Sunday, February 5th, 2023
Sunday, February 5th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Federal sport restoration funds awarded to Illinois

Springfield – Millions of fish and wildlife dollars nearly
squandered by Illinois have been awarded to the state, federal
officials announced Feb. 24.

All in all, the final take is about $17 million, including $8.1
million for sport fish programs, $7.2 million for wildlife programs
and $1.9 million for hunter education and shooting ranges.

The state’s share is part of more than $740 million distributed
by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service under its Wildlife and Sport
Fish Restoration Program. The funds come from excise taxes and
import duties on sporting firearms, ammunition, archery equipment,
sportfishing equipment, electric outboard motors and fuel

Officials from the USFWS threatened to withhold the award after
it was discovered former Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s office had
transferred money out of state wildlife habitat accounts and into
general state accounts – which is illegal under the
Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act. New Gov. Pat Quinn
signed a law in early February to restore the funding, thus
satisfying federal officials.

USFWS spokesman Joshua Winchell said that, while the thought of
losing federal funding caused much concern in Illinois’ wildlife
community, the state’s situation was far from rare.

“Actually, there are always cases where states run into problems
similar to Illinois,” he said. “Things get tight with state budgets
and the states scramble to fill budget gaps. The important thing is
that Illinois righted its wrong.”

Pittman-Robertson funding is available to all 50 states through
a formula based on land area, including inland waters and the
number of paid hunting license holders in each state._

States use the money to manage wildlife populations, conduct
habitat research, acquire wildlife lands and public access, carry
out surveys, administer hunter education, and construct and
maintain shooting ranges.

Of the 50 states, Illinois’ piece of the federal pie ranked 19th
for wildlife restoration and 17th for sport fish restoration.

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