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The precarious position of wildlife conservation funding in the United States

May 2, 2021

The Pittman-Robertson Act was established in 1937 to fund state-based wildlife conservation through an existing excise tax on sporting arms and ammunition. Because these items were purchased mostly by hunters at the time, they were the user group primarily funding wildlife conservation. Subsequent amendments to Pittman-Robertson expanded the taxable items to include pistols, revolvers, and archery equipment, effectively broadening the pool of conservation funding contributors to include non-hunters. The continuing trends of declining hunting participation, increasing handgun sales for non-hunting purposes, and increasing sport shooting and target archery independent of hunting, mean that non-hunters are contributing a disproportionately greater amount to Pittman-Robertson funding than hunters, and therefore contributing more to wildlife conservation. The evolving sources of revenue to Pittman-Robertson pose several threats to this historically important source of conservation funding. Addressing them may require new funding coalitions and outreach describing the conservation benefits and outcomes of Pittman-Robertson funding.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2022
Title The precarious position of wildlife conservation funding in the United States
DOI 10.1080/10871209.2021.1904307
Authors Mark D. Duda, Tom Beppler, Douglas S. Austen, John F. Organ
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Human Dimensions of Wildlife
Index ID 70220305
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Coop Res Unit Atlanta

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