ISSOULA, Mont. (May 1, 2017) – The oldest conservation organization in North America has released its position on gun ownership and its historical influence on wildlife conservation.
“Sportsmen have known for a long time that hunting supports and funds wildlife conservation and management programs,” said Ben B. Hollingsworth Jr., president of the Boone and Crockett Club. “What is often overlooked is that the most successful system of wildlife conservation ever devised – the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation – would not have been possible without sportsmen and their right to own and use firearms.”
“By the late nineteenth century wildlife species were depleted everywhere in North America,” said Hollingsworth. “It is indisputable that the hunter-conservationist movement rescued many species from certain extinction.”
“Even in the height of the Great Depression, sportsmen voted to tax themselves for the benefit of wildlife.” The Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act (Pittman-Robertson Act), proposed by sportsmen and passed by Congress in 1937, placed an excise tax on the sale of sporting arms and ammunition with the funds earmarked for wildlife conservation and distributed to state fish and wildlife agencies. In 2016, $700 million were generated and to date, nearly $10 billion has been distributed to states.
“As we know, game species did recover, but the habitats that were secured and managed for game species now benefit all wildlife,” said Hollingsworth. “None of this would be possible without the Second Amendment. It is why protecting and maintaining gun ownership by the public is so critical to wildlife conservation.”
The full position statement and video can be found here.