Of the many government schemes to take our money, the Pittman-Robertson Act of 1937 stands as a monument to one government program that works.

Many, if not most hunters know about the Pittman-Robertson (P-R) act of 1937, but few can explain exact what an impact this single program has had on the American wildlife conservation picture.


P-R money was derived from levying an excise tax (one paid by supplier and manufacturers but obviously derived from us) of 11% on the sale of firearms and ammunition.  In the 70's, the Dingell-Johnson Act amended P-R to inclue a 10% tax on handguns/handgun ammunition and accessories as well as an 11% tax on supplies and equipment.


At its inception, the act diverted taxation on hunting supplies and equipment from the general funds of the US Treasury directly to the US Department of Interior. The money was earmarked to be returned to the individual states for development, maintenance, and operation of wildlife management areas, restoration of habitat, specific research, and hunter education programs. The money is apportioned by the number of hunting license holders in that state. (Thankfully, Delaware is such a small state that a caveat was built in so that smaller venues would still be given a minimum amount of money annually.)


In 1938, the act generated $1 million. In 1986, it generated $108 million while in 2011 it amassed $384 million. In its 75 years, over $2 billion has been generated. It's estimated that hunters spend between $3 and $5 billion each year on P-R taxable merchandise. That means that hunters continue to pay their way to the tune of over $3 million each day.


If you love the outdoors, make sure you buy your Delaware hunting license even if you don't use it. (You should also know that when you buy a "non-resident" license in other states, you count on their rolls as well as here at home.) If you're an exempt hunter and have stopped hunting, you should still get your License Exempt Number (LEN) and your Hunter Information Program (HIP) numbers so that you can remain "counted".