April 2019

"Hunters are Conservationsists: Even without thinking about it!"

Hunters are conservationists in many ways. Often we focus on what we see ourselves do on a personal basis for conservation. Be it managing a game population or taking care of the land that we hunt each year. It's easy to see and recognize our personal achievements. We often don't recognize one thing we do, that makes us all one large group of conservationists: buy a rifle, pistol, ammunition or archery equipment.

Every time we purchase a new rifle or pistol and then ammunition to fire through that new rifle or pistol, we are making a contribution to conservation. Even when we decide to buy that new bow that everyone is talking about, we are being a conservationist. This is all from the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937 and signed by President Frankin D. Roosevelt. This act put a tax on all gun, ammunition and archery sales.

Funds from these sales are put into the Wildlife Restoration Trust Fund and adminstered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The funds are intended for wildlife restoration and hunter safety and education purposes. Each State has access to these funds for any programs that meet the guidelines of the Trust Fund. Without super boring details, the vast majority of the funds go to wildlife restoration projects and then second most funds go out to hunter safety programs.

In 2018, the Wildlife Restoration Trust Fund collected $797 million. It is estimated that hunters contribute about three and a half million dollars a day to conservation by purchasing taxable items and hunting licenses.

We do this from simply stopping at the store and purchasing some ammunition or our next rifle. Now, add to that, all the volunteer hours or monetary donations we make to different conservation groups around the country. When you step back and look at it collectively, we are a large group of conservationists!

Our conservation efforts don't just benefit hunting and hunting related activities. Those funds from the Pittman-Robertson Act benefit all wildlife and in return, benefit anyone that enjoys the outdoors and the wildlife that live there. So be proud of what we as hunters have done to improve the land and the habitat for the wildlife, that hunters and non-hunters enjoy.

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