In Brief

By MDC | November 1, 2022
From Missouri Conservationist: November 2022

MDC and the Pittman-Robertson Act

Serving nature and you for 85 years

This year marks the 85th anniversary of conservation history being made both in Missouri and across the nation.

In Missouri in 1937, our work began when citizen-led efforts created MDC and the Missouri Conservation Commission. The non-political, science-focused state conservation agency was a new and unique concept for the time. Our beginnings 85 years ago came at a time when Missouri’s fisheries, forests, and wildlife populations were largely decimated from the commercial overharvest of these resources and support for conservation was often tied to political interests.

In Washington in 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law The Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, popularly known as the Pittman–Robertson Act (PRA). Sponsored by Senator Key Pittman of Nevada and Congressman A. Willis Robertson of Virginia, the first-of-its-kind legislation provided federal funds through grants to states for wildlife restoration, wildlife habitat, and wildlife management research.

The PRA established a manufacturers’ excise tax on guns, ammunition, and archery equipment. The taxes are collected from manufacturers and then distributed annually as grants to states and territorial areas by the Department of the Interior’s U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. States typically must provide an investment of one dollar for every three dollars in federal funding that is granted. In most cases, state hunting and fishing license fees are used to meet this matching requirement.

The PRA has been amended over the decades to also include funding for hunter education programs, for the development and operation of public shooting ranges, and for “recruitment, retention, and reactivation” to boost the numbers of hunters, trappers, and recreational shooters.

“Federal reimbursement monies from the Pittman–Robertson Act have been and continue to be an essential source of funding for MDC,” said MDC Director Sara Parker Pauley. “Without those funds over the past 85 years, we would not have been able to restore deer and turkey populations around the state, bring back once-native elk to the Ozarks, fund our hunter education program and dozens of shooting ranges around the state, or do much of the extensive wildlife habitat restoration and wildlife research done by MDC staff.”

Pauley added that over the decades and into today, the PRA has provided funding for MDC to establish and manage more than 1 million acres of wildlife habitat around the state, including more than 1,000 conservation areas and natural areas along with river accesses and nature centers.

In Missouri, the PRA also helps fund MDC’s five staffed and 70 unstaffed shooting ranges around the state.

Funds from the PRA also provide hunter education training and certification to thousands of Missouri hunters each year. Over its 85-year history, MDC has provided hunter education training and certification to about 1.4 million Missourians.

The PRA also continues to be essential in providing MDC funding for key habitat management, conservation research, and wildlife restoration for numerous wildlife species, including white-tailed deer, wild turkey, quail, waterfowl, elk, and others.

Federal reimbursements, such as from the PRA, account for about 14 percent of MDC’s annual revenue. Other principal sources of MDC revenue come from the sale of hunting and fishing permits, the dedicated conservation sales tax of one-eighth of one percent, and revenue from the administration of forest, fish, and wildlife resources.

For more information on the Pittman-Robertson Act, visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service online at

For more information on how we spend our revenue on taking care of nature, connecting people with nature, and maintaining public trust, read the latest MDC Annual Review in the January 2022 issue of the Missouri Conservationist online at

Honor Missouri Conservationists with MDC Awards

We are seeking nominations of Missourians who make or have made outstanding contributions to conservation in Missouri for the Master Conservationist award and Missouri Conservation Hall of Fame award. The deadline for nominations is Dec. 31.

The Master Conservationist award honors living or deceased Missourians while the Missouri Conservation Hall of Fame award recognizes deceased individuals.

Get more information, criteria, and nomination forms for each award from the MDC website at and

Veterans Day

In honor of Veterans Day, MDC offices will be closed for all business, including permit sales, on Friday, Nov. 11. You can still buy Missouri hunting and fishing permits on that day from numerous vendors around the state, online at, or through MDC’s free mobile apps, MO Hunting and MO Fishing, available for download through Google Play or the App Store.

Agent Advice
Statistics Elements

Haeley Eichler
Pettis County
Conservation Agent


As you prepare for the 2022 firearms deer season, add permits to your checklist. With so many convenient ways to purchase permits today — online, the MO Hunting app, retail shops — it’s easy to wait until the last minute, but that’s not advisable. Plan ahead and buy early. Pack your hunter orange. It’s an important safety measure, and it’s a requirement. Your hat and vest, coat, or shirt must be visible from 360 degrees, and camouflage orange doesn’t fulfill the requirement. Finally, hunters 15 or younger as of Sept. 15 are exempt from the antler point restriction this season. For more information, visit the 2022 Fall Deer & Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet at

We are Conservation
man in cave
Cliff White
Right to Use

Jonathan Beard

Jonathan Beard’s interest in caves started with the challenge of photographing them. “Without sunshine, you have to work to get the best angle and effect.”

Making caves beautiful again

By 1983, Beard had joined a caving club in Springfield and his interests turned to cave restoration. Beard’s efforts include clearing trash, removing graffiti, restoring cave floors, and rejoining broken stalagmites and stalactites (to date, he has rejoined 1,500).

Cave restoration not only makes caves beautiful again but also removes toxins from the cave ecosystems. One empty can is capable of attracting and trapping dozens of camel crickets and other cave fauna. Spray paint on cave walls covers the natural patina that may be home to microfauna. Old paint chips that fall may be toxic to fauna searching for food.

In his own words

“There is a cave creed: Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time.”

What is it?

Great Horned Owl

The great horned owl has large yellow eyes set against a reddish-brown or gray face. Its wide-set ear tufts come to a point that resemble horns, which gives this large owl its name. After dark, you can identify it by its three to eight deep hoots grouped in a pattern, such as hoo h’HOO, HOO, HOO.


Also In This Issue

This Issue's Staff

Magazine Manager - Stephanie Thurber
Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld
Associate Editor - Larry Archer
Photography Editor - Cliff White
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek
Staff Writer – Dianne Van Dien
Designer - Shawn Carey
Designer - Marci Porter
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Circulation Manager - Laura Scheuler