Hunters, bird watchers and stamp collectors rejoiced when the 2023-2024 Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, commonly known as the Duck Stamp, went on sale. The new Federal Duck Stamp and its little brother, the Junior Duck Stamp, debuted today at a special event hosted by the US Fish and Wildlife Service at the Bass Pro Shops Pyramid in Memphis, Tennessee.
“It’s so exciting to be with our partners again, in person, at a special event for one of the most revered conservation programs in the country!” said Jerome Ford, Assistant Service Director, Migratory Bird Program. “I am very honored to be one of the first people to purchase my Federal and Junior Duck stamps and to encourage others to join me as we all collectively contribute to wetland conservation across the country.”
Painted by Joseph Hautman of Plymouth, Minnesota, the new Federal Duck Stamp will raise millions of dollars for habitat conservation that benefits wildlife and the American people. The three tundra swans featured on the new stamp are Hautman’s sixth federal duck stamp designed for the Department of the Interior. His artwork was chosen in September 2022 from among 187 entries in the country’s only federally regulated art contest.
Also on sale today, the 2023-2024 Junior Duck Stamp raises funds to support youth conservation education and this year features a hooded merganser painted by 15-year-old Mila Linyue Tong of Virginia.
The federal duck stamp plays a critically important role in wildlife conservation. Since 1934, sales of this stamp have raised more than $1.2 billion to conserve more than 6 million acres of wetland habitat in national wildlife refuges across the country.
Waterfowl are not the only species that benefit from wetland habitat conservation. Thousands upon thousands of shorebirds, herons, raptors, and songbirds, as well as mammals, fish, native plants, reptiles, and amphibians also depend on these landscapes. In addition, endangered, threatened, and other at-risk species, such as birds of conservation concern such as the Reddish Egret and Long-billed Curlew, use wetlands and connected upland habitat to feed, breed, migrate, spend the winter and rest.
The new duck stamps are available for purchase online, at sporting goods and retail stores, and at some post offices and national wildlife refuges.
Funds raised from the sale of Federal Duck Stamps go towards the acquisition and lease of habitat for the National Wildlife Refuge System. Duck stamps, while required for waterfowl hunters as part of their annual license, are also voluntarily purchased by bird watchers, outdoor enthusiasts, and fans of national wildlife refuges who they understand the value of conserving some of our nation’s most diverse and important wildlife habitats. Wildlife art and stamp collectors also value these miniature art pieces and American history and contribute to conservation through their duck stamp purchases.
An unexpired federal duck stamp is valid for free admission to any national wildlife refuge that charges an entrance fee. Of the 568 refuges, most offer unprecedented outdoor recreational opportunities, including hunting, fishing, bird watching, and photography.
The Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest is the culmination of a year-long educational program that encourages students to learn about wetland and waterfowl conservation, explore their natural world, and create a painting or drawing of a duck, a goose or swan as its “visual term paper”. ” to demonstrate what they learned. Approximately 25,000 students in K-12he year grades participate in the art contest.
Winning art in the national contest becomes a stamp that the Service sells for $5 to conservationists, educators, students, collectors, and the public. Proceeds support conservation education at the state and local levels. Since the first Junior Duck Stamps went on sale in 1993, more than $1.4 million has been raised, reinvested in this unique nationwide conservation arts and sciences education program.
The 2023 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest to select the 2024-2025 stamp will be held September 15-16 in Des Moines, Iowa.
Learn more about Federal and Junior Duck stamps.
The US Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continued benefit of the American people. For more information visit www.fws.gov, or connect with us through any of these social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and flickr.