In June of 2021, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to revise regulations governing the annual Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (Duck Stamp) Contest to remove changes made in 2020.
Your comments are welcome, both on behalf of your Friends organizations, and as private citizens. The proposed rule is open for public comments until July 23, 2021.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service indicates in their press release “This proposed rule would remove the permanent “celebrating our waterfowl hunting heritage” theme and the mandatory inclusion of an appropriate hunting element beginning with the 2022 contest; revise the judging requirements to consider that the entries reflect this theme; and revisit the qualifications for selection as a judge. Since the implementation of the 2020 final regulations, many stakeholders have continued to express their dissatisfaction with this element being a requirement for all entries.”
The Federal Duck Stamp program began during the era of the Depression and Dust Bowl as a way to curb the widespread destruction of wetland habitats that were vital to the survival of America’s waterfowl.
In 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act (or “Duck Stamp Act”). The Duck Stamp Act requires anyone 16 or older to purchase a Federal Duck Stamp for waterfowl hunting. However, you don’t have to be a waterfowl hunter to purchase a Federal Duck Stamp. Anyone who values wildlife and the habitats they depend on can help conserve habitat by purchasing a Federal Duck Stamp. This includes members of Refuge Friends groups, birders, wildlife photographers, and others.
Given the mandatory licensing requirement for waterfowl hunters over the age of 16, waterfowl hunters have been the primary group responsible for raising over $1.1 billion to conserve wildlife and healthy wetland habitats within the National Wildlife Refuge System.
The theme of this year’s Federal Duck Stamp is “Celebrating our Waterfowl Hunting Heritage.” An image of a drake Lesser Scaup with a lanyard and duck calls won the 2020 contest. The 2021 contest regulations with the mandatory inclusion of hunting references remains in effect.
U.S. FWS has proposed a new rule scrapping the hunting requirement that would be applicable beginning with the 2022 contest.
HOW TO COMMENT:
The proposed rule is OPEN FOR PUBLIC COMMENTS UNTIL JULY 23, 2021. All comments must be submitted through the process described in the proposed rule – if they are submitted any other way, they cannot be incorporated or considered. You can access the proposed rule and/or comment, via the Federal Register: https://www.regulations.gov/docu…/FWS-HQ-MB-2021-0048-0001 . Or you can use this link: https://tinyurl.com/duck-stamp-rules-rollback . Or you can search for the rule at www.regulations.gov using any of these search terms:
- Revision of Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (Duck Stamp) Contest Regulations June 23, 2021
Ahead of entering your final comments, we recommend that you create your letter, ready to cut and paste to the portal. You can comment on the rule via the portal described above, or by postal mail. U.S. Mail: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-HQ-MB-2021-0048, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 5275 Leesburg Pike, MS: JAO/3W, Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.
The Friends of the Migratory Bird/Duck Stamp have provided additional information about this change, including talking points, and a sample letter. You’ll also find more information there about this year’s Stamp, links, and more Stamp history.