The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) distributed $1,093,154,901 to state wildlife agencies in 2021 through the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (WSFR). Nearly 70 percent of that total, or $678,894,449, is a result of excise taxes on guns, ammunition and archery equipment as per the Pittman-Robertson Act.
Since the establishment of that act in 1937, purchases by hunters and those using ammunition and firearms generated $13.6 billion, thus marking the largest single source of funding for wildlife conservation.
“State fish and wildlife agencies are critically important to this nation’s on-the-ground conservation efforts,” said Sara Parker Pauley, Director of the Missouri Department of Conservation and President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. “The Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration (WSFR) Program provides funding for states to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, their habitats and the hunting, sport fishing and recreational boating opportunities they provide for generations to come.”
Rooted in the Pittman–Robertson Act of 1937, the Dingell–Johnson Act of 1950, and the Wallop–Breaux Amendment of 1984, the WSFR program establishes a conservation partnership among state wildlife agencies, the outdoor industry and the USFWS. When hunters, anglers and boaters purchase equipment and fuel, the manufacturers, producers and importers of those goods pay into the Wildlife Restoration, Sport Fish Restoration and Boating trust funds. These funds are distributed by the USFWS to ensure wildlife agencies in all states, commonwealths and territories receive support.
Go here to read a news release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as well as to see a state-by-state breakdown of the funding distribution.
(Photo source: Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation)