The 2021-2022 Federal Duck Stamp and its younger sibling, the Junior Duck Stamp, debuted today and are now available for purchase. Since 1934, Duck Stamp sales have raised more than $1.1 billion to protect over 6 million acres of wetlands habitat on national wildlife refuges around the U.S. The most recent Duck Stamp-supported projects, announced in April, will acquire wetlands in Maine, North Carolina, and New Jersey.
The new Federal Duck Stamp features a drake Lesser Scaup painted by artist Richard Clifton of Milton, Delaware. The Junior Duck Stamp, which raises funds to support youth conservation education, features Hooded Mergansers painted by Margaret McMullen of Kansas.
The debut of the new stamps comes just days after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced it wants to do away with a Trump administration rule that required that Federal Duck Stamp paintings have a hunting element in the illustration. For example, Clifton’s winning image has a couple of duck calls floating in the water near the scaup. Critics of the requirement often noted that the hunting elements often resembled litter in the scenes.
This proposed rule would remove the permanent “celebrating our waterfowl hunting heritage” theme and the mandatory inclusion of an appropriate hunting element beginning with the 2022 contest; revise the judging requirements to consider that the entries reflect this theme; and revisit the qualifications for selection as a judge. Since the implementation of the 2020 final regulations, many stakeholders have continued to express their dissatisfaction with this element being a requirement for all entries.
If finalized as proposed, the regulation would still require the live portrayal of one of the eligible species as the dominant feature. Hunting accessories and scenes, such as dogs, decoys and blinds would be optional components and their inclusion would be left to the artist’s discretion.
The 2020 regulations are still in effect for the 2021 contest. Entries must include one of the five eligible species — Greater White-fronted Goose, Ross’s Goose, Blue-winged Teal, Redhead, or King Eider — and waterfowl hunting theme or accessory and must be postmarked between June 1 and midnight August 15, 2021.
With this proposed rule, the FWS is opening a 30-day public comment period to solicit public input and feedback. The notice will be available at Regulations.gov, Docket Number: FWS-HQ-MB-2021-0048, and will include details on how to submit your comments.