Hunting & Fishing
Hunting and Fishing are Key to Conservation
For some people, hunting and fishing seems contradictory to conservation. Yet hunters and anglers were among the first conservationists. In the first half of the 20th century, leaders like Theodore Roosevelt and Aldo Leopold shaped a set of ideals that came to be known as the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. The model has two basic principles – that our fish and wildlife belong to all Americans and that they need to be managed in a way that their populations will be sustained forever.
Hunters also recognized the need for a significant and sustainable source of funding for wildlife stewardship. In 1937, the Pittman-Robertson act was passed to put an excise tax on all firearms and ammunition, so a portion of those sales would be dedicated to managing the wildlife entrusted to the public. That was followed in 1950 by the Dingell-Johnson Act, which placed a similar tax on fishing equipment.
Those voluntary acts by sportsmen were responsible for bringing back healthy populations of wildlife that had been on the brink of extinction in the mid-1800s. And they are still at work today. Every time you buy hunting and fishing gear, you contribute to this fund. The Pittman-Robertson Act generates $700 million annually, which is distributed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to state fish and game agencies across America. This money has been used far and wide to conserve America’s key wildlife habitat and support not just sport fish and game animals but all fish and wildlife.
The United States has the most successful wildlife management system in the world. Hunters and anglers have contributed more financial and physical support to that system than any other group of individuals.
Thank you for contributing to that success as a sportsman or sportswoman and helping to pass on America’s cherished outdoor heritage.
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