The North American Model of Wildlife Conservation is the world's most successful system of policies and laws to restore and safeguard fish and wildlife and their habitats through sound science and active management.
Hunting and angling are the cornerstones of the North American Model with sportsmen and women serving as the foremost funders of conservation. Through self-imposed excise taxes on hunting, shooting, archery and angling equipment, and a tax on boating fuels, these conservationists have generated more than $14 billion for wildlife and habitat conservation since 1937.
How does the model work? Manufacturers of hunting and shooting arms and ammunition, archery equipment and fishing equipment pay an excise tax on the equipment they produce. These funds, combined with a tax on motorboat fuels, are collected by the federal government and distributed to each state’s fish and wildlife agency. State fish and wildlife agencies then combine these funds with monies collected through the sale of hunting and fishing licenses to conserve, manage and enhance fish and wildlife and their habitats and to create fish and wildlife recreational and educational opportunities.
Though sportsmen-funded conservation efforts have focused on wildlife that is legally hunted and fished, the emphasis of the management is on restoring and conserving habitats that benefit a wide range of fish and wildlife including non-hunted species as well as benefiting everyone who enjoys nature.
Currently, there are no alternative, dedicated funding systems in place (beyond excise taxes and license fees) to help support fish and wildlife conservation. Without the most traditional outdoor users’ contributions or new funding streams, America’s conservation legacy could be in peril.
The Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies formally endorsed the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation at its 100-year anniversary meeting in September 2002 in Big Sky, Montana.