The modernization of wildlife conservation funding took a step forward earlier this week as the House Committee on Natural Resources gave the nod to legislation aimed at recruitment and retention of new hunters.
H.R. 2591, Modernizing the Pittman-Robertson Fund for Tomorrow’s Needs Act of 2017, was authored by Rep. Austin Scott, R-Ga., with original co-sponsors Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-S.C., Rep. Gene Green, D-Texas, and Rep. Marc Veasey, D-Texas.
Scott, a member of the House Agriculture Committee and vice chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, introduced the bipartisan legislation to allow states to use more funds for the recruitment of hunters and recreational shooters.
H.R. 2591 amends the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937, commonly referred to as the Pittman-Robertson Act, to allow additional funding for hunter recruitment, retention and reactivation (R3) efforts in two ways.
The first would provide financial and technical assistance to states for the promotion of hunting and recreational shooting, which would allow a broader use in how those funds can be used, such as providing ranges for recreational shooters.
The second change would allow use of a portion of funds to be used for marketing of R3. More hunters and shooters would mean more Pittman-Robertson dollars to put conservation into action across the nation on a larger scale.
The Pittman-Robertson Act is funded by an excise tax on firearm and ammunition purchases. These funds are distributed to state wildlife agencies and earmarked for hunter education programs and projects to restore and manage wildlife habitat.