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electronic duck stamp

The Duck Stamp Modernization Act brings the functional piece of art into the present for modern day hunters.

In a significant step toward modernizing waterfowl hunting and conservation efforts, the U.S. House of Representatives approved the Duck Stamp Modernization Act. This crucial piece of legislation, previously passed by the Senate in July, aims to revolutionize the way waterfowl hunters access and utilize federal duck stamps.

The bill, now awaiting President Joe Biden’s expected signature, aims to make the $25 duck stamp electronically accessible to hunters throughout the waterfowl season and the spring snow goose conservation order.

“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.”

An Electronic Duck Stamp Opens Accessibility, Convenience

One of the most notable changes brought about by this legislation is the ability for waterfowl hunters to purchase their duck stamps online. This eliminates the need for a physical copy while hunting. Further, this shift towards digital accessibility simplifies the process for hunters, making it more convenient and inclusive.

And don’t worry — the rich heritage of the duck stamp and the annual duck stamp contest hosted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will remain intact.

Hunters and collectors will still have the option to purchase physical stamps from U.S. Post Offices and other authorized retailers. Following the conclusion of the duck season, physical copies of the stamps will be mailed to those who opted for the digital version, keeping tradition alive and well.

The history of the federal duck stamp dates back to 1934 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed it into law. A striking feature of this program is that an impressive 98 cents of every dollar spent on duck stamps goes directly to the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund. This fund purchases or leases wetlands and wildlife habitats crucial for the National Wildlife Refuge system. It also provides essential stopover points for migratory bird populations during their fall and spring flights. Additionally, many areas within the refuge system are open to the public for recreational use.

A Pilot Program, Put to Work

The Duck Stamp Modernization Act builds upon the success of a 28-state pilot program that initially validated the use of E-stamps for 45 days, after which hunters needed a physical stamp for legal hunting. Spearheaded by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) and Representative Garret Graves (R-LA), this legislation streamlines the licensure process. It enables hunters to satisfy the duck stamp requirement by purchasing it online, saving an electronic version to their smartphones while in the field.

With the impending signature of President Biden, the Duck Stamp Modernization Act ushers in a new era of convenience and accessibility in waterfowl hunting. Thankfully, it still preserves the rich traditions of conservation and heritage that have defined the Federal Duck Stamp program for nearly a century.

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