Federal Government—Pittman-Robertson Act
The Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, popularly known as the Pittman-Robertson Act, was approved by Congress in 1937.
- The Act provides funding for the selection, restoration, and improvement of wildlife habitat, and for wildlife management research.
- In 1970, the Dingell-Hart Bill amended the act to include funding for hunter recruitment and retention education programs, and for the development and operation of public target ranges for hunter proficiency, recruitment, and retention. Since 1972, funding for these projects has come from one-half of the excise tax on all ammunition and handguns.
Funds for the Act come from an 11% federal excise tax on sporting arms, ammunition, bows over 30-lb. draw weight, quivers, broadheads, points, etc.; a tax of 45¢ per non-wooden arrow shaft; and a 10% tax on handguns. These funds are collected from the manufacturers and are distributed each year to the states and territorial areas by the Department of the Interior.
- Each state’s portion of the federal funds for wildlife restoration is based on 50% of the state’s size (land and inland water area) and 50% on the number of licensed hunters (limited to only one purchased permit per person). No funds are received for free permits states issue such as landowner and other fee-exempt permits.
- Each state’s proportion of the federal funds for hunter education and target ranges is based on state population (U.S. Census Report) only.
- In both cases, the state covers the full amount of an approved project up front and then applies for reimbursement through federal aid for up to 75% of their expenses up to the state’s limit; the state is responsible for the other 25% of the costs and any costs over its apportioned limit.