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New Way To Buy Federal Duck Stamps: The E-Duck Stamp
AUSTIN, Texas — Waterfowl hunters in Texas will have the option of purchasing a Federal Duck Stamp electronically this year, as part of a three-year joint effort between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and nine state fish and wildlife agencies, including the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
Hunters who buy the Federal Duck Stamp from license retailers this year will be issued the actual stamp at the time of purchase and pay the face value of $15. However, purchases of the Federal Duck Stamp at TPWD locations — game warden offices, state parks and other sites that sell licenses — as well as online and phone transactions, will consist of an electronic authorization and the actual stamp will be mailed separately. These locations will only sell the new electronic Federal Duck Stamp, which costs $17, reflecting additional shipping and handling fees.
The “E-Duck Stamp” option is designed to make it more convenient for hunters, birdwatchers, stamp collectors, and others who support conservation of the nation’s wetlands to buy federal migratory bird hunting and conservation stamps, commonly known as the Federal Duck Stamp.
To hunt any migratory game bird in Texas, hunters must have a valid Texas hunting license, HIP (Harvest Information Program) certification and a Texas Migratory Game Bird Stamp ($7). Along with this state stamp, they must also have a Federal Duck Stamp ($15 hard copy or $17 electronic) to hunt ducks or geese.
The new electronic Federal Duck Stamp program allows the fish and wildlife agencies of Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Texas, and Wisconsin, to sell stamps electronically through their individual automated licensing systems, providing a special receipt as proof of purchase. This proof of purchase — a unique code given to the purchaser instantly — will be accepted as evidence of a Federal Duck Stamp purchase for 45 days — time enough for the printed stamp to arrive in the mail.
A Federal Duck Stamp and a Texas Migratory Game Bird Stamp are required of anyone 16 years of age and older to hunt waterfowl in Texas. Federal Duck Stamps also provide free entry into national wildlife refuges that charge entrance fees.
“This pilot program explores one way to improve service to duck stamp purchasers, in particular those from rural or remote areas,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service director, H. Dale Hall. “We are always looking for new ways to better serve the public, and enhance wetland conservation.”
Funds from Federal Duck Stamp sales are a vital tool for wetland conservation, with 98 cents of every dollar generated used to purchase or lease wetland habitat for the National Wildlife Refuge System. Since the stamp’s inception in 1934, more than $700 million has been raised to acquire more than 5.2 million acres of waterfowl habitat. In 2005, more than 1.6 million Federal Duck Stamps were sold.
“The Duck Stamp program provides much needed funding for wetland conservation, and it is important that they are marketed appropriately for today’s web-savvy public,” said Matt Hogan, Executive Director of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. “The E-Duck Stamp meets the needs of modern day hunters and stamp collectors and ensures continued success for wetland conservation.”
The Electronic Duck Stamp Act of 2005 directed the Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with state management agencies, to conduct a three-year pilot program under which up to 15 states could issue electronic migratory bird hunting and conservation stamps. The pilot program will allow the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to evaluate the program and make adjustments or assess other distribution options to better serve stamp buyers.
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