Why It Matters: The funds that are being distributed by the Department of the Interior are generated entirely by sportsmen and women through the purchases of firearms, ammunition, fishing tackle, and motorboat fuel. For over 80 years, sportsmen and women have played an integral and unique role in providing the vast majority of conservation funding in the United States through a “user pays — public benefits” structure known as the “American System of Conservation Funding”. For most states, the combination of the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson Acts, in addition to hunting and fishing license sales, accounts for 80% of state fish and wildlife agency revenue, but in some cases these programs account for 100% of agency budgets.
- Last week, the Department of the Interior announced the apportionment of more than $1.6 billion in funding that is generated on the backs of sportsmen and women through excise taxes on recreational shooting, hunting, fishing, and boating equipment.
- This announcement marks back-to-back years of record-breaking funding generated under the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson Acts – programs that are overwhelmingly supported by the industry manufacturers who pay these excise taxes.
- The combination of Pittman-Robertson, Dingell-Johnson, and hunting and fishing license revenue has secured the hunting, recreational shooting, fishing, and boating community as the nation’s leading conservationists for over 85 years.
- Specifically, the Pittman-Robertson Act generated $1.19 billion for FY23 while the Dingell-Johnson Act provided more than $424 million.
Last Friday, the Department of the Interior announced $1.6 billion of sportsmen-generated funding under the Pittman-Robertson (P-R) Act and the Dingell-Johnson (D-J) Act, delivering back-to-back years of record funding.
The Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson Acts are celebrated and unparalleled partnerships that support and bolster our hunting, recreational shooting, fishing, and boating heritage. Enacted in 1937 at the request of hunters and recreational shooters, the Pittman-Robertson Act directs manufacturer level and supported excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment to be used for wildlife conservation purposes, hunter education, and programs to increase access for hunting and target shooting. Last year, CSF led the development of a document that celebrates the 85th anniversary of the Pittman-Robertson Act, which was supported by more than 45 organizations, including the trade organizations who represent firearms, ammunition, and archery manufacturers.
Recognizing the success of P-R, in 1950, the Dingell-Johnson Act was enacted to establish a similar funding structure for to promote fishing and boating through excise taxes on fishing tackle and certain boating equipment. Since that time, P-R and D-J have served has the lifeblood of most state fish and wildlife agencies and continues to be heralded as the most successful conservation program in the world.
The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation is excited to see back-to-back recording-breaking funding for state-based conservation and access programs. CSF thanks the industry manufacturers who provide the funding for P-R and D-J and herald the program for its unmatched success.