Some State COVID-19 Responses 'Overreach'

Sportsmen's Alliance tracks impacts to public land, non-residents, fishing, turkey hunting.

Some State COVID-19 Responses 'Overreach'

Masked fisherman catches fish following social-distancing rules due to COVID-19. (Shutterstock image)

Note: This point-of-view article was shared by the Sportsmen’s Alliance

When it comes to health and fitness, few activities promote a healthy lifestyle more than hunting and fishing, which generally require a fair amount of physical exertion and often result in the reward of healthy table fare. Solitary endeavors, hunting and fishing also provide a much-needed mental health respite from hectic life – but especially during this time of duress.

Some states have rightly tried to make outdoor activities more widely available. Connecticut, Maine New Jersey and Pennsylvania opened fishing seasons early. Missouri and West Virginia have temporarily allowed fishing without a license.

But, in the age of COVID-19, some states have implemented very questionable restrictions.


Washington state suspended the spring bear and turkey seasons, as well as all recreational fishing. Michigan now prohibits hunting on private gamebird preserves and all motorized boats, including electric trolling motors.


“How does removing a solitary spring turkey hunter from the woods help prevent the spread of coronavirus?” asked Bruce Tague, vice president of government affairs for Sportsmen’s Alliance. “How does it make sense to allow a person to row a boat to fish in Michigan, but not allow another angler to use a trolling motor? How do you justify banning the use of a boat to fish in Washington state, but allowing it for pleasure cruising or even wakesurfing?”

The restrictions aren’t limited to those two states. Oregon followed suit by cancelling steelhead and salmon fishing on the Columbia River. South Carolina cancelled lottery turkey hunts on Wildlife Management Areas. Eleven states have closed state parks to hunting and fishing. Maryland prohibits hunting and fishing unless specifically for sustenance. Ten states have restricted or suspended non-resident fishing, bear and turkey hunting.

“People are making a lot of sacrifices economically and socially,” said Tague. “But banning solitary or easily adaptable activities in the outdoors is government overreach.”

About the Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Sportsmen’s Alliance protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research. Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense possible. Sportsmen’s Alliance: Online, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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