Virginia’s Non-Game Program
You can give to wildlife and yourself a tax break. That’s right! If you have a tax refund coming or would like to donate directly to Virginia’s Non-Game Program you can designate any portion or all of your tax refund to support the management of non-game wildlife in Virginia. If you do not want to wait until tax time, you can donate directly to the program by sending a check directly to: Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Virginia’s Non-Game Program, P.O. Box 90778, Henrico, VA 23228-0778. You’ll get a receipt for your donation, which you can claim on your next year’s federal and state tax returns.
What is non-game wildlife?
- The designation “non-game” is for those species which are neither hunted, trapped nor fished. It includes threatened and endangered species such the peregrine falcon and the northern flying squirrel, but it goes even further than that. Virginia’s Wildlife Action Plan website will give you an idea of the scope of the species that will be helped by the non-game wildlife fund.
Why is it important that Virginians contribute to the non-game wildlife fund?
- For many years, biologists with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries have managed game species with money from license fees and taxes on guns, ammunition, archery equipment and fishing tackle. In other words, for many years the sportsmen and sportswomen have carried the load when it comes to paying for wildlife management—game and non-game species. Because it is virtually impossible to separate game species from non-game species when it comes to management, the Department has always conducted a diversity of non-game management activities every year. But the Department wants to do more, and we need your help. Much of the management work for threatened and endangered species research has been funded in large part by federal funds. Times have changed and the federal budget continues to reduce much-needed funding for critical wildlife management work. More than ever it is time for everyone who cherishes Virginia’s wildlife and natural resources to help out.
How will your donations to the non-game wildlife fund be spent?
- Depending upon how much money we receive, we hope to initiate projects that include: inventorying non-game species in Virginia, creating education awareness, raptor rehabilitation, technical assistance for landowners, reintroduction or translocation of species in appropriate areas of the state where they have been absent, leasing, buying and entering into cooperative agreements for land which provide critical or key habitat for certain species.
These are only a handful of the examples of how your money will likely be spent. What the Department and its staff of skilled biologists are striving for is an integrated approach to wildlife management. Bob Duncan, DGIF Director, calls it the “ecosystem approach,” and asks, “How can we know the importance of a species down the road? It’s time for all of us—hunters, anglers and all wildlife lovers—to work together for the conservation of all of Virginia’s wildlife.”