Contact: Nick Buggia, Upper Midwestern States Manager
Why it Matters: Michigan Senate Resolution 68 (SR 68), which declares July as “Conservation Month” in the state, celebrates the American System of Conservation (ASCF) and the role that sportsmen and women play in both funding conservation and helping to manage wildlife populations. In 2020 alone, hunters and anglers contributed more than $90 million to conservation through the ASCF and contribute $11.2 billion to Michigan’s economy annually, creating 171,000 jobs in the state.
On June 23, the Michigan Seante passed Senate Resolution 68 (SR 68), a resolution sponsored by Michigan Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair Sen. Jon Bumstead. SR 68 declared July as Conservation Month in the Great Lakes State. This resolution was intended to celebrate Michigan’s sportsmen and women, their contribution to conservation, and to highlight Michigan’s outdoor heritage and natural wonder.
July 1, 2021, marks the 83rd anniversary of the effective date for the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, more commonly known as the Pittman-Robertson Act, which provides funding for state fish and wildlife management agencies across the nation through self-imposed excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment. This act works in combination with the Dingell-Johnson Act – which provides similar funding from excise taxes on fishing tackle and motorboat fuel. Combined with hunting and fishing licenses fees, these federal excise taxes generate hundreds of millions of dollars each year through the American System of Conservation Funding.
In Michigan, this System provided over $93 million in 2020 alone and is the primary funding source for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ conservation efforts in the state. Additionally, hunters and anglers contribute $11.2 billion to Michigan’s economy and create 171,000 jobs while engaging in their pursuits, making these activities one of the state’s top 10 job-creating industries, according to a recent study by the Michigan United Conservation Clubs.
The resolution also marks the eighth anniversary of the creation of the Michigan Wildlife Council (Council), a non-partisan panel entrusted with educating the public about the importance of wildlife management and preserving Michigan’s outdoor heritage for future generations. For the past eight years, the Council has worked to educate Michiganders on how hunting and angling, not state tax dollars, provide the bulk of conservation funding in the state. In addition to educating the public about conservation funding, the Council also informs the public about the importance of science-based wildlife management and the important role hunting and fishing play in keeping our wildlife populations healthy and sustainable. Since its creation, more Michiganders than ever understand how hunting and angling fund conservation and help to provide wildlife for all to enjoy.
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?