July 24, 2006

Crapo's Electronic Duck Stamp Bill Approved

Technology makes duck stamp purchase easier for hunters

Washington, DC â??Waterfowl hunters and stamp collectors buying a Federal Migratory Bird Duck Stamp this year will now have the ease and convenience of purchasing that stamp electronically after a bill, sponsored by Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, Co-Chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen Caucus, passed the House today. The bill was approved by the Senate last December and will now go to the President for signature. The bill, which was introduced by Crapo last year, will create a three-year pilot program in 15 states that will enable the purchase of the federal migratory bird stamp online. Hunters are required to purchase the Duck Stamp annually, which generates revenue to acquire national wildlife refuge lands, to hunt federally-designated migratory birds. Several states already have electronic systems to purchase hunting licenses, but none have electronic methods to purchase the Duck Stamp.The Duck Stamp has generated more than $670 million for waterfowl conservation since its inception and has been used to acquire approximately 5 million acres of land for the National Wildlife Refuge System. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates one-third of the nation's endangered and threatened species find food or shelter in refuges established using Federal Duck Stamp funds. â??Hunters are early risers and by allowing the purchase of the Duck Stamp electronically, sportsmen will be able to spend more time enjoying nature and less time waiting for stores to open or in line to purchase their Duck Stamp,â?? Crapo said. â??Additionally, the Duck Stamp provides millions of dollars annually for wetland habitat preservation efforts and Iâ??m pleased that hunters and stamp collectors will now have a more convenient method of buying the stamp and contributing to one of the most successful conservation programs ever initiated.â?? The program allows hunters to purchase stamps over the phone or Internet, giving immediate access to a verification number that is valid immediately. That number will be replaced by an actual paper stamp, which the buyer will receive in the mail. This can dramatically reduce the time and effort for hunters to get in the field. Both sportsmen and stamp collectors wishing to buy the stamp at a store or post office will continue to have that option available. Director of Public Policy for Ducks Unlimited, Vaughn Collins said, "Waterfowl hunters have contributed over $600 million to habitat conservation over the past 71 years with their purchase of the federal Duck Stamp. The ability to buy an electronic Duck Stamp should make it easier for hunters to acquire their annual Duck Stamps, and that will be a positive step for wetland conservation."FOR INTERESTED MEDIA: A radio actuality is available by calling 1-800-545-1267. Press 327 at any time during or after the greeting and instructions. You can also access the actuality through the Internet at http://src.senate.gov in the Radio Links.