A Thank You to Sportsmen and Sportswomen for Their Contributions
By Steve Stuchlik
As 2021 winds to a close and in this time of thanksgiving, I have been reflecting on how lucky we are to live in this great corner of our country with its abundant outdoor recreation opportunities. For me, I was lucky enough to get out for several days of hunting and fishing in 2021 – with some lucky days (and some not quite so lucky). But, had it not been for the foresight of our predecessors and the cooperation of sportsmen and women in the mid-twentieth century, such opportunities may not be as readily available.
In 1937, Congress passed the “Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937,” and in 1950, Congress passed the “Federal Aid in Sportfish Restoration Act.” Commonly, the two pieces of legislation are referred to as the Pittman-Robertson Act and the Dingell-Johnson Act, respectively – so named for the legislators sponsoring each bill. Although there have been several amendments to both bills since their enaction, the gist of both remains the same. A coalition of sportsmen and women voluntarily agreed to use monies generated from excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, and fishing equipment to go directly to support conservation programs and sporting education opportunities.
According to the Department of the Interior, in 2020, sportsmen and women generated nearly $1 billion in excise tax revenue from qualifying purchases. * Money generated by Pittman-Robertson, Dingell-Johnson, and licensing fees generally accounts for nearly 80% of State fish and wildlife revenue. ** In 2020, Idaho and Oregon collectively received over $40 million in Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson grant funding for the purpose of fish and wildlife conservation, restoration, and public opportunities.***
Knowing what I know, I take solace in the fact that every time I go chukar hunting and shoot through a box of shells with nothing to show for it but sore legs, I still donated to a good cause. My dad always used to joke when it came to most days steelhead fishing we were better off driving to the river, pitching $50 in, and going home. As for me? I would rather do what I usually do – drive to the river, pitch $50 worth of gear in the river, and go home. At least I know that the money I spent on that gear is going to make sure there will still be fish in the river for me to not catch the next time.
So, thank you, sportsmen and sportswomen! Keep up the good work, and here’s to another year of enjoying the outdoors!
* ** *** https://www.doi.gov/pressreleases/sportsmen-and-sportswomen-generate-nearly-1-billion-conservation-funding
Steve Stuchlik - Attorneys at Stuchlik Law PLLC practicing estate planning, probate, real property, and local government law.