In the early 1900s, sportsmen’s organizations and state wildlife agencies were terrified with their unprecedented declines in U.S. wildlife populations. In order to generate funds to support state wildlife conservation efforts, the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act was passed in 1937. This act put an excise tax on firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment to be used by states to fund wildlife restoration. Today, the Act is often referred to as the Pittman-Robertson Act (P-R Act) after its two key champions: Senator Key Pittman of Nevada and Congressman Willis Robertson of Virginia.
The P-R Act generates funds through an 11% excise tax on long guns, ammunition, and archery equipment and a 10% excise tax on handguns. This tax revenue goes into a U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) account that is then divided up amongst the state wildlife agencies for wildlife restoration programs and hunter education.
So how does USFWS decide which states get the biggest piece of the Wildlife Restoration Account pie? They used a combination of total area for managed land and number of paid licensed hunters to determine the split amongst states.
In many states, public shooting ranges are maintained by the state wildlife agency.
Support your state by buying an annual hunting license, and do your part in ensuring your state has the funds they need to continue their wildlife conservation efforts.