(Washington, D.C.) – As the COVID-19 crisis continues to impact public health, the Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports (Council) and its partners are committed to preventing the spread of the virus by following federal guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDD), in addition to those from State and local agencies.
As spring hunting and fishing seasons start around the country, the Council and its partners want to encourage all hunters, target shooters, and other outdoor enthusiasts to recreate responsibly during these challenging times. “Many leaders within the conservation community have been working with our legislators, governors and health care officials to ensure that access to natural resources, and to our essential shooting ranges and sporting good’s retailers, remain open to the greatest extent possible during this time. It is now our duty as outdoorswomen and men to ensure that we respect the recommendations from our health officials and follow their recommended procedures,” commented John Frampton, CEO and President of the Council.
To help inform sportsmen and women of local regulations, the Council has updated a map on its website to connect participants with the most up-to-date information on COVID-19 from each state fish and wildlife agency. Frampton continued, “We have already witnessed some important access points being closed because of crowd gatherings and these irresponsible actions by some are causing decisions to be made to close areas. Compliance with social distancing can easily be accomplished and we all need to realize if we do not comply with these restrictions, we are going to see more closures. Now more than ever Americans need more connection to the natural world, and we as sportswomen and men crave that opportunity as well, but without wise use of these resources and compliance with social distancing recommendations, we may not have that opportunity moving forward.”
All hunters and target shooters, and members of the conservation community, can play a key role in helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Here are some opportunities where we as a community can help:
- Observe social distancing recommendations while you are in the outdoors.
- Pay attention to local announcements from your fish and wildlife agency, and adhere to their guidance.
- Review your hunting and outdoor plans to ensure that you are following CDC’s recommendations to help prevent spread.
- Find some new places to recreate in order to spread out use and avoid the crowded trailheads and parking lots.
- Minimize your impact on the land and pack out all of your garbage.
- Take extra precautions to ensure safety on the trail as the availability of emergency medical services is even more restricted during these challenging times.
- Be kind in the field, as more people look outdoors for relief from COVID-19, you may interact with new participants. Use this opportunity to share a warm welcome and encourage wise stewardship as well.
As you take to the field this spring, please do so with care, adhering to social distancing guidelines. As Americans, we are privileged with such abundant hunting and fishing opportunities that provide us solitude and ample space to pursue a wide variety of activities. These opportunities are excellent places for us to find respite, especially during this period when the familiar routine of daily life has been upended. We must be leaders for our communities, showing responsible behavior and ensuring that these opportunities remain available for all during these trying times.
Share this message with your organizations’ members, on your social pages, and with family and friends. Access to the outdoors is something we can impact, and we all will be better for it in the end if we take quick and smart action now.
As spring arrives around the country we wish you clean shots, tight lines, and ample adventure. Stay healthy and practice federal guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.