When you swipe your card or hand over cash at your local archery store, do you know where your money goes?
Although most of the money from your purchase goes to the retailer and manufacturer, a portion goes to state wildlife agencies to fund high-priority conservation projects including habitat restoration, hunter education, wildlife research and public-access programs.
You play an important role in conservation across the country with most of the archery-related purchases you make. Your money helps improve habitat for white-tailed deer, North American’s No. 1 big-game animal, which means you help the archery and bowhunting industry thrive.
Each year American hunters, shooters and anglers contribute millions to improve fishing, boating, hunting, shooting and wildlife-associated recreation. In fact, archers generated over $49 million in the 2017 Federal fiscal year, nearly $51 million in the 2016 Federal fiscal year, and just over $57 million in the 2015 Federal fiscal year, according to the Archery Trade Association’s records.
How do bowhunters generate these funds?
It’s an amazing story that started in 1937 when progressive hunters, conservationists and manufacturers joined forces with state fish and wildlife agencies to protect America’s wildlife. They used long-term, science-based management programs funded by a reliable source: federal excise taxes.
What is the federal excise tax?
The FET is a 10- to 11-percent tax manufacturers pay on the first sale of firearms, ammunition, and some archery equipment under the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, more commonly called the Pittman-Robertson Act.
The original FET, approved by Congress in 1937, only taxed firearms and ammo. The archery FET was included 35 years later after passing the U.S. House and Senate, and was signed into law by President Nixon in 1972. Since then, bows, arrows and all equipment that attaches to a bow and is used to shoot archery are subject to the FET.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service collects FET funds and redistributes the money to state wildlife agencies. Each of the 50 states use those monies for hunting, shooting and wildlife-management programs, like the ones mentioned above. Those efforts and conservation projects ensure hunting and outdoor recreational opportunities are preserved for generations to come.
How do you fit into this process?
Each time you buy a hunting license, or visit an archery store to buy arrows, broadheads, a bow, quiver or other archery accessories, a portion of your purchase goes to support wildlife through the process explained above. Essentially, when you purchase archery equipment, you’re making donations to state wildlife agencies and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. By slinging arrows and fueling your archery passion, you help conserve our planet and our wildlife.
Why are federal excise taxes important?
By providing access to public lands and managing game birds, animals and other wildlife, states can provide more hunting opportunities. In turn, more hunters and hunting generate increased sales of hunting equipment that equates to FET money to support future programs. The program’s “user-pays, user-benefits” principle creates a cycle of long-term success.
Your excise taxes, coupled with the state agencies’ science-based projects and programs, are a primary reason our nation’s wildlife populations are so abundant and available to hunters.
Federal excise taxes are one of two primary funding sources for most state agencies. Without them, states would be limited in their abilities to manage wildlife, and maintain and improve habitat. Without quality habitat and healthy wildlife populations, people wouldn’t be able to hunt, fish or enjoy other outdoor-related recreational activities. It’s a cycle of success that relies on numerous parties – including you.
Make a Difference
So, whether you knew it or not, most of your archery-related purchases help drive conservation efforts across the nation. Buy a hunting license this season. Head to an archery store to upgrade your archery setup. Bring a friend and introduce them to the sport. More archers mean more financial contributions to improve hunting, shooting and wildlife-associated recreation.