What are Duck Stamps? The US Fish and Wildlife Service Duck Stamp website says that Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps, commonly known as “Duck Stamps,” are pictorial stamps produced by the U.S. Postal Service for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. They are not valid for postage. Originally created in 1934 as the federal licenses required for hunting migratory waterfowl, Federal Duck Stamps have a much larger purpose today.
According to the National Wildlife Refuge Association, “Ever since the first Duck Stamp was issued, the annual Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp has been a popular collector’s item for hunters and non-hunters alike. You can read a brief history of the Federal Duck Stamp at http://www.fws.gov/duckstamps/federal/pdf/DuckStampStory702.pdf.
Federal Duck Stamps are a vital tool for wetland conservation. Ninety-eight cents out of every dollar generated by the sales of Federal Duck Stamps goes directly to purchase or lease wetland habitat for protection in the National Wildlife Refuge System. Understandably, the Federal Duck Stamp Program has been called one of the most successful conservation programs ever initiated and is a highly effective way to conserve America’s natural resources.
Each year a national competition is held for the stamp design. The 2011 - 2012 Duck Stamp was painted by wildlife artist James Hautman of Minnesota
In 1989, the first Junior Duck Stamp was introduced, along with an environmental education program for youth. A nationwide competition is held also, through the schools, for art for the Junior Duck Stamp.
The US FWS lists five reasons to purchase a Federal Duck Stamp:
- Hunters over the age of 16 must purchase a Federal Duck Stamp each year if they want to hunt migratory waterfowl.
- Birders and other frequenters of National Wildlife Refuges purchase a $15 Federal Duck Stamp each year in order to gain free admission to refuges.
- Conservationists buy Federal Duck Stamps because they know that the stamps are, dollar for dollar, one of the best investments one can make in the future of America’s wetlands.
- Collectors buy both the Federal and Junior Duck Stamps because the beautiful stamps can gain value over the years and are an important part of America’s outdoor culture.
- Finally, educators, conservationists, hunters, parents, and students alike buy $5 Junior Duck Stamps in order to support conservation education programs in the U.S.
Where to purchase a Federal Duck Stamp:
· Many United State Post Offices
· Major sporting goods and outdoor stores that sell hunting licenses
· On the web at http://www.duckstamp.com/mm5/.
Information in this post is from the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Wildlife Refuge Association. Hagerman National Wildlife Refuge is one of over 550 refuges across the U.S. The Friends of Hagerman support conservation and educational programs and activities at the Refuge.