This West Is OUR West

Secretary Zinke Creates New Council for Hunting and Shooting Sports Conservation

Press Releases

Calls for Nominations


Date: January 9, 2018

WASHINGTON – Continuing his unyielding support for hunting, fishing, and the American conservation ethic, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke today announced the creation of the Hunting and Shooting Sports Conservation Council. The Council is intended to provide the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture with advice regarding the establishment and implementation of existing and proposed policies and authorities with regard to wildlife and habitat conservation. The Council will examine ways to benefit wildlife resources; encourage partnership among the public, the sporting conservation organizations, state, tribal, territorial, and federal government; and benefit recreational hunting and recreational shooting sports.

“Hunters and anglers are the backbone of wildlife and habitat conservation in America. Through the purchase of duck stamps, bows, ammo, firearms, and more, sportsmen and women contribute billions of dollars to conservation. From my perspective, the more sportsmen we have in the woods and waters, the better our wildlife and habitat will be,” Secretary Zinke said. “The Council will be made up of experts that share their knowledge, experience, and recommendations on a number of policy proposals put before them, as well as helping the Departments come up with innovative ideas to improve the health of wildlife and their habitat and increase sportsmen access on public and private lands.”

The Council is strictly advisory and the duties will consist of providing recommendations for implementation of Executive Order No. 13443 (E.O.): Facilitation of Hunting Heritage and Wildlife Conservation, Secretarial Order No. 3347: Conservation Stewardship and Outdoor Recreation, and Secretarial Order No. 3356 (S.O.): Hunting, Fishing, Recreational Shooting, and Wildlife Conservation Opportunities and Coordination with States, Tribes, and Territories.

Recommendations from the Council to the Secretary of the Interior and Secretary of Agriculture shall include, but not be limited to:

  • Assessing and quantifying implementation of the Executive Order and Secretarial Orders across relevant departments, agencies, offices, and recommendations to enhance and expand their implementation as identified;

Policies and programs that:

  • Conserve and restore wetlands, agricultural lands, grasslands, forests, and range land habitats;
  • Promote opportunities and expand access to hunting and shooting sports on public and private lands;
  • Encourages hunting and shooting safety by developing ranges on public lands;
  • Recruit and retain new shooters and hunters;
  • Increase public awareness of the importance of wildlife conservation and the social and economic benefits of hunting and shooting;
  • Encourage coordination among the public, hunting and shooting sports community, wildlife conservation groups, state, tribal, territorial, and federal government.

​Since his first day in office, Secretary Zinke:

  • Reversed an order that would have banned lead ammo and tackle on National Wildlife Refuge lands. 
  • Expanded hunting and fishing opportunities at 10 national wildlife refuges
  • Signed a wide-ranging order to expand sportsmen access on public and private land, improve collaboration between the federal, state and Tribal wildlife management authorities, and create a "one-stop" website for all hunting and fishing opportunities on public lands
  • Directed bureaus to open hunting and fishing on all national monument lands where legally allowed
  • Finalized a land acquisition to make the Sabinoso Wilderness Area accessible to hunters for the first time ever

Individuals may submit comments and/or nominations by any of the following methods:

  • Mail or hand-carry nominations to Joshua Winchell, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Wildlife Refuge System, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803; or
  • Email nominations to:

The Council will meet approximately twice a year, and at such other times as designated by the Designated Federal Officer. The Council will terminate 2 years from the date the charter is filed, unless, prior to that date, it is renewed in accordance with the provisions of Section 14 of the FACA. The Council will not meet or take any action without a valid current Charter.

The Council is established to further the provisions of the Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956 (16 U.S.C. 742a), the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1701), the National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997 (16 U.S.C. 668dd), other Acts applicable to specific bureaus, and Executive Order 13443, “Facilitation of Hunting Heritage and Wildlife Conservation.” The Council is regulated by the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), as amended, 5 U.S.C. Appendix 2.