Why It Matters: The Pittman-Robertson Act is a celebrated partnership in support of conservation, our hunting and recreational shooting heritage, and our firearms rights. The Pittman-Robertson Act emboldens our ability to exercise our recreational shooting rights and our hunting heritage. It is through this “user pays – public benefits” structure in which those who use the resource pay for the privilege, and in some cases the right, to do so. Simply put, the Pittman-Robertson Act is the most impactful program for our sportsmen and women, firearms enthusiasts, and wildlife in this country.
On August 31, CSF was joined by 45 sporting-conservation partners in the development of an information document to celebrate 85 years of the Pittman-Robertson Act – the lynchpin to our hunting and recreational shooting heritage.
Enacted in 1937 at the request of hunters and recreational shooters, the Pittman-Robertson (P-R) Act directs manufacturer level and supported excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment to be used for wildlife conservation purposes and programs to increase access for hunting and target shooting. Since that time, the P-R Act has 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.
It is important to recognize that approximately 80% of the funding under the Pittman-Robertson Act is generated from recreational target shooters. In recognition of this, the P-R Act is one of the most critical sources of funding for the development of shooting ranges. For example, over 1,500 public shooting ranges have been developed or improved since 2014, enhancing opportunities for the public to exercise their firearms rights and enjoy our shooting heritage.
The success of the Pittman-Robertson Act is unmatched in the world. It is through this program that iconic species such as wild turkey, white-tailed deer, and other species that are cherished by sportsmen and women that were once on the brink are now thriving. In the 1930s, white-tailed deer were estimated at fewer than 500,000, however thanks to the research and management programs funded by the Pittman-Robertson Act, white-tailed deer now number nearly 30 million.
The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation is proud to support and celebrate the Pittman-Robertson Act and its benefits as the most important program in the nation for America’s sportsmen and women and firearm enthusiasts. The Pittman-Robertson Act has generated 85 years of equity for our nation’s 55 million sportsmen and women, and CSF will continue our unwavering support for this program.
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?