Legislation Passed to Make Federal Duck Stamps Easier to Obtain
OutdoorHub Reporters 01.27.12
Conservation organizations and hunters who support the cause already work hard to preserve the species they love and the land they live on. Now the U.S. House of Representatives is working to make raising funds for conservation efforts a little easier.
On Monday, January 23rd, the House passed a vote that fully allows the use of E-Duck stamps, a temporary electronic stamp, while hunters wait for their physical stamps to arrive in the mail.
Eight states that participated in the four-year trial program saw success. The bill passed with 373 representatives in favor, only one opposed. Now the bill passes onto the Senate for a vote. If the bill passes in its final stages, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will have authority to extend the program permanently to all 50 states, allowing for quick and easy access for waterfowl conservation.
Original press release issued by Ducks Unlimited on January 26th, 2012:
A U.S. House of Representatives vote yesterday could mean permanent easy access for hunters looking to buy their federal duck stamps online. The e-Duck Stamp program, started four years ago on a trial basis, allows hunters 16 and older to purchase temporary duck stamps online until their physical stamps arrive in the mail.
Prior to this pilot program, waterfowl hunters were required to buy federal migratory bird hunting and conservation stamps, or duck stamps, at post offices and sporting goods stores. The trouble came when suppliers ran out of stamps early in the season or small rural post offices didn’t carry the stamps at all.
Ducks Unlimited’s Scott Sutherland, director of the Governmental Affairs Office in Washington, D.C., testified before the House Committee on Natural Resources to keep the e-Duck Stamp program alive after its pilot period ended. He lauded the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Rob Wittman of Virginia.
“The trial that was arranged under the Electronic Duck Stamp Act legislation has worked,” Sutherland testified in October 2011. “Because of its success in making federal duck stamps easier to obtain, while preserving the heritage and utility of the traditional stamps and attendant art, Ducks Unlimited supports the proposal to make this program permanent.”
Originally enacted in 1934, the Federal Duck Stamp was created as a federal waterfowl hunting license and a means to conserve waterfowl habitat. The program has generated more than $800 million to protect more than 6 million acres of waterfowl habitat in the United States, land now part of the USFWS National Wildlife Refuge System. The stamps now cost $15 per year, with 98 percent of revenue going straight to land purchases, easements and leases.
“For generations, the funds that waterfowlers spend create jobs, pay for conservation programs, and the duck stamp is a good example of the effort to invest in the resource we care for,” Sutherland said. “Funds from the purchase of this stamp go toward conserving land beneficial to the public and waterfowl across the country. Ducks Unlimited stands firmly behind this program, and we are seeking support from Congress to make this important online component permanent.”
Now that the House has responded positively to this push for the program, with a 373-1 vote, DU is asking the Senate to do the same. If the Senate vote is successful, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would have the authority to make the program permanent and extend it to all states.