Graves and Thompson Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Make Electronic Duck Stamps Last the Entire Hunting Season

Published 9:56 am Wednesday, May 10, 2023

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Congressmen Garret Graves (Louisiana) and Mike Thompson (California) have teamed up to introduce bipartisan legislation, the “Duck Stamp Modernization Act,” to make electronic duck stamps valid for the entire hunting season.

“We’re not ducking the question on this one – this common-sense legislation should have been law long ago. We’re making it easier for outdoorsmen and women to hunt and enjoy the Sportsman’s Paradise,” Graves said.

“As an avid outdoorsman and member of the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, I know how important it is to ensure that the tradition of hunting is balanced with the preservation of wetlands and waterfowl habitats,” Thompson said. “The Duck Stamp Modernization Act will make the Federal Duck Stamp more accessible and raise revenue used for conservation by authorizing an electronic stamp. I am proud to cosponsor this legislation alongside Congressman Graves to help modernize duck hunting and make waterfowl season more accessible than ever.”

Duck hunters are required to have the federal license, the “duck stamp,” to hunt and harvest migratory waterfowl. When a hunter purchases their annual stamp online, they have access to an electronic copy for up to 45 days, which is meant to give them temporary cover until their physical stamp arrives in the mail. Unfortunately, it can take weeks or even months for the physical stamp to actually arrive in the mail. The delayed arrival jeopardizes a hunter’s ability to comply with federal hunting license requirements during the short hunting season.

This legislation will allow duck hunters to access a permanent annual electronic duck stamp which is tied to their smartphone, so they can remain in compliance for the entirety of duck season. Whether chasing teal on the bayou in September or hunting snow geese in other states in the middle of spring, the electronic duck stamp will be valid across any state in the nation.

Traditional duck stamps will still be available for purchase from the post office and other authorized retailers. Under the bill, the physical stamp will be mailed to those purchasing the electronic duck stamp after hunting season. Since 1934, when the federal duck stamp was signed into law, the program has generated over $1 billion for wetlands conservation. Ninety-eight percent of the purchase price for federal duck stamps goes directly back to improving wetland habitats and enhancing access for hunters – making this program one of the best returns on investments for conservation efforts. To date, the federal duck stamp has conserved over 6 million acres of wetlands within the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Stakeholder Quotes:

“The Association applauds the bipartisan introduction of H.R.2872 to amend the Permanent Electronic Duck Stamp Act, which will make the Federal Duck Stamp more accessible while safeguarding the time-honored, artistic importance of the physical stamp,” Curt Melcher, Director of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and President of the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies said. “We are very appreciative of the leadership of Rep. Garret Graves and Rep. Mike Thompson to simplify the Federal Duck Stamp program. This legislation will ensure waterfowlers can fully utilize their electronic stamp to get the most out of their hunting season.”

“The outsized contributions from hunters make the Duck Stamp one of the most effective tools in our conservation toolbox,” Nick Wiley, Ducks Unlimited Chief Operating Officer said. “The Duck Stamp Modernization Act will simplify usage of the stamp for hunters, strengthen support for our waterfowling heritage and sustain robust investment in conservation. DU fully supports this legislation, and we thank Rep. Graves and Rep. Thompson for their leadership.”

“The Federal Duck Stamp represents one of the best investments that sportsmen and women and other purchasers of Duck Stamps can make in their efforts to conserve land, water, and access,” Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation President and CEO Jeff Crane said. “CSF thanks Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) Vice Chair Rep. Graves and CSC Member Rep. Thompson for introducing this common-sense, bipartisan legislation that will simultaneously modernize the Duck Stamp and uphold the rich integrity of the program.”

“We thank Representatives Graves and Thompson for their leadership to fully bring the Duck Stamp program into the 21st Century,” Austin Booth, Director of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission said. “As stewards of our nation’s wildlife, we must modernize our systems to meet the needs of America’s sportsmen and women. Waterfowl hunters are some of our greatest conservationists, and the permanent e-stamp will make the program more accessible for all while reducing regulatory complexity and encouraging greater participation in the outdoors.”