The run on firearms and ammunition since President Obama took office has frustrated many with bare shelves and long waits before orders are fulfilled. However, the surge in gun-related spending has resulted in a windfall of returns for hunters & shooters through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Program.
Today, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service announced that Pennsylvania would receive a record $19,158,429 in matching grants to fund projects to restore, conserve, manage and enhance wild birds and mammals and their habitat. Projects also include providing public use and access to wildlife resources, hunter education and development and management of public shooting ranges. The non-federal share of project funds (at least 25% of a project cost) often comes from state revenues derived from license fees paid by hunters.
The total funds dispersed nationwide come to $522.5 million for the year, and that shatters the previous record of $473 million in 2010, according to media reports. That year, Pennsylvania received $17,020,573.
The Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act includes an apportionment formula that distributes program funds to States based on the area of the state (50%) and the number of paid hunting license holders (50%). No state may receive more than 5 percent, or less than one-half of one percent of the total apportionment.
Wildlife Restoration program funds come from manufacturer excise taxes collected by the U.S. Treasury and deposited in the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Trust Fund. The Serviceâ€™s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (WSFR) administers the Trust Fund. Once collected, the funds are distributed to state fish and wildlife agencies for eligible wildlife restoration activities. The manufacturer excise taxes include:
- 10% tax on pistols, handguns, and revolvers;
- 11% on firearms and ammunition; and
- 11% tax on bows, quivers, broadheads, and points.