U.S. Interior Department expands hunting at Utah bird refuge

(Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune) Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge west of Brigham City. May is a time when nearly all of the breeding bird species like this Great Blue Heron are present on the refuge.

The U.S. Interior Department has expanded hunting at Utah’s Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge.

It’s one of 30 national wildlife refuges across the country where U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke is expanding hunting and fishing.

Interior officials say in a statement that 40 percent of the population age 16 and older engage in wildlife activities like hunting, fishing and birding.

Zinke says in a statement that hunters are an important source of revenue for conservation projects. Refuge system officials say the expansions are being done in line with wildlife-management goals.

The new rules at the Bear River refuge near Brigham City will expand existing migratory game bird and upland game hunting. Ducks, geese, pheasants and water birds called coots can be hunted there now, as well as tundra swans with a special state permit.