I know I speak for many when I say that each year arrows are lost, new guns are added to the lineup or an upgrade is splurged on, and a variety of licenses across multiple states are purchased. All of these purchases mean big things for conservation! I’m a firm believer that knowing the impact that a sportsmen’s dollar has is powerful across many fronts: you can arm yourself with information to educate others and increase awareness as well as to be proud of your contribution to conservation.
The Pittman-Robertson Act
The decline of wildlife populations in the early 1900s was a catalyst for implementing a self-imposed excise tax on firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment. This is the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act which is commonly referred to as the Pittman-Robertson Act. Need a reason to pull the trigger on that new shotgun you’ve been eyeing up? Your purchase packs a punch! Thanks to the P-R Act, your dollar helps state agencies to research wildlife, acquire, create and enhance wildlife habitat, fund and enhance hunter education programs, establish new public target ranges, and many more good things - all in the name of wildlife restoration.
11% federal excise tax on sporting arms, ammunition, and archery equipment
10% tax on handguns
One-half of the excise tax on handguns and archery equipment is used for hunter education and target ranges.
Federal Duck Stamp
If you spend your fall and winter in search of migratory waterfowl, then you’ve purchased a beautifully illustrated Federal Waterfowl Stamp to do so! Since its inception, duck stamps have enabled the conservation of over 5.7 MILLION acres of habitat benefiting birds and other wildlife. That habitat creation and enhancement is for more than just the birds - it provides invaluable ecosystem services like aiding flood control, reducing soil erosion and sedimentation, purifying water, providing recreational opportunities, and more. With 98% of the purchase price going directly to these efforts, the duck stamp is not only a way to abide by the laws as a hunter, but also a way to put your stamp on conservation and put more birds in the sky. Consider picking up an extra stamp or two to bolster your collection!
Now lets get local! If you’re anything like me, a post-hunt cheeseburger is a must-have and besides actual petroleum, nothing fuels scouting more than a good ice cream cone. Your out-of-town stay at the not-so-ritzy hotel, the last minute trip to the local sporting goods store for the piece of gear you left back at home, and the mom & pop cafe you’ll frequent for a few hearty meals--all are important to Small-Town, USA. Hunting seasons bring residents and non-residents alike to rural towns whether its for the sake of tradition or new adventures, and that helps to keep the lights on for the whole year in rural towns that may not even boast a 3-digit population on the city limits sign.
A hunters dollar is a mighty one.
Renee Tomala is the Pheasants Forever Regional Representative for North Dakota, a Firearms Safety Instructor and a passionate conservation advocate. Follow her at @nay.tomala on Instagram.