6 cool things about the Duck Stamp
Every June, hunters, birders, conservationists and stamp collectors celebrate when the new Federal and Junior Duck Stamps go on sale. Every hunter over the age of 16 must purchase and carry with them a Duck Stamp each year in order to hunt ducks, geese and other waterfowl. But they are also collectible works of art and the easiest way for anyone to support bird habitat conservation with 98 percent of the proceeds going to the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund.
1. The Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (commonly known as the Federal Duck Stamp) was born in the dust bowl days when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act in 1934 to protect wetlands that are vital to the survival of migratory waterfowl. Since that first stamp, sales have raised more than $950 million.
2. Many sportsmen buy more than one Duck Stamp a year, helping to protect or restore nearly 6 million acres of habitat for birds and other wildlife.
3. Every year the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service holds an art contest to select the stamp design, making these stamps miniature works of art and a treasured item to stamp collectors around the world. 4. With over an 80-year history, the Duck Stamp is the longest-running single themed U.S. stamp, adding to their collectibility. There is also a Junior Duck Stamp art contest that draws some of the nation’s best young waterfowl artists.
4. The first Duck Stamp was a sketch designed by J.N. “Ding” Darling, the director of the Bureau of Biological Survey (forerunner to today’s U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service).
5. Since 1990, the Hautman brothers — James, Joseph and Robert — have won 12 contests. Joseph and James, the current winner, have five wins each, tying for the most wins by an individual ever.
6. A current Federal Duck Stamp is a free pass into any national wildlife refuge that charges an entry fee. The result: Birders, nature photographers and other outdoor enthusiasts buy Duck Stamps.
Pictured: The Junior Duck Stamp includes a pair of trumpeter swans painted by Isaac Schreiber