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Hunting Heritage

Hunters and recreational shooters fund wildlife and natural resource conservation.

two hunters on the edge of a meadow in the mountains

Protecting the Heroes of Conservation

Through license and permit fees and excise taxes imposed on firearms, ammunition and archery gear, hunters and recreational shooters provide the greatest portion of funding used to support state wildlife agency conservation efforts.

By staying engaged and advocating for policies at the federal and state level, the NWTF stands up for hunting and firearms rights and easing restrictions to allow more people to easily enter the pastime. The NWTF’s work at the federal level provides support for hunters and recreational shooters by encouraging opening access to federal public lands, providing a voice for hunters in Congress and protecting state authority of wildlife management.

The NWTF’s staff and volunteers actively monitor state policy and legislation that impacts hunters and hunting rights. Through agency collaboration and grassroots advocacy, the NWTF ensures the right to hunt and shoot are protected while balancing state wildlife management needs.

adult hunter handing a gun across a fence to a youth hunter

Programs and Outreach

From 2012 to 2020, the NWTF recruited more than 1.5 million hunters and opened public hunting access to over 600,000 acres. The key ingredient to our success in all aspects of preserving our hunting heritage has been partnerships.

We are conservationists therefore we hunt. At the NWTF, we understand the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation to be the most effective system to conserve our natural resources. Many American’s are unaware of the integral role hunters play in our nation’s great conservation story. Hunters are an integral part of funding conservation and every year millions of wildlife viewers, hikers and other recreationists experience the wildlife and other natural resources that have been preserved and maintained by hunters and shooters. This user-pay system has been the backbone of conservation. Those who pay the excise tax on firearms and ammunition and purchase hunting licenses directly fund the management of our country’s natural resources to exist into perpetuity.

Hunting and the outdoors lifestyle is a foundational element of America’s history. Providing sustenance, living off the land and connecting with nature the way our ancestors did is our heritage, and we must preserve it. However, the number of hunters in America is not proportionate to the growing population, which means less funding for conservation efforts and a diminishing hunting heritage. To conserve our natural resources and to preserve our hunting heritage, the NWTF is entrenched in recruiting, retaining and reactivating new hunters.

The NWTF has an array of Education and Outreach programs and dedicated staff, volunteers and partners seeking to introduce non-hunters to the outdoors lifestyle and to share in the greater conservation story. The NWTF has been investing in hunter recruitment for decades with programs like Women in the Outdoors, JAKES and Wheelin’ Sportsmen. We’ve expanded programming to include Learn to Hunt Clinics, mentored hunts and Field to Fork events that introduce individuals to hunting by highlighting the connection to food. Events are hosted by NWTF chapters, facilitated by volunteers and held in partnership with federal and state wildlife agencies, other conservation organizations and the outdoor industry. This timeless mission and unwavering commitment has led the NWTF to become one of the premier organizations in the fight to preserve our hunting heritage, including work at both a state and federal policy level and ensuring Americans increasingly have access to their public lands.

Working with NWTF volunteers, state and federal partners, outfitters, industry partners and other nongovernmental organizations, we have made immense strides in our work to recruit, retain and reactivate hunters. The restoration of the wild turkey is arguably one of the greatest conservation stories of all time, and it was driven by hunters. We are proud to say our mission has been laser focused for nearly 50 years, and we are poised to keep it that way for 50 more.

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