The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation is the world’s most successful system of policies and laws to restore and safeguard fish and wildlife and their habitats through sound science and active management.
Angling and hunting are the cornerstones of the North American Model with sportsmen and women serving as the cornerstone of conservation funding. Through the federal excise taxes on fishing tackle, hunting, shooting and archery equipment and the federal tax on boating fuels, anglers, hunters and shooting sports enthusiasts have generated more than $50 billion for fish and wildlife conservation since 1937.
How does the model work? Manufacturers of fishing equipment, hunting and shooting arms and ammunition and archery equipment pay an excise tax on the equipment they produce. These funds, combined with a tax on motorboat fuels, are collected by the federal government and distributed to each state’s fish and wildlife agency.
State fish and wildlife agencies then combine these funds with monies collected through the sale of fishing and hunting licenses to conserve, manage and enhance fish and wildlife and their habitats and to create fish and wildlife recreational and educational opportunities.
Though sportsmen- and women funded conservation efforts have focused on sportfish and wildlife that is legally hunted, restoring and conserving habitat benefits a wide range of non-game fish and wildlife as well as benefiting everyone who enjoys nature.
Currently, there are no alternative, dedicated funding systems in place — beyond excise taxes and license fees paid by enthusiasts and the manufacturers — to help support fish and wildlife conservation. Without the most traditional outdoor users’ contributions or new funding streams, America’s conservation legacy could be in peril.