Elk NetworkRMEF Celebrates 75th Anniversary of Pittman-Robertson Act

News Releases | September 4, 2012

September 4, 2012

RMEF Celebrates 75th Anniversary of Pittman-Robertson Act

MISSOULA, MT—In light of the 75th anniversary of the Pittman-Robertson Act, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation honors hunters and the vital role they play in funding wildlife management and conservation. 

“Hunting is conservation! There is no greater proof of that than hunters who successfully lobbied government so many years ago to tax themselves—all for the benefit of wildlife,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO.  “That continuing and ever-increasing funding remains the lion’s share for today’s conservation efforts too.”

Nevada Senator Key Pittman and Virginia Congressman Absalom Willis Robertson sponsored the legislation. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed it into law on September 2, 1937.

The Act imposed an 11 percent tax on guns and ammunition to restore and protect wildlife habitat.  Prior to the law, hunting pressure and habitat degradation pushed bison, deer, elk, pronghorn, wild turkey, wood ducks, and other species to the brink of extinction.  

“Philosopher George Santayana famously stated, ‘Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.’ Hunters learned and they acted,” added Allen. “The great thing is growing numbers of dedicated hunters today mean even more funding for elk, other wild game and non-game species across the board.”
The Act raises more than $280 million a year for wildlife conservation, and raised more than $2 billion since its inception.  The excise tax goes to the Secretary of the Interior to distribute to the states based on a formula that takes into account the area of the state and its number of licensed hunters.

Revenue from state licenses and fees adds up to about $275 million a year which goes exclusively to state fish and game departments for conservation purposes.

Hunters are the fuel behind RMEF and its 6 million-plus acres of habitat conservation. More than 95 percent of our 180,000 members are passionate hunters.