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Federal duck stamp to go digital next waterfowl season

BY Randy Zellers

ON 12-20-2023

Federal-Duck-Stamp-2023-2024-with-watermark (c) USFWS high res_1

WASHINGTON – Hunters chasing ducks and geese may be able to go completely digital with their duck stamp beginning in the 2024-25 waterfowl hunting season, thanks to a bipartisan effort led in part by U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) and U.S. Representative Bruce Westerman (R-AR) and backed by Arkansas’s entire legislative delegation. On Dec. 12, the full House of Representatives passed the Duck Stamp Modernization Act of 2023 by a vote of 403-20, following passage in the Senate by unanimous consent in July. The bill, signed by President Joe Biden Tuesday, will enable hunters to use only an electronic version of their duck stamp as proof of their purchase (a requirement to hunt migratory waterfowl).

Previous to this act, duck hunters could only use the electronic receipt of their purchase for up to 45 days while their physical stamp was mailed to them. After that time, however, hunters were required to carry their physical stamp to remain legal for the remainder of waterfowl hunting seasons. With the new law in place, hunters will be able to use an electronic receipt of their duck stamp immediately after purchase through the entire waterfowl season.

“Modernizing regulations to keep up with technology lets us put hunters first and make something simpler, which is great for beginners and shows existing hunters that we listen and appreciate all they do for conservation,” AGFC Director Austin Booth said. “On behalf of Arkansas’s many duck hunters and conservation-minded outdoors enthusiasts, I applaud Sen. Boozman and the rest of our legislators for their effort to modernize the Duck Stamp Program so that it continues to provide the funds that are so valuable to conservation in Arkansas and throughout the nation.”

Originally created in 1934 and signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Federal Duck Stamp is one of the most successful conservation tools ever created to protect habitat for birds and other wildlife. Ninety-eight percent of the purchase price of each duck stamp goes directly to help acquire and protect wetland habitat and purchase conservation easements for the National Wildlife Refuge System.

In addition to the funding received through the Federal Duck Stamp Program, the stamp has helped increase awareness of wetland conservation and has become a collectible item. The physical stamp will still be mailed to customers for collectors, but will arrive after duck season. 

“This is an important step to improving access to Arkansas’s world-class duck hunting,” said Sen. Boozman when the bill passed the Senate. “This legislation incorporates technology in an easy-to-use manner for hunters to comply with license requirements while supporting conservation efforts.” 




2023-24 DUCK STAMP
The Federal Duck Stamp has raised millions of dollars for wetland and waterfowl conservation and the purchase of land for Federal refuges. Image Courtesy USFWS.

Hunters will be able to carry their proof of Federal Duck Stamp purchase digitally throughout the season beginning November 2024.

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