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Is This Begging?

January 6, 2014 - Larry Claypool
This is a new level of begging, as I see it. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission is now accepting donations of new and used hunting gear and clothing, according to a recent Associated Press story. The donations will go to the commission's mentored youth hunting program. If it helps kids though, I’ll give the cornhuskers a little break. But why is a Game Commission asking for donations? Don’t they make enough money from licenses and tax dollars? And all states benefit some from the national excise tax fund (Pittman-Robertson Act). It’s my understanding that in Ohio the Division of Wildlife is mostly funded from hunting licenses and fees. There are however many facets of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The Division of Wildlife is only part of a wide umbrella the ODNR covers. I’m sure the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission casts a wide net too. I assume many state game commissions or departments of natural resources are in a financial bind since the depression hit us 4-5 years ago. For years though many states have charged admission to their park systems. Ohio is not one of those. Only seven states do not charge a fee to enter their parks. Indiana, for example, charges $5 per vehicle per day to enter their parks. Wisconsin charges $7. Nebraska charges $5 per person for a Park Entry Permit. All three states offer yearly passes for residents. Back to Nebraska asking for donations. State organizers say many youths who participate don't have access to appropriate clothing and gear. The commission is requesting camouflaged and blaze orange hunting gear. The commission says it will accept insulated bibs, parkas and insulated coats, hooded sweatshirts, insulated boots, shooting sticks, game calls, etc. Donated items should be clean and in good, working condition. Wow, they’re not asking for much, are they? I wonder what kind of response they’ll get from this appeal. I also wonder how many other states ask for donations of hunting equipment. If you know of any please let me know. In our region there is a great non-profit youth organization (see my story about On Target Outfitters in the January issue of Ohio Valley Outdoor Times) that helps fill this void in eastern Ohio. And I know of many more sportsman’s clubs across Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia that support and host outdoor youths and youth events — including hunting and fishing trips. Maybe we’re just different around here. We do support our kids. The Pittman-Robertson Act — mentioned above — may not be known by everyone. It was established in 1937 by our government (President Franklin D. Roosevelt endorsed it) for the betterment of many things outdoors in this country. The excise tax (11%, then lowered to 10%) has been charged on every public purchase of guns, ammunition, archery equipment and hunting supplies for the past 75 years. The funds were initially handled by the U.S. Department of Interior and distributed to each state per a special formula. The money is now in a trust and under the control of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. By some estimates over $5.5 billion has been raised through the Pittman-Robertson Act. A similar tax plan (the Federal Aid in Fish Restoration Act — or Dingell-Johnson Act ) was passed in 1950. That placed an excise tax on fishing equipment to promote fishing and improve fish populations. The Wildlife and Sports Fish Restoration Programs Improvement Act in 2000 further clarified the Pittman-Robertson Act on what the tax dollars could be used for.

 
 

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Blog Photos

Steve Scott, founder and director of On Target Outfitters in Canfield, OH, is shown at the organization's new facility recently. OTO offers some of the finest outdoor youth programs in the region.