The Delaware Division of Fish & Wildlife receives Federal grant funds from the Wildlife Restoration Act (WRA) trust fund on a yearly basis to support wildlife and habitat restoration projects and hunter education. The WRA is funded through excise taxes placed on sporting firearms, ammunition and hunting gear. Amendments in 1970 and 1972 added excise taxes on handgun and archery equipment sales to fund hunter education and shooting ranges. Using a user pay/user benefit approach, these excise taxes are placed into the WRA trust fund which is then distributed to the states.
Project activities using WRA funding include acquisition and management of wildlife habitat, wildlife research, 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. In Delaware, WRA funding is spent on three main focus areas: land acquisition and habitat management, hunter education, and wildlife research.
Because this funding is derived from the sale of sporting equipment and matched with hunting license dollars, projects tend to be geared towards game species (those hunted or trapped); however, non-game species also benefit from habitat management, and habitat and research work conducted by WRA. Most non-game and endangered species receive funding from other sources such as State Wildlife Grants, which many game species are ineligible for.
Currently, research funded under WRA focuses on four wildlife investigation research topics: white-tailed deer, waterfowl, turkeys and wildlife surveys. Listed below are the annual reports on these topics. Within each report is an explanation of the objectives, activities conducted during the grant year to meet those objectives and a summary of the results collected to date.
Interested in learning about other Federally funded wildlife programs and projects in Delaware?
Visit State Wildlife Grant Projects in Delaware.