Those hunters supported the use of funds from an excise tax on firearms and ammunition — along with the dedicated revenue from hunting and fishing licenses — to be used exclusively by state fish and wildlife agencies. The funds were used to professionally manage fish and wildlife populations and provide access for sportsmen and the larger public to enjoy the benefits of this management. This funding mechanism was eventually expanded to include the fishing and boating communities as well as the archery community.
Accordingly, these groups produced the American System of Conservation Funding, a unique “user pays, public benefits” approach. This funding strategy has produced numerous public benefits, including abundant fish and wildlife populations, access to public lands and clean waters, improved fish and wildlife habitat, carbon sequestration, wetland protection and its associated water filtration and flood retention functions, improved soil and water conservation, shooting ranges, and boating access facilities that are available for the enjoyment of the entirety of the American public — hunters and non-hunters alike.
The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation is proud to stand with Safari Club International members coming to Congress this week to protect hunting and recreational fishing and shooting as a national heritage and look forward to the Senate taking up H.R. 4089 and passing a robust “pro-sportsmen’s package.” We will continue to be a voice and an advocate on Capitol Hill for hunters, anglers and recreational shooters across our great nation.
Jeff Crane is president of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation.