Pittman Robertson Funds
The Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act
("Pittman-Robertson") authorizes the United States Secretary of
Interior to work with the States, through their respective State
fish and game departments (or their equivalents), on a variety of
projects related to wildlife. Among these projects are the
construction, operation, and maintenance of public target ranges.
States are not required, however, to use Pittman-Robertson funds on
target ranges. Such ranges are merely one of the uses to which the
funds can be applied.
Pittman-Robertson funds are apportioned among the States. States
may use the funds to pay up to 75% of the costs of a hunter safety
program and the construction, operation, and maintenance of public
target ranges as part of such a program. The other 25% may be
derived from license fees paid by hunters (or from other sources),
but not from other Federal grant programs.
In addition, for States that have not used the funds apportioned
to them for a hunter safety program and the construction,
operation, and maintenance of public target ranges (but, instead,
used them for other Pittman-Robertson programs), Federal law
further requires that $8,000,000 per year shall be apportioned
among the States and used to make grants for the enhancement of
various hunter education, firearm safety, and range programs,
including the construction and development of firearm shooting
ranges and the updating of safety features of firearm shooting
ranges. For States that have used the funds apportioned to them for
hunter safety program and the construction, operation, and
maintenance of public target ranges, this same grant money is
apportioned among the States and used to make grants to the States
for any use authorized by the Pittman-Robertson Act, including
hunter safety programs and the construction, operation, and
maintenance of public target ranges.
States receive certificates of apportionment of funds available
to them. If a State wishes to avail itself of Pittman-Robertson
funds, the State needs to provide a notice of desire to
participate, as outlined in the Code of Federal Regulations. States
then apply to use the funds by submitting a comprehensive wildlife
management plan or grant proposal.
Although Pittman-Robertson funds are only available to the
States, the States often then make the funds available to
individuals, organizations, or local governments for their
qualifying programs. States have their own criteria and application
process for obtaining these funds. The 25% share of the total
project can often be in materials, labor, or other in-kind
contribution, and not necessarily cash.
If capital improvements are made with Pittman-Robertson funds,
the State must control the land on which the capital improvements
are to be made. States do not need to own the land, however.
Control may be exercised through title, lease, easement, or
agreement. Thus, a landowner could lease land to the State for the
State to construct, operate, and maintain a public range. It would
likely be far less difficult, however, for a State to obtain funds
to construct a range on State-owned land. (Leases expire and they
can be broken or terminated and, unless a lease specifies
otherwise, improvements to real property by a tenant generally
remain with the property.) Many states that offer grants to
individuals or organizations for range development do not seem to
require this level of control. Instead, control seems to be had by
requiring certain use of the range.
If States do not make grants and instead use the
Pittman-Robertson funds by or through their own fish and game
departments, an individual, an organization, or a unit of local
government can always contact State officials with proposals to
open or expand public ranges, e.g.:
- Identifying state land and proposing funding sources for the
remaining 25% of the costs.
- Offering privately-owned land, or land owned by local
government, to the State (either by sale, lease, or donation) with
the condition that the land be used for a target range (and any
other conditions that do not violate the control requirement).
Please see the following list of State websites detailing grants
that may be used for shooting range development. These websites
have State-specific information on grant eligibility and
requirements. There may be other websites out there that are not
listed. In addition, the availability of grants for shooting ranges
may not be well advertised, i.e., grants for ranges may be
available but simply not listed among the examples of eligible
projects. In such a case, websites for grant information are
provided, if readily available and findable, but shooting range
grants may not be listed, even if available.
States with Available Shooting Range Grants