For the first time ever, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under the direction of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, has opened the Swan River National Wildlife Refuge to bow hunting.

Regional Information and Education Program Manager for Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks Region One, Dillon Tabish, was excited to share the news that bow hunting is being offered in the refuge for the first time.

“This is a really exciting new opportunity for archery hunters,” said Tabish. “The Swan River National Wildlife Refuge is located off Montana Highway 83 at the south end of Swan Lake, and it’s about 1,900 acres. It was originally established in about 1973 as an important habitat refuge for waterfowl, and now, in collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and through our Fish and Wildlife Commission, has received approval for bow hunters to go into that refuge and they can harvest deer and elk.”

Tabish said waterfowl hunting has been allowed on the refuge for many years, but now it is open to bow hunting, as well.

“It’s a typical archery tag for deer and elk,” he said. “The thing that’s unique is the archery season began on September 1st and so bow hunters can go in there right now and they can harvest a deer or an elk. They have to follow the typical hunting regulations for District 130. Also, when the big game season opens on October 20th through November 25th, you can go into that area, but only for bow hunting.”

Tabish said Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks worked together with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and determined that the Swan Lake Wildlife Refuge was a good opportunity for bow hunters.

“Interior Secretary Zinke is a Montanan, and he understands that we’re always looking for more opportunities, and I think this is a great place for archery hunting.”

The Charles M. Russell Wildlife Refuge has also expanded their big game hunting opportunities in Montana.