U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Wildlife & Sport Fish Restoration Program

Wildlife Restoration Act

The Wildlife Restoration Act (WR), commonly referred to as the Pittman-Robertson (PR) Act, was sponsored by Senator Key Pittman of Nevada and Representative Willis Robertson of Virginia. The legislation was a cooperation between states, Federal Government, conservation groups and the sporting arms industry. The legislation was drafted by Carl Shoemaker and was passed in 1937.

The Wildlife Restoration Act provides grant funds to states, the District of Columbia and insular areas that have passed assent legislation. This means state legislation must be in effect and remain in effect restricting the use of revenue from license fees for use only by fish and wildlife agency. This Act later became the model for the Sport Fish Restoration Act.

Revenues from manufacturers’ excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, archery equipment and arrow components are transferred or deposited to the Wildlife Restoration Account. The interest earned on the WR Account is transferred to the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund. Import duties on firearms and ammunition are deposited in the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund.

Congressional amendments to the WR Act occurred in 1951, 1954, 1970, 1972, 1997, 2000 and 2005. These amendments made changes to taxable items and tax rates as well as authorizations and distribution of the funds.

The WR Act authorizes annual distributions from the Wildlife Restoration Account for the following:

  • Administration of the Wildlife Restoration Program
  • Multistate Conservation Grant Program
  • Hunter Education Enhancements - Section 10 apportionments
  • Hunter Education - Section 4 (c) (1/2 taxes collected on pistols, revolvers, bows, arrows and archer accessories) apportionments
  • Remaining Funds in Wildlife Restoration Account are apportioned to states/DC/insular areas
  • Reversions in the WR Account are transferred to Migratory Birds.