Texas to receive $51.5M from excise taxes on hunters, anglers

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will disburse $1.1 billion in excise tax revenues paid by sportsmen and sportswomen to state fish and wildlife agencies to fund fish and wildlife conservation and recreation projects, including more than $51 million in Texas.

The Service apportions the funds to all states through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration and Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration programs. Revenues come from excise taxes generated by the sale of sporting firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, fishing equipment and tackle and electric outboard motors. Recreational boaters also contribute to the program through fuel taxes on motorboats and small engines.

The distributions this year are $238.4 million higher than last year due to inclusion of funds not given out last year because of sequestration and an increase in excise tax receipts from sales of firearms and ammunition in the Wildlife Restoration Trust Fund.

The Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program reimburses as much as 75 percent of the cost of each eligible project, while state fish and wildlife agencies contribute a minimum of 25 percent, generally using hunting and fishing license revenues as the required non-federal match.

Funding is paid by manufacturers, producers and importers and is distributed by the Service’s Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program to each state and territory.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs have generated more than $15 billion since their inception — 1937 for the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Program and 1950 for the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Program — to conserve resources. State agencies have matched these program funds with more than $5 billion.

Pittman-Robertson funds total $35,275,009 and Dingell-Johnson funds $16,287,011 for Texas this year.

Will Leschper is founder of The Texas Outdoor Digest. He has been recognized for Excellence in Craft by the Outdoor Writers Association of America and the Texas Outdoor Writers Association. He is Conservation Editor of Texas Fish & Game Magazine and is a regular contributor to the Journal of the Texas Trophy Hunters, in addition to writing for plenty of of now-defunct publications.