Purchasing a duck stamp isn't just for hunters

Column by Brandon Butler

When President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act in 1934, the Federal Duck Stamp was born. In the 85 years since, it has been a crucial piece of the restoration of wildlife and wild places across our country. Over one billion dollars have been collected to impact habitat on six million acres of land.

At a cost of $25 a piece, Federal Duck Stamps are a great individual investment in conservation, because 98 percent of funds collected go directly to purchasing or leasing wetland habitat for protection in the National Wildlife Refuge System. These are your public lands set aside for the protection and promotion of America’s wildlife.

The only problem with the Duck Stamp system is for the most part it’s only sportsmen who are purchasing them. Duck hunters must possess a stamp to hunt ducks. But the millions and millions of wildlife watchers are not obligated to purchase anything, thus returning nothing directly to the habitat the creatures they love need to survive. So, if you love waterfowl, migratory birds or just about any other species of wildlife, but don’t buy hunting licenses every year, you can still do nature a solid and buy a Federal Duck Stamp. Start a collection and buy one every year. Put a few of your dollars to work on the ground.

“The Federal Duck Stamp recognizes waterfowl hunters for their sustained contributions to wetland and waterfowl conservation during the last 85 years,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt. “Funds raised from this collectible work of art are critical to preserving our great outdoor landscapes and help to ensure access for generations to come.”

Waterfowl hunters are passionate conservationists. I doubt you will find many, if any, who are opposed to paying for a Federal Duck Stamp. Hunters know the dollars they spend today to pursue game is protecting wildlife for future generations. Sportsmen pay additional taxes on equipment through Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson Acts. Yet we still don’t have a system of conservation funding derived from the tens of millions of Americans who hike, bike, bird watch and more. Buying a Duck Stamp is a great way for those folks to give back.

“Now in its 85th year, the Federal Duck Stamp remains among the nation’s most successful and effective conservation tools, thanks to waterfowl hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts,” said Service Principal Deputy Director Margaret Everson. “The 2019-2020 Federal Duck Stamp, with its artistic theme of ‘Celebrating Our Waterfowl Hunting Heritage,’ pays special recognition to the contributions waterfowl hunters have made through their purchase of Duck Stamps.”

A current Federal Duck Stamp is also good for free admission to any refuge that charges an entry fee. Of the more than 560 refuges, many offer unparalleled outdoor recreational opportunities, including hunting, fishing, bird watching and photography.

The new Duck Stamps are available for purchase online, at many sporting goods and retail stores, and some post offices and national wildlife refuges. Find all buying options at http://www.fws.gov/birds/get-involved/duck-stamp/buy-duck-stamp.php.

See you down the trail…




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