Ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Hunting Is Conservation: How Wildlife is Thriving Because of Guns & Hunting

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation maintains that Hunting Is Conservation. That mantra holds true on many different fronts and in a multitude of different ways. A few years back, RMEF unveiled 25 reasons why Hunting Is Conservation.

You can add another 760.9 million reasons to that list. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell recently announced that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) will distribute nearly $1.1 billion in excise tax revenues to state and territorial fish and wildlife agencies. The bulk of that total, 69 percent or $760.9 million, comes directly from the pockets of hunters who willingly forked over those dollars. What are the excise taxes used for? The funds pay for fish and wildlife conservation and recreation projects across the nation. (A state-by-state breakdown is below.)

“People who enjoy hunting, fishing, boating and recreational shooting provide a strong foundation for conservation funding in this country,” Jewell said. “The taxes they pay on equipment and boating fuel support critical fish and wildlife management and conservation efforts, create access for recreational boating, and underpin education programs that help get kids outdoors.”

The National Shooting Sports Foundation created a new infographic (on the right) that illustrates how the outdoor industry, sportsmen and women are the greatest contributors to wildlife conservation in America. In fact, that teamwork provided nearly $9 billion over the past 76 years. (Click here to view the infographic in full size.)

As for the $1.1 billion, the FWS apportions those funds to all 50 states and territories through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration and Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration programs. Revenues come from excise taxes generated by the sale of sporting firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, fishing equipment and tackle, and electric outboard motors. Recreational boaters also contribute to the program through fuel taxes on motorboats and small engines.

“Anyone who enjoys our nation’s outdoor heritage should thank hunters, anglers, recreational boaters and target shooters,” said Dan Ashe, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “Through the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, these individuals have created a 75-year legacy for conservation of critical wildlife habitat and improved access to the outdoors for everyone.”

It turns out the total distributions this year are $238.4 million higher than last year because of the inclusion of funds that were not distributed last year because of the government sequester and an increase in excise tax receipts from sales of firearms and ammunition in the Wildlife Restoration Trust Fund.

The FWS's Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program reimburses up to 75 percent of the cost of each eligible project, while state fish and wildlife agencies contribute a minimum of 25 percent, generally using hunting and fishing license revenues as the required non-federal match.

Funding is paid by manufacturers, producers and importers and is distributed by the Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program to each state and territory.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs generated a total of more than $15 billion since their inception – in 1937 in the case of the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Program and 1950 for the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Program – to conserve fish and wildlife resources. The recipient fish and wildlife agencies have matched these program funds with more than $5 billion. This funding is critical to sustaining healthy fish and wildlife populations and providing opportunities for all to connect with nature.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Final Apportionment of Wildlife Restoration Funds and Sport Fish Restoration Funds for Fiscal Year 2014

ALABAMA                                                                           $24,306,075
ALASKA                                                                              $48,798,100
AMERICAN SAMOA                                                           $2,353,763
ARIZONA                                                                            $25,626,338
ARKANSAS                                                                        $20,182,820
CALIFORNIA                                                                      $41,588,102
COLORADO                                                                       $26,957,671
CONNECTICUT                                                                  $8,715,486
DELAWARE                                                                        $7,752,281
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA                                                  $1,085,800
FLORIDA                                                                             $24,404,776
GEORGIA                                                                            $23,306,448
GUAM                                                                                  $2,353,763
HAWAII                                                                                $7,773,961
IDAHO                                                                                 $20,286,724
ILLINOIS                                                                              $22,676,138
INDIANA                                                                              $17,301,752
IOWA                                                                                   $15,633,542
KANSAS                                                                              $18,887,612
KENTUCKY                                                                        $18,139,584
LOUISIANA                                                                         $21,261,136
MAINE                                                                                 $11,420,465
MARYLAND                                                                        $10,458,232
MASSACHUSETTS                                                            $10,516,201
MICHIGAN                                                                          $35,244,512
MINNESOTA                                                                      $35,296,856
MISSISSIPPI                                                                       $14,439,942
MISSOURI                                                                          $27,827,946
MONTANA                                                                          $27,779,751
N. MARIANA ISLANDS                                                       $2,353,763
NEBRASKA                                                                        $16,565,406
NEVADA                                                                             $18,210,335
NEW HAMPSHIRE                                                             $7,752,281
NEW JERSEY                                                                    $10,516,201
NEW MEXICO                                                                    $20,698,851
NEW YORK                                                                        $28,467,902
NORTH CAROLINA                                                            $29,553,173
NORTH DAKOTA                                                                $14,897,981
OHIO                                                                                    $22,464,377
OKLAHOMA                                                                        $23,920,300
OREGON                                                                             $24,444,659
PENNSYLVANIA                                                                  $35,731,360
PUERTO RICO                                                                    $6,600,639
RHODE ISLAND                                                                  $7,752,281
SOUTH CAROLINA                                                             $14,857,369
SOUTH DAKOTA                                                                 $17,835,269
TENNESSEE                                                                        $26,002,731
TEXAS                                                                                  $51,562,020
UTAH                                                                                    $19,693,655
VERMONT                                                                            $7,752,281
VIRGIN ISLANDS                                                                  $2,353,763
VIRGINIA                                                                               $19,046,390
WASHINGTON                                                                     $21,240,210
WEST VIRGINIA                                                                   $11,315,854
WISCONSIN                                                                         $34,208,337
WYOMING                                                                            $18,540,900

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