A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Tax on gun sales helps keep it open

Written December 24th, 2016 by Hasso Hering


The afternoon of Christmas Eve found me and my bike at the E.E. Wilson Wildlife Area. Even though I didn’t see any wildlife other than birds, having this 1,788-acre tract within easy reach is one of the benefits of living in the Albany area.

The area’s main purpose is to provide habitat for game animals including upland birds, and the occasional spent shotgun shell left on the ground reminds you of that. But from my perspective, what makes it great is that it offers solitude and widen open spaces, plus both paved and gravel roads for riding a bike.

Some years ago, budget problems forced the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to consider closing E.E. Wilson to public access. Luckily, the closure was avoided. Even though we’ve all read about the looming state budget crisis for the next biennium, I combed the department’s 2017-19 budget proposal in vain for any signs that closing the area was once again in the cards.

On its website,  ODFW makes the point that E.E. Wilson and the two dozen other state wildlife areas, including public access to them, are made possible by revenue under the federal Pittman-Robertson Act of the 1930s. The act placed a federal manufacturers’ excise tax on hunting arms and ammunition, and the money is distributed to states based on population and the number of hunting licenses sold.

Oregon expects to get about $23 million from this source in the next two years, down a few million from the current budget period. The money helps pay for many programs related to game animals, not just maintaining the wildlife areas. But ODFW points out that for the wildlife areas, “most funding is provided through the federal Pittman-Robertson program financed by hunters and shooting sports enthusiasts.”

So if you like the E.E. Wilson area as a great place to visit, as I do, you should welcome news of any uptick in the sale of hunting licenses, ammo and guns. (hh)

One of the roads in the Wilson Wildlife Area on the afternoon of Christmas Eve,

One of the roads in the Wilson Wildlife Area on the afternoon of Christmas Eve,

Posted in: Bicycling, Uncategorized


5 responses to “Tax on gun sales helps keep it open”

  1. John Hartman says:

    Maybe it is because today is the birthday of the baby Jesus, but it strikes one as odd that the best way to keep these sanctuaries open and viable is to buy a license allowing you wade in with a weapon to end the lives of the very creatures we pretend to admire and wish to “protect” so much. The irony is delicious. Apparently the many small game breeds are equally tasty. The logic is not unlike the Vietnam era fighting philosophy which postulated that American military might had to destroy villages in order to save them.

    • Tony White says:

      So maybe Mr. Hartman espouses that we all become vegetarians? Why do you suppose God gave man canine teeth? We are meat eaters! As Daffy Duck used to say, comparing hunting to Vietnam “Ha ha, it is to laugh!”

      • John Hartman says:

        First, I must object to one or two premises your letter makes. Namely where you wrote, “Why do you suppose God gave man canine teeth.”

        FIrst, my mouth is filled with human teeth, not canine.

        Secondly, your argument presupposes the existence of a supreme being without offering any evidence for your claim. This makes taking your point seriously quite challenging.

        Lastly, you make another unsupported claim when you say “we are meat eaters.”
        Yet there are literally billions of human beings worldwide who are strict vegetarians.
        India is one such place where hundreds of millions of Hindu believers do not eat any meat.

        LIke the writer of this letter condemning me, I can offer little in the way of proof, but I suspect there are more than a few vegetarians and even a few Vegans mixed into the Albany populous. Watch out….they’re a dangerous bunch.

    • James Engel says:

      Gracious dude, can you weave in any more liberal points of nonsense into your comment? What has the Vietnam War got to do with E.E. Wilson Refuge? If you didn’t serve there – like I did ’67 – ’68 – please refrain from whipping that horse again to fluff your points! I believe H.H. was just pointing out the “good uses” of hunting license fees. You don’t have to kill things to go there & view the area! JE

      • John Hartman says:

        I fail to understand how your having served in Vietnam makes it possible for you to guess whether or not the writer of the letter served in that disastrous war also. Secondly, here in America our opinions and thoughts are not limited to only those activities we were literally involved in. The very idea is repugnant.

        More importantly, I never advocated for vegetarianism. I merely pointed out the great irony involved in Hasso’s story. If you missed that irony, I would suggest a more careful read of Mr. Hering’s words.


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