Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, [16 U.S.C. 669] That the Secretary of Agriculture is authorized to cooperate with the States, through their respective State fish and game departments, in wildlife-restoration projects as hereinafter set forth; but no money apportioned under this Act to any State shall be expended therein until its legislature, or other State agency authorized by the State constitution to make laws governing the conservation of wildlife, shall have assented to the provision of this Act and shall have passed laws for the conservation of wildlife which shall include a prohibition against the diversion of license fees paid by hunters for any other purpose than the administration of said State fish and game department, except that, until the final adjournment of the first regular session of the legislature held after the passage of this Act, the assent of the Governor of the State shall be sufficient. The Secretary of Agriculture and the State fish and game department of each State accepting the benefits of this Act shall agree upon the wildlife-restoration projects to be aided in such State under the terms of this Act and all projects shall conform to the standards fixed by the Secretary of Agriculture.

The Pittman-Robertson Act(P-R), so called, has been a marvelous tool to generate monies to be reapportioned to state’s fish and game agencies to aid them financially in fish and wildlife management and restoration projects. These monies became available through the collection of taxes levied against hunting equipment.

I highlighted above a few key words found in the opening paragraph of the Pittman-Roberston Act because it holds the key to the success of the act and why it was approved in the first place. I contend that without this “assurance” as it was, the P-R Act would never have passed.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service(USFWS) describes the infancy of P-R this way:

Then a remarkable thing happened. At the urging of organized sportsmen, State wildlife agencies, and the firearms and ammunition industries, Congress extended the life of an existing 10 percent tax on ammunition and firearms used for sport hunting, and earmarked the proceeds to be distributed to the States for wildlife restoration.

At the time of P-R, game management programs where just getting underway as it was learned that our natural resources, i.e. game species, needed better caring for. This required money and the fees collected only from hunter licenses wasn’t getting the job done.

As has historically been the case, hunters were willing to dig deeper into their pockets to spend more money if it meant better management, resulting in healthier game herds and improved harvest and hunting opportunities. In a win-win-win-win-win situation, Pittman-Robertson was born and because the money being collected from hunters purchasing gear, it was made clear that this money could only be used for wildlife/game restoration projects.

But, like most Government-run programs, thieves, crooks and special interest groups couldn’t keep their nasty noses out of tax money that didn’t belong to them.

Before I go on, let me make it clear that the best way to have any control over tax money apportioned to you, is to insure that the most local government agency gets the money directly – no middle man making the decisions for who and how money will be apportioned. In other words, P-R money apportioned back to the states by the Department of Interior(DOI), should go directly to the States’ fish and game departments as was intended in the P-R Act.

With your state fish and game department receiving P-R money, based on a formula of land mass and license sales, directly from DOI, you, the hunter, have the best chance to pressure your own fish and game department to safeguard that P-R money is being spent properly.

If you’ve not read George Dovel’s account of how hunter’s dollars are being misused to fund nongame outdoor recreation programs, it is a must read.

Dovel goes to great lengths to tell us of the history of the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies(IAFWA) and it’s transformation that began 20 years ago into the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies(AFWS). This transformation, not just in name, was the real beginning of a concerted effort by environmentalists to take over this agency in order to promote their agendas of non-game, non-consumptive, wildlife management.

Dovel describes what IAFWA was once:

When the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (IAFWA) was organized back in 1902, and when ACI [Association for Conservation Information] was formed in 1938, their common agenda was restoring North America’s wild game to provide a sustained annual harvest for hunters.

With the transformation and the appointment of a bird watcher named Naomi Edelson as a “Wildlife Diversity Director”, the new AFWA is better described this way(words of an Edelson speech):

Think back to more than 10 years ago, to 1990. That was a big year. The States, through IAFWA, determined that nongame wildlife was their biggest challenge and, therefore, their biggest priority, as it has remained through the decade. This led to the initiation of a major congressional push to obtain substantial Federal money to States for nongame wildlife conservation.

The neo-AFWA, now actively run by environmentalists, pushing their non-game, non-consumptive wildlife programs and at the same time advancing their non-scientific pretense that predators, i.e. wolves and coyotes, need protecting and are a necessary part of a healthy ecosystem, sold, hook, line and sinker their deception to not only the state fish and game agencies but Federal agencies, including the DOI/USFWS.

The begging and manipulation of AFWA became great enough that they convinced Congress to give them money for State Wildlife Grants. (See this article for information on how AFWA convinced state fish and game departments buy in.) This tax appropriated program was turned over to AFWA for them to appropriate out to states pretty much however they see fit.

It gets worse. Congress amended Pittman-Robertson. They steal $3,000,000 annually from P-R money and $3,000,000 annually from Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act money (similar to P-R. Tax levied against fishing gear). I should say this money was stolen from every hunting, trapping and fishing license buyer in this country.

(1) AMOUNT FOR GRANTS.—Not more than $3,000,000 of the revenues covered into the fund for a fiscal year shall be available to the Secretary of the Interior for making multistate conservation project grants in accordance with this section.

Not only did Congress steal the money, they then created the Multistate Conservation Grant Program(MCGP), dumped this stolen P-R and D-J money into the program – $6 million annually – and turned it over to AFWA.

If that doesn’t put a burr under your saddle, maybe this will. Monies available through the MCGP can be apportioned out to nongovernmental organizations (NGO) but they must promise they, “will not use the grant funds to fund, in whole or in part, any activity of the organization that promotes or encourages opposition to the regulated hunting or trapping of wildlife.” And this statement is a guarantee of what? Nothing! What is does do is put your fees you thought were buying you better hunting opportunities into the hands of NGOs who are working feverishly to put a complete stop to them.

Do you as a hunter or fisherman have confidence that your P-R money, promised to us when the Act was enacted wouldn’t be used for anything except wildlife/game/habitat restoration, is being apportioned and spent properly by AFWA that insures you better hunting and fishing opportunities? And what are the chances you, as a hunter, are going to have any say or influence over AFWA or another NGO holding your money?

It’s difficult enough to work locally with your state fish and game department to get them to spend money that’s in the best interest of hunters and fishermen. But now, a portion of your money was taken away from your state and put in the hands of AFWA and/or NGOs, all organizations I would not support as it pertains to protecting and promoting game harvest.

All 50 states’ fish and game departments, among others, pay annual dues and support AFWA.

Do you know where your P-R money is?

Tom Remington