August is National Shooting Sports Month and a time to celebrate and enjoy shooting sports across the nation. Data from the National Shooting Sports Foundation shows 60 million Americans participate in target shooting and that millions more are interested in trying target shooting. Manufacture excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment have been used by state fish and wildlife agencies to support public access, hunter education, research, and new facilities for target shooters and hunters to hone their skills.
Welcoming New Shooters and Archers
When practiced correctly, target shooting is fun, safe, and offers activities for everyone at any age and ability level. Every year, over 1 million people receive hunter education supported by excise tax funds, like at Vermont’s Green Mountain Conservation Camp, where young people learn to shoot alongside many other outdoor skills. Across the nation state agencies, supported by manufactures excise taxes, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff are expanding access to shooting sports at both the recreational and competitive level:
- Growing Opportunities- Minnesota hosted a trap shooting championship with more than 340 high school teams participating and over 7,900 student athletes in attendance. All competitors from a school compete on the same team, allowing all genders and adaptive athletes to compete on the same playing field.
Whether you are a beginner who wants to shoot a bow or rifle for the first time, or you’re a seasoned target shooter or hunter shooting ranges offer something for everyone. Currently over 777 ranges for firearms and archery are maintained and operated with grants funded by excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment. These grants are administered by The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program (WSFR). Learn more about ranges in your area from your local state fish and game agency and read more about the excise tax paying industry and the ranges they support:
- Clark County Shooting Complex- The Clark County Shooting Complex is a partnership shooting facility between the Nevada Department of Wildlife and Clark County. It is open to the public and used for hunter education programs. This shooting range facility would not be possible without excise taxes paid by manufacturers of firearms and ammunition and distributed through WSFR.
- Inside the Manufacturing that Funds Conservation- The Arizona Game and Fish Department and WSFR join Ruger and Patriot Ordnance to see firearms manufacturing up close, and to show how the funding generated by these products gets used on the ground at Arizona’s world-class Ben Avery Shooting Facility. Video produced by the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
- Pittman-Robertson Funds New Florida Range- Palm Beach is heavily developed and populated and lacked a public target shooting range until recently. A state-of-the art recreational target range, made possible through land donations and excise taxes paid by firearms, ammunition, and archery manufacturers, has expanded shooting sport access to the community.
Visit a Range or Get Involved
Often the biggest challenge for new shooters is getting started. Enrolling in hunter education courses can increase participant’s familiarity and comfort with target shooting and firearm and bow safety. Additionally, many ranges and clubs offer introductory lessons for shooting sports. Find out more about lessons and ranges near you or join the National Shooting Sport Month 2023 Range Challenge: