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Who Really Pays for Wildlife Conservation in the United States?

Stare Sad Nature Edit Wide

A common myth is that hunters are the primary funding source for wildlife conservation efforts in the United States, thanks to hunting license fees, excise taxes, and more. This misconception has resulted in hunting groups receiving far too much influence over wildlife policies, especially in states where hunting of “game” species and “non-game” species is a primary pastime.

It’s time to set the record straight.

A recent study reveals 94% of all funding for wildlife conservation and management comes from the NON-hunting public. Hunters pay only 6% of the bill.

An in-depth analysis reveals the following breakdown of wildlife conservation and management funding that comes from the non-hunting public:

  • 95% of federal wildlife conservation funding
  • 88% of non-profit wildlife conservation funding
  • 94% of total wildlife conservation funding

The authors contend that a proper understanding and accurate public perception of this funding question is a necessary next step in furthering the current debate as to whether and how much influence the general public should have at the wildlife policy-making level, particularly within state wildlife agencies. This is especially important considering the disproportionately large influence hunters have in a field in which they are not the primary funders, nor do they represent a majority of Americans.