deer hunt hunting
(AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
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There’s something the 10 million or so first-time gun buyers that have joined the ranks of America’s firearms owners in the last 18 months probably don’t know. Every gun and round of ammunition they buy carries an 11% excise tax that goes to fund something called the Wildlife Restoration Fund. It’s better known as the Pittman-Robertson Act.

duck hunting
Dan Z for TTAG

The money is spent is distributed by the federal Fish & Wildlife Services to states to for wildlife and habitat conservation, increased hunter access and construction on new public gun ranges and improvements to existing ranges. And with gun and ammo sales still boom ing, the states are seeing record remittances. The amount contributed since the fund was started just topped $14 billion.

Here’s the NSSF’s press release . . .

NSSF, the firearm industry trade association, marked a milestone achievement when firearm and ammunition manufacturers topped $14.1 billion in contributions to the Wildlife Restoration Trust Fund since its inception in 1937.

“This is truly a remarkable win for wildlife conservation,” said Joe Bartozzi, NSSF’s President and CEO. “This fund has been responsible for the restoration and recovery of America’s iconic game species, including the Rocky Mountain elk, whitetail deer, pronghorn antelope, wild turkeys and a variety of waterfowl. It is also responsible for funding the recovery and conservation of nongame species, including the American bald eagle, reptiles, fauna and conservation lands that allow them to thrive. The firearm industry is proud to perform such an important and vital function to ensure America’s wildlife remains abundant for future generations.”

deer hunt hunters hunting

The Wildlife Restoration Trust Fund, commonly known as the Pittman-Robertson fund or Firearms and Ammunition Excise Tax, is a tax paid by firearm and ammunition manufacturers on the products they produce. The excise tax is set at 11 percent of the wholesale price for long guns and ammunition and 10 percent of the wholesale price for handguns. The excise tax, paid by manufacturers and importers, applies basically to all firearms produced or imported for commercial sales, whether their purpose is for recreational shooting, hunting or personal defense. The tax is currently administered by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) in the Department of the Treasury, which turns the funds over to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

USFWS then deposits the Pittman-Robertson revenue into a special account called the Wildlife Restoration Trust Fund, which is administered by the USFWS. These funds are made available to states and territories the year following their collection.

These 10 to 11 percent excise tax dollars collected since 1937 under the Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act are specifically designated to be used by state wildlife agencies for conservation. Collectively, purchasers of firearms and ammunition, hunters and the industry are the greatest source of wildlife conservation funding.

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  1. And AOC and her merry “squad” of squaws will move to seize those in 3….2….1

  2. Me: Taxes on constitutional rights are unconstitutional.

    Also me: But those Pittman-Robertson funds do a shit ton of good for conservation and shooting.

    • It is wrong, even though some good may come from it. Guns and ammo should be taxed the same as everything else. Pittman-Robertson act is fraud.

  3. I don’t trust tax dollars to be spent wisely, no matter the cause.

    I wish the article went into the effectiveness of this slush fund. At least I can try to do it myself…

  4. They “harass” me when I buy ammo at Indiana Cabelas. “Round up” for conservation? Their outdoor rewards card is fairly worthless now. Can’t get a discount unless you spent a LOT. Oh well. I know about all the taxes…

    • The one in Hammond used to be a great store.
      Then Bass Pro bought it and now it’s basically a Bass Pro.
      A lot of stores do the round up change crap.
      Some Home Depots tell you they will keep the change, pay with a card.
      National change shortage, Blah, Blah Blah.
      Where did the change go? Were people eating it?

  5. Don’t know how many remember this but the Clinton admin. got caught raiding the Pittman Robertson fund , using it for a slush fund. What do you think may be happening now. Ever see a politician that could keep their dirty hands off other peoples money ?

    • I do…it’s a Dim habit. Not that republicans don’t steal er access the goodies. Quite the thing in ILLinoyed.

  6. Here is what I find to be much more interesting:

    If Pittman-Robertson Act has collected $14 billion, that means the good people of our nation have purchased about $127 billion in firearms and ammunition!

    That is about 1/8th trillion dollars!!!

    Good work ladies and gentlemen!

  7. More money than all the animal rights combined have ever or will ever contribute to wildlife.

  8. The Pittman-Robertson Act has collected $14 billion. Meanwhile, the MI DNR has closed at least 2 or 3 public ranges in my area (Grand Rapids) and opened zero new ones. What happened to those billions of dollars that were supposed to help me, the shooter who paid a large sum into this fund? They’re certainly not being used to create or maintain new gun ranges. Pittman-Robertson is a joke, on us. It’s a scam and it needs to be repealed and govt refunds issued.

    • Call your DNR and ask. If I read the report correctly, Michigan was granted some $14M (general) plus $3.6M (hunter ed) for 2020. Only a handful of states got more. It’s your state, so hold their feet to the fire.

  9. Piss on this nonsense. Let Elmer Fudd conserve his own hobbies. Why should non hunting collectors/hobby/competitive shooters be left holding the bag? I know I haven’t seen any new state ranges built. They don’t even keep up the few state ranges that already are built that they, by the way, still charge usage fees for!

    Not to mention, since when can we tax rights again ?

  10. What does Pittman-Robison do for “shooting?” Serious question. I see it as a tax on self defense and the 2nd A. Where are the ranges and shoot houses? We pay for conservation in Missouri with a sales tax on all goods as well as hunting permit fees on the king’s deer. How about we repeal the Fudd tax?

    • I used to sit on an IA DNR Commission that doled out P-R money as awards for grant proposals to various entities and I was never satisfied or trusting of what “the state” claimed was available. We’d inevitably award perhaps 3 different ranges or county authorities a few bucks, never close to the $9 million mentioned in the latest Fed accounting for our state. The real key is how the state agancy receiving the funds decides to use it. “Government” is never a good place to place one’s money, only to redistribute that which used to belong to someone else. THAT you can “take to the bank”.

  11. Maybe so.
    I found out I ain’t going pig hunting no more.
    Not what I’d thought it would be. Never hunted pigs before, wasn’t having much luck. A local took me out and “showed me how its done” .
    Theres a difference between hunting and killing.
    I know, I know, tearing up the land, vermin, pest,eradication and all that.
    Gut shooting a running enemy or whatever it takes after suckering them into position, kill or wound as many as you can, dunno I kinda felt like pucking, and Im not getting hard like that over a pig.
    Just thought I’d brief anyone interested as I’d said I’d found a free place to hunt hogs and was jacked about it.

    • Bah. One guy’s operation left a bad taste in your mouth? Spit him out and find a place to do it your way.

      For the record, I agree with you. Hosing ‘em down is not my way either. “One shot, meat…”

      • “Hosing ‘em down is not my way either. ”

        Friend of mine has been shooting hogs out of a helicopter. Can do amazing things when you’re willing to spend the money…

    • possum……..I killed 7 out of my bedroom window that were in my yard. All clean, quick kills. They were taken one at a time over 7 nights ( about 2:30 a m.)

    • Possum, that’s close to my personal opinion concerning shooting prairie dogs or other rodents. In all seriousness, if “killing” is the only real goal, we, and the country would all be far better off going down to the southern border and setting up on the north side of the Rio Grande for a while…

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