Senate Approves Natural Resources Management Act Package with Provisions Allowing States to Extend Federal Duck Hunting Season

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate today approved a legislative package that includes provisions authored by U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) to allow states to extend duck hunting season to January 31 and conducts special hunts for military, veterans, and youths.
Hyde-Smith supported Senate passage of the Natural Resources Management Act (S.47), which includes her Migratory Bird Framework and Hunting Opportunities for Veterans Act—the first legislation she introduced after becoming a U.S. Senator for Mississippi last year.  S.47 was approved on a 92 to 8 vote.
“I’m elated that the Senate has agreed to shift more power back to the states.  Giving states and flyway councils a greater say on setting migratory bird hunting seasons will create opportunities and revenue streams that benefit sportsmen, conservation, and hunter education,” Hyde-Smith said.  “Sportsmen in Mississippi and across the country have long sought this change, and I hope we can finally get it done.”
The bill would amend 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 now generally sets the federal deadline as the last Sunday in January, often disregarding recommendations from flyway councils to allow later closing dates.
The Hyde-Smith legislation also authorizes states to aside a two-day special hunt period for youths, and a separate two-day hunt open to veterans and active duty members of the Armed Forces.  These hunts would be treated as separate from and in addition to the annual federal framework hunting season lengths.
“It is fitting that we offer a couple of additional days of duck hunting for servicemembers, veterans, and youth.  It is a gesture of appreciation that can also generate additional economic activity in states where hunting is a way of life,” Hyde-Smith said.
The Natural Resources Management Act is a bipartisan package of public lands, natural resources, and water bills that were considered in the Senate and House but were not passed before the end of the 115th Congress.  S.47 also includes legislation 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.