Habitat & Conservation  |  03/08/2023

Pittman-Robertson Funding Breaks Annual Record


$1.2 Billion to Support Conservation throughout the Country

Conservation funding via the Pittman-Robertson Act has once again surpassed its annual record. 

Nearly $1.2 billion was raised through the program during the 2023 fiscal year, surpassing last year’s record $1.1 billion mark. The money will be invested in conservation programs, practices and initiatives from coast-to-coast. 

The Pittman-Robertson Act was signed into law by President Franklin Roosevelt in 1937, as wildlife populations suffered nationwide. The bill implements an 11 percent tax on the wholesale price of rifles, shotguns and ammunition, and a 10 percent tax on handguns. It’s paid by manufacturers and applies to all commercial sales whether their purpose is hunting, sport shooting or personal defense. The tax is handled by the Department of the Treasury, which turns the funds over to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service who then allocates money to individual states. 

States use their Pittman-Robertson funds to restore, manage and enhance wildlife habitat for pheasants, quail, waterfowl, deer, elk and countless other birds and mammals. They also help provide public access to wildlife resources and support hunter education programs. 

In the 86 years since it was established, the service has distributed more than $25 billion for state conservation and public access projects. 

“Pittman-Robertson is one of the most successful models of conservation funding we have in this country,” said Ron Leathers, Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s chief conservation officer. “For going on a century, sportsmen and women have carried the burden of conseration funding by voluntarily taxing themselves to directly improve local wildlife habitat. Whether you’re a quail hunter or an elk hunter, this funding helps ensure the land and wildlife you hold dear will be there for decades to come.” 

Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever recently announced a new five-year partnership with the Ohio Division of Wildlife that’s a great example of Pittman-Robertson dollars in action. The program will use matching Pittman-Robertson funds to help improve upland habitat across the state by targeting public lands in Ohio that have wild pheasant and/or quail populations. Habitat restoration efforts will focus on using prescribed burns, aerial herbicide application and other habitat tools to restore grassland habitat impacted by invasive species or woody succession. The partnership is on track to improve up to 3,000 acres in its first year. 

Learn more about Pittman-Robertson https://www.fws.gov/press-release/2023-03/over-16-billion-will-support-conservation-agencies-and-outdoor-access