Montgomery – State Rep. Randy Davis (R – Daphne), who serves as co-chair of the bipartisan Alabama Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, joined with officials from the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, as well as representatives of hunting and fishing organizations, on Wednesday to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the Wildlife Restoration Act, the landmark federal legislation that dedicates excise taxes collected at the manufacturers’ level on hunting arms and ammunition to the states to pay for wildlife management.
“In the early 1900s, several species of wildlife were disappearing altogether because of habitat loss, over harvest and lack of management programs, but the Wildlife Restoration Act changed all of that,” Davis, who passed a legislative resolution recognizing the anniversary, said. “The dramatic turnaround that has occurred since that time and the abundance of wildlife we enjoy today is especially important in Alabama, where so much of our economy is based on the hunting and fishing opportunities we offer.”
The Wildlife Restoration Act, signed into law in 1937 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, provides 3-to-1 matching grants to the states to be used for reintroduction of declining species, acquisition of wildlife habitat, hunter education and other wildlife-related work. Under the Act, state hunting license revenues are matched 3-to-1 from monies derived from an 11 percent excise tax on firearms, ammunition and archery equipment. The Sport Fish Restoration Program, signed into law in the 1950s, established a similar funding source for fisheries-related work.
“Hunters and anglers pay for management and protection of wildlife and fisheries resources enjoyed by all of society,” said Conservation and Natural Resources Commissioner N. Gunter Guy Jr. “The benefits of hunting, fishing and other wildlife-related recreation to Alabama and its citizens are significant in terms of economic impact and quality of life.”
Among the groups represented at the event were the Alabama Bass Federation Nation; Alabama Chapter, Ducks Unlimited; Alabama Chapter, Quail Unlimited; Alabama Chapter, National Wild Turkey Federation; Alabama Dog Hunters Association; Alabama Quail Hunters Association; Alabama Wildlife Federation; Bow Hunters of Alabama; Coastal Conservation Association; East Alabama Rabbit Hunters; Hunting Heritage Foundation/H.U.N.T. Alabama; Mobile Bass Anglers Association; National Rifle Association; and Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.