License Certifications and Apportionments

1. What is License Certification and how does it fit into TRACS?

License Certification is the annual process by which states, and U.S. insular areas, respond to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director's request to submit their numbers of certified hunting and fishing licenses sold. The Office of Conservation Investment enters these numbers into TRACS, which utilizes statutory formulas in order to calculate each state’s Wildlife Restoration (WR) and Sport Fish Restoration (SFR) annual apportionment. For more information, refer to 50 CFR 80 Subpart D.

Wildlife TRACS stands for Tracking and Reporting Actions for the Conservation of Species. TRACS is a web-based application that serves as the official performance reporting tool used by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) Office of Conservation Investment to capture conservation and related actions funded by its grant programs. 

TRACS also serves as the electronic system for license certification and apportionments, providing an efficient, standardized, and accessible tool for capturing this data. Starting in the fall of 2022, the TRACS License Certification and Apportionments Administrative Module has been used by state fish and wildlife agency license managers to enter, review, certify, and submit the number of paid hunting and fishing license holders on an annual basis. Each grant program has a factor set that is used in its apportionment formula. Headquarters staff use TRACS to generate annual preliminary and final apportionments.

Historic license data and apportionments have been added to the system allowing TRACS to generate data dashboards that give partners and the public access to hunting and fishing license data and apportionment figures, with decades of information. These data sets provide an important source for historical license information and show the amount of apportionment funds provided to state and territorial fish and wildlife agencies through the years. To learn more, visit the Partner with a Payer website here:

2. When do States need to start entering our agencies license certification data into TRACS?

 License certification numbers were submitted manually per past process, then into TRACS starting in 2022 by state fish and wildlife agencies.

3. What are apportionments and how is TRACS used to calculate them?

Apportionment is the amount of federal funds distributed to fish and wildlife agencies in the States, District of Columbia (Sport Fish Only) and Insular Areas, based on statutory formulas established under each Federal program’s authorizing legislation (Wildlife Restoration Act, Sport Fish Restoration Act and State Wildlife Grant Program).

At a high level, calculating the annual apportionments consists of two steps. The first step is for each state and insular area to enter the number of hunting and fishing licenses sold, and certified, during their specified certification period. Once the license certification data editor has entered their state’s license numbers, the license certification non-federal approver and license certification federal approver review and approve the data.

Step two requires headquarters staff to run the apportionments reports in TRACS. This report will determine how much grant funding each state and insular area will receive of the total available amount. The preliminary apportionments are run each fall to give agencies an estimate of funds that will be available. The final apportionments are typically run at the beginning of the calendar year and provides actual funding totals by grant program. Apportionment reports are published online here:

While state and territories do not participate in the apportionment calculations, they do have the opportunity to run hypothetical apportionments in TRACS. 

To learn more, visit eLearning .