USFWS Proposes Changes to Duck Stamp ‘to Celebrate Hunters’

Paul Wait/Delta Waterfowl

The Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, commonly known as the Duck 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.

To celebrate the conservation achievements of hunters, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing changes to the Federal Duck Stamp contest beginning in 2020. Under the proposed new rules, all entries in the juried art competition would be required to include one or more visual elements that reflect the theme “Celebrating Our Waterfowl Hunting Heritage.”

“The Duck Stamp has always been a way for us to celebrate our nation’s waterfowl with beautiful works of art. With these changes, we can now also honor the contribution waterfowl hunters have made over so many decades to conserving these species and a host of others that call our wetlands home,” said Aurelia Skipwith, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “Without the hunting community, we would not have nearly the wealth of protected wetland habitats that we do today, including within the National Wildlife Refuge System, which do so much for local communities and economies. This is our way to acknowledge their significant contributions to conservation.”

In addition, all Duck Stamp contest judges starting in 2020 would be required to have “an understanding and appreciation of America’s waterfowl hunting heritage and be able to recognize objects related to waterfowl hunting.”

The Celebrating Our Waterfowl Hunting Heritage theme was in place for the 2018 contest as a trial run, and the winning artwork on the resulting 2019-2020 stamp featured a wood duck decoy in the background.

“The success of the Duck Stamp is a testament to the passion, commitment and dedication of duck hunters throughout the years,” said John Devney, senior vice president of Delta Waterfowl. “The outcomes in habitat conserved from small potholes in the prairies to refuges in key staging and wintering areas is an incredible legacy that all duck hunters should be proud of. It is a legacy that should be widely celebrated.”

The new theme does not change the longstanding Duck Stamp contest requirement that a live portrayal of one of the five chosen species of waterfowl each year must be the dominant feature in the foreground of the artwork. In 2020, eligible species are brant, gadwall, cinnamon teal, lesser scaup and red-breasted merganser.

The public can comment on the proposed rule through March 16 at — Paul Wait