July 22, 2019

Secretary Zinke Announces More Than $1.1 Billion for Sportsmen & Conservation

Press Release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:

This year marks $20 billion in hunter and angler conservation funding

Date: March 20, 2018
Contact: Interior_Press@ios.doi.gov

HORICON, Wisc. – Today U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke traveled to Horicon, Wisconsin, where he announced more than $1.1 billion in annual national funding for state wildlife agencies from revenues generated by the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration and Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration (PRDJ) acts. The Secretary presented a ceremonial check to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for $34,966,603 while visiting the Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area. State-by-state listings of the final Fiscal Year 2018 apportionments of Wildlife Restoration Program fund can be found here and the Sport Fish Restoration Program fund here. Allocations of the funds are authorized by Congress. To date, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has distributed more than $20.2 billion in apportionments for state conservation and recreation projects.

“American sportsmen and women are some of our best conservationists and they contribute billions of dollars toward wildlife conservation and sportsmen access every year through the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson Acts,” said Secretary Zinke. “For nearly eighty years, states have been able to fund important conservation initiatives thanks to the more than $20 billion that has generated nationwide. Every time a firearm, fishing pole, hook, bullet, motor boat or boat fuel is sold, part of that cost goes to fund conservation. The best way to increase funding for conservation and sportsmen access is to increase the number of hunters and anglers in our woods and waters. The American conservation model has been replicated all over the world because it works.”

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources manages over 11,000 acres of the Horicon Marsh and almost every habitat project they complete includes PRDJ dollars, including prescribed burning, invasive species treatments, wetland berm maintenance, prairie seeding and restoration, timber stand improvement.

The funds, which are distributed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, support critical state conservation and outdoor recreation projects. They are derived from excise taxes paid by the hunting, shooting, boating and angling industries on firearms, bows and ammunition and sport fishing tackle, some boat engines, and small engine fuel.

Wisconsin boaters generate $1.18 billion of economic impact annually while hunting contributes to $2.5 billion in yearly economic impact. Angling creates over 21,000 jobs while impacting the economy to the tune of $2.3 billion each year.

“These funds are integral to our ability to provide hunting and fishing access, restore habitat and manage species at the state level,” said Daniel L. Meyer, Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. “We greatly value the partnership we have with the Service and the Department of Interior.”

STATE TOTAL – SPORT FISH RESTORATION (FY18) TOTAL – ALL WILDLIFE FUNDS (FY18) TOTAL – ALL FUNDS (FY18)
ALABAMA $6,151,179 $19,360,421 $25,511,600
ALASKA $17,595,874 $33,455,771 $51,051,645
AMERICAN SAMOA $1,173,058 $1,328,563 $2,501,621
ARIZONA $7,154,503 $22,080,003 $29,234,506
ARKANSAS $5,348,981 $13,221,723 $18,570,704
CALIFORNIA $16,513,733 $26,037,993 $42,551,726
COLORADO $9,143,673 $19,872,123 $29,015,796
CONNECTICUT $3,519,175 $5,901,190 $9,420,365
DELAWARE $3,519,175 $4,785,824 $8,304,999
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA $1,173,058 $0 $1,173,058
FLORIDA $12,236,611 $14,351,398 $26,588,009
GEORGIA $8,041,424 $23,213,465 $31,254,889
GUAM $1,173,058 $1,328,563 $2,501,621
HAWAII $3,519,175 $4,785,824 $8,304,999
IDAHO $6,430,284 $15,474,320 $21,904,604
ILLINOIS $6,593,209 $16,335,080 $22,928,289
INDIANA $4,577,731 $13,573,699 $18,151,430
IOWA $4,513,130 $11,515,178 $16,028,308
KANSAS $4,981,927 $14,646,057 $19,627,984
KENTUCKY $5,198,763 $14,127,290 $19,326,053
LOUISIANA $6,908,171 $15,884,383 $22,792,554
MAINE $3,519,175 $8,055,283 $11,574,458
MARYLAND $3,519,175 $7,754,551 $11,273,726
MASSACHUSETTS $3,519,175 $7,986,372 $11,505,547
MICHIGAN $10,692,452 $24,296,525 $34,988,977
MINNESOTA $12,500,370 $23,400,370 $35,900,740
MISSISSIPPI $4,009,209 $12,144,757 $16,153,966
MISSOURI $7,677,750 $21,117,103 $28,794,853
MONTANA $8,648,987 $21,131,270 $29,780,257
N. MARIANA ISLANDS $1,173,058 $1,328,563 $2,501,621
NEBRASKA $4,483,366 $12,833,330 $17,316,696
NEVADA $4,974,601 $13,948,153 $18,922,754
NEW HAMPSHIRE $3,519,175 $4,785,824 $8,304,999
NEW JERSEY $3,519,175 $7,986,372 $11,505,547
NEW MEXICO $6,244,495 $15,787,434 $22,031,929
NEW YORK $7,820,180 $20,862,345 $28,682,525
NORTH CAROLINA $10,344,499 $21,338,737 $31,683,236
NORTH DAKOTA $4,130,618 $11,377,784 $15,508,402
OHIO $6,898,966 $16,457,632 $23,356,598
OKLAHOMA $7,695,368 $19,907,732 $27,603,100
OREGON $7,820,246 $17,690,588 $25,510,834
PENNSYLVANIA $8,571,622 $28,157,633 $36,729,255
PUERTO RICO $3,519,175 $3,452,263 $6,971,438
RHODE ISLAND $3,519,175 $4,785,824 $8,304,999
SOUTH CAROLINA $4,899,188 $10,678,793 $15,577,981
SOUTH DAKOTA $4,490,053 $13,775,104 $18,265,157
TENNESSEE $7,457,271 $22,544,767 $30,002,038
TEXAS $17,595,874 $36,656,319 $54,252,193
UTAH $6,405,939 $14,616,342 $21,022,281
VERMONT $3,519,175 $4,785,824 $8,304,999
VIRGIN ISLANDS $1,173,058 $1,328,563 $2,501,621
VIRGINIA $5,204,846 $14,176,335 $19,381,181
WASHINGTON $7,112,530 $15,120,458 $22,232,988
WEST VIRGINIA $3,519,175 $8,209,596 $11,728,771
WISCONSIN $11,424,513 $23,542,090 $34,966,603
WYOMING $5,329,957 $13,861,148 $19,191,105
       
TOTAL  $351,917,483 $797,160,652 $1,149,078,135

The recipient state wildlife agencies have matched these funds with approximately $6.7 billion throughout the years, primarily through hunting and fishing license revenues.

For more information about the WSFR program visit http://wsfrprograms.fws.gov/.

Share

Proposal: Annual Certification of State’s Hunting and Fishing License Sales

I. Abstract

    The Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act (16 U.S.C. 669 et
seq.) and the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act (16 U.S.C. 777 
et seq., except 777e-1) provide authority for Federal assistance to the 
States for management and restoration of fish and wildlife. These Acts 
and our regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 50 CFR 
80, subpart D, require that States, territories, and the District of 
Columbia annually certify their hunting and fishing license sales. 
States, territories, and the District of Columbia that receive grants 
under these Acts use FWS Forms 3-154a (Part I--Certification) and 3-
154b (Part II--Summary of Hunting and Sport Fishing Licenses Issued) to 
certify the number and amount of hunting and fishing license sales. We 
use the information collected to apportion and distribute funds 
according to the formula specified in each Act.<<<For more information and where  to comment>>>
Share

As Promised, Seattle Sued : The Outdoor Wire

*Editor’s Note* – It is my opinion that the planned lawsuit by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, et. al. will have to be an exercise in proving that the proposed excise tax, (gun violence) tax is nothing more than a direct attempt to control guns. If that be the case, then King County would be in violation of the State of Washington’s preemption laws.

However, and I’m no lawyer, there is precedence that might play in the favor of the City of Seattle. Seattle was successful in adding a Regional Transit Authority Tax in order to pay for the existence of public transportation. Approval was obtained from the state.

Has Seattle gained approval for what appears to be a preemption of laws from the state? Would the State Legislature grant them this “violence tax?”

“NSSF has no alternative but to be an active party in this lawsuit against the City of Seattle’s attempt to interfere in the lawful commerce in the firearms and ammunition on the grounds it violates Washington State’s preemption statute that blocks cities from regulating the sale of firearms on their own,” says NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Larry Keane, “The Seattle ordinance is nothing but a ‘poll tax’ on the Second Amendment and an effort to drive Seattle’s firearms retailers out of business.”

Source: As Promised, Seattle Sued : The Outdoor Wire

Share

Hunters, Anglers Fund America’s Conservation Efforts

Press Release from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation:

MISSOULA, Mont.—New statistics recently released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) show hunters and anglers generated $1.1 billion in 2014. That funding will be distributed to state and territorial fish and wildlife agencies to support America’s conservation and recreation projects.

“‘Hunting Is Conservation‘ is not just a motto or a theme or a mantra. It’s truth,” said David Allen, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation president and CEO. “Sportsmen and women who hunt and fish are the people who generate the funds for on-the-ground conservation and wildlife management efforts from coast to coast.”

The funding is raised through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration and Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration programs which place excise taxes on the sale of firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, fishing equipment, electric boat motors, and from taxes on the purchase of motorboat fuel.

“These funds are the cornerstone of state-based efforts that are critical to the preservation of America’s wildlife and natural resources,” said Service Director Dan Ashe. “But they are also the fuel for a massive financial engine that benefits outdoor recreationists, hunters, boaters and anglers, equipment manufacturers and retailers, and local and regional economies. Their value cannot be overstated in providing opportunities for the next generation of Americans to get outdoors, experience our wild places and learn the importance of conserving our natural heritage.”

“It is thanks to this significant financial investment made by America’s sportsmen and women and the hunting, shooting sports, angling and boating industries that state and territorial fish and wildlife agencies can deliver science-based conservation on the ground,” said Larry Voyles, Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies president and Arizona Game and Fish Department director. “The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program has made the difference between the survival and abundance of some species and it helps agencies, like mine, manage a vast estate of lands and waters and connect more people to wildlife-related recreation.”

Funding generated by RMEF’s volunteers and members in 2014 furthered the Elk Foundation’s conservation mission by helping complete 253 land and habitat stewardship projects that protected or enhanced 160,180 acres of elk habitat and opened or secured public access to 61,817 acres.

“We are so grateful for our dedicated volunteers and members, as well as sportsmen and women around the country for their passion for land and wildlife conservation,” added Allen.

Go here to see a state-by-state breakdown of the funding distribution.

Share

Distribution of P-R/D-J Excise Tax Money

Last week, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service announced it was going to distribute $1.1 billion dollars (that’s $1,100,000,000) in revenues generated by the hunting and angling industries to state and territorial wildlife services across the nation. That probably elicited a resounding shrug from most of us. So, we wanted to put a little bit of perspective on that number. The best way to do that is to breakdown the massive number into smaller, more easily understood numbers.

Source: Fun With Numbers : The Outdoor Wire

Share

We Are All Montanans Now

By James Beers:

A stunning maneuver by the federal government was recently brought to my attention. While it is directed at the government of the State of Montana concerning shooting ranges; there is a much broader precedent establishment being attempted that concerns every state official and every rural resident that farms, grazes, hunts, fishes, traps, owns animals and/or owns property or recreates in myriad ways on both public and private rural landscapes.

BACKGROUND:

* Since 1987 Montana Shooting Sports Association and the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks have partnered to make about $25 M in grants available to local shooting ranges. This wildly popular program has made a huge difference in the availability of safe and suitable places for Montanans to shoot and practice gun (and by extension hunter) safety.

* Early in the program, federal funding was sought but insurmountable red tape from several federal sources made such funding impractical. For more than a decade, in-state hunting license fees were used to fund the program

* The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has always administered the program and this was confirmed in a State Statute in 1999.

* State funding budgets are confirmed every two years (the Legislature meets every two years).

* In the last two funding cycles, the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has diverted nearly all of this funding from the State budget for other purposes not budgeted by the Legislature such as employee pay raises.

* This year the State Legislature is considering proposing putting the money they authorize for shooting ranges into a separate account to be used ONLY for shooting ranges.

* The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks objects to this, claiming it violates the Pittman Robertson (Wildlife Restoration) Act that is the basis for federal collection of Excise Taxes on guns, ammunition, archery paraphernalia and certain imports. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks notified the US Fish and Wildlife Service Excise Tax administrators who have threatened to deny all Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration funds (over $27M last year) if the State tells their own agency where to spend the money they authorize for shooting ranges. As a result, the State’s own wildlife agency is fixing to oppose the State legislature and Governor’s exercise of their duly elected and sworn duty to exercise oversight and set priorities OVER THEIR OWN EMPLOYEES WORKING IN THE STATE AGENCY THEY ESTABLISHED, AUTHORIZED, FUND AND FOR WHICH THEY (THE LEGISLATURE AND GOVERNOR) ARE THE SOURCE OF THEIR POWER AND CONTINUING OPERATION.

FURTHER FEDERAL BACKGROUND:

* The US Fish and Wildlife Service Office that was notified by the State agency was the Federal Aid Program. This State Excise Tax oversight office is the very office that “saw no evil, heard no evil, and said no evil” twenty years ago when their political bosses stole $45 to 60M of the Excise Taxes from the state agencies (and you and me and our wildlife programs financed by our license dollars and equipment purchases) and then used the money secretly to capture Canadian wolves and release them in Yellowstone plus open a new office in California to all but share space with the environmental extremist and animal rights radical organizations that were replacing the historic wildlife management and wildlife users organizations as federal partners. Both the wolves and the office had been turned down by Congress and were refused authorization before the appointees, bureaucrats and the administration decided to simply steal the money, release the wolves and build the new office anyway.

* This federal office oversees the operation of state wildlife agencies for compliance with Excise Tax uses named as “eligible” in the law and the operation of the state wildlife agency activities and uses of license revenue to remain eligible for their annual share or “Apportionment” of available Excise Taxes based on their area and the sale of hunting licenses in the state. Historic violations included Excise Tax or license dollars used to purchase vehicles for state motor pools; or such funds used to pay state parks’ employees; or hatchery fish or upland birds released on the private property of donors and politicians; or lands purchased with such funds used to build a prison; or revenue from timber sales on such lands put in the General Treasury; or selling wildlife for profit. These are examples of “diversions” and were supposed to be detected by audits by the overseers every five years as required by the law. Despite this requirement, the twenty years preceding the theft of the $45 to 60M were marked by the all-but disappearance of any audits, a hiatus that was welcomed by federal and state bureaucrats as their working “relationship” became closer and closer and more and more “informal”. When the theft of the money was exposed by a Government ACCOUNTING Office Audit, an audit firm was hired to audit every state wildlife agency and then to re-establish a 5-year cycle as required by law, corruption again reared its ugly head. Less than 3 years into the audits, the auditors had had found millions of dollars in “diversions”; the states were screaming (quietly); and federal bureaucrats wanted no more scandals: so the auditors were fired for being “behind schedule” and the Interior Department Inspector General who was simultaneously responsible for overseeing US Fish and Wildlife Service (?) was then “hired” to resume the audits. Needless to say, the “diversions” were evidently “mistakes” and never reported; and that particular Inspector General was introduced later by President Obama at his first State of the Union as the “New Inspector General for the Stimulus Program” that consisted of billions and which, like the state PR audits, was found to be as pure as the driven snow.

* An “Acting Chief” of the above Office responded to the letter from the Director of the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks about shooting ranges and how those mean old Legislators and the Governor were about to tell the all-wise and smarter-than-everybody-else agency what to do! Imagine! Well, the
“Acting” (federal) Chief in what can only be described as an arrogant and laughable (if everyone rolls over for him) way said in his “view” (??) such administration by the State elected officials would “render Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks ineligible for further participation in the benefits (i.e. Excise Tax funding) of the (Wildlife and Sport Fish Program)”.

He told the downtrodden State Director that, in “our (federal government?, USFWS?, Solicitor?, a frog in his pocket?) view the (sic Montana) FWP would suffer a loss of control of its hunting and fishing license revenues” if the proposed bill was passed. All the State Director does is to tell the State officials that he will therefore be compelled to oppose the attempt by the Governor and Legislature to tell him (and “his” employees) what to do or how to do it. The fact that the State Director offered no blowback to the federal threat is, take my word, a clue.

Two reasons given for this federal threat to deny any future Excise Tax sharing are taken from the Code of Federal Regulations govern the PR Act in the letter:

1.) “Revenue from hunting and fishing licenses (must) be controlled only by the State Fish and Wildlife Agency.”

Does this mean that the Governor or Legislature cannot set priorities and expenditures for lawful and eligible Wildlife and Fisheries activities? Of course not! Can anyone argue that this Excise Tax program for conservation has contained within it for over 70 years an authority for federal bureaucrats to not merely assure that State governments did not MISUSE Excise Tax and Licenses dollars BUT TO DENY STATE GOVERNMENTS ANY ROLE IN THE ACTIVITIES AND PRIORITIES THEREOF FOR THEIR WILDLIFE AGENCY TO PURSUE JUST, LEGITIMATE AND ELIGIBLE (UNDER THE PR ACT) FISH AND WILDLIFE PROJECTS (that both the Act and the State agency share and agree on? Since when did the responsibility to assure compliance intended to protect “Eligible Uses” of Excise Tax and License dollars morph into a federal bureaucrat power to tell the duly elected officials of a State government to stand down because the federal bureaucrats doesn’t agree with their and the people of the state’s priorities?

2.) “Revenues from hunting and fishing licenses can only be used for administration of the State fish and wildlife agency which includes only the functions required to manage the agency and the fish and wildlife related resources for which the agency has authority under State law” and, “A State becomes ineligible to receive the benefits of the Act if it diverts hunting and fishing license revenue from purposes other than the agency’s administration.” Really?

The Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks was given the administration authority over shooting ranges by the Montana Legislature in 1999.

But, I am sure you are thinking, what about the federal view of shooting ranges especially in these days of gun control hysterics and the most anti-gun administration in my lifetime?

The PR Act and the Regulations promulgated under it define “Eligible Uses” of Excise Tax dollars and license revenues as “Constructing, operating and maintaining recreational firearms shooting and archery ranges” right alongside other eligible uses such as, “Management of wild bird and mammal populations”, “Managing wildlife habitat”, and “Providing public use that benefits from Wildlife Resources”.

So the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has the authority to manage shooting ranges and shooting ranges in totality are an “eligible use” under the federal Act and under State law, and the Governor and Legislature simply want more emphasis on it and for the agency to stop diverting shooting range money from where the State Legislators direct. How does the federal bureaucrat suggest they do that other than what they are considering? Will the federal bureaucrat pay for it like “the People” want? Will the federal bureaucrat even allow the Governor and State Legislature to even speak with these ostensible crybaby employees or will they just get their priorities from Washington henceforth? Federal priorities for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, given their way, span everything from wolves and grizzly “management” in accord with federal dictates to fooling a hostile Montana public into allowing federal “free-roaming buffalo” to be loosed like Yellowstone wolves once were and for eventually the State to “assume management” (how sweet that sounds) of the latest federal imposition following federal dictates on rural Montana in cahoots with State employees. All that takes money and Lord knows Montanans may want shooting ranges but federal bureaucrats want gun control and control of these ostensible “State” agencies AND their license revenue And their Excise Tax dollars to do what Montanans are obviously too dense to realize they should be doing if only they could see “the big picture”.

Finally, I had some extraneous, but I believe relevant, thoughts as I wrote this:

* I note that the State agency is “preparing to argue against HB 234”. This plus their request to federal overseers and then the absence of any blowback by the state agency to argue for the State (and evidently NOT the State agency’s) position leads me to believe that this State agency (like many others) is much more of a federal subcontractor agency than a State Agency. As Struther Martin said in the movie Cool Hand Luke, I think that regarding the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks; the Governor and Legislature have “a failure to communicate”.

* State agencies are generally reluctant to identify with “shooting ranges” in these days of national and international environmental and animal rights “awareness”. Shooting Ranges are generally like Trapping and Animal Control in these regards in that they anger those out to eliminate hunting and fishing and do things like loose free-roaming buffalo on rural Americans.

* Wolves and grizzlies and like critters are loosed on a rural populace by federal bureaucrats and then “turned over” to state (is it their governments or one of these “independent” agencies???) management. This federally mandated management of these animals is expensive and the federal bureaucrats and State bureaucrats WANT FULL CONTROL OF ALL STATE FUNDS AND PRIORITIES WITHOUT ANY ACCOUNTABILITY TO STATE GOVERNMENTS OR STATE TAXPAYERS. This is not unrelated to these federal PR bureaucrats and State agency bureaucrats colluding to do just that with STATE LICENSE FUNDING EXPENDITURES AND PRIORITIES.

* Federal bureaucrats these days accrue significant political and career benefits from enacting ways to further restrict gun uses, gun availability and ammunition supplies. Examples are – The secret negotiations by the State Department under Clinton and Kerry to negotiate a UN Small Arms Treaty that will shrink or abolish the 2nd Amendment. The Fast and Furious federal gun-running scheme into Mexico intended to create justification for more gun control that has never been explained. Closure by EPA of the last lead smelter in the US. Continuous statements by the President and Attorney General about the need to register and confiscate guns, etc……. Is it not possible that any federal bureaucrats that can establish a PRECEDENT to abolish any vestige of State control of their state wildlife agency, or their state wildlife license revenue, or such agency’s activities, AND SIMULTANEOUSLY POINT THE WAY ON HOW TO STOP AND REVERSE THE GROWTH OF SHOOTING RANGES might not at least be in line for a bonus and maybe an eventual promotion and all that portends? I do not doubt that this is involved in this whole tug of war between the government of Montana on the one hand and the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks & US Fish and Wildlife Service “partners” on the other.

Consider YOUR State wildlife agency. It gets Excise Taxes and dances to a federal tune that is steadily pushing YOU and YOUR STATE GOVERNMENT out of the picture. If Montana succumbs here; whether because of State employees that serve Washington and not your state government or because of federal bureaucrats that have silenced your organizations and are working so closely with your enemies that you won’t see what is happening until it is too late is immaterial: you will be like that lonesome German noted in the early 1940’s, “when they came for me, no one was there”. Truly we are all Montanans in these regards.

Allow me two analogies: State wildlife agencies are becoming like that famous horse Lincoln once noted was bucking and got his foot caught in the stirrup and his rider (the Governor, Legislature and people of the state) leaned over and told him if he will just calm down, “I will get off so you can get up”.

The federal agencies (US Fish and Wildlife Service with its ESA and easement schemes with radicals; the US Forest Service with its Roadless/Wilderness/Grazing Shutdowns/Logging & Timber Management Elimination; BLM with its Bundy Fiascoes and selective use and management shutdowns; and National Park Service with its Viewsheds/Historic Zones/Total anti-natural resource management and use mission) are like Oscar Wilde’s famous Picture of Dorian Gray. He was an outwardly handsome and wealthy man that made a pact with the devil that his secret life of corruption and vice would only be noted on a painting of himself hidden away in his attic while he stayed forever young and spotless. Just as Dorian met an horrific end, so too will these federal agencies that are operating on a no longer real image that was once true but any longer simply conceals an existence of harm to people and abuse of power that will eventually end in something much worse than anyone imagines.

Jim Beers
17 February 2015

If you found this worthwhile, please share it with others. Thanks.
Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC. He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands. He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC. He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority. He resides in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife of many decades.
Jim Beers is available to speak or for consulting. You can receive future articles by sending a request with your e-mail address to: jimbeers7@comcast.net

Share

A Proposed “Tax Holiday” on Hunting Equipment Purchases

In Texas:

“The bill would create two sales tax holiday weekends, one on the last full weekend in August to coincide with the beginning of dove season, and a second on the last full weekend in October to coincide with the beginning of deer season.
Items that would be included in the tax-free weekend are firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, hunting blinds and stands, hunting decoys, gun cases and gun safes, and hunting safety equipment.”<<<Read More>>>

*Note* As one reader emailed me, he said, “…here is one way for the *$(#@&*^ not using money for bunny studies….don’t give them any!”

What do you think? Excise tax money collected from the sale of certain sports equipment is collected by the government and then after the government and special interest groups take their share, some legal and some not, the government redistributes that money back to the states supposedly to be used for programs designed to enhance hunting, fishing, trapping and shooting. Do you support a tax holiday in your state?

Share

A Made Up Issue About Pittman-Robertson Money and Wolves

wake-up-america

The Idaho Statesmen trumps up a story that isn’t, I suppose to sell copies. According to Rocky Barker there’s a problem with whether or not Idaho is going to utilize Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson excise tax money to prop up the coffers of a fascist bill, painted as a means of controlling wolves, and making the sportsmen pay for it. The fake “concern” is whether or not using P-R/D-J money to kill wolves is in violation of the excise tax law.

If Mr. Barker believes this to be an “issue” where was he on this issue when P-R/D-J money was stolen by the millions from sportsmen to illegally bring the wolves to Idaho in the first place? Isn’t that an issue? Or how about the fact that the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies convinced Congress to give them some of that excise tax money to fund their anti-hunting programs? Does that make sense? Where’s the uproar? What’s the issue? P-R/D-J monies have been abused for so many years by fish and game departments and now, out of the blue, somebody thinks wasting P-R/D-J money to kill some wolves might be in violation of the law? Oh, I get it. It’s because it’s about wolves. Everything for the G.I. wolves, that’s it.

Give me a break!

I have written in the past about this ridiculous bill that forces hunters to pay for damages done by Government Issued wolves and the crooks that pulled it off. That’s like asking a patient to pay for damages done by an incompetent doctor. Where’s the outrage? I hear nothing but crickets! Have we become that communistic in our non thinking ways that we cannot even see the damned government is making us pay for our own rope to hang ourselves with?

Share

Wolves, Buffalo and Coming Corruption

A Guest Post by Jim Beers:

From 1994 to 1996 the US Fish and Wildlife Service stole (took, diverted, whatever makes you feel good) Millions of dollars from the federal excise taxes (mostly from those collected on arms and ammunition) collected exclusively for state fish and wildlife agencies’ use on state fish and wildlife programs. Those excise taxes are a major portion (supplementing hunting and fishing license fees) of the funding available each year for state fish and wildlife agencies’ operations.

At the time of the theft, Congress had refused to fund “endangered” wolf introductions by USFWS into Yellowstone Park, a federal enclave that would “seed” wolves into Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, California, and Utah as has happened. Resulting losses of cattle business viability, losses of big game herds (and the license money et al they generated annually), losses of dogs, human safety concerns, and general demise of rural economies were all foreseeable but denied by bureaucrats and “nature” advocates that lived largely in far-away cities. What was hidden from the public by state and federal bureaucrats and the “scientists” they employed were the disease and parasite effects of wolves on humans, domestic animals and wild animals; that danger is only now becoming undeniable as the awful consequences emerge.

The introduction of wolves captured in Canada into Yellowstone had other important effects. “Red” wolves introduced into the SE states were being perceived as the coyote/dog/wolf hybrids that they are. The romantic allure of wolf howls and the myth of “only killing the lame and the halt” were drying up. In New Mexico and Arizona, introduced “Mexican” wolves were more and more seen to be small wolves living in a harsh and largely foodless (except for cattle and sheep) desert environment, resulting in scary habituation by wolves to school bus stops, farm and ranch yards, and places frequented by kids or where garbage was sometimes available. In Minnesota and Wisconsin public questions about just how many wolves were going to be tolerated before a limit was achieved were causing difficulties for state and federal bureaucrats. Like the SE states, romance and myth were being overtaken by reality and experience. The Yellowstone wolf hoopla provided a publicity bonanza as the voters in those blue areas on the red/blue voting map enthused about vacations to Yellowstone and all the wonderful benefits that wolves were alleged to be bringing to an otherwise “unbalanced ecosystem”.

There are a few other factors however, that we should be aware of. The unpunished theft by federal bureaucrats of millions of dollars from our (yours and mine) state fish and wildlife agencies was a green light for federal bureaucrats to perpetrate future crimes and for the state fish and wildlife agencies to see that going along with crime (like Chicago Mayor Big jim Thompson and Al Capone in the 1920’s) was more profitable than reporting and prosecuting crime. Federal bureaucrats could hurt you and your agency (more all the time as their power and authority increased); making enemies of them was not for the faint-hearted or career-minded.

Additionally, twenty years of precedence have been set that destroys nearly all states rights’ over any plant and wildlife. In addition to sage grouse, wolverines, delta smelt, barred owls, and west coast suckers as “endangered” drone missiles to make growing areas and more human activities federal responsibilities; more folks began to see these as facades to continue the demise of State authority and jurisdiction over growing areas of American life. “Endangered” wolves and grizzly bears are two of the most effective of these rural destroyers to date.

Federal bureaucrats forcible impose (by claiming total jurisdiction over) wolves and grizzly bears that kill people but neither the federal government nor the bureaucrat is responsible. The wolves and grizzlies kill livestock and force either penury or bankruptcy on a wide range of rural businesses and economies but neither the federal government nor the bureaucrat is responsible. The wolves and grizzlies kill and seriously reduce elk, moose, deer, and other highly prized (and formerly lucrative license money and rural economy supplements) but neither the federal government nor the bureaucrat is responsible. Adding insult to injury in this regard, as wolves overrun more and more areas, federal benevolence trumpets “returning wolf management to the states”. Ironically this has created wolf “seasons” (for wolves declared “Game” animals) that are little more than spurs to wolf reproduction and health as low harvest allowances merely take a small amount of the population annually, thereby reducing winter food competition and encouraging larger litters by healthier wolves much like big game harvest management protocols. The final blow is that all this has allowed the states (and their federal mentors) to begin using the federal excise taxes generated by the sales of arms and ammunition! This means less availability of excise taxes for the hunting programs they were adopted for over 80 years ago. Now growing portions of the excise taxes and license money intended for hunting programs can be spent on wolf complaints, wolf collaring, satellite tracking, wolf transplanting of “problem” wolves, wolf meetings, wolf media propaganda, wolf “counting” (of a notoriously hard-to-count animal) and a whole range of wolf expenses as the wolves decimate game animals and make hunting more dangerous for fewer participants. Think of it as a win/win all around!

Understanding what I have just described, consider the growing movement to establish “Free-Ranging Buffalo” herds. Buffalo spread disease one of which that can destroy state cattle sales outside the state, destroy fences, destroy crops, destroy water holes, harass livestock, are a danger to rural home sites and even small town residents in winter as they seek foods, and are considerably dangerous to vehicles after dark on rural roads. Buffalo are titled “domestic” animals in certain states and come under a range of agricultural and veterinary laws that would preclude federal intrusion. UUHHH, so what?

“Free-roaming buffalo”, just like wolves and grizzly bears are simply environmental drone missiles employed in concert with government land purchases, government/NGO land easement purchases, government historic/scenic declarations, federal land closures, federal fire non-management, restrictions on grazing and timber management, and other ploys to further importune rural America and those that live and work there. Consider the drama and unsuccessful to date legal machinations in Montana to stealthily release Yellowstone buffalo in N Central Montana. Ask yourself why the 100 year-old National Elk Refuge by Jackson (that feeds 15,000 elk each winter) that was specifically founded in the Congressional Authorization FOR ELK, has been renamed the National Elk and Buffalo Refuge with a flick of a bureaucrat’s pen and the elk numbers to be wintered drastically reduced while a quota for “wintering buffalo” created by bureaucrat rule makers.

Now those that have been paying attention might be wondering where the federal government could get the money in these days of insurmountable debt? Well there is one factor I have not mentioned about wolves and the money stolen to push them “over the top”. The excise tax money stolen to put the wolves in Yellowstone was taken during the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th year of the Clinton Administration. For the history buffs out there, the 1st and 2nd years of the Clinton reign were marked by a widespread national fear that the Clintons were going to register (and confiscate?) guns. Hence there was a surge almost as big as what we have seen in the past 3 months of sales of arms and ammunition and a concomitant surge in excise tax collection.

The first inkling of something major amiss in Washington, DC regarding the excise taxes apportioned to the states was the mysterious disappearance of any large increase in excise taxes to state fish and wildlife agencies in the following years. In other words, the gun-confiscators actions (I have long suspected Mrs. Clinton’s role in “Fast and Furious”) caused a surge in sales that created a large surge in excise tax receipts that caught the eye of federal bureaucrats in Washington, frustrated by Congressional intransigence regarding wolves, intent on environmental jihadism and confident (as proved to be the case) that they would never be brought to account since they were serving such high purposes with only the best of intentions.

Ladies and gentlemen, the recent sellout of guns from stores everywhere and the continuing scarcity (due to unbelievable purchases for hoarding by citizens and an unexplained purchase of millions of rounds by federal domestic agencies) is creating once again that surge in excise taxes that when stolen before by federal bureaucrats went unnoticed and unreported by state bureaucrats.

If we do not put this federal genie back in the bottle (asserting Local Authority and Jurisdiction seems to be our best hope), our children will live in a much poorer world that none of us would recognize nor want.

The current administration, more than even the Clinton administration, abjures any oversight or questions. They are committed to a supreme central government more than any in my lifetime or the history of the nation so far as I understand it. Will they register and ban guns, and therefore decimate state fish and wildlife agencies access to excise taxes while inept state agencies are complicit in the demise of fishing and hunting? Will they steal or divert the current surge in excise taxes for buffalo introduction and protection or private property takeovers or other further decimations of rural America for urban votes? Are they now scheming for even more claims of environmental catastrophe unless they get more money from us or seize the remaining vestiges of state authorities?

I do not know the answers to those questions but I have my personal suspicions. I do know however, that a similar “run” on the gun stores 20 years ago resulted in enormous harm to rural America and American governance. With all that is facing us now, more than ever we need to be alert to lying bureaucrats and hidden agendas. We are in a carnival and have the mortgage money on a table bet about under which shell is the pea as the con “artist” smiles and switches them around. A lot is riding on how well we watch and challenge the play.

James Beers

1 March 2013

If you found this worthwhile, please share it with others. Thanks.

Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC. He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands. He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC. He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority. He resides in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife of many decades.

Jim Beers is available to speak or for consulting. You can receive future articles by sending a request with your e-mail address to: jimbeers7@comcast.net

Share

RMEF Celebrates 75th Anniversary of Pittman-Robertson Act

*Editor’s Note* From this press release, it is clear that the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation supports the wrong direction and abuse that has transpired against the Pittman-Robertson Act. Never was this excise tax intended to be spent on “other wild game and non-game species across the board”. Nor was it intended strictly to preserve lands and habitat.

Perhaps if the RMEF backed off on the amount of money they spend buying up lands and conservation easements and taking private land from the tax rolls and putting that money and energy into returning Pittman-Robertson to what it was intended, they wouldn’t need to be asking for so much money so much of the time. If you don’t see that environmentalists have hijacked the Pittman-Robertson excise tax then you are part of the problem.

MISSOULA, Mont.? – In light of the 75th anniversary of the Pittman-Robertson Act, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation honors hunters and the vital role they play in funding wildlife management and conservation.

?”Hunting is conservation! There is no greater proof of that than hunters who successfully lobbied government so many years ago to tax themselves? all for the benefit of wildlife,?” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “?That continuing and ever-increasing funding remains the lion?s share for today?s conservation efforts, too.”?

Nevada Senator Key Pittman and Virginia Congressman Absalom Willis Robertson sponsored the legislation. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed it into law on Sept. 2, 1937.

The Act imposed an 11 percent tax on guns and ammunition to restore and protect wildlife habitat. Prior to the law, hunting pressure and habitat degradation pushed bison, deer, elk, pronghorn, wild turkey, wood ducks and other species to the brink of extinction.

?Philosopher George Santayana famously stated, ?”Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”? “Hunters learned and they acted,”? added Allen. ?”The great thing is growing numbers of dedicated hunters today mean even more funding for elk, other wild game and non-game species across the board.?”

The Act raises more than $280 million a year for wildlife conservation, and raised more than $2 billion since its inception. The excise tax goes to the Secretary of the Interior to distribute to the states based on a formula that takes into account the area of the state and its number of licensed hunters.

Revenue from state licenses and fees adds up to about $275 million a year, which goes exclusively to state fish and game departments for conservation purposes.

Hunters are the fuel behind RMEF and its 6 million-plus acres of habitat conservation. More than 95 percent of RMEF 180,000 members are passionate hunters.

Share