THE FOLLOWING ARE PRESS RELEASES FROM DUCKS UNLIMITED AND THE ASSOCIATIONS OF FISH AND WILDLIFE AGENCIES
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Duck Stamp Modernization Act, a bill that makes the federal duck stamp electronically accessible to waterfowl hunters for the entire waterfowl season and the spring snow goose conservation order. This legislation, which originally passed the Senate in July, allows waterfowl hunters to purchase the $25 duck stamp online and removes the requirement to possess a physical copy of the stamp while hunting. The bill now moves to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law.
Though the duck stamp is going digital, the heritage behind it and annual duck stamp contest hosted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service continues. Hunters and collectors will still be able to purchase physical stamps from a U.S. Post Office and other qualified retailers. After duck season ends, physical copies will be mailed to anyone that purchased a digital stamp.
“This is commonsense legislation that will make buying a duck stamp much easier and help make duck hunting more accessible to all waterfowlers,” said Ducks Unlimited CEO Adam Putnam. “More than 8 million acres of wetland habitat has been conserved through the Federal Duck Stamp program. Now that the stamp is fully electronic, we hope that more birders, anglers and conservationists will join us to increase the number of stamps purchased each year so that more wildlife habitat can be protected.”
President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the federal duck stamp into law in 1934. Ninety-eight cents of every dollar spent on duck stamps goes to the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund to purchase or lease wetlands and wildlife habitat for our National Wildlife Refuge system, which is critical to the health of migratory bird populations, offering a stopover point to rest and feed on their fall and spring flights. Much of the refuge system is also open to public use.
The Duck Stamp Modernization Act builds upon the successful 28-state pilot program that validated these E-stamps for 45 days before needing a physical stamp to legally hunt. U.S. Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) and Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA) led the way for this legislation, which modernizes and streamlines the licensure process by allowing hunters to satisfy the duck stamp requirement in the field by purchasing it online and saving the electronic stamp to their smartphone.
“Sen. Boozman and Rep. Graves did an incredible amount of work behind the scenes to get the Duck Stamp Modernization Act passed, and we thank them for their efforts,” Putnam said. “The great thing about this bipartisan bill is it keeps the duck stamp tradition alive while making it easier for sportsmen and women to get outdoors.”
The Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (Association) applauds Congress for passing the Duck Stamp Modernization Act of 2023, S. 788. On Tuesday, December 12, the full House passed the bill by a vote of 403-20, following passage in the Senate by Unanimous Consent earlier this year.
“We thank Congress for responding to the need to modernize the Federal Duck Stamp Program for today’s sportsmen and women,” said Chuck Sykes, Director of the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries and President of the Association. “Waterfowlers are critical to the continued success of the American System of Conservation Funding, and this legislation will make one of the most impactful programs in the country even more accessible for current and future hunters.”
Once enacted, the Duck Stamp Modernization Act of 2023 will authorize the electronic version of the Federal Duck Stamp for use through the entirety of a waterfowl hunting season, decreasing barriers to compliance and streamlining accessibility while preserving the rich history of the Duck Stamp artwork.
“As home to some of the best waterfowl opportunities in the world, we are deeply grateful to Senator Boozman (R-AR) for his leadership on this bill with Senators Manchin (D-WV), Marshall (R-KS), and King (I-ME),” said Austin Booth, Director of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. “We thank them on behalf of our many waterfowl hunters and countless others who benefit from the work enabled by the Duck Stamp Program.”
The foundation for passage of S. 788 in the House was laid with the success of near-identical legislation from Representatives Garret Graves (R-LA) and Mike Thompson (D-CA), which passed the House in September.
“We thank Representatives Graves and Thompson for their steadfast leadership delivering yet another major accomplishment for conservation,” said Robert Shadoin, Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
“Representative Graves has ensured once again that Louisiana is at the forefront of modernizing conservation efforts both at home and on Capitol Hill.”
The Association also thanks Senators Carper (D-DE), Capito, (R-WV), and Cassidy (R-LA) for their support as original cosponsors of S. 788 and urges swift enactment and implementation of the Duck Stamp Modernization Act of 2023.