Saturday, January 28th, 2023
Saturday, January 28th, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Senate approves ‘e’ duck stamp

Bill awaits only Bush’s signature

By Tim Spielman Associate Editor

Washington — A pilot program that would allow up to 15 states to
sell the federal duck stamp via the phone or internet was approved
late last month by the U.S. Senate. The bill, earlier approved by
the House, now goes to President George W. Bush for his signature.
The program would function similarly to how many states now sell
state duck habitat stamps.

Supporters quickly point out that a conventional paper stamp
will be provided to each individual to whom the state sells an
electronic stamp.

“The federal duck stamp art competition has a storied history
that shouldn’t be lost,” Ducks Unlimited Executive Vice President
Don Young said in a press statement.

The three-year pilot program is scheduled to begin Sept. 1,
2007. States that wish to participate must submit an application to
the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which, according to the Senate
bill, must include a description of the format of the electronic
stamp to be issued and any fee to be charged for it; and how
electronic stamp customer data will be transmitted to the
Department of the Interior.

Wildlife artist Joe Hautman, two-time federal duck stamp contest
winner, said it’s important that federal officials consider the
effects of the program on the sale of duck stamp prints – and the
other advantages of the art – when evaluating the pilot program
after three years.

“The best thing we can do is have some checks, so after the
pilot program ends, we don’t just ask the (state conservation
departments) … but also conservation groups and ask if they’ve been
affected, by the public perception of the duck stamp and the sale
of (duck stamp) prints,” Hautman said. Federal duck stamp prints
are important sources of income for those groups, he said.

Last year, Hautman testified before the Senate regarding the
e-stamp bill. He told Senate members that many stamps are bought by
art collectors, thus the imagery is essential.

“Without the artwork, the interest in the stamp as a collectible
would fall to negligible levels,” he said.

“For many hunters, the traditional paper stamp is more than just
a receipt for a tax paid; it is a badge of honor, a symbol of a
hunter’s respect for the natural resources he is privileged to
use,” Hautman said.

It was seeing his father’s duck stamps as a child that provided
inspiration for Hautman, he said.

“If all I’d seen was a number on my dad’s license, I wouldn’t
have said, ‘what’s that?’ ” Hautman said.

Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, sponsored the Senate bill.

According to Crapo’s office, the federal duck stamp (which now
costs hunters $15) has generated more than $670 million for
waterfowl conservation since its inception and has been used to
conserve more than 5 million acres of waterfowl habitat.

Wisconsin Rep. Ron Kind, a supporter of the House bill, was
happy to see it pass the Senate.

“The bill has a simple purpose: to make it easier for duck
hunters, stamp and wildlife art collectors, and conservationists to
do the things they love,” Kind said in a press release. “By
modernizing the federal duck stamp program to make it easier for
hunters and collectors – especially those living in rural areas –
to purchase their stamps, the e-Duck Stamp Act should increase
participation in this critical program, strengthening both the
sporting industry and the conservation initiatives it supports.

“… it provides this new alternative while protecting the legacy
that the great duck stamp artist Ding Darling left us by taking
explicit measures to ensure the future of the actual stamp…,”
Kind’s release states.

According to Kind, the e-stamp would be valid for 45 days, in
which time hunters would receive their traditional stamps by
mail.

The federal duck stamp program has been in place since the
mid-1930s. Ducks Unlimited and the USFWS are co-hosting the 72nd
annual Federal Duck Stamp Act competition in Memphis, Sept. 25-Oct.
7 this year.

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