The Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act

More information on Wildlife Restoration

Cycle of Success Graphic courtsey of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Wildlife Restoration Hunters purchase firearms, ammunition and archery equipment Manufacturers pay an 11% excise tax on those items U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allocates excise tax funds to State wildlife agencies based on land mass size and annual hunting license sales States receive grants and match funds with hunting license revenue State wildlife agencies implement programs and projects Better hunting and wildlife-associated recreation

Cycle of Success - graphic courtsey of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Wildlife Restoration

Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration

  • Approved by Congress September 2, 1937
  • Also known as Pittman-Robertson Act
  • Funds collected from 11% Federal excise tax on sporting arms, ammunition, archery equipment, and 10% on handguns
  • Since 1937 more than $140 million has come back to South Carolina, resulting in the wise management and conservation of many species of wildlife, including the restoration of deer, turkey and wood duck


Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program

Wildlife Restoration and Hunter Education QuickSight

Sport Fish Restoration QuickSight

History of Wildlife Restoration Act

  • If you have ever purchased a firearm, ammunition, archery bow and arrows, or hunting license… you have contributed to the most successful effort to conserve wildlife in the world.
  • The Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act is also known as the Pittman-Robertson (or "P-R") Act after its principal sponsors, Senator Key Pittman of Nevada, and Representative A. Willis Robertson of Virginia. The measure was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on September 2, 1937. The act was widely supported by sportsmen, when they essentially encouraged taxing themselves while the country remained mired in a depression. It was seen as a badly needed method to boost sagging or nonexistent conservation efforts. Today’s successful restoration work for ducks, deer, turkeys and numerous other wildlife species can trace its roots to Pittman-Robertson.
  • The act generates funds from an 11 percent excise tax on sporting arms and ammunition that is collected at the manufacturers’ level. Funds are appropriated to the Secretary of the Interior and then apportioned to States using a two-pronged formula: 50 percent is based on a state’s geographic size and 50 percent is based on the number of hunting licenses sold annually. Generally, when a wildlife project is funded with matching funds, the cost split is 75 percent federal and 25 percent state. Project activities include acquisition and improvement of wildlife habitat, introduction of wildlife into suitable habitat, research into wildlife problems, surveys and inventories of wildlife populations, acquisition and development of access facilities for public use, and hunter education programs, including construction and operation of public target ranges. The act has been amended and expanded many times and has generated more than $8 billion in federal funds, which states have matched.
  • Wildlife Restoration LogoSouth Carolina's first major acquisition utilizing these funds was the March 11, 1941 purchase of Belmont Plantation which was later renamed the James W. Webb Wildlife Center and Management Area. Since that time the department has used these funds to purchase numerous other properties, restored multiple wildlife species, managed hundreds of thousands of acres of habitat and conducted critical research and survey work around the state.