Hunters and sportsmen groups are speaking out against the Biden administration’s Thursday announcement regarding the advancement of prohibitions on equipment used by hunters and fishermen on federal refuges.
According to Fox News, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) recently unveiled its hunting and fishing rule for the 2023-2024 season. Included in the annual regulation plan is a ban against cost-effective lead fishing tackle and ammunition on eight wildlife refuges by 2026. Fox News reported that while environmental groups support the new regulation, hunters argue that the government’s action could become a “backdoor attack” on hunting in the United States.
“This is the latest example of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service creating rules that punish hunters, threaten conservation funding and advance special interests without sound scientific evidence that traditional lead ammunition cause is causing detrimental wildlife population impacts,” Lawrence Keane, the senior vice president of the National Shooting Sports Foundation, said.
Keane argues the Biden administration is “ignoring its promise” to “follow the science” in an effort to implement an agenda that is “anti-gun and anti-hunting.”
As of Sept. 1, 2026, the Fish and Wildlife Service will prohibit hunters and fishermen from using lead ammunition and tackle on federal refuges in Blackwater, Maryland; Eastern Neck, Maryland, Erie, Pennsylvania; Wallops Island Nation, Virginia; Rachel Carson, Maine; Chincoteague, Virginia; Patuxent Research Refuge, Maryland; and Great Thicket, Massachusetts.
Fox News reported that hunting groups have asked Congress to pass the Protecting Access for Hunters and Anglers Act, which was introduced in April by Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and 22 other Republicans. The proposed legislation would prevent the Fish and Wildlife Service from instituting bans on lead ammunition and tackle unless the “best available science” provided evidence in support of a lead ban.
“Today’s Fish and Wildlife Service proposed rule shows that the Biden administration seeks credit for ‘expanding’ hunting and fishing access on public land while the lead ammunition and tackle bans threaten the exact opposite outcome,” Benjamin Cassidy, executive vice president for international government and public affairs at Safari Club International, said.
Cassidy explained that banning lead ammunition and tackle creates “substantial cost barriers” for men and women across the nation who are involved in hunting or fishing. He believes the Biden administration’s new regulation is “preventing Americans from hunting and fishing” on “public lands.”