Earlier this year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (F&WS) officially connected Explore Bowhunting, the ATA’s unique, outdoor education program for students, to the nation’s most reliable power source for conservation education: The Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act. This program, which is funded by federal excise taxes (FET), provides funding assistance to states for outdoor education, and for managing and restoring wildlife and critical habitat.
The funding works like this: FET comes from archery manufacturers and is paid on bows, arrows, broadheads, and other specified accessories sold to archers and bowhunters. (Manufacturers of firearms and ammunition also pay FET on products sold for shooting, hunting and self-defense). This tax is collected by the Internal Revenue Service, and it’s controlled and distributed by the F&WS.
“The Pittman-Robertson Act is a partnership that began nearly 80 years ago between the federal government and hunting manufacturers,” said Mitch King, ATA director of government relations. “The firearms and ammo manufacturers had the foresight to tax themselves to pay for wildlife restoration during the Dust Bowl and Depression. When the archery industry hit its stride about 30 years later, archery and bowhunting manufacturers made the same strong commitment. They willingly sacrifice to help wildlife and the shooting sports.”
This complex and longstanding source of revenue will now have a pipeline straight from the pockets of ATA manufacturers to an educational program that — judging by Explore Bowhunting’s quality curriculum, and the eager reactions of students and instructors who have used it so far — has the potential to capture beginning archers and introduce them to bowhunting.
“This funding is a big shot in the arm for Explore Bowhunting and the industry’s efforts to promote outdoor education and recruit more bowhunters,” said Jay McAninch, ATA CEO/president. “State agencies are strapped for money right now, but they can pursue Pittman-Robertson funding for approved education programs like NASP and Explore Bowhunting. That’s a tremendous resource for wildlife agencies trying to ensure the future of archery and bowhunting in their states.”
For more info contact the Archery Trade Association, (866) 266-2776; www.archerytrade.org