Conservation Public Lands & Waters

Dan Ashe Q&A: The USFWS Director On Wolves, The Future of Hunting, and Open Country

Tony Hansen Avatar

Dan Ashe is one of those guys you ought to know but probably don’t.

What makes the guy so special? Well, for starters he heads up the agency that controls about 307 million acres of publicly-owned lands, a good chunk of which is open to hunting and fishing.

Yeah, bet that got your attention.{C}

Ashe is the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He’s a political appointee which does mean that he is somewhat subject to the whims of the parties. But, he’s not that kind of guy — I think you’ll agree after hearing his responses to some of the questions in this interview.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service oversees some 150 million acres of land in the National Wildlife Refuge System. Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen hundreds of thousands of acres in the refuge system opened to public hunting and fishing. And while Ashe can’t take all of the direct credit for that, it must be noted that the Director carries a lot of clout in those decisions. And Ashe has almost universally supported every single instance in which Refuge lands were recommended to be opened for hook-and-bullet pursuits.

Perhaps it’s because he understands the importance of hunting and fishing to a sound, science-based management plan. Or perhaps it’s because he’s actually a hunter himself.

Regardless, Ashe is one of the good guys. Even if he has to live in the political realm.