Date: September 19, 2017
WASHINGTON – Today, on the heels of a groundbreaking directive to expand hunting access on public lands, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced his latest initiative to reemphasize hunting and fishing at the Department with a new temporary addition to the employee cafeteria: the arcade game “Big Buck Hunter Pro.” The Secretary also announced the "Secretary's Shotgun Showdown," a fun employee competition on the game, with the winner earning bragging rights and a personal visit with the Secretary. The contest runs from today, September 19th, 2017, until Wednesday, October 11th, 2017.
Completing the Department's goals and objectives hinges on employee awareness and involvement. Having the "Big Buck Hunter Pro" arcade game will get many employees involved in sportmen's season, in turn furthering the Department's mission of wildlife and habitat conservation.
“Some of my best memories are hunting and fishing with my dad and granddad, and then later teaching my own kids to hunt and fish. That's something I want more families to experience," said Secretary Zinke. “Hunters and anglers are the backbone of wildlife and habitat conservation in America. because sportsmen contribute billions of dollars to conservation. From my perspective, the more sportsmen we have in the woods and waters, the better our wildlife and land will be. The "Shotgun Showdown" will help reignite the passion and emphasis of hunting and fishing at the Department, and will be a fun way to advance our mission of wildlife and habitat conservation."
The Secretary kicked off the Shotgun Showdown by facing off against U.S. Fish and Wildlife career employee Casey Stemler from Littleton, Colorado. For over 45 years, Casey has enjoyed hunting and fishing on National Wildlife Refuges across the nation from California to Maryland and big-game hunting on BLM lands throughout the west.
This September and October, the Department of the Interior is setting its sights on the continued role that hunters and anglers play in wildlife conservation. Earlier this month, Secretary Zinke signed a directive to support and expand hunting and fishing, enhance conservation stewardship, improve wildlife management, and increase outdoor recreation opportunities for all Americans. The move was widely praised by sportsmen and wildlife conservation organizations.
On his first day in office, Secretary Zinke reversed an order that would have banned lead ammo and tackle on National Wildlife Refuge lands, and he began the process of expanding hunting and fishing opportunities on public lands across the Department.
In August, the Secretary announced a proposal to expand hunting and fishing opportunities at 10 National Wildlife Refuges, and he announced the initial stages of a plan to acquire land to make the Bureau of Land Management Sabinoso Wilderness Area accessible for the first time ever to hunters, hikers, and wildlife watchers.
In addition, Secretary Zinke recently made recommendations to President Trump on 27 national monuments, calling for changes to some that, while still protecting the land, would also protect and expand public access to that land for citizens who want to hunt, fish, hike, and experience the joy and beauty of those public lands.