Pittman-Robertson Modernization Act Passed by the House and Senate

The Pittman-Robertson Modernization Act has been passed by the House and Senate.
Photo Credit: John Hafner

Author: Dan Forster

As you are aware, one of the legislative priorities that we have been working on for the past few years is the modernization of the Pittman-Robertson Act (H.R. 877). Over the last few weeks, much effort, discussion and movement on the PR Modernization Bill has been occurring involving a host of partners. Since passing out of the House Natural Resources Committee on December 5th, things have moved at lightning pace and with lift from several key players. And while the Senate Natural Resources Committee was busy passing it out of their Committee yesterday, leadership was working on an expedited, and unconventional plan for passage.

Ultimately, H.R. 877 was detailed in the Department of Interior’s budget bill that was included in a larger omnibus appropriations package (H.R. 1865). We are very pleased to inform you that, as of today, both the US House of Representatives and US Senate have passed a conference appropriations report that included PR Modernization language. Our legislation is now headed to the President for his signature which is expected soon.

For additional information regarding this bill, view the frequently asked questions below. You may also view the language of H.R. 877 on page 162 in the bill linked here.


Frequently Asked Questions


Why is H.R. 877 critical to the future of wildlife conservation and ATA?

Simply put, there is an increasing body of knowledge that provides effective and efficient solutions to increase the recruitment and retention of new hunters. However, because of the antiquated and unanticipated restrictions in the 1937 legislation, agencies legally cannot use more contemporary approaches. Agencies can quickly respond to wildlife management challenges using science-based approaches, but are restricted in their ability to respond to shifting participation trends in hunting.


H.R. 877 would ensure stable funding for conservation for years to come, while at the same time permit agencies to more effectively engage constituents serving to recruit and retain more and diverse participants in hunting. How does this bill help state fish and wildlife agencies to recruit, retain and reactivate hunters and other outdoor recreationists?

Times have changed since 1937! Now more than ever, state fish and wildlife agencies require modern, innovative, and flexible approaches to wildlife conservation in their states. This bill expands the use of existing PR funds and increases the agencies’ authority to manage programs in their state. Provisions of this bill increase agencies’ flexibility by permitting promotion and extended outreach to more effectively engage new hunters. The Dingell Johnson Act already provides agencies with the ability to promote angling and boating, and H.R. 877 would permit agencies the same parity to do so with hunting. Further, provisions of this bill permit agencies to form collaborative and scalable approaches spanning geographic boundaries and may increase the efficiency of hunter recruitment and retention, thereby increasing conservation funding as well as an agency’s ability to respond to the myriad of diverse conservation challenges they face today.

“As a former state Fish & Wildlife Agency Director, I understand fully the administrative and fiscal challenges agencies face trying to grow hunting and shooting sports participation,” said Dan Forster, Archery Trade Association’s vice president and chief conservation officer. “It is extremely satisfying to know that because of this legislation, our state agency partners now have the flexibility to spend FET dollars strategically and in ways that can better address modern-day R3 challenges.”

In addition to ATA, this legislation also was supported by a host of conservation organizations and the 50 state fish & wildlife agencies. Together, we have made the future of bowhunting and shooting sports a little brighter!

“I want to express my sincere appreciation to the many conservation partners and supporters of this legislative initiative!” Forster said. “We would not have succeeded without a cohesive and hunting-based conservation community that included members of congress, congressional staff, state fish & Wildlife agencies, industry partners and non-governmental organizations working together.”

Here is what ATA President and CEO, Matt Kormann had to say:

“Modernizing the Pittman-Robertson Act has been a priority for the archery industry for many years. To see this effort sent to the President’s desk is the culmination of work done by those who came before us and countless partners aligned toward a similar goal. We’ve been fortunate to collaborate with Representative Scott and his staff, who have been eager to meet with us, keep us informed, and taken a selfless approach to ensuring the right result for his bill.

Just as the archery and bowhunting industry and your ATA must have the flexibility to deal with a changing market, our partners in state government must have the flexibility to use PR funds to more effectively recruit, retain, and reactivate archers and bowhunters nationwide. The passage of this bill with strong bipartisan support is one major step in the right direction.”

Contact Dan Forster with questions or for more information.

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