Gun, ammo sales boom to help wildlife in record way
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Been in a gun shop lately? I mean, holy smokes, right?
The lines at the gun counter are five deep. Ammunition shelves are as bare as those that hold toilet paper and milk right after the weatherman predicts a storm. The normal, five-minute wait for a background check is sometimes taking hours.
It's crazy out there.
Wildlife and sportsmen are going to benefit, though.
When the final figures are tallied, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service expects to have collected a record $570 million in excise taxes on sporting equipment — or Pittman-Robertson funding — in 2012. That's not only significantly more than the $390 million collected in 2011, it's nearly $100 million more than the previous high of $474 million collected in 2010.
“It's off the chain, it really is,” said Hannibal Bolton, assistant director of the service's Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program. “This is the highest increase we've seen, ever.”
The program gets its money from an 11-percent tax on shotguns and rifles, archery equipment and ammunition, and a 10-percent tax on handguns.
The service has seen increases in sales in each category, Bolton said. The sale of ammunition is up the most and “really driving the pack,” he said, though the sale of long guns also is up significantly.
He attributes that in part to a rebounding economy, given that the buying boom started more than a year ago. The more recent gun-buying frenzy that's been ongoing since talks of gun bans heated up again also are playing a role, he said. In fact, it may lead to an even bigger increase in funding next year, he added.
In the meantime, the Pennsylvania Game Commission and its wildlife programs are going to benefit. By law, Pittman-Robertson money can be used only for hunter education, hunter recruitment and outreach, wildlife habitat, land purchases and wildlife research. The Game Commission received about $13.36 million in Pittman-Robinson funding last year, said Gary Camus, chief of federal aid and grants coordination for the agency. It got $17 million in 2010; that was the highest allocation ever.
The commission expects at least $18.5 million this year, “with a more realistic number $20 million,” Camus said.
“That's the beauty of excise taxes,” said Joe Neville, director of the commission's bureau of information and education. “As the price of ammunition or sporting arms goes up, or the demand for them goes up, the amount of excise taxes goes up. It means sportsmen are contributing more money for wildlife programs.”
So when you're standing in line or searching an empty shelf, remember, at least you're helping wildlife.
Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @bobfryeoutdoors
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Game commission, public debate user feee
- Sunday hunting ‘sit-in’ planned
- Frye: A few outdoor bits and pieces
- Fishing report: Slow fishing around region
- Outdoor notices: Sept., 21, 2014
- Outdoors notebook: Pheasant Farm, game lands tours set
- Frye: Antlers worth another look
- Collectors go crazy for Western Pennsylvania’s Case blades
- Outdoors notices: Sept. 22, 2014