80th Anniversary of First Day of Sale for Duck Stamp Approaching

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A very special anniversary for hunters and conservationists will be marked in a few weeks, as the First Day of Sale for the federal duck stamp will take place August 22, marking 80 years since the first stamp was sold in 1934. You’ll also read about how 2014 is shaping up to be a good year for waterfowl, and much more!

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act in 1934.
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Migratory Bird Hunting
Stamp Act in 1934.

Duck Stamp Turns 80
The Friends of the Migratory Bird/Duck Stamp remind us that with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s signing of the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act in March 1934, one of the most important and successful conservation programs in history was created.

Since its enactment, the landmark initiative has generated more than $900 million to conserve nearly 6 million acres of wetlands across the United States through the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund and is considered a model of conservation efficiency.

Approximately 98 cents of every duck stamp dollar is spent to acquire or lease lands for the National Wildlife Refuge System. These refuges and waterfowl production areas benefit not only ducks and geese, but also hundreds of fish and wildlife species, including one-third of those listed as endangered or threatened. In addition, wetlands restored and protected on these lands provide clean water, help control and mitigate floods, buffer storm surges, reduce soil erosion and sedimentation, and offer a host of other ecological benefits.

With Roosevelt’s signing of the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act, popularly known as the Duck Stamp Act, funds from stamp sales were deposited in a special treasury account, the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund (MBCF).

In the first year, 635K duck stamps were sold<br> for $1 apiece!
In the first year, 635,000 duck stamps were sold for $1 apiece!

Just ten days before the bill signing, artist and conservationist Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling was appointed the Chief of the Bureau of Biological Survey by FDR. The artwork for the very first stamp (1934-1935) soon followed, showing a pair of landing Mallards. Darling provided six model sketches for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, all produced on laundry cardboard stiffeners that were in Darling’s office. Darling approached these works of his as concepts, but the engravers actually chose one and began stamp production. The one chosen had been created by Darling in about an hour.

In the first year, 635,000 stamps were sold at $1 apiece.

The rest, as they say, is history.

2014 Duck Survey: Populations Strong, Conditions Favorable
Duck populations have increased in overall abundance over last year, and their habitat conditions have improved, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Trends in Duck Breeding Populations 2014 report released July 2. The conclusions are based on the 2014 Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey conducted by FWS and Canadian Wildlife Service.

The annual duck survey encompasses more than 2 million square miles of waterfowl habitat across Alaska, north-central and northeastern U.S. states, and south-central, eastern, and northern Canada.

The preliminary estimate for the total duck population is 49.2 million birds, reflecting an 8 percent increase over last year’s estimate of 45.6 million birds, and 43 percent above the long-term average.

The report also provides abundance estimates for individual duck species, including mallard, blue-winged teal, northern pintail, American wigeon, lesser and greater scaup, and canvasback, all of which are similar to or slightly above last year’s totals. Most species’ populations, such as mallard and blue-winged teal, remain significantly above the long-term average, while others, including scaup and pintail remain below.

Estimated mallard abundance is 10.9 million birds, similar to last year’s estimate of 10.4 million birds and 42 percent above the long-term average.

Wyoming Forms 43rd State Sportsmen’s Caucus
As the 43rd state to join the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses (NASC), Wyoming state lawmakers will provide an opportunity to further highlight issues and policies of interest to hunters, anglers and recreational shooters and trappers.

Wyoming’s 390,000 hunters and anglers spend approximately $778 million annually on their hunting and fishing pursuits and support nearly 14,000 related jobs throughout the state. Composed of state legislators who support Wyoming’s outdoor heritage, the Wyoming Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus will serve as a critical link between the state’s outdoor community and the halls of government in Cheyenne.

Currently, all three members of Wyoming’s delegation in the United States Congress, Senator Mike Enzi, Senator John Barrasso and Representative Cynthia Lummis, are members of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, the largest bipartisan caucus on Capitol Hill. Wyoming Governor Matt Mead is also a member of the Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus.

Quote Of The Week
“Wielding a fly rod is the most fun you can have standing up.”
– Arnold Gingrich,
The Joys of Trout, 1971

J.R. Absher is a freelance outdoor writer whose articles and columns appear in numerous national publications. He offers his unique perspective of the outdoors weekly for sportsmansguide.com. You may contact him at jrabsher@me.com.


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