On March 19, Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt announced the disbursement of $1 billion in funding that is generated on the backs of sportsmen and women through excise taxes on sporting equipment for the purposes of state-based conservation and access projects.
For over 80 years, sportsmen and women have played an integral and unique role in providing the vast majority of state-based conservation funding in the United States through a “user pays – public benefits” program known as the American System of Conservation Funding, in which those who consumptively use the resource pay for the privilege, and in some cases the right to use the resource. Specifically, the funds disbursed from the Department of the Interior are generated through excise taxes on sporting equipment such as firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, fishing tackle, and motorboat fuel under the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson Acts.
“Our conservation model is funded and supported by America’s hunters, shooters, anglers, boaters and other outdoor enthusiasts. These stewards of conservation generated nearly a billion dollars last year alone and make our country’s conservation legacy the envy of the world,” said Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt.
“Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson funds coupled with sporting licenses are the lifeblood of state fish and wildlife agencies. These funds – generated solely by sportsmen and women – often account for 80% or more of state fish and wildlife agency revenue and are critically important to ensuring the completion of on-the-ground conservation, research and access projects,” said Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) President Jeff Crane. “CSF applauds the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for promptly distributing these ‘user pays-public benefits’ funds in a timely manner.”
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?