The firearms industry isn’t the only group to benefit from the recent high demand for their products, wildlife will too. According to the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, over $882 million in excise tax revenues will go towards funding state wildlife programs. These funds come from the purchases of sporting equipment such as bows, fishing tackle, ammunition and increasingly, firearms.

We all bemoan taxes, but some say that it’s gratifying to see the money go back into conservation. Stateline reports that handguns carry a 10 percent excise tax, while other firearms as well as ammunition come in at around 11 percent. The total amount gathered from gun and ammo purchasers in 2012 was $555 million, an increase of $167 million from 2011. This hefty sum will be parceled out through two major programs: the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Program and the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Program. Texas, Alaska, Pennsylvania, California, and Michigan will be among the states receiving the most funds, but the programs will reach every state in the union.

“The financial support from America’s hunting, shooting sports, fishing, and boating community through their purchases of excise taxable equipment and hunting and fishing licenses is the lifeblood for funding fish and wildlife conservation; supporting public safety education; and opening access for outdoor recreation that benefits everyone,” said President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Jeff Vonk. “Fish and wildlife can be conserved, protected and restored through science-based management and it is critical that all these taxes collected be apportioned to advance conservation efforts in the field.”

The national sequester has reduced the total amount going to conservation by a little over 5 percent, but overall conservationists and state wildlife employees are enthused. So the next time you find yourself paying a little bit more for that box of ammo (if you can find some), just know it’s going towards a good cause.

Previous featured image from Torrey Wiley (pocketwiley) on the flickr Creative Commons, current featured image copyright iStockPhoto/Debbie Woods

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