Kat Ainsworth for TTAG
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By Mark Oliva

Work from home sounded like a great way to steer clear of infection and maybe slip out to the back forty for a morning turkey, spring bear, wild hog or even a predator hunt. After all, hours are gained back without commutes and if you’re working from home across from your spouse, it’s likely they’re looking to call Human Resources to file a complaint on their new office mate.

Besides, hunting is the perfect social distancing activity, as was noted here before. This time of year, it’s not like hunters are cramming into duck blinds. Some of the best spring hunting is better six miles apart, rather than just six feet.

Busy at Home

Admittedly, NSSF has been busy. Just a few weeks ago, it was noted about some states announcing restrictions on hunting. Most of the focus for the firearm industry trade association, however, was on keeping the industry open. After all, manufacturers still had orders to fulfill, especially for Department of Defense contracts. Local retailers still needed to supply the majority of police departments with their own firearm and ammunition needs.

Most importantly, though, fundamental God-given rights still count, especially during a pandemic. America thought so too. In March, more than 2.3 million background checks were conducted for the sale of a firearm. That’s the highest number on record since the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) began in 2000.

Like most hunters, though, there’s the urge to get outside, get away and reconnect with nature. It’s time to take our place in the food chain, put some well-earned wild game in the freezer.

Thank You, MeatEater

While NSSF was busy keeping gun stores and ranges in business and updating NSSF’s COVID-19 Resources for FFLs with how closure notices were affecting business, the good friends at MeatEater have been keeping a close eye on what the restrictions mean to hunters and anglers alike. They’re updating it as often as possible, so check it out.

It can be a little tricky, so be sure to stay on the right side of the law and regulations. Most of the restrictions are for nonresident hunters, for obvious reasons. State governments are trying to minimize the transmission of infection. Before facemasks start fogging shooting glasses, read the fine print.

Know Before You Go

Kansas stopped selling nonresident hunting licenses for turkey season, but those who already bought a nonresident license can still hunt. Nonresident hunters might want to settle in, though. Those who travel from states listed on the Kansas Department of Health and Environment’s “Travel Quarantine List” must adhere to a 14-day quarantine after arriving in the state.

In Michigan, there’s no issue with getting out on the water as long as it’s done with paddle power. The use of a motor is restricted. In New York, all public boat launches are closed.

Montana closed nonresident turkey and bear hunts through April 24, but the state is offering refunds for hunters who already purchased tags. Washington State postponed spring turkey and bear hunts until May 4.

It’s a tricky time. Every hunter wants to make the most of each day they can get into the woods and fields. The pandemic made it even trickier.

Still, hunting is open for the most part. Get out, and if possible, take someone else and join NSSF’s +One Movement. Chances are every hunter knows someone else who is itching to get out of the house and now is the perfect time to introduce someone new to the hunting heritage.


Mark Oliva is the Director of Public Affairs for the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

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  1. Been working from home for 19 years. Trying to find something to do. Had Aneurysm and disabled for 19 years. This close in is normal every day with me. My main enjoyment or relaxation was go to the bay and watch the water come in and go out. Once in a while see eagles there. Don’t sound like much. But Forrest Service blocked it and say will not open until October at earliest! Beach and nice fresh air! You would think was best! But They locked it down and damn I miss it! 80% time I was only one there. But the little things means a lot to some people! All our Beaches are closed. Can’t go to any of them! But they set there every day doing nothing! Just to make sure nobody goes!

  2. Apparently all Oregon boat launches are closed, too. This is ridiculous, and is impacting some people who depend on fishing regularly to put that doctor-recommended meat on the table.

      • I noticed a boat ramp in a rural area on a road plainly marked “local traffic only” closed — I see no reason for it. All they’d really need to do would be put cones on every other parking spot and things would be fine — fishermen don’t often go bumping into each other anyway.

  3. Is that a hi-capaciy banana clip in that assault gun that woman is holding? It doesn’t seem to be a semi-automatic machine gun. It doesn’t even look like it has a thing that goes up. But, it is black. I’m very confused!

    • It’s a Remington 870 DM. 6 round detachable magazine system, instead of the traditional tube mag. They are stupid fast to reload for a pump gun I own one, and it’s actually really nice.

  4. Not a hunter but I did want to shoot at an Indiana outdoor range. And the range in Bonfield,IL. I can’t get a straight answer in Indiana. It’s a pain in the labonza especially with gas at record lows(99 cents in Indiana)!And now fatboy has ordered a state shutdown through May 30th😩

    • That’s why I like Iowa. State law forbids closing ranges or closing hunting/fishing season. Even during a State of Emergency. Boat ramps are open. Went to the range April 19 in remembrance of Our founding Patriots. Who fought the first battle to preserve the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Which lead to the Freedom We have today. If We can Keep it.
      Keep Your Powder Dry.

      • Hey I’m not traveling out of state even if it’s only 45minutes away. I’ve been “told” to get it all straight at an Indiana gunshop. ALL the states bordering ILLinois are better…

  5. All the ranges have been closed for the last six weeks. I have a new Ruger Precision Rimfire but a need to some accessories before I can use it.

  6. I didn’t make turkey season this year. With the way things are and me working daily I stayed home and prepared in case society continued to come unhinged. Fortunately things stabilized. I’m also taking care of other things for folks since I’m out and about and exposed anyway so I’ve been extra busy.
    You can sure see these decisions were not made for “pubic safety” though. You can buy a lottery ticket that makes the state money but not fish from a motorized boat in Michigan!?!
    We are opening everything back up in Oklahoma in phases now.
    Now CDC acts like they want to play the same game later this fall. Well got news for ya folks I’m going deer hunting. You can try and close anything you want but it won’t go good for either of us.

  7. “In Michigan, there’s no issue with getting out on the water as long as it’s done with paddle power. The use of a motor is restricted.”

    Because Science tells us that motor boats help to spread the virus, right?

    • “Are we not men? ”

      They tell us that
      We lost our tails
      Evolving up
      From little snails

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