Mallards and emperor geese were the stars of the show today as the 2018-2019 Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp – commonly known as the Duck Stamp – went on sale. The new Federal Duck Stamp and its younger sibling, the Junior Duck Stamp, debuted at a special event hosted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in Hanover, Maryland.
Painted by three-time winning Federal Duck Stamp Contest artist Robert Hautman of Delano, Minnesota, the new Duck Stamp will raise millions of dollars for habitat conservation to benefit wildlife and the American people.
The 2018-2019 Junior Duck Stamp, which also went on sale today, raises funds to support youth conservation education and this year, features an emperor goose painted by Rayen Kang, 17, of Johns Creek, Georgia.
The Federal Duck Stamp plays a critically important role in wildlife conservation. Since 1934, sales of this stamp have raised more than $1 billion to protect more than 5.7 million acres of wetlands habitat on national wildlife refuges around the nation.
“The Duck Stamp program is just one of the many ways that sportsmen and women contribute to the conservation of our nation’s wildlife and their habitat,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “The kick-off of the sale of these stamps every year lets us know that hunting season isn’t far off. I encourage everyone who spent time growing up in a duck blind, to get out and purchase their stamp and share that love with the next generation.”
Last fall, a panel of five judges chose Hautman’s art from among 215 entries in the 2017 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest. This was Hautman’s third Federal Duck Stamp Contest win. His brothers Jim and Joe each have won the contest five times.
At the National Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest in April, judges chose Rayen Kang’s rendering of an emperor goose from among best-of-show winners from states, the District of Columbia, and several U.S. territories.
The new Duck Stamps are available for purchase online, at many sporting goods and retail stores, and some post offices and national wildlife refuges. Find all buying options at http://www.fws.gov/birds/get-involved/duck-stamp/buy-duck-stamp.php.
“After 85 years, the Federal Duck Stamp remains among the nation’s most successful and effective conservation tools thanks to waterfowl hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts,” said Service Principal Deputy Director Greg Sheehan. “Looking ahead, the 2019-2020 Federal Duck Stamp, with its artistic theme of ‘Celebrating Our Waterfowl Hunting Heritage,’ will pay special recognition to the contributions waterfowl hunters have made through their purchase of Duck Stamps.”
Funds raised from the sale of Federal Duck Stamps go toward the acquisition or lease of habitat for the National Wildlife Refuge System. Duck Stamps – while required by waterfowl hunters as an annual license – are also voluntarily purchased by birders, outdoor enthusiasts and fans of national wildlife refuges who understand the value of preserving some of the most diverse and important wildlife habitats in our nation.
A current Federal Duck Stamp is also good for free admission to any refuge that charges an entry fee. Of the more than 560 refuges, many offer unparalleled outdoor recreational opportunities, including hunting, fishing, bird watching and photography.
The Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest is the culmination of a year-long educational program that helps students learn about wetlands and waterfowl conservation, explore their natural world and create a painting or drawing of a duck, goose or swan as their “visual term paper” to demonstrate what they learned.
The winning art at a national contest is made into a stamp the Service sells for $5 to conservationists, educators, students and the public. Proceeds support conservation education. Since the first Junior Duck Stamps went on sale in 1993, well over $1 million has been raised, which has been re-invested in this unique conservation arts and science education program.
The 2018 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest to select the 2019-2020 stamp will be held September 14 and 15 at Springs Preserve in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Learn more about the Federal and Junior Duck Stamps at https://www.fws.gov/birds/get-involved/duck-stamp.php. Download partner quotes here.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information, visit www.fws.gov, or connect with us through any of these social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.