Habitat & Conservation  |  07/06/2022

Bedrock Funding Source for Wildlife Habitat Conservation Under Attack in DC

Photo by Matt Addington

Pittman-Robertson Act has generated $15 billion in funding for critical wildlife habitat conservation over the past 85 years

Late last month, a bill was introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R. 8167) proposing a path toward dismantling the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, otherwise known as the Pittman-Robertson (P-R) Act.

Click here to read more about legislative bill HR8167

"Pittman-Robertson funding is a foundational component to the North American model of wildlife conservation and critically important for every state natural resource agency in America.  Perhaps a better understanding of P-R funding’s crucial importance to America’s wildlife and wild places is the silver lining to this terrible legislative proposal,” explained Ron Leathers, PF & QF’s chief conservation officer.

Signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937, the P-R Act is widely regarded as THE most vital source of funding for state wildlife agencies and associated conservation projects in all 50 states. The Act imposes an excise tax on specific outdoor goods – set by law at 11% of the wholesale price for long guns and ammunition, and 10% for handguns, ammunition, and archery equipment – and distributes the proceeds to state wildlife agencies. Since inception 85 years ago, P-R funds have contributed more than $15 billion dollars to wildlife management and habitat protection, including additional billions in matching funds (hunting license sales) from state agencies.

These dollars from manufacturer taxes on ammunition, firearms, and archery equipment go toward projects to restore, conserve, manage and enhance wildlife populations and their habitats. States and territories also use these funds to support access for wildlife-related recreation, hunter education and development, and the construction and operations of target ranges. The Department of the Treasury turns the funds over to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for apportionments to states.

Throughout history, it’s rare to find an industry that supports imposing an excise tax on itself for the good of that industry’s long-term future; in this case through healthier wildlife populations and wild places. This partnership between firearms and ammunition manufacturers and our conservation community is by far America's largest contributor to wildlife habitat and public access – and the main reason why the Pittman-Robertson Act must remain intact.

“Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever are committed to ensuring that P-R funding for state wildlife agencies remains intact and undiminished,” added Leathers.

For the latest conservation policy news, visit pheasantsforever.org/conservationpolicy.