If you love wood ducks and their bright colors, you’re going to love the 2012-2013 Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp.The wood duck will grace the stamp, which is also known as the Federal Duck Stamp. Minnesota artist Joe Hautman, who has won the Duck Stamp contest four previous times, was recently judged the winner of this year’s contest with his painting of a wood duck. Calling the Federal Duck Stamp one of conservation’s greatest tools, Evan Hirsche, president of the National Wildlife Refuge Association, said the stamp is a vital part of the wetlands acquisition fund-raising strategy for the nation’s wildlife refuges. Hirsche’s comments came following the annual 2011 Federal Duck Stamp Contest.
“Since 1934, the Duck Stamp, which supports the acquisition of wetland habitat for the National Wildlife Refuge System, is responsible for more than $750 million in conservation funds, resulting in more than 5.3 million acres of land being conserved — most of it on our nation’s national wildlife refuges,” he said.
The Federal Duck Stamp Contest is the oldest and most prestigious wildlife art competition in the United States. “The Ducks Stamp plays a critical role in the conservation of key habitats,” said Dan Ashe, director of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. “Ninety-eight percent of the receipts from stamp sales are used to add critical breeding, migration and wintering habitat to the National Wildlife Refuge System.”
Hunting and fishing contribute more than $95 billion to the United States economy each year, Hirsche said.
Those activities, of which the Duck Stamp is a part, also generate more than $1 billion on state and federal tax revenues annually. Waterfowl hunters buy the stamp annually because it is required by federal hunting regulations. But conservationists also buy the stamp to support wildlife and wildlife habitat.
An example of one of the refuges supported by funds from the Federal Duck Stamp is the Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge in Nampa. Besides serving as a hunting license and a conservation tool, a current year’s Federal Duck Stamp also serves as an entrance pass for national wildlife refuges where admission is normally charged.