MISSOULA, Mont. – The Boone and Crockett Club opposes the ill-named Return Our Constitutional Rights Act (H.R. 8167). The “RETURN Act” would eliminate the sportsmen-supported excise tax on firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment that provides the vast majority of funding for wildlife conservation.
“For 85 years, the Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act has served as the foundation for our American system of conservation funding, which provides dedicated revenue for state wildlife agencies to successfully restore wildlife populations and grow opportunities for hunting and recreational shooting,” commented Tony A. Schoonen, chief executive officer for the Boone and Crockett Club. “Our Club members played a key role in getting the Pittman-Robertson Act signed into law in 1937 and have continued to advocate for dedicated funding for wildlife conservation efforts ever since. Repealing this law would significantly undermine our nation’s successful wildlife conservation legacy.”
Since it was enacted, the Pittman-Robertson Act has generated over $15 billion to conserve wildlife, improve recreational shooting and hunting access, and fund hunter education programs. In 2021 more than $1.5 billion was raised and distributed to state fish and wildlife agencies to build target shooting ranges, purchase wildlife management areas to increase public hunting opportunities, conserve game species, and recruit America's next generation of hunter-conservationists.
“We are working with our partners in the conservation community to educate our members of Congress about how conservation is funded in this country and how sportsmen and women have willingly provided the bulk of wildlife funding through this user pay, public benefit system,” Schoonen concluded. “The RETURN Act is misguided. We hope members of Congress who sponsored this legislation will withdraw their support.”
About the Boone and Crockett Club
Founded by Theodore Roosevelt in 1887, the Boone and Crockett Club promotes guardianship and visionary management of big game and associated wildlife in North America. The Club maintains the highest standards of fair chase sportsmanship and habitat stewardship. Member accomplishments include enlarging and protecting Yellowstone and establishing Glacier and Denali national parks, founding the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service and National Wildlife Refuge System, fostering the Pittman-Robertson and Lacey Acts, creating the Federal Duck Stamp program, and developing the cornerstones of modern game laws. The Boone and Crockett Club is headquartered in Missoula, Montana. For details, visit www.boone-crockett.org.