The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is celebrating the conservation achievements of waterfowl hunters with changes to the Federal Duck Stamp contest.
Starting this year, all entries must include a waterfowl hunting scene or hunting-related element. Additionally, all contest judges must have an understanding and appreciation of waterfowl hunting, and be able to recognize waterfowling tools such as decoys.
“Duck Stamps have been one of America’s most effective conservation tools for over 80 years,” said Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt. “Showcasing the heritage of waterfowl hunting in Duck Stamps recognizes the importance of sportsmen and women to the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation.”
As proposed in February, the change to the contest’s rules falls under the Secretary of the Interior’s directive to “support and expand hunting and fishing, enhance conservation stewardship, improve wildlife management and increase outdoor recreation opportunities for all Americans.”
The Duck Stamp, known formally as the Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, was founded by concerned hunters in 1934 to fund wetland habitat conservation. To date, stamp sales have generated more than $1.1 billion used to secure more than 6 million acres of waterfowl habitat in the United States.
“Waterfowl hunters are the epitome of conservationists, as their purchase of Duck Stamps has enabled the conservation of millions of acres of wetland habitat,” said Aurelia Skipwith, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “These wetlands provide places for a wide diversity of wildlife to thrive, while creating significant economic stimulus for rural communities. We honor that astonishing legacy, and what better way to do that than through the Duck Stamp itself.”
The Duck Stamp contest will continue requiring a live portrayal of one or more of the five eligible waterfowl species — for 2020, those include brant, gadwall, cinnamon teal, lesser scaup and red-breasted merganser — as the dominant foreground feature. This year’s contest will determine the 2021-2022 Duck Stamp.
For more information, visit https://www.fws.gov/birds/get-involved/duck-stamp.php.