Although many Georgia hunters and anglers may not realize it, every time that they purchase a sporting license, hunting and fishing equipment or related items, they are participating in a subtle, yet successful, conservation program that has been at work for more than 75 years.
The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program is the most successful conservation program in the history of the United States. According to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division, the program is responsible for generating vital funds for conservation programs nationwide.
“The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program benefits game and nongame species, protects and restores habitat and helps improve wildlife management through research,” says Dan Forster, Director of the Wildlife Resources Division. “Through this program, America’s hunters and anglers represent by far the most substantial source of funding for wildlife management in the United States.”
A partnership between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, individual states and industry manufacturers, the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program was established with the passing of the Pittman-Robertson Act in 1937 and later expanded with the Sport Fish Restoration Act of 1950.
The program works by placing a federal excise tax on sporting equipment like guns, ammunition and fishing rods and other related items such as motorboat fuel. Based on certain factors, such as the number of paid sporting licenses sold yearly, a portion of the funds created by this excise tax is given to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to be used for conservation and restoration efforts.
In other words, every time a hunter or angler purchases a sporting license or related equipment, they are helping fund the sport they love in the state that they call home.
The WRD uses Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration funds in a number of ways:
- Conducting aquatic education and hunter education classes,
- Building and maintaining public resources such as shooting ranges and boating access ramps
- Operating public hunting and fishing areas across the state,
- Improving wildlife populations and helping restore habitats
For more information on the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, visit http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov. For more information on wildlife management practices in Georgia, visit the WRD website at www.georgiawildlife.com.