You know you gotta have one if you’re gonna hunt ducks.
A Duck Stamp, right?
But, where does that money go? And is it really just bucks for ducks? (And wow, according to new blogger Joe Balog, we're going to have record numbers of ducks to hunt this season.)
Anthony Hauck, of Pheasants Forever, wrote a great piece for Minnesota StarTribune online that ties in the benefits of Duck Stamp money for upland bird hunters.
First, though, a little primer on the duck stamp:
Created in 1934
Official name is Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp
98 cents out of each dollar from sales of the duck stamps go to purchase or lease National Wildlife Refuge System habitat
To date, more than $671 million has been raised from sales of Duck Stamps
Along with national refuges, Duck Stamps also provide the main funding for Waterfowl Production Areas (WPAs)
There are more than 26,000 WPAs in this country, mostly located in pheasant lands -- like the Dakotas, Montana, Minnesota, Michigan, Nebraska, Iowa and Wisconsin.
Hauck quotes a Pheasants Forever biologist in eastern South Dakota, Matt Morlock, who said, “Duck Stamp dollars spent in the Prairie Pothole Region address the most critical time for both ducks and pheasants, the nesting season. And good nesting cover for ducks is good nesting cover for pheasants.”
Along those lines – of improving habitat for one species with benefits to more – I hear about it all the time. I write a column called Out West for Turkey Country magazine, a National Wild Turkey Federation publication. It always holds true and the NWTF biologists are always quick to point this out: improve habitat for turkeys and other wild game will move in, too. It’s a good thing.
This year’s Duck Stamp features a single wood duck, done in acrylics by artist Joseph Hautman of Minnesota. It is on sale at the post office, most sporting goods stores that sell over-the-counter licenses and of course, online.
Along with the benefits that Duck Stamps bring to habitat, they also are, in themselves, tiny works of art.
Do you keep your Duck Stamps and display them?
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Brian Lovett, Realtree's news blogger, has been an outdoors reporter, writer, magazine editor and book author for 27 years. Spring turkey hunting and autumn waterfowling take up most of his outside time, but he also enjoys fishing, deer hunting and upland-bird hunting. Lovett lives in Oshkosh, Wis., with his wife, Jenny, and their retriever.