Delta News

Delta Encourages Duck Hunters To Buy Multiple Federal Stamps

DELTA MARSH, MANITOBA—Delta Waterfowl President Rob Olson is encouraging US duck hunters to purchase multiple federal duck stamps this season.

No, the Fish and Wildlife Service isn’t having a 2-for-1 sale, and duck stamps aren’t cheaper by the dozen. Olson says he’s asking hunters to purchase extra stamps because it’s a great investment in the future of duck hunting.

“If every duck hunter in America purchases two federal duck stamps this fall, it would double the amount of money available to the prairie breeding grounds to protect critical waterfowl habitat,” says Olson.

“The duck stamp has done more to secure waterfowl habitat than any other waterfowl conservation program on the continent. Duck stamp dollars have permanently protected 2.7 million acres of waterfowl habitat on the prairie breeding grounds—that’s well over 90 percent of the ‘secured’ waterfowl habitat on the US side of the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR).

“And the duck stamp is highly efficient,” Olson says. “Those 2.7 million acres were secured for a cost of only $137 million. Unfortunately, the cost of protecting duck habitat has gone up dramatically in recent years, while the price of a duck stamp hasn’t changed since it was increased to $15 in 1991.

“That’s why I’m encouraging hunters to increase the pool of money available for waterfowl habitat. We need to bring more dollars to the PPR, where they can go to work raising more ducks.”

Olson says the Missouri Coteau in South Dakota is a prime example. The Coteau is mostly native prairie with up to 100 small wetlands in every square mile. During a wet cycle, it contains some of the best duck nesting habitat on the continent, including some of the best remaining habitat for the beleaguered pintail, a species that has experienced a dramatic population drop in recent years.

But large chunks of the Coteau have been broken and put into crop production. Olson says easements taken by the Fish and Wildlife Service are the best hope for keeping these acres in grass, and for keeping ranchers on the land.

“Unfortunately, the Service needs more money to meet the demand,” Olson says

While it’s important to protect waterfowl habitat across the country, Olson says that if the ultimate goal of habitat is to raise more ducks, the PPR is the best place to spend those funds. “Science has shown that over 90 percent of the factors that move the mallard population up or down occur here on the breeding grounds,” he says. “That’s a scientific fact.”

Olson says there are other reasons for hunters to purchase multiple stamps. “For one thing, it would send a clear message to the rest of the country that sportsmen—and particularly duck hunters—are on the front line of the conservation movement.”