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Federal and Junior Duck Stamps Raise Funds Vital for Conservation


With the unveiling of the 2018-2019 Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp – commonly known as the Duck Stamp – a few weeks ago, we are once again reminded of the huge contributions to conservation made by hunters and waterfowl watchers. The new stamp will raise millions of dollars for habitat conservation to benefit wildlife and the American people.


Art for the new Federal Duck Stamp, which depicts a drake and hen mallard, was painted by three-time winning Federal Duck Stamp Contest artist Robert Hautman of Delano, Minnesota.


Also on sale is the 2018-2019 Junior Duck Stamp, which raises funds to support youth conservation education. This year’s stamp features an emperor goose painted by Rayen Kang, 17, of Johns Creek, Georgia.


The Federal Duck Stamp plays a critically important role in wildlife conservation. Since 1934, sales of this stamp have raised more than $1 billion to protect more than 5.7 million acres of wetlands habitat on national wildlife refuges around the nation.


In 2015, the last year for which complete numbers are available (duck stamps stay on sale for three years after they are issued), 1,595,000 were sold for a total of $35,887,500. It’s interesting to note that 2015 was the year the stamp jumped from $15 (the price it had been since 1991) to $25, but even with the increase, the number of stamps sold was higher than the average of the years it was only $15.


“After 85 years, 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 Greg Sheehan. “Looking ahead, the 2019-2020 Federal Duck Stamp, with its artistic theme of ‘Celebrating Our Waterfowl Hunting Heritage,’ will pay special recognition to the contributions waterfowl hunters have made through their purchase of Duck Stamps.”


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 this U.S. Fish & Wildlife Services website.


Funds raised from the sale of Federal Duck Stamps go toward the acquisition or lease of habitat for the National Wildlife Refuge System. Duck Stamps – while required by waterfowl hunters as an annual license – are also voluntarily purchased by birders, outdoor enthusiasts and fans of national wildlife refuges who understand the value of preserving some of the most diverse and important wildlife habitats in our nation.


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 Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest is the culmination of a year-long educational program that helps students learn about wetlands and waterfowl conservation, explore their natural world and create a painting or drawing of a duck, goose or swan as their “visual term paper” to demonstrate what they learned.


The winning art at a national contest is made into a stamp the Service sells for $5 to conservationists, educators, students and the public. Proceeds support conservation education. Since the first Junior Duck Stamps went on sale in 1993, well over $1 million has been raised, which has been re-invested in this unique conservation arts and science education program.


Editor’s Note: While waterfowl populations are currently very strong, the number of waterfowl hunters has been on a slow decline. Click here to read our recent blog post on this paradox.