Today, the Modernizing the Pittman-Robertson Fund for Tomorrow’s Needs Act (H.R. 877) was voted out of the House Committee on Natural Resources with bipartisan support. This is good news for hunters across the nation as it will allow state fish and wildlife agencies greater flexibility to use portions of their federal excise dollars for hunter and recreational shooter recruitment, retention and reactivation (R3) efforts.
“HR 877 will allow Pittman-Robertson funds to go towards ensuring more Americans take to the field. More hunters means more money for conservation. SCI commends the House Natural Resources Committee for passing HR 877 out of committee and urges Congress to bring this bipartisan legislation to the floor before the end of the year” said Ben Cassidy, SCI’s Director of Government Affairs.
Historically, sportsmen and women provide the vast majority of conservation funding through an excise tax on firearms, ammunition and other sporting goods through the Pittman-Robertson Fund and hunting licenses sales. Since 1937, more than $12 billion have been collected through this program and distributed to all 50 states and territories for conservation efforts.
To stem the decline of hunting license sales seen over the past thirty years, state fish and wildlife agencies sought to adapt and design programs to recruit and retain the next generation of hunters and recreational target shooters while encouraging those sportsmen and women who have allowed their licenses to lapse, to renew their affinity for the outdoors. This legislation will enable state fish and wildlife agencies to use their Pittman-Robertson funds for R3 efforts and ensure hunting and conservation remain strong for generations to come.
The Bill was introduced by Representative Austin Scott from Georgia. “With a national decline in hunting and participation in sportsmen activities, Pittman-Robertson funds are shrinking and our state and local habitats are suffering. I reintroduced this legislation to give states more flexibility in how they use their PR funds and hopefully attract more Americans to the outdoors in the process,” said Rep. Scott. “I am very pleased with the bipartisan and industry support for this legislation, and I look forward to advancing this legislation with my colleagues until our decades-old wildlife conservation funding receives the critical updates it deserves.”