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The 75th Anniversary of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program


The 75th Anniversary of the Wildlife and
Sport Fish Restoration Program

~ A Uniquely American System of Conservation Funding ~

Shown here is CSF President, Jeff Crane on a recent successful mule deer hunt.
Jeff’s advocacy for sportsmen is second to none and he states, “America’s 40
million-plus hunters and fishermen founded the conservation model in North
America and still are the backbone of wildlife conservation.”


The 75th Anniversary of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration (WSFR) program––a uniquely American system of conservation funding––is an opportune time for the hunting and angling conservation community to refocus, redefine and reclaim the story of conservation that is ours. The WSFR program’s contributions often go unnoted by the general public, including many members of the sportsmen’s community, in part due to a lack of understanding of the multitude of public benefits it reaps. In order to foster greater understanding for the benefits recreational hunting, angling, and recreational shooting and boating have for our society, sportsmen and women should strive to define the WSFR program as the American System of Conservation Funding––a user payspublic benefits program. 75 years ago, the conservation community, consisting largely of hunters, anglers, recreational shooters, and related industries, supported the use of funds from an excise tax on firearms and ammunition––along with the dedicated revenue from hunting and fishing licenses––to be used exclusively by state fish and wildlife agencies to professionally manage fish and wildlife populations and provide access for sportsmen and the larger public to enjoy the benefits of this management. This funding mechanism was eventually expanded to include the fishing and boating communities as well as the archery community. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) has been working to celebrate the 75th Anniversary at both the  state and federal level. CSF, partnering with the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, developed model resolutions and proclamations in early 2012 to commemorate the 75th WSFR Anniversary. CSF has been working with National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses member caucuses and Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus member governors across the nation to pass or sign these resolutions and proclamations 18 states have participated, with other states expected to join before the end of the year. Initiatives spearheaded by private organizations such as the Mule Deer Foundation are also critical to conservation efforts that benefit fish and wildlife, including mule deer. The Mule Deer Foundation Wildlife Legacy Dollars program, a system of funding for mule deer conservation projects, directs funds from the sale of designated deer tags in the Western United States to the Mule Deer Foundation, who then distributes the funds to the state wildlife agencies and conservation efforts based on need. Similar to the revenue generated through the WSFR programs, efforts such as these enable habitat enhancement and support on the ground conservation efforts that benefit both game and non-game wildlife while enhancing opportunities for sportsmen and women. CSF and the Mule Deer Foundation share a continued passion for conservation and programs that allow sportsmen and women the access to the wildlife that is important to them. The American System of Conservation Funding and the 75th Anniversary of WSFR presents an opportunity to enhance public understanding of the success of WSFR programs and commitments made by the sportsmen and women and allied industries.