Hunter Safety Training In The Federal Aid In Wildlife Restoration Program, With Special Referance To Mandatory Requirements

Like many other activities carried out by State fish and game departments, hunter safety programs began to expand and became a significant activity only after World War II. The late 1940's and early '50's saw substantial increases in numbers of hunters, hunter participation, and overall expansion of State fish and game department programs and budgets. Several States got into hunter safety training in those early years, others are just now beginning. Lack of adequate funding has always been, and likely always will be, a major problem in fish and game management. This problem has been met in part, at least, by passage of the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act in 1937 and the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act in 1950. These laws ear-marked existing excise tax revenues for allocation to the States, to fund fish and wildlife management programs on a cost sharing basis. The programs have been eminently successful for they provide dependable funding which permits continuity of activities, establishment of competent staffs, and requirements for quality performance. It was not until 1970, however, that provision for hunter safety training was made in the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Program. The Act was amended by Public Law 91-503, passed October 23, 1970, to provide that half of the revenue from any tax imposed on handguns shall be apportioned to the States on the basis of population, and that this money may be used to pay up to 75% of the costs of a hunter safetv program. Note that the Act says these funds may be spent on hunter safety programs. If any State chooses to do so, the money may be spent on regular wildlife restoration activities. Because these funds are available to either regular P-R activities or to hunter safety activities, as each State may decide, it is extremely important that all Federal Aid project funding be closely coordinated to insure full use of available money and to avoid reversions of funds. Hunter safety training carried out with Federal Aid funds are subject to the same general requirements, standards, and procedures as any other P-R project. These are described in the Federal Aid Manual. In addition, efforts have been made at both the national and regional level to provide program guidelines and standards.

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