I’m not a hunter – why should I buy a duck stamp?

November 9th, 2010 · by jwellwood

Since 1934, federal duck stamp sales have raised more than $750 million, and this funding has been used to purchase or lease over 5.3 million acres of waterfowl habitat. Ninety-eight cents out of every dollar generated by duck stamp sales goes directly to the purchase or lease of wetland habitat in the National Wildlife Refuge system, and the federal duck stamp program has been called one of the most successful conservation programs ever initiated.

Not convinced? Waterfowl are not the only species that benefit from wetland habitat preservation. Thousands upon thousands of shorebirds, riparian songbirds, and Sandhill Cranes thrive at California’s wildlife refuges, and many mammals, fish, reptiles, and amphibians rely on these landscapes as well. An estimated one-third of the nation’s endangered and threatened species take advantage of these habitats.

The federal duck stamp serves as an entrance pass for national wildlife refuges where admission is normally charged, and duck stamps are also popular collector items.

The number of hunters is declining, but the need to protect our wetlands is not. Purchasing a duck stamp each year is one of the best investments you can make to ensure that these valuable habitats continue to thrive.

The 2010 federal duck stamp features an American Wigeon, and California’s 2010 stamp features a pair of Redhead Ducks. You can purchase federal stamps at many post offices, online (, and at many sporting/outdoor stores, and the California stamp at hunter check stations or from Department of Fish & Game offices or online (

Jordan Wellwood

Categories: Audublog · Audubon California · Audubon Chapters · Bird conservation · Bird Habitat · Birding · Important Bird Areas

7 Comments so far ↓

  • Pat Klingberg

    Here in the midwest most of the states give the taxpayer the chance to donate $1 to their choice of programs; wildlife conservation being one of them. This $1 comes off the tax return or adds to the tax owed.

  • John Wall

    The Bird-Watcher stamp is a great idea. Hunters often boast about their contribution to wildlife refuges, as if mere bird-watchers are just that — watchers, not contributors.

  • Richard Drechsler

    The few times that I have questioned bird hunters about their sport they have “reminded” me that it is “they” who provide financing for habitat restoration and acquisition; partially through the purchase of the “Duck Stamp”.

    I am not a hunter. I watch, study, admire
    and worry about birds. It makes me sad to see
    birds crippled and killed, so I rarely bird
    in hunting areas. I am also concerned that spent
    lead ammunition is contaminating our environment and killing other animals.

    The words printed on the stamp “Migratory
    Bird Hunting …” mean something to me.

    So why would I want to provide financial/moral
    support to a program that functions largely to
    aggrandize the sport of hunting?

    The Audubon Society should lobby for their own “Bird Watchers” stamp. Birders (who don’t hunt) can then proudly boost of their support for the maintenance of habitats that welcome birds, instead of lure them.

    Since its beginning the “Duck Stamp” program
    has contributed, on average, $10 million
    each year. Is this much money for the federal government to spend on our nations wetlands or wildlife?

    If the taxpayer could designate only 25 cents
    of their federal tax to go to wetland or wildlife
    programs, more than $35 million would be raised annually.

    Perhaps pursuing ideas like this would help Audubon send a clearer message to the public regarding their mission.

  • Why a Duck (Stamp)? « Natural History Wanderings

    [...] a camp counselor in the early 1970′s.    However a recent Audublog posting(Audubon Blog) I’m not a hunter – why should I buy a duck stamp? made a good case for non-hunters to buy Duck Stamps.    This is one of the most efficient [...]

  • e McLaughlin

    Thank you for this information!
    As an avid visitor to nearby Wildlife Refuges, I was aware that a portion of the costs come from hunting licensing, but it never occurred to me that all can protect these beautiful and vital places.
    Perhaps if the movement to purchase were strong enough, such places would not have to submit to the other uses to which NWRs are subject, such as oil and minerals development and military use.

    Not only lobbying, but protection and maintenance are required for intact ecosystems and migration corridors to survive, especially in light of recent government developments: neither party is supporting or well funding environmental protection.

  • Jerry Karr

    As a member of Audubon for aver thirty years I have always strongly stated that anyone who watches birds, especially waterfowl/shorebirds, should have a Federal Duck Stamp in their wallet! It is the best ratio of any donation dollar a person could make. Waterfowl habitat acquisition over the years has been remarkable. Thank you Jordan for the article!…Jerry Karr, Napa Solano AS

  • dave lyons

    thanks for that informations. What a great way to contribute and see most of the money go to its intended purpose.