The partial government shutdown is highlighting all the different ways our lives intersect with the federal government. One category of affected people you might not think of is hunters.

The federal shutdown has closed off some prime hunting grounds on the eve of duck season.

The federal budget impasse has caused the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to close public access to all national wildlife fefuges. Those include popular hunting spots like Willapa National Wildlife Refuge.

Lifelong waterfowl hunter Kurt Snyder of Rochester says the timing of the government shutdown is rotten; the duck opener is just around the corner.

“Refuges get hunted — even though they're regulated — they do get hunted quite a bit,” says Synder. “A lot of people depend on them, basically because of their geographic location.”

Snyder says if federal refuges stay closed, that will increase crowding on adjacent state lands on opening weekend.

Duck season and general deer season open on Oct. 12 in Washington.

“We feel that this land is public land … we own it and we think we’re being unfairly looked upon when they close it for hunting,” says Snyder. “There’s plenty of people out there volunteer-wise who would man the (check) stations and take care of the hunters.”

National forest and BLM lands remain open for hunting and recreation provided the relevant access road is open. But there’s a high probability that the campgrounds and restrooms will be closed.

“Closing off public access to our national wildlife refuges and public lands is the last thing we want to do, but is consistent with operations called for during a government shutdown,” says U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe in a statement last week.

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