting sessions for military, veterans, and youths is an added and well-deserved bonus,” she said.
The new law amends the Migratory Bird Treaty Act to allow states to set migratory bird hunting seasons that extend to January 31.  The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service currently sets the federal deadline as the last Sunday in January, often disregarding recommendations from flyway councils to allow later closing dates.
Like Hyde-Smith’s legislation, the new law also authorizes states to set aside a two-day special hunt period for youths, and a separate two-day hunt open to veterans and active duty military.  These special hunts may occur up to 14 days before or after the regular season framework.  They would also be treated as separate from and in addition to the annual federal framework hunting season lengths.
Hunting, fishing, and wildlife watching had a $2.7 billion economic impact in Mississippi in 2018, with $1.14 billion attributed to hunting alone, according to the Mississippi State University Division of Agriculture, Forestry, and Veterinary Medicine.
In signing S.47, President Trump also codified an effort sponsored by members of the Mississippi congressional delegation to designate the Medgar and Myrlie Evers Home in Jackson as a national monument within the National Park System.