On March 26, the House Natural Resources Water, Oceans, and Wildlife Subcommittee held a hearing on two important bills for sportsmen’s access and financial resources – the Modernizing the Pittman-Robertson Fund for Tomorrow’s Needs Act (H.R. 877) and the ACCESS Act (H.R. 1326).
Prior to the hearing, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted a letter in support of these bills, which highlighted the importance of both bills and urged the House Natural Resources Committee to favorably advance these bills.
H.R. 877, Modernizing the Pittman-Robertson Fund for Tomorrow’s Needs Act, was introduced by the Chairs and Vice-Chairs of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC), Representatives Austin Scott (GA), Marc Veasey (TX), Richard Hudson (NC), and Debbie Dingell (MI). This legislation clarifies that one of the purposes of the Pittman-Robertson Fund (P-R) is to provide and extend financial and technical assistance to the states for hunter and recreational shooter recruitment efforts.
The Pittman-Robertson Act currently directs existing excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment to state wildlife agencies to be used for various on-the-ground conservation efforts, educational programs, and increasing public access.
Over the last decade, though, our nation has experienced a decline in hunters, which threatens the future of state-based wildlife conservation that is derived from P-R funds. H.R. 877 increases flexibility for state agencies to recruit, retain, or reactivate new, existing, or lapsed hunters and recreational shooters – and therefore help ensure the future of this critical conservation funding mechanism.
H.R. 1326, the ACCESS Act (Authorizing Critical Conservation and Enabling Sportsmen and Sportswomen), was introduced by Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus Member Representative Mike Thompson (CA). This bill contains a number of longstanding priorities for CSF, including:
H.R. 877 and H.R. 1326 now await further action in the House.
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?