Hunting News

Additional Closures

Additional Closures

By Buckmasters Online

Conditions change quickly, but for current information on your state DNR response to the COVID-19 pandemic, check your state DNR website, DNR social media channels, DNR Information Center and email updates. Click here for a link to your state website.

ARKANSAS
The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has extended temporary closure of AGFC offices, nature and education centers and shooting ranges until further notice.

Wildlife management areas, boat ramps, lakes and fishing accesses controlled by the AGFC remain open. Field staff is still working, managing the state’s wildlife and fisheries resources. Turkey hunting season opens April 11-12 for youth hunting and April 13 for regular turkey season. Scouting for the birds is an excellent way to get out and avoid crowds.

The AGFC advises people to practice proper safeguards while fishing and keep a fishing rod’s distance from other individuals.

MICHIGAN

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources has closed amenities offered in state parks and recreation areas, effective now through at least April 13.

“We are doing everything possible to protect the health and safety of visitors and staff at state parks and recreation areas,” said Dan Eichinger, Director. “No matter how people choose to get outdoors, it is critical that everyone follows the social distancing guidelines. If they don’t, we will be forced to close public access to all state-managed lands.”

Current closures include concessions, playgrounds and play equipment, viewing platforms, fishing piers, GaGa ball bits, volleyball and basketball courts, designated dog areas, disc golf courses, radio-controlled flying fields, pump tracks, and picnic tables and shelters.

All bathroom buildings and vault toilets are closed in all state parks and recreation areas, including those at campgrounds, boating access sites, trailheads at state-designated trails. Many locations, where available, will be transitioning to portable toilets that will be cleaned by local vendors. Only minimal trash service is available. Visitors should bring trash bags to carry trash home and minimize litter.

No hand washing stations will be provided. Please carry hand sanitizer or sanitizing wipes and trash bags to carry out used wipes.

Grooming snowmobile trails, brushing, grading and clearing of all nonmotorized trails and ORV trails is suspended until the end of the order.

Executive order mandates on social distancing are in effect; fines/penalties are possible. Individuals must maintain a minimum of 6 feet between themselves and others. People who do not follow the social distancing requirement may face misdemeanor violation/arrest penalties, including up to 90 days in jail and/or a fine up to $500.

Information about the COVID-19 outbreak response changes rapidly. Find current information here.

NEBRASKA
The Game and Parks Commission is closing State park lodging and cabins during April to prevent the potential for spread of COVID-19. Additional temporary closures include all Game and Parks district offices and service centers, education centers, state park visitor offices and public wildlife viewing blinds.

All agency-sponsored events and activities scheduled through May 31 have been cancelled.

State park and recreation area playgrounds and play structures are closed as of March 30. Game and Parks will keep open state park and recreation areas grounds and trails, which provide adequate room for proper physical distancing for the health and safety of the public.

Recreation areas also offer opportunities to hike and fish while maintaining 6-foot distance between healthy guests. Parks permits can be purchased online.

The agency also has closed all parks offices and commission office, service and education centers and other facilities. State park and recreation area lodges, cabins and public shower buildings are also closed, with a possible extension period. A limited number of public restrooms, which are sanitized regularly, remain open.

The agency is taking proactive measures to protect customers and employees, including using approved cleaning and disinfecting regiments per CDC recommendations. Current information on closures and event cancellations or postponements is available here.

OKLAHOMA
Although Department of Wildlife Conservation offices are closed to the public, all wildlife management areas, fishing lakes and shooting ranges, along with all State Parks day-use and RV/tent camping areas, remain open for public use at this time.

Areas not owned by the Wildlife Department might be temporarily closed to the public at the discretion of the agency in charge of those areas. These areas might include U.S. Army Corps of Engineers properties, U.S. Forest Service areas, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation sites, and municipal parks and reservoirs. Those planning to visit outdoor areas should contact the agency in charge of the area to find out if it is open for public use.

To learn more about the status of outdoor areas, online resources are available for ODWC WMAs, ODWC Fishing Lakes, and Oklahoma State Parks.

Lodges, nature centers, group camps/dining halls and community buildings are closed through April 15.

Some U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reservoirs, parks and camping sites are closed, but boat ramps remain open; also check current information for U.S.

Bureau of Reclamation; and the U.S. Forest Service. Recreation areas in Ouachita National Forest have been temporarily closed.

Many smaller parks and lakes are controlled by local cities and towns. Check with municipal authorities for the closure status of those areas.

Some WMAs are closed to all nonhunting activities during spring turkey hunting seasons that begin April 4 for youths and run through May 6. For specific area regulations, consult the current Oklahoma Hunting and Fishing Regulations Guide.

SOUTH CAROLINA
Until further notice, Department of Natural Resources offices can no longer accommodate in-person transactions at customer service counters. Operations at SCDNR offices continue, with processing for all boat titling and registration, and licensing customer requests handled online, by telephone or via the U.S. mail.

The Annual Palmetto Sportsmen's Classic is canceled amid coronavirus concerns. All SCDNR freshwater fish hatcheries remain operational, but are closed to the public. The public access point to Botany Bay Plantation’s beach is now closed to support state efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The rest of the property will remain open and patrolled by Department of Natural Resources law enforcement officers.

Because large crowds were gathering at the Sassafras Mountain Tower and at Bald Rock Heritage Preserve, the Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) has closed the two Blue Ridge Escarpment destinations.

The decision to close both Sassafras Mountain and Bald Rock follows the announcement that all State Parks in South Carolina closed March 28 to support the state’s response to COVID-19.

Sassafras Mountain, the highest point in South Carolina at 3,883 feet, is in northern Pickens County, and Bald Rock Heritage Preserve is in northern Greenville County, near Caesars Head State Park. Both sites are owned and managed by SCDNR.

The remainder of the Jocassee Gorges property is open to public use and officials ask users to follow recommended guidelines and executive orders on keeping people safe by practicing social distancing.

Pickens County controls the road to the top of Sassafras Mountain, and a gate on the road near Carolina Point Young Life camp has been closed with the County’s permission.

A full list of agency cancellations and restrictions is available here.

UTAH
The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources has canceled the remainder of its upcoming public events and seminars until further notice.

Cancellations include: April 2: Turkey hunting seminar in Lehi; April 4: Turkey hunting clinic in Price; April 4: Turkey hunting seminar in Salt Lake City; April 11: Mountain goat viewing event in Little Cottonwood Canyon; April 16: Turkey hunting seminar in Sandy.

In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the DWR has closed the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Wildlife Education Center at Farmington Bay until further notice. The closure includes the buildings, bathrooms, auditorium and classroom.

The area remains open to the public to give people a place to get outside. The entrance gate is open between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday to provide access to the parking lot and trails. The trails can also be used when the gates are closed.

All visitors should stay on the trails and remember that bicycles and scooters are not allowed on the trails. Farmington Bay is also closed to dogs until Sept. 14 to protect nesting birds.

The Lee Kay Public Shooting Range has made following changes after damage from the recent earthquake and ongoing concerns about COVID-19:

The west entrance to the shotgun center is closed, as is an area inside the center. The Hunter Education Range and the Specialty Range are closed until further notice. Customers will be spaced to every other bench on the 25/75-yard range. Two lanes on each side of the Hit Your Target booth are permanently closed because of a baffle failure.

The DWR will limit group sizes to stay within the social distancing guidelines issued by federal and state officials. Because most volunteers are within the at-risk age group for the virus, the DWR may sometimes need to close the range, depending on available staffing.

Because of the recent earthquake and continued aftershocks, a portion of the conservation/dog-training area has been closed. Also damaged, the Lee Kay Warmwater Fish Hatchery is closed until the damaged portion of the road by the hatchery is repaired.

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