March 17, 2016

Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus Members Introduce Legislation to Benefit Hunter Ed., Conservation

Recently, leaders of the Senate Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) introduced the Modernizing the Pittman-Robertson Fund for Tomorrow’s Needs Act in the U.S. Senate, legislation that will improve the current funding system for wildlife conservation.

Introduced by CSC Members Co-Chairs Jim Risch (ID) and Senator Joe Manchin (WV), with original cosponsors CSC Vice-Chairs Senator Deb Fischer (NE) and Senator Heidi Heitkamp (ND), this proposed legislation will update the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937, clarifying that one of the purposes of the legislation is to “extend financial and technical support to the states for promotion of hunting and recreational shooting.” More specifically, this legislation will allocate a portion of the Pittman-Robertson Fund towards hunter recruitment and retention through national outreach and marketing campaigns, as well as providing education and mentoring to new hunters and recreational shooters. 

“By introducing this legislation, Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus leadership has taken an important step in advancing our nation’s hunting heritage and furthering the successful state-based conservation efforts,” said Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation President Jeff Crane. “Although sportsmen and women’s contributions fund wildlife conservation throughout the country, it is a ‘user pays – public benefits’ program, and recruiting new hunters not only shows Americans the great outdoors, it allows wildlife and their habitat to be conserved in the future.” The excise taxes paid by hunters and recreational shooters which forms the basis of the Pittman-Robertson fund, support a variety of wildlife conservation efforts. This program, known as the American System of Conservation Funding, benefits all Americans.

“This legislation is so important because it will strengthen efforts to educate and recruit hunters and recreational shooters in our country” said Senator Risch. “Whether for the purpose of putting food on the table, for game management purposes, or for passing a tradition down to other generations, hunting and shooting sports are important for many reasons. This update to the Pittman-Robertson Fund will provide state agencies the tools they need to provide and enhance recreational opportunities for all Americans who enjoy the outdoors.” 

“As an avid sportsman, I know firsthand that our hunting and fishing heritage is so important to who we are as West Virginians and as Americans,” Senator Manchin said. “The Modernizing the Pittman-Robertson Fund for Tomorrow’s Needs Act will help continue this important heritage for hunters, anglers, recreational shooters and outdoor enthusiasts in West Virginia and throughout the country. It will allow for the continued operation and maintenance of our wildlife management areas while helping protect the important traditions that our nation’s outdoors offer to generations of Americans.” 

On March 22, CSF and the Archery Trade Association will host a Breakfast Briefing on Capitol Hill covering this new modification.

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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