Hunters and anglers are driving forces in the United States’ conservation efforts.
In fact, they generated more than $882 million to fund fish and wildlife conservation and recreation projects across the nation in 2012 through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration and Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration programs.
These funds are raised through excise taxes applied to the sale of sporting firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, fishing equipment and tackle, and electric outboard motors. The money raised through these programs is kept separate from general tax revenue and can only be used by state wildlife management agencies for conservation projects. You can view a state-by-state breakdown of how this funding is distributed.
That revenue is then distributed to state fish and wildlife agencies throughout the nation for on-the-ground conservation improvement. More than $2 billion has been invested by the sporting community through this program. <“The sporting community has provided the financial and spiritual foundation for wildlife conservation in America for more than 75 years,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. “Through these programs, hunters, anglers, recreational boaters and target shooters continue to fund vital fish and wildlife management and conservation, recreational boating access, and hunter and aquatic education programs.”
As a result of the statutorily required sequester, these apportionments have been reduced by 5.1 percent, or approximately $39.2 million. Additional Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration grant funding to the states has also been reduced, for a total sequestration-related reduction of approximately $44 million.
“The revenue generated by the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act is not general tax revenue and the NWTF is working to ensure that these dollars are not held hostage to the general budget wrangling taking place in Washington, D.C.,” said NWTF Assistant Vice President, Tom Hughes.
Sportsmen are urged to contact their representatives in the U.S.Senate and House of Representatives and ask their support in exempting Wildlife Restoration Act funds from the sequester. Wildlife Restoration Act funds are a user-pay tax legally dedicated for conservation and recreational improvements and should be exempt from across-the-board funding reductions.
This article was produced by the National Wild Turkey Federation.