HEN Act: H.R. 6854—The Habitat Enhancement Now, or HEN Act—was recently introduced by Rep. Michelle Fischbach, R-Minnesota, Rep. Mike Thompson, D-California, and Rep. Douglas LaMalfa, R-California. This legislation will authorize $3 million annually to enhance duck production in the prairie pothole region through the installation and maintenance of Hen Houses and to develop nesting and brood habitat in California.
Duck Stamp Modernization Signed Into Law: President Biden signed the Duck Stamp Modernization Act into law in late December. The commonsense new law—which was strongly advocated for by Delta Waterfowl—eliminates an outdated rule in which Duck Stamps purchased online were valid for a period of 45 days, after which time duck and goose hunters were required to possess the physical Duck Stamp received in the mail. The legislation allows those who purchase their stamp online to simply display it on a smart phone for the entirety of the waterfowl season, including spring snow goose conservation seasons. Notably, hunters will still be able to purchase the physical stamp from the U.S. Postal Service and other traditional Duck Stamp vendors. Delta applauds this updated law, as it promotes easier access to legal waterfowl hunting across the country.
2024 State Legislative Sessions: 2024 is here, and state legislative sessions are starting to convene all over the country. Click here for a full list of state legislative session dates.
Maryland/Delaware Increased Hunting Opportunity: Delta Waterfowl continues to advocate for expanding opportunities in the form of eliminating all prohibitions on Sunday waterfowl hunting in the Atlantic Flyway. After a successful 2023 in Maryland working with members of the General Assembly, we are working with lawmakers now to craft another bill to allow Sunday migratory game bird hunting on private lands, wildlife management areas, and public waters. Additionally, we are working with lawmakers and partners in Delaware to support draft language that was introduced in early January (House Bill 271) that will allow Sunday migratory game bird hunting.
California Assembly Bill 828: Delta Waterfowl submitted written testimony in support of Assembly Bill 828 to the California State Assembly Committee on Water, Parks, and Wildlife. AB 828 adds the term “managed wetlands” to the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. In turn, this language prohibits a groundwater sustainability agency from imposing fees upon a managed wetland. The other benefit this bill has is a sweeping commitment to the “no net loss policy” for wetlands, ensuring regulatory protections for some of the most sensitive areas in the state.
Washington Charitable Gaming: Delta Waterfowl is working with other conservation and non-profit partners to modernize policy for raffles and auctions in Washington state. Current regulations around raffles and auctions limit the ability for non-profits to help raise funds for their mission. Delta is supporting a series of bills that would remove and update language to streamline the process of holding and operating a raffle and auction.
California Fish and Game Commission: The January 16 meeting of the California Fish and Game commission included two concerning agenda items that our staff is closely following. The first item is the potential closure of historic public waterfowl hunting areas in Northern California. Delta has worked over the last two years to fight this off, but it looks like it’s coming back again. The second is a discussion centered around banning the use of traditional shotgun shells, citing plastic pollution from the wadding.
Ontario—Municipal, Discharge of Firearm By-law Issues: Delta Waterfowl is currently engaged in several municipal discharge of firearm by-law issues across Ontario, including:
Town of Kingsville: This discussion began when one council member brought forward a motion to open discussion on their current by-law to seek further restrictions. With the assistance of our local Delta Waterfowl chapters, members, volunteers and supporters, news of the council meeting quickly spread while Delta staff engaged with town staff. Subsequently, council was greeted by crowds of residents that exceeded council chambers’ capacity and flooded out into the halls, reception area, and parking lot. Upon listening to (well-spoken) resident delegations, and witnessing the residents’ displeasure with the proposal, the motion failed to receive a seconder and ultimately died on the floor.
Town of Innisifil: Late in December, members of council heard from two local residents calling for the town to make further restrictions to their by-law to specifically include the waters of Lake Simcoe. Both residents own waterfront properties and are citing public safety concerns as their reasoning for further restrictions. Council received their presentation but did not provide any direction to staff at that time. Delta staff have contacted town staff and have offered our organizations assistance should this discussion continue.
Township of Ramara: As a ripple effect of the delegation received in the Town of Innisfil, local councilors have now started to receive similar requests to amend their by-law to include the waters of Lake Simcoe. While the topic has not been added to an agenda yet, Delta Waterfowl staff have proactively arranged meetings with members of council and staff who are eager to meet and discuss the matter with us, given our extensive experience and expertise on the subject.
Municipality of Temagami: Delta Waterfowl staff have just been informed that the Municipality of Temagami is now reviewing/discussing a revised discharge of firearms by-law. Delta staff have reached out to municipal staff in an effort to secure additional information. More to come.
Ontario—Municipal, Sunday Gun Hunting:
Town of Scugog: Delta Waterfowl staff are currently working with a longtime resident of the Town of Scugog in an attempt to secure Sunday gun hunting within the municipality. We are pleased to share that there have been some initial discussions and are hoping to secure a meeting with local members of council and staff soon. If you are a resident of the town and are interested in hearing how you can help, or you live in another municipality who still does not permit Sunday gun hunting, please reach out to us at email@example.com.
Atlantic Canada—Sunday/Seven-Day Hunting: Delta Waterfowl continues to push for expanded access to opportunity in Atlantic Canada. In December, Delta staff sent letters to the Minister of Natural Resources and Renewables in Nova Scotia and the Minister of Environment, Energy and Climate Action in Prince Edward Island on the topic of Sunday/seven-day hunting. We remain committed to working with both provincial governments to see these draconian prohibitions removed.
Firearms Bill C-21—An Act to amend certain Acts and to make certain consequential amendments (firearms): Bill C-21 received royal assent on December 15, 2023, and is now law. Despite its passage, Delta Waterfowl staff continue to engage in meaningful discussions and are working to secure a meeting with Public Safety Canada. We continue to advocate for a strong representation of the hunting community on the Canadian Firearms Advisory Committee, which is the committee the federal government has promised to resurrect. We feel it is imperative to the maintenance and expansion of hunting opportunity that the hunting community be strongly represented on this committee.
Now is the time to make sure you are prepared to have your voice heard by registering for Delta Waterfowl’s Duck Hunters Action Alert System. Delta Waterfowl’s policy team will send you emails and alerts when issues impacting you arise and provide you with the tools and resources to engage with lawmakers. Text DELTA WATERFOWL to 52886 or click this link today to sign up!