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America’s Duck Stamp Turns 90

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First-ever Federal duck stamp, issued August 14, 1934

Who says you can’t teach an old duck new tricks?

Ninety years ago, the first Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (Duck Stamp) was sold. Since then, the Duck Stamp program has protected nearly 6 million acres of habitat through expenditures of more than $900 million.

When President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act into law in March of 1934, the Duck Stamp program became a reality. Artist and conservationist Jay N. “Ding” Darling created the artwork that adorned the first stamp, which went on sale in August 1934 for $1. In that inaugural year, 635,001 Duck Stamps were sold.

Since then, hunters over the age of 16 have been required to purchase a Duck Stamp to hunt migratory waterfowl. Birders and other outdoor enthusiasts buy Duck Stamps to contribute to the future of our wildlife resources. Revenue from Duck Stamp sales is used to acquire wetlands and other habitats in the National Wildlife Refuge system.

What’s the best way to celebrate this 90-year anniversary? Buy a stamp! A full 98 cents of every dollar from duck stamp receipts goes to conserve wetlands and associated habitats. These days, you can buy one online right from the reeds and ponds, if you’ve got a decent signal. The recently passed Duck Stamp Modernization Act of 2023 will authorize the electronic version of the Federal Duck Stamp for use through the entirety of a waterfowl hunting season, decreasing barriers to compliance and streamlining accessibility while preserving the rich history of the Duck Stamp artwork.

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