Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tax Time for Sportsmen- Save your receipts

View from elk camp-Spicer peak, Colorado

Indianapolis, Indiana- Once again it is that time of year when the piles of receipts that have accumulated in the glove box, the shoebox under the desk and also in the bulging grocery bag in the closet are all carefully brought together- to finally justify why they have been saved for the past 12 months. Somewhere in this mass of organized chaos is a receipt that proves to the IRS and your beloved that you did actually have a business dinner meeting last November on the second day of deer season. If only it were that easy to prove where the money has been spent on gun hunting, bow hunting and all other shooting sports- which is my point precisely.
Where has all the money been spent by sportsmen?

Back in 1937, a bill was sponsored by Senator Key Pittman of Nevada and Congressman A. Willis Robertson of Virginia and signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on Sept. 2, 1937. The Pittman-Robertson Act created a 10% excise tax on sporting arms and ammunition. A few years later the tax became 11%.

So where does all this money go?

The tens of millions of dollars generated by Pittman-Robertson each year were mandated to go back into state and local organizations to increase game populations, expand habitat and train hunters. As the money kept piling up, a repeal bill was drawn to relieve sportsmen from the financial burden of the excise tax. However, because dramatic results could be seen nationwide, sportsmen insisted on keeping the tax in place.

The generated revenues from Pittman-Robertson were placed in a special trust under the control of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and were to be allotted to state wildlife conservation programs for wildlife restoration and to ensure the future of hunting sports. The trust was to be kept separate from the general fund, meaning the monies were not to be part of the accounted annual budget.

For years the Pittman-Robertson Act functioned soundly--generating $150 million in funds each year--and, more importantly, produced results. Numerous species including migratory birds (ducks and geese), elk, deer, antelope, wild turkey and many other species were rescued from the endangered list and are now not only surviving, but thriving. Pittman-Robertson was a rare legislative model for efficiency and a godsend for hunters and animals alike.

The Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs Improvement Act of 2000 precisely re-defines what USFWS can spend the excise taxes on and in what manner the monies can be spent. The NRA backed bill passed the House 423-2 and became law on Nov. 1, 2000.

Today, Pittman-Robertson is back on track, supplying wildlife with vast amounts of habitat, resources and practical ecological study, while supplying hunters with game to hunt and eat, thus ensuring necessary funds never run dry. America`s sportsmen contribute $3.5 million each day to wildlife conservation.

Now the National Park Service has a goal to eliminate any type of lead ammunition or fishing tackle on ALL national parks by the year 2010. I say TIME OUT- FOUL. Whenever a decision of this magnitude is made, you would think that it is based on scientific research, years of data, economic impact statements, etc., etc.. but NOOOOOoooooooaaa. .......

The restrictions, set to take effect by the end of 2010, were announced without regard to science or soliciting feedback from sportsmen’s groups. The ammo you bought for that elk hunt or even the lead-head jigs for that vacation trip to your local national park- better use them in 2009 because someone thinks that your gut pile will kill a condor- or the jig head you lost in the lake might be ingested by a loon- after 2010.

Do I smell a hidden agenda here?

Whatever it is- once again , sportsmen pay the price- we have the receipt.

Denny :(


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Turkey Hunting- or is it the Boogey Man ?

"The Fab Five"
Rocky Branch Manager Diane Hafford & USA Outback host Denny Snyder
Billy McCoy & Paul Butski
Back- Bob Walker

Indianapolis, Indiana- Today I saw my first robin- certainly a sign of spring and the upcoming turkey season.

The groundhog was wrong- I hope.

It has been quite a few years since I have been spring turkey hunting with my good friend Bob Walker of Walker's Game Ear fame. We have been on many hunts together but there is one particular morning that specifically stands out. While listening for the distant gobble of an ol' long beard, Bob made the following comment. "Turkey hunting is like going after the Boogey Man- you know he's out there - and then he's coming for you."

If you know how to "speak the language"- quoting the tagline from Will Primos.....mimicking those soft clucks and crying purrs made famous by guys like Paul Butski & Billy McCoy, the Rohm brothers, the Kirbys, Knight and Hale, Ray Eye, Donny Shipp and Larry Shockey,Walter Parrott...the list goes on........by learning from these masters of the art of turkey calling- the Boogey Man will certainly come for you to.

This brief lapse in the hunting season is almost over and I get excited thinking about investigating new territory. There is nothing like the Butski/McCoy strategy of run and gun gobbler hunting to get the blood pumping on a cool morning in the Alabama woods or Sullivan county hills of Pennsylvania- or anywhere else for that matter.

Smelling the damp earth beneath your feet as you go stumbling through the dark to reach that highest morning vantage point before day breaks. Hearing the crashing of a whitetail bumped from its bed- listening to the trickling of a spring as it gurgles down the mountain carrying with it sluggish worms to the mouths of hungry trout waiting at the merger of the runoff. Coyotes yip and cry in the distance as they return with their pack to the den.

Adding to this spring sonata are the raspy caw caws of crows chasing an owl who(get it...who..who.....LOL)is returning too late from its nocturnal hunt. It is then that this aerial ruckus is dwarfed in volume with a throaty gobble. A mature tom declares that this portion of the world is his and damn anyone for disturbing his roost. The ol'man gobbler you spooked last spring made it through yet another winter. A group of his bothered ladies join in with their own clucks and tree yelps.

The jakes half-hearted attempts at gobbles are almost comical when the ol' man cuts them off with his bellowing gobble that reverberates the very ground where you stand. The fog starts to lift off the green field at the edge of the woods making way for the rising sun.

This experience happens every spring. My senses are all in over-drive- sensory stimulation in Mother Nature's high definition.

This my friends is the essence of spring turkey hunting. Share this experience with someone close to you so they too can see why we hunters are so passionate about our sport. Trust me on this one- they WILL get it.

Squeezing the trigger is such a small part.

Try to get the Boogey Man and just maybe- he'll come get you.

Denny :)