By Lars Dalseide | October 21 2012 08:59

Has the funding of public ranges been put into question?

Belfast Wildlife Area rifle range in South Carolina

Above is a picture of the Belfast Wildlife Area rifle range in Kindards, South Carolina. Belfast was the first public unmanned shooting range opened and paid for completely with funds raised by NRA Grants and the Wildlife and Sportfish Restoration Program ... an act made possible through Pittman-Robertson grants.

Several other state Natural Resource Departments (Georgia and West Virginia to name a few) have followed suit. Opening such facilities throughout the United States provides hunters and shooters with a convenient, low cost location to sight in their firearms and get in some long needed trigger time. Now that may be in jeopardy.

Here's Managing Editor J.R. Robbins with more:

OMB Threatens Pittman-Robertson Funds

Sportsmen nationwide should be aware of a recently released report from the White House Office of Management and Budget that itemizes $31 million in Pittman-Robertson funds to be “sequestered” from the U.S. budget.

Sequestration sets aside funding--effectively “freezing” it -- until a debt is repaid.

The listing of the P-R funding (as well as $34 million of Dingell-Johnson funds that support sport fishing) is part of a huge package of across-the-board government budget reductions planned to take effect January 2, 2013, unless Congress can develop a plan to cut $1.2 trillion over the next decade.

This year is the 75th anniversary of the Pittman-Robertson Act, more formally known as the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act. As most hunters know, the act put an 11 percent excise tax on rifles, shotguns, ammunition and archery equipment that is distributed to state game and fish agencies for the purposes of Shooting at the Belfast Wildlife Area rifle range in South Carolina habitat acquisition and improvement, reintroduction of declining species, wildlife research, hunter education, shooting range development and other conservation projects. (The tax on handguns is 10 percent.)

It is this funding and these projects that have brought back species such as whitetail deer, turkeys, wood ducks, antelope, bald eagles and Canada geese from dangerously low levels a century ago to the strong, sustainable populations we see today. Hunters’ dollars are directly responsible for these and other conservation milestones.

Since 1937, hunters have contributed nearly $7 billion dollars through the Pittman-Robertson Act for the benefit of wildlife conservation. For any given project, P-R funding pays 75 percent of costs, and states must contribute at least 25 percent--most of which comes from hunting license fees ...

Read the rest of NRAHuntersRights' article on the threat to Pittman-Robertson here.

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