The policy team at Delta Waterfowl has issued their update for June. Check out what is happening across the US and Canada for duck hunters.

Policy for Ducks and Duck Hunters – August

The Duck Hunters Organization is hard at work securing the future of waterfowl hunting across the United States and Canada. Check in on the status of issues across all four flyways, including those affecting your duck hunting.

Canadian Duck Hunter Numbers Down: Based on the sales of the Canadian duck stamp, we’ve reached new all-time lows in sales for Canadian duck hunters. The previous record low was in 2005—set at an estimated 134,910—and we’ve dipped to 126,180 in the 2022 season. This includes all-time lows in all Atlantic provinces along with Ontario and Saskatchewan.

Delta Waterfowl Takes Leadership Role in Sportsmen-Conservation Coalition: Delta Waterfowl staff recently attended the summer meeting of the American Wildlife Conservation Partners, a coalition of 50 organizations that represent the interests of America’s millions of hunter-conservationists, professional wildlife and natural resource managers, outdoor recreation users, conservation educators, and wildlife scientists.

During the meeting, Delta Waterfowl chief policy officer, John Devney, was elected to serve as the Vice-Chair of the group starting January 1, 2024. Martha Williams, director of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, also attended the meeting to hear directly from the community about expanding access and opportunity to more hunters across the National Wildlife Refuge System properties.

Canadian Duck Stamp On Sale: The 2023-2024 Canadian Duck Stamp went on sale August 1. Featuring a beautiful pair of ring necked ducks, we encourage folks to go online today to purchase, and it’s available to youth hunters at no charge.

Senate Approves Permanent Electronic Duck Stamp: On July 27, the United States Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 788, legislation to authorize an electronic stamp for use through the entirety of a waterfowl hunting season. This legislation will allow duck hunters the flexibility of having immediate access to an electronic duck stamp via their smart phone to meet the requirement that they purchase a Federal Duck Stamp and carry it while in the field. Delta Waterfowl has urged members of both the House and Senate to pass this common-sense legislation. It now awaits action in the House before hopefully being signed into law.

Bad California Firearm Tax Bill: Lawmakers in Sacramento are returning to town after their summer recess, and with that comes movement for legislation to require law-abiding hunters to pay an additional tax on firearms and ammunition to fund the “Gun Violence Prevention, Healing, and Recovery Fund.” Assembly Bill 28, led by Assembly Members Gabriel and McCarty, would seek to add an additional tax on top of the existing taxes, in turn driving up the costs of ammo, reducing their sales, and potentially reducing the conservation funding which all California residents enjoy.

After passing out of the full California Assembly, the Senate Governance and Finance, and the Senate Public Safety committees, its last stop before a full Senate vote to send it to the Governor is the Senate Appropriations Committee which meets August 14 at 10 a.m..

Click here to help Delta Waterfowl send a direct message to California lawmakers that this legislation is misguided.

Revised Conditions for Allowance of Hunter Harvested Wild Game Bird Carcasses from Canada: On August 3, the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service released new guidance for hunters traveling and returning to United States with wild game birds. New for this year, hunters may allow skin to remain intact on hunter-harvested carcasses while crossing the border. APHIS made this change after consultation with federal agencies, stakeholders and the waterfowl hunting community. All other previous restrictions remain in place. For more information, visit APHIS website here.

Voluntary Public Access Marker Bill: Representatives Dingle and Johnson recently backed legislation to provide the Natural Resources Conservation Services with $150 million over the five-year term of the next Farm Bill to provide grants to states to create public access to private lands for hunting and fishing. Similar legislation was introduced earlier this year in the Senate by Senators Daines, Bennett, and Marshall.

“We greatly appreciate Representatives Dingell and Johnson introducing the House version of the VPA Improvement Act. As we entered discussions of the 2023 Farm Bill, extending and expanding the impact of VPA-HIP was one of Delta’s highest priorities,” said Cyrus Baird, senior director of government affairs for Delta Waterfowl. “As duck hunters across the country look for additional access, increased investments in VPA-HIP can lead to new partnerships with private landowners to enhance habitat and also provide access. We hope that the effort by Representatives Dingell and Johnson will lead to a broader bi-partisan effort to include an expanded VPA-HIP in the final Farm Bill.”

A used shotgun shell stands upright in the shadows and reflection of trees across dark water.