Before the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs, the future looked dim for wildlife. By the early 1930s, unregulated market hunting and destruction of habitat had devastated many wildlife species, including white-tailed deer, wild turkey, and wood duck. Some species, such as the passenger pigeon, were driven to extinction. Conservation efforts were limited to enforcing game laws; no funds were available to purchase
habitat or conduct scientific research.
In an effort to establish a stable funding mechanism to reverse the decline of wildlife populations, the hunting community, and the firearms and ammunition industries united in support of an innovative program to restore wildlife.
The Federal Assistance in Wildlife Restoration Act was passed by Congress in 1937. It directed an existing federal excise tax on firearms and ammunition to fund State wildlife projects, enabling State agencies to move beyond law enforcement and actively restore our natural heritage. More than $3.2 billion have been used for wildlife since the program was established.
This Act helps:
- Protect habitat, more than 5 million acres have been purchased.
- Improve wildlife management through research.
- Monitor the status of wildlife populations nationwide on a state-by-state basis
- Develop public shooting ranges
- Graduate 750,000 students each year from a hunter education course
Look for the Logo
The Wildlife Restoration logo indicates that the manufacturer has paid an excise tax on that product to the Wildlife Restoration fund. The logo displayed at a wildlife management area or in a hunter education classroom means the Wildlife Restoration Program is working.
|Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs
Region 3: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service