How do hunters help with wildlife conservation?
Hunters and anglers help fund a range of conservation programs through the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, or more commonly known as the Pittman-Robertson Act. The Act sends revenue from an excise tax on firearms, ammunition and archery equipment to state wildlife agencies to be used for wildlife conservation projects, outdoor recreation access and hunter education.
State agencies can only use money from the Pittman-Robertson Act for a primary wildlife purpose. For example, purchasing public land, improving essential habitat and creating additional outdoor recreation opportunities that also benefit hikers and bikers, photographers and birders, canoeists and campers.
Since 1937, there has been $19 billion for wildlife and habitat conservation, including $1.1 billion in 2017. These annual payments to state fish and wildlife agencies have resulted in the recovery of deer, turkeys and other non-game species, which have benefits to hunters and non-hunters alike. It has also led to the acquisition of millions of acres of public lands.
How can non-hunters help with wildlife conservation?
- Buy a hunting or fishing license every year, even if you don’t hunt or fish. The fees go directly to the state wildlife agency to help with all types of wildlife management.
- Buy a Federal Duck Stamp. For every dollar spent on the stamp, ninety-eight cents will go directly to purchase vital waterfowl habitat in the National Wildlife Refuge System.
- Join a local chapter of a conservation group, such as Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Pheasants Forever, or Back Country Hunters & Anglers. Non-hunters can step up and demand to participate in conservation funding, like the Outdoor Recreation Tax that would give non-hunters a voice in the conversation surrounding conservation.
So, the next time you see a hunter, consider saying ‘Thank You’ for being an active part to conserve our wildlife and our wild spaces.