Article Date: Wednesday, December 07, 2011
By Bob Humphrey
The holiday season is upon us and it's time to start shopping for the outdoorsmen or women in your family. As you make out your shopping list, you might think about giving a gift that provides benefits far above and beyond the recipient. Here's a few suggestions.
A Hunting license - When you consider the cost of a resident hunting license it's a bargain. In most states it runs around $20. For the same price as a couple (matinee) movie tickets, a fast food lunch for two or a quarter tank of gasoline, you can provide an almost unlimited opportunity for someone to enjoy time spent in the great outdoors making memories that will last a lifetime.
In addition, your license dollars go back to support your state's fish and wildlife agency and all of its programs, including acquiring and managing lands and habitat utilized by a host of game and non-game wildlife species, and both sportsmen and non-consumptive recreational users.
Guns and Ammo - Who wouldn't want a new gun? It might be a first gun for a new hunter, a long-needed upgrade or the missing piece in someone's collection. And of course you'll need some ammunition to go with it. And thanks to The Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, a 10 percent tax on those guns and ammunition will be distributed to states for wildlife restoration programs.
In program's 50-plus years over $2 billion in Federal excise taxes has been matched by more than $500 million in State funds (chiefly from hunting license fees) for wildlife restoration.
According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, more than 62 percent of the funding is used to buy, develop, maintain, and operate wildlife management areas. Over four million acres have been purchased outright and nearly 40 million acres are managed for wildlife under agreements with other landowners. An additional 26 percent of P-R funding is used for surveys and research, greatly aiding in a nationwide effort to enlist science in the cause of wildlife conservation.
Membership - Membership in one of the many national conservation organizations comes with immediate benefits like periodical magazines filled with all sorts of useful, educational and enjoyable material, and discounts on outdoor gear. It also helps organizations like The National Wild Turkey Federation, Ducks Unlimited, The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, The Quality Deer Management Association and countless more fulfill their missions of ensuring healthy wildlife populations and recreational opportunities for those who enjoy hunting or simply observing them.
Give thoughtfully this year, and the rewards will benefit us all.