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Fact Sheet: Hunting, Wildlife, and Habitat

October 03, 2008

President Bush Is A Strong Ally In Protecting And Conserving America's Natural Resources

Today, Vice President Cheney attended the White House Conference on North American Wildlife and reviewed the progress President Bush and his Administration have made on wildlife conservation over the past seven years. Due to economic events this week, President Bush decided to remain in Washington, D.C. Vice President Cheney attended the conference in his place. The Conference sessions provided hunters and other outdoor recreational enthusiasts from across the United States an opportunity to discuss a forthcoming 10-year Action Plan on recreational hunting and wildlife conservation. Since President Bush took office, the Administration has enhanced and increased wildlife habitats, enlarged wildlife populations and increased opportunities for hunting, and the Administration continues to add to these accomplishments. In August 2007, the President signed Executive Order 13443 to facilitate the expansion and enhancement of hunting opportunities and the management of game species and their habitat.

  • Today, the Vice President discussed several new policies to expand and enhance hunting opportunities and wildlife habitat management.
    • A new goal to protect, restore, or improve an additional four million acres of wetlands over the next five years.
    • An incentive, under the Conservation Reserve Program, for landowners who allow public hunting on their land.
    • Tax incentives for landowners who donate conservation easements.
    • New incentives for landowners to conserve wetlands on private lands by planting hardwood forests and providing habitat for waterfowl through the Conservation Reserve Program.
    • A proposal to make permanent the Oil and Gas Pilots Offices at the Bureau of Land Management that gives wildlife biologists and State game departments a seat at the table in planning energy development on public lands.
    • A proposal to authorize the Sporting Conservation Council to continue for 10 years to support progress on the 10-year Action Plan.

The Administration Encouraged And Promoted Conservation Of Our Natural Resources

We are working together to protect wildlife in America's forests. Under this Administration, the U.S. Forest Service has partnered with hunting organizations to improve forage and cover for elk and wild turkeys.

  • In 2002, President Bush launched the Healthy Forest Initiative to help prevent catastrophic wildfires. The Initiative directed Federal agencies to develop several administrative and legislative tools to help restore these ecosystems to healthy, natural conditions and assist in executing core components of the National Fire Plan. Since 2002, we have thinned and removed underbrush and performed other landscape restoration activities across more than 26 million acres – protecting animal habitats and hunting grounds.

We are restoring and improving America's wetlands. In 2004, President Bush set a goal of restoring, improving, and protecting three million acres of wetlands in five years and has met this goal one year ahead of schedule. The President's new four million-acre goal will build on that success and include a stronger focus on quality as well as quantity.

We are encouraging landowners to increase wildlife populations on private property. President Bush expanded Federal tax incentives to encourage landowners to donate their property for conservation purposes. Through the Conservation Reserve Program, we are helping ranchers and farmers restore grassland habitats on their land.

We are working together to ensure that America's sportsmen, hunters, and conservationists can make responsible use of Federal lands. Since 2001, President Bush and his Administration have opened up 30 National Wildlife Refuges to hunting. The Administration is working with 40 sportsmen's groups to improve access to hunting and fishing on Federal property. The President has also made significant efforts to assist citizens with planning safe and legal hunting trips by marking access points, improving highway signage for trail heads, and providing electronic maps online.

We are educating the next generation of sportsmen and conservationists. President Bush and his Administration are working through Federal programs such as "Kids in the Woods," to teach children about conservation and provide them with hands-on outdoor experience.

  • In October 2007, Mrs. Bush launched the First Bloom program, a new conservation education effort by the National Park Foundation. The program teaches young people about the science of native plants and encourages them to be good stewards of our national parks and our environment.

  • Private organizations are also contributing to these efforts through programs such as "No Child Left Indoors" – launched by Pheasants Forever – to solve America's "nature deficit disorder." Ducks Unlimited's "Project Webfoot" promotes responsible stewardship of our wetlands in schools, and sportsmen's groups are promoting a culture of conservation that will be sustained by future generations.

George W. Bush, Fact Sheet: Hunting, Wildlife, and Habitat Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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