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Boone and Crockett Club: Follow the Money
Thursday, March 22, 2018

The Department of the Interior and Secretary Zinke yesterday announced the distribution of $1.1 billion to state fish and wildlife agencies for fish, wildlife and habitat conservation projects. Sportsmen, through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration and Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Acts, provided the money.

"Some people, even if they support the idea of wildlife conservation, may actually be opposed to hunting and fishing, but there is no denying that sportsmen foot the bill for the majority of conservation actions in this country," said Ben B. Hollingsworth Jr., president of the Boone and Crockett Club. "I am proud of the Club's involvement in establishing the 'user-pays' system that provides such critical funding for wildlife and habitat."

The Boone and Crockett Club helped draft and facilitate the passing of the Pittman-Robertson Act by Congress in 1937. The Act places an excise tax on the purchases sportsmen make for sporting arms and ammunition. These funds are distributed annually to state fish and wildlife agencies for wildlife and habitat conservation projects. Plans for what to do with the money must be submitted to and approved by the Secretary of the Interior.

Based on the success of Pittman-Robertson and the need for conservation funding for fisheries and waterways, Congress passed a similar act in 1950. The Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration, commonly called the Dingell-Johnson Act, distributes funds to state agencies collected from an excise tax on sport fishing tackle, boats and boating fuel.

"The history of conservation in North America is highlighted with examples of sportsmen stepping up to do what is needed," Hollingsworth Jr. explained. "Can you imagine? The Pittman-Robertson Act was passed during the height of the Great Depression, yet sportsmen recognized the tremendous value in wildlife for themselves and for future generations, and agreed to tax themselves. That's a profound commitment that should not be overlooked or forgotten."

Through these two pieces of conservation legislation, hunters, recreational shooters and anglers have contributed more than $20 billion to date for state fish and wildlife programs.

"It's an undisputed truth--hunting and fishing are irreplaceable mechanisms for conservation," Hollingsworth Jr. concluded. "Without this level of funding being distributed every year it would be impossible for fish, wildlife and parks agencies to deliver the healthy fish and wildlife populations that people expect, and the habitats that support them and us. Every year with the distribution of these funds, we're reminded how conservation is largely funded in this country. Sportsmen should be extremely proud to be a part of this legacy. I know our Club members are."

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