MEMPHIS, Tenn. – July 25, 2006 – The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation (385 to 4) yesterday that will make it easier for waterfowl hunters to purchase a Federal Duck Stamp. The Senate passed the bill earlier. It now goes to President Bush to sign into law.
The bill approves a pilot program beginning Sept. 1, 2007, in 15 states that are yet to be determined allowing waterfowl hunters, stamp collectors and conservationists nationwide to buy the Federal Duck Stamp electronically over the phone or Internet. A conventional paper stamp will also remain available at retail outlets.
|The 2006 Federal Duck Stamp features a unique rendition of Ross' Geese. Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Click here for more information on the duck stamp competition.|
Waterfowl hunters have contributed well over $600 million to habitat conservation during the past 71 years with their purchases of Federal Duck Stamps. The ability to buy an electronic Duck Stamp should make it easier for hunters to acquire their annual Duck Stamps, and that will be a positive step for wetlands conservation.
"The new e-stamp will make it easier for waterfowl hunters to get their stamp, and that's good for conservation," said Ducks Unlimited Executive Vice President Don Young. "Many hunters have stood in some remote part of the country at some dark hour in the morning only to realize they couldn't hunt that day because they forgot to buy a Federal Duck Stamp. This certainly makes getting that stamp easier."
The bill's sponsor, Sen. Mike Crapo of Idaho, agrees. "Hunters are early risers and by allowing the purchase of Duck Stamps electronically, sportsmen will be able to spend more time enjoying nature and less time waiting for stores to open or in line to purchase their Ducks Stamp."
The e-Duck Stamp would be valid up to 45 days from date of purchase, in which time hunters would receive their paper stamp through the mail.
Young says he's also happy that language in the bill protects the rich tradition of the paper stamp and the conservation art contest that has determined which duck or goose species is featured on the stamp during the past 71 years. In July 2005, Young and former two-time Federal Duck Stamp Art Competition winner Joe Hautman of Plymouth, Minn., testified before the House Resources Committee. The comments by Young and Hautman led to provisions in the bill to protect the tradition of the art contest and the continued printing of paper stamps.
"The Federal Duck Stamp Art Competition has a storied history that shouldn't be lost," Young said. "The sale of Federal Duck Stamps and Duck Stamp prints have fueled conservation and restoration of critical waterfowl habitat throughout North America, and the Federal Duck Stamp Art Competition has been the stepping-stone to increased exposure and success for many wildlife artists. It's an American tradition that shouldn't be lost. We would encourage all duck hunters to purchase a paper stamp to perpetuate that tradition."
Ducks Unlimited is the world's largest non-profit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 12 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever.