Federal duck stamps go on sale today and, while competition for the winning artwork is always fierce, I think Joe Hautman's woodie drake is as pretty as they come. Therefore there's no better year than this to join a growing waterfowl conservation tradition: buying not just one, but two duck stamps. I like to frame one stamp, and tuck my signed stamp (the one I hunted with) inside my duck journal as a memento. It also never hurts to keep an extra duck stamp handy in case an infrequent waterfowl hunter suddenly wants to join you. Duck stamps often aren't as available as they ought to be, after all.
Fortunately efforts are in motion to change that and, after a hiatus, duck stamps are again available online for 2012. Let's hope this time the online sales are permanent. Forcing waterfowlers and conservationists to buy stamps at a post office is only a mild inconvenience; however, more importantly, how often have you visited a post office that was sold out? I buy my stamps early and I imagine you do the same, but this frustrating experience has cost plenty of hunters a day in the blind. Regardless, in the Internet age, shouldn't contributing to conservation be as convenient as possible? Buying a duck stamp should be as easy as buying a hunting license.
So, head on out and get your stamp(s). I know we have a long, hard summer ahead, but just think: In slightly over two months, the teal along the northern border will be antsy to migrate and certain waterfowl seasons will open. Stay strong, my friends. We'll get through this together.