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Letters to the Editor

January 04, 2008

It's the sportspersons who pay up for wildlife



To the editor:

There is just no end to the ignorance of some minority groups who want to impart their narrow-minded misconceptions on the rest of society. Surely citizens, paying trillions of taxpayer dollars, fund a major portion of wildlife and habitat. Wrong!

What's the old adage? Don't confuse me with facts, because I already made up my mind! A recent report was completed that detailed the economic impact of fishing and hunting. Here are some of the highlights.

Nationally, 34 million hunters and anglers spend $76 billion annually, generating more revenue than Target, Costco and AT&T. The ripple effect expands this amount to $192 billion. Compare that to Maryland's extravagant $30 billion dollar budget.

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While Maryland's Department of Natural Resources budget is a whopping $419 million, fisheries gets a measly $15 million and wildlife and heritage subsist on $9.5 million, both totaling less than .09 percent (that's a whole 9 cents out of every $100) of the state budget, with most of that money coming from anglers and hunters!

Hunters generously spent $493 million on their canine companions. Check with PETA or the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and see how much of their money reaches the animals they claim to protect.

Fuel taxes, paid by sportsmen, allow the Federal Sports Fish Restoration and Boating Fund to allot $570 million annually, primarily for coastal wetlands and fisheries conservation.

Federal excise taxes (anglers, $291 million; hunters, $233 million) and license, stamps, tags and permits ($1 billion) paid by anglers and hunters, allowed states to own and manage 15.4 million acres of habitat, helping to restore dozens of species, including ducks, wild turkeys and white-tailed deer.

Hunters and shooters were the driving force in the implementation of the Pitman-Robertson legislation, providing more than $5 billion to states to be used toward conservation and wildlife management. PETA and the USHS would rather see every taxpayer penalized to support their selfish, liberal agenda.

The Federal Duck Stamp has generated $700 million, all going into the National Wildlife Refuge System, purchasing 5 million acres of land and offering public outdoor recreation and wildlife-watching opportunities.

So whenever someone makes emotional, irresponsible claims, ask exactly how much PETA, HSUS or even general tax monies have contributed to wildlife and habitat conservation. The amount isn't worth mentioning.

Steve Palmer
Williamsport

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