LITTLE ROCK, AR (AGFC) - In an effort to make federal duck stamp purchasing more convenient, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission is beginning the third and final year of a pilot program to test electronic federal waterfowl stamps. The AGFC, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is testing the pilot program to make it simpler for hunters, birdwatchers and stamp collectors to buy Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps, commonly known as duck stamps.
The pilot program allows the AGFC along with fish and wildlife agencies in the states of Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Texas and Wisconsin, to sell stamps electronically through their individual automated licensing systems providing proof of purchase. In Arkansas, the program has been very successful. In its first year, Arkansas sold almost 10,000 of the stamps. That number jumped to almost 50,000 electronic federal stamps in 2008 and the number is expected to go even higher this year.
This proof of purchase - a unique code given to the purchaser instantly, will be accepted as evidence of the federal duck stamp purchase for 45 days. This will give the purchaser - time enough for the physical stamp to arrive in the mail. Duck Stamp purchasers will now be able to buy an electronic duck stamp from Arkansas and the other eight states' retail licensing locations or by telephone or by their website.
Every waterfowl hunter over the age of 16 is required to buy a federal duck stamp in order to hunt waterfowl. In addition, federal duck stamps provide free entry into any national wildlife refuge in the country that charges an entrance fee. The electronic duck stamps are $2 higher in cost than the over-the-counter version.
The electronic proof of purchase will fulfill the requirement for waterfowl hunters to possess the stamp nationwide and allow visitors to National Wildlife Refuges gain free access. After the 45 days, the proof of purchase will expire and the purchasers must possess the paper stamp to receive its full benefit.
The federal duck stamp is currently available at many major sporting good stores selling hunting and fishing licenses, select post offices and online through the U.S. Postal Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's duck stamp fulfillment center.
The Electronic Duck Stamp Act of 2005 directed the Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with state management agencies, to conduct a three-year pilot program under which up to 15 states could issue electronic migratory bird hunting and conservation stamps. The pilot program will allow the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to evaluate the program and make adjustments or assess other distribution options to better serve stamp buyers.
Click this link for more information about the Federal Duck Stamp Program.