Cyrus Baird For Immediate Release: 02/16/2018
Washington, D.C. (February 16, 2018) – The House Committee on Natural Resources’ Federal Lands Subcommittee held a hearing yesterday on five different pieces of legislation, including the Modernizing Pittman-Robertson Fund for Tomorrow’s Needs Act of 2017 (H.R. 2591).
Bob Ziehmer, Senior Director of Conservation for Bass Pro Shops – and Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports Board Member, testified in support of both H.R. 2591 and H.R. 4647. In his written and oral testimony to the subcommittee, Ziehmer explained the major contributions hunters and recreational target shooters have made towards conservation in the United States.
For nearly 80 years, sportsmen and women have been the driving force for conservation funding in the United States to the tune of over $10 billion through excise taxes placed on firearms, ammunition and other items. This funding program has unquestionably served as the life-blood for wildlife conservation in this nation since 1937.
For the past several decades, however, the number of licensed hunters across the United States has been on a steady and precipitous decline, with recent surveys showing a drop in over 2 million hunters since 2011. This recent accelerated decline is alarming and should be viewed as a wakeup call to not only state agencies, industry, and conservation groups, but sportsmen and women everywhere as sportsmen and women play a vital role in the United States economy.
This legislation, introduced by Congressman Austin Scott (GA-08), would allow state fish and wildlife agencies the flexibility they need to address the declining number of hunters by using existing funds from the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Fund to increase hunting and recreational shooting opportunities, and by clarifying that one of the purposes of these funds is to provide financial and technical assistance to the states for hunter recruitment and retention, hunter education programs, and education programs to the non-hunting public.
“As a lifelong outdoorsman and current Vice-Chair of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, I am committed to supporting legislation that enhances the sportsmen’s experience in the outdoors while continuing to protect our wild spaces for future generations of hunters and recreational shooters to enjoy,” said Rep. Scott. “By modernizing Pittman-Robertson funds and reexamining how they can be used by states, we can introduce a whole new generation of Americans to the outdoors and educate them on how to be safe and responsible sportsmen.”
“The Council to Advance Hunting and the Shooting Sports applauds Congressman Scott (GA-08), the Subcommittee on Federal Lands and Chairman McClintock (R-CA) for their leadership in holding a hearing on this important piece of legislation” said Cyrus Baird, Programs Director for the Council. “This legislation would help to ensure the unique user-pay model of conservation in this country is stable for generations to come.”
Purpose: Ensure support for and active participation in hunting and the shooting sports for future generations.
Vision: America where hunting and the shooting sports are an integral part of mainstream culture and where hunters and shooters are widely recognized as premiere conservation contributors.
Mission: Facilitate the promotion and growth of hunting and the shooting sports and the education of the public on the contributions that hunters and shooters make towards wildlife conservation.