Thursday evening, the U.S. Senate passed a top priority for the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) known as the Duck Stamp Modernization Act of 2023 (S. 788). This bipartisan bill is led by the entire Senate Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus Leadership, Co-Chairs Sens. John Boozman and Joe Manchin and Vice-Chairs Sens. Angus King and Roger Marshall.
Prior to the vote, CSF worked with the bill sponsors and key offices to help navigate this bill through the political process and ultimately a successful floor vote. The Senate passage of this bill builds upon the House Natural Resources Committee passage of the House companion bill led by CSC Vice-Chair Rep. Garret Graves and CSC Member Rep. Mike Thompson.
The Duck Stamp Modernization Act will simplify the Federal Duck Stamp process by allowing hunters to have an electronic duck stamp on their smartphone for the entirety of the hunting season. Under current law, when a hunter purchases an electronic Federal Duck Stamp (e-stamp), the e-stamp is only valid for a period of 45 days to allow for the actual stamp to be mailed. Once the actual stamp is received by the e-stamp purchaser, the actual stamp must be signed by the respective hunter across the face of the stamp and be in the hunter’s possession while afield. However, this legislation will remove the 45-day validation period and make the electronic stamp valid for the entirety of the hunting season. To ensure the continuance and integrity of the Federal Duck Stamp art contest, a longstanding tradition for waterfowlers and other bird enthusiasts alike, S. 788 will ensure that purchasers of e-stamps still receive the actual stamp in the mail. Specifically, the legislation will provide that actual stamps will be mailed to purchasers from March 10 to June 30.
“The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation thanks the Senate CSC Leadership for shepherding the Duck Stamp Modernization Act through the Senate on a unanimous vote,” said CSF President and CEO Jeff Crane. “This legislation not only improves the Federal duck stamp process for nearly one million waterfowl hunters, but it also safeguards the rich history and traditions of the Federal Duck Stamp artwork contest.”
Signed into law in 1934, the Federal Duck Stamp has generated over $1.1 billion for wetlands conservation and helped conserve over 6 million acres of wetlands within the National Wildlife Refuge System. In 1934, there were roughly 635,000 stamps sold. Today, that number has grown to over 1.5 million stamp purchases, which generates more than $37.5 million for wetlands conservation. Importantly, approximately 98% of the Federal Duck Stamp purchase price is spent directly on the management and acquisition of wetlands to bolster habitat for wetland dependent species such as ducks, geese, shorebirds, fish, turtles, and countless others.
S. 788 now heads to the House for further consideration. CSF will continue to work with the Congressional Sportsmen’s Leaders and House Leadership to see that this bill passes the House and goes to the President’s desk for signature.