Duck Stamps are carried in pockets by hunters during duck hunting season, but they are also preserved under glass by collectors who value them for their uniqueness and artistry.
In a rare show of unanimous support, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Duck Stamp Modernization Act (H.R. 2872) by a voice vote Wednesday. The bill preserves the collectible Duck Stamps but also adapts to the needs of hunters who prefer to carry an electronic Duck Stamp.
The Duck Stamp Modernization Act will ensure that an electronic Federal Duck Stamp remains valid throughout the entire hunting season. Presently, when hunters purchase an e-stamp, it remains valid for just 45 days, allowing time for the physical stamp to be delivered by mail. On receiving the stamp, the hunter is required to sign it and have it on his or her person while hunting.
The new legislation allows for a smoother hunting experience by letting hunters show their e-stamp via their smartphones without needing the signed physical stamp in their possession. The physical stamps will still be mailed to e-stamp purchasers once the country’s latest waterfowl season concludes. The option to buy the physical stamp from the U.S. Postal Service or other outlets remains unchanged.
The initiative was supported and pushed forward by Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus Vice-Chair Rep. Garret Graves of Louisiana and caucus member Democrat Rep. Mike Thompson of California. Texas Republican Rep. Monica De La Cruz, Monica, and California Republican Rep. John Duarte signed on as cosponsors. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation played a pivotal role in collaborating with bill sponsors to get the legislation on the House floor.
Jeff Crane, President and CEO of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation, expressed gratitude toward Reps. Graves and Thompson, emphasizing the importance of adapting to digital advancements. “We must find ways to improve easier accessibility and opportunity for our sportsmen’s community,” Crane said.
The Federal Duck Stamp, initiated in 1934, has been instrumental in wetlands conservation. It has garnered over $1.1 billion, resulting in the conservation of over six million acres within the National Wildlife Refuge System.
The popularity of the stamp has surged over the years, from 635,000 in 1934 to over 1.5 million today, translating to $37.5 million for wetlands conservation. Some 98% of the stamp’s purchase price directly fuels the management and enhancement of wetlands. Subsistence hunters are exempt from the purchase requirement.
Alaska also has a state Duck Stamp that is sold separately by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
The Senate had unanimously passed its companion bill in July, sponsored by Sens. John Boozman, Joe Manchin, Angus King, and Roger Marshall. A reconciliation of the House and Senate bills must occur before it goes to the president for a signature.