A Century Of Commitment To Conservation

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Another Hunter for Conservation patch

“Conservation is a cause that has no end. There is no point at which we will say our work is finished.” Attributed to biologist, conservationist and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Rachel Carson, the words perfectly capture the absolute commitment that is required to conserve nature and unimpeded access to its resources. The quote also aligns with the philosophy and actions of Federal Ammunition during the past century—and the future.

The most successful conservation program enacted to-date, with early support by company founder and president Charles Horn, is the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act. This is also referred to as the Pittman-Robertson Act.

According to FWS.gov, “Funds from a [self-imposed] 11 percent excise tax on sporting arms and ammunition [and later archery tackle] are appropriated to the Secretary of the Interior … Project activities include acquisition and improvement of wildlife habitat, introduction of wildlife into suitable habitat, research into wildlife problems, surveys and inventories of wildlife problems, acquisition and development of access facilities for public use, and hunter education programs, including construction and operation of public target ranges.” Horn and Federal were early champions of the 1937 cornerstone conservation legislation.

Early Advocacy

British writer C.S. Lewis once remarked, “Do the right thing, even when no one is watching. It’s called integrity.” Horn publicly backed this dictum. How? During the 1930s, his company ran a series of conservation-themed advertisements that decried abhorrent and unethical behavior among recreational shooters and hunters.

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Mind you, this was during the privation caused by the Great Depression, when families struggled to put any food on the table, and wild game was increasingly sourced for protein. Still, Horn and his company understood the necessity of leaving breeding stock, preserving (and improving) the land, tackling firearms safety, and maintaining positive relationships with landowners.

From this, modern sportsmen and women have inherited a conservation framework and code of ethics that’s as applicable now as it was during Horn’s time. It makes perfect sense then that Federal would support Whitetails Unlimited Project POLITE (Permission Of Landowner In order To Enter) three decades ago.

Although Horn relinquished his position as company president in 1972—and subsequently became chairman of the board for a three-year stint—Federal continued its unparalleled support for conservation. And, as the years passed, this would only increase. Among the most visible efforts emerged during the early ’90s. It was during this time that the company promoted the sale of Another Hunter for Conservation patches, the purpose of which was twofold: priced at $2 each (shipping and handling included), the funds raised were earmarked for conservation. Just as importantly, it allowed hunters to wear their beliefs on their sleeves—literally.

Simultaneously, the company revisited proper etiquette when afield and the responsibility of all sportspeople. For example, in the 1991 product catalog can be found an article titled, “Are You Killing the Sport of Hunting?” Reminiscent of the 1930s ads, it stated, “It means leading by example when hunting. Don’t just stand idly by while someone misuses a gun. Don’t turn your back when laws are bent and broken. Speak up. It may not be the most popular thing to do. But it’s the only salvation for the sport.”

Another slogan during the decade was “Choose Your Shot Carefully.” It was here, in 1991, that Federal stressed the importance of carefulness when afield along with being politically proactive and joining hunting and shooting organizations.

“Their opinions on the future of hunting are being formed now,” explained Federal. “Your concerns for conservation, hunter education, safety, and the competent harvest and management of our game resources must be expressed. Your actions, your words, and perhaps most important, the way we all conduct ourselves afield will be judged by many, who until very recently were not interested.” For the 1996 annual, the company highlighted its Support the Shooting Sports program, which was to “further conservation and wildlife protection.”

The Power Of Partnerships

Speaking of conservation and hunter/firearm advocate groups, Federal proclaimed, “From the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s essential Heritage Fund to critical national wildlife organizations, Federal donates dollars and resources to ensure a promising future in the field for our nation’s youth. National support of a host of key groups and wildlife organizations, along with special conservation edition loads, tell the world that Federal Premium Ammunition cares about the precious land we’re all privileged to enjoy and the animals that inhabit it.”

The organizations that Federal has supported and continues to support are like a who’s who of conservation, wildlife, and hunting/firearms rights groups. Standouts include: the National Shooting Sports Foundation, National Rifle Association, 4-H, Boy Scouts of America, Becoming an Outdoors Woman, Ducks Unlimited, Delta Waterfowl, National Wild Turkey Federation, Pheasants Forever, International Hunter Education Association, Ruffed Grouse Society, Safari Club International, and Whitetails Unlimited, to name a few. Federal doesn’t wait to act, either; in fact, the company was among the first sponsors of Pheasants Forever and the NWTF. Both occurred in 1982, and support continues today. From that time until 1988, the company added four more organizations, including: DU, RMEF, SCI, and the Ruffed Grouse Society. All told, there are dozens of recipients of Federal’s support.

In addition to upfront support, some of the abovementioned groups also profit from Federal ammunition products bearing their logos. Among them are the NWTF and Pheasants Forever. In the 2008 catalog, the company reported that by the time Pheasants Forever had reached its 25th anniversary in 2007, it had recently produced its 10 millionth round of Wing-Shok in support of the royalty program.

For those without a calculator handy, that equates to 400,000 25-shell boxes. With a portion of the proceeds from each box going to the group, that’s real financial support. Think about it: between the excise tax, donation of product and direct monetary support, and proceeds from specially marked boxes, Federal is instrumental in supporting conservation.

Beyond supporting essential organizations, Federal also works alongside them to modernize hunting laws. Thanks to their untiring efforts (and that of others), hunters can pursue game using the most technologically advanced equipment. Federal’s reach goes beyond the state level, too. The company’s size, along with its in-house expertise, helps streamline the process to address issues concerning hunting, conservation, and firearms rights.

“To any one for whom wild things are something more than a pleasant diversion, (conservation) constitutes one of the milestones in moral evolution,” said Leopold. But conservation comes at a price. Thankfully, Federal has, since its earliest days, viewed funding conservation as something that we must do, rather what we should do, and is protecting the environment and our rights to enjoy it. And it will continue to do so in the future.

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Federal Ammunition supports the National Wild Turkey Federation with every round of Premium turkey ammunition we sell, including Grand Slam, 3rd Degree and HEAVYWEIGHT TSS.

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