In 1937, the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, also known as the Pittman-Robertson Act, authorized that excise tax revenue from the sale of firearms and ammunition products be apportioned to State Fish and Game Agencies on a variety of projects related to wildlife, conservation efforts and shooting programs. Since the program’s inception, over $10.1 billion has been collected and awarded to states.
The distribution of funds includes a requirement that $8,000,000 per year must be used for Enhanced Hunter Education programs, including the construction, operation, and maintenance of public target ranges. States can use these funds to pay up to 90% of the costs with the other 10% derived from other sources, but not from other Federal grant programs.
Although Pittman-Robertson funds are only available to the States, the States can 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.
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. Many states that offer grants to individuals or organizations for range development do not typically require this level of control. Instead, control is often dictated by requiring certain use of the range.
If States do not provide grants, and 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.
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.