DU-Supported Bill Would Raise Duck Stamp Price

A Ducks Unlimited-supported Senate bill introduced last month could raise the price of a federal duck stamp for the first time since 1991.

Ducks Unlimited has spent nearly five years asking the Federal government to raise the price of federal duck stamps. While the cost per stamp has not gone up since 1991—before I'd even shot my first duck—a DU-supported Senate bill introduced last month would raise it from $15 to $25.

DU's argument is essentially two-fold:

• Funds generated by sales of "migratory bird hunting and conservation stamps" are vital to wetlands conservation. About 2.5 million acres in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) have been conserved through federal easements since 1934, including 7,000 waterfowl production areas (which, by the way, also preserves public-hunting opportunities). Preservation of PPR grassland is absolutely vital to maintaining stable waterfowl populations.

• While the price per stamp has not increased, land values have skyrocketed during the last 20 years. In Minnesota, for instance, the average price for an acre of land in 1998 was $400—today it's $1,400, a 250-percent jump. Though 98 cents of every dollar spent on stamps goes to conservation, a dollar simply doesn't have the buying power it did twenty years ago.

As an advocate for the future of ducks as well as duck hunting, I am suspicious of barriers to entry for new participants, including added costs. However, if we as dedicated waterfowlers believe in the mission of the federal duck stamp program—and I believe we do—isn't it time we plop down ten more bucks than we did during the George H.W. Bush presidency?

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2 Responses to DU-Supported Bill Would Raise Duck Stamp Price

Left Coast Chuck wrote:
January 08, 2014

I second Coleman's comment. The Audubon folks are always sneering at the hunters because they are purer than hunters. It's time they put their money where their mouth is. They have been riding on the backs of the hunting community for over 100 years. In addition, I am concerned that hunting is becoming a wealthy man's sport a la Europe. By the time one takes off work, drives some distance to a public hunting area, perhaps spends overnight at a motel and eats meals out because the hunting area is not within a few hours drive of one's residence, before even arriving at the blind the erstwhile hunter is a couple hundred dollars in the hole. The response is, of course, 'It's only $10.' To paraphrase Senator Everette Dirksen, 'Ten bucks here, ten bucks there, first thing you know, you're talking about some real money.' If we get the Audubon folks to start carrying the load, maybe we can cut the cost to $10 and still have more money.

Coleman wrote:
January 07, 2014

I don't think we need to increase the duck stamp cost for two reasons: 1. I don't trust the fed government to use the money wisely 2. Not enough people who enjoy waterfowl are paying for the stamp. Start requiring bird watchers to have the duck stamp and you could increase sales by a large percentage.