Permits for the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge’s deer hunt for the 2020/2021 season will be available only at Recreation.gov, or by phone at 1-877-444-6777, beginning, July 2, 2020 at 10 a.m.

The regulations brochure for 2020/2021 season is now available online at the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge web site, including frequently asked questions, a downloadable Avenza map, and new hunt units.

Stands and blinds must now be removed at the end of each day this season. This change is in response to a national strategy to better align with hunting regulations in each state, as well as across refuges in the region.

The May 2, 2020 public hunt meeting was canceled due to state restrictions with the COVID-19 pandemic. However, during the March 2018 public hunt meeting, five questions were asked in an anonymous survey, including hunters’ preference for leaving or removing stands daily. The results were 58% favored removal, 21% were against, and 21% provided no answer.

There are two units (U1 and Q2) dedicated solely to hunters with permanent disabilities, with U1 allowing stands to be left, and Q2 providing ground blinds only to address that concern.

In addition, the refuge is opening an additional 3,284 acres to hunting, including the Peter’s Neck and Moneystump tracts recently acquired this past winter. Updated maps are available online, including a geo-referenced map for smartphone use.

It’s imperative all visitors follow state and local regulations and the guidance from the CDC (Centers For Disease Control), including practicing good hygiene, observing social distancing, and staying home when not feeling well. As of June, the visitor center remains closed. Updates will be posted online.

Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge protects over 32,000 acres of rich tidal marsh, mixed hardwood and pine forest, managed freshwater wetlands and cropland for a diversity of wildlife. To learn more, visit www.fws.gov/refuge/blackwater, or go to @BlackwaterNWR on Facebook.

The mission of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.

Follow me on Twitter @Bill_Haufe. Email me at bhaufe@stardem.com

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