People who do not hunt waterfowl with firearms — like birders and photographers — made a big difference in duck stamp sales last year. We stepped up as needed to boost stamp sales and revenue.

Average sales in recent years, when the price was $15, were 1,512,841. Sales of the stamp issued in 2016, with a new price of $25, were over 1,595,500.

Better marketing is said to have been of help. Mostly, though, it was purchase by birders, refuge visitors, stamp and art collectors, environmental educators, wildlife photographers, and others who pushed sales.

When the price of the duck stamp went to $25 last year there was concern that the increase would discourage purchase. Hunters would buy the Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp — aka duck stamp — because they have to; the stamp is part of the licensing requirement.

Concern is that hunters are shrinking in number, aging and dying and moving away from hunting. The number of hunters is trending down. A second concern was the response of people who do not hunt. We did just fine.

The money from stamp purchase is used to buy or lease habitat for not just waterfowl, but all bird species that depend on wetland and grassland habitat. Stamp purchase is a significant contribution to wildlife conservation, one with a very visible outcome.

If you bought a stamp, you helped. Do it again later this year when the new stamp arrives. (You can buy them at your local post office and at many major sporting-goods chains.)


2017 Federal Duck Stamp Contest will take place Sept. 15 at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point/

(Information has been taken from the newsletter "Wingtips, Friends of the Migratory Bird / Duck Stamp." Join at