Mississippi Awarded Grants to Fight Decline in License Sales
Three grants totaling $172,755 have been awarded to the Mississippi Department of Wildlife Fisheries, and Parks. The main thrust of the monies is to reverse declining hunting and fishing license sales, the primary funding mechanism of the agency. The grants are proceeds from two sources: the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF) which made a $25,000 matching grant in the first of a three-year program; and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), which provided funding for two projects.
The RBFF grant target lapsed fishing license holders and encourages them to buy a license and again join the fishing community. Mississippi anglers contribute millions of dollars to local economies through the purchase of fishing tackle, bait, boats, motors, fuel and other items. Excise taxes paid by the manufacturer, and ultimately passed on to the consumer, enable the department to complete a wide variety of sport fishing projects. These funds are distributed to states based on a number of criteria including the number of license holders.
The NSSF grants will be used to recruit hunters across Mississippi. A direct mail campaign coupled with public service announcements and advertising will highlight the excellent hunting opportunities available on public lands. Hunters have long paid for wildlife management and as with the aforementioned fishing excise taxes, the sale of firearms, ammunition and other items creates a funding source for wildlife conservation efforts.
The second NSSF Grant will expand and promote the public dove field program. The program provides incentives to land owners who establish fields and allow public participation on date-specific hunts. Hunters pay a fee to have a reserved stand in an established field, preventing overcrowding.
"License sales are a major factor in the distribution of federal funds to each state," said Al Tuck, MDWFP Deputy Director. "We encourage everyone who hunts or fishes to obtain a license. That way we get our fair share of federal tax revenues."
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