serving as a hunting license and a conservation tool, a current
Federal Duck Stamp also serves as an entrance pass for national
wildlife refuges where admission is charged. Duck
Stamps and products that bear stamp images are also
popular collector items.
In 1989, the
first Junior Duck Stamps were produced. Junior Duck Stamps are
now the capstone of the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Junior
Duck Stamp environmental education program, teaching students
across the nation “conservation through the arts.” Revenue
generated by the sales of Junior Duck Stamps funds environmental
education programs in all 50 states, the District of Columbia
and several territories.
Today, many states issue their own duck stamps. In some states, the
stamps are purely a collector’s item, but in others,
the stamps have a similar role in hunting and conservation
as Federal Duck Stamps.
For information regarding
the authorizing legislation behind Duck Stamps, please see
our "stamp law" page.
Download our brochure, The
Federal Duck Stamp Story, for a brief history of both
Federal and Junior Duck Stamps. Note:
this is a PDF document. You will need to download
the free Adobe Acrobat Reader software to view this document.
do Duck Stamps benefit wildlife?
of Federal Duck Stamps have generated more than $800
million, which has been used to purchase or lease over 6 million acres of wetlands habitat in the United States. These
lands are protected in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National
Wildlife Refuge System.
Waterfowl are not
the only wildlife to benefit from the sale of Federal Duck
Stamps. Numerous other bird, mammal, fish, reptile and amphibian
species that rely on wetlands have prospered. Further,
an estimated one-third of the nation's endangered and threatened
species find food or shelter in refuges
established using Federal Duck Stamp funds.
People, too, have
benefited from the Federal Duck Stamp. Hunters have
places to enjoy their sport and other outdoor enthusiasts
have places to hike, watch birds, photograph and explore. Moreover, these
protected wetlands help purify water supplies, store flood
water, reduce soil erosion and sedimentation, and provide spawning
areas for fish important to sport and commercial fishermen.
should I buy duck stamps?
There are many reasons
to buy Duck Stamps. Hunters over
the age of 16 must purchase a Federal Duck Stamp each year
if they want to hunt migratory waterfowl. Birders and
other visitors to national wildlife refuges buy a $15
Federal Duck Stamp each year to gain free admission
to refuges. Conservationists buy
Duck Stamps because they know that the stamps are,
dollar for dollar, one of the best investments one can make
in the future of America’s wetlands. Collectors buy
Federal and Junior Duck Stamps because the beautiful
stamps can gain value over the years and are an important part
of America’s outdoor culture. Finally, educators, conservationists, hunters, parents and students buy $5 Junior Duck Stamps to support conservation
can I buy Duck Stamps and Duck Stamp products?
Both Federal Duck
Stamps ($15) and Junior Duck Stamps ($5) are sold in many post
offices across the country. You can also buy both stamps on
the internet, and at many national wildlife refuges, sporting goods and outdoor stores. Visit our “Stamps” page
to learn where you can purchase Federal and Junior Duck
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service Federal Duck Stamp Office does not sell Duck Stamp
products, but it does allow licensed vendors to make and
sell products bearing the images of Federal and Junior
Duck Stamps. Please see our “Products” page
for a current list of vendors.
are Duck Stamps made?
Each year, the U.S.
Fish and Wildlife Service sponsors a stamp-design contest (usually held in the fall), with wildlife artists from across the nation
submitting their work for judging by a panel of artists and
wildlife experts. The winning art is used on the following
year's stamp. Wildlife artists consider it a great honor to
be selected as the winner of the Federal
Duck Stamp Contest.
After the winning
design has been selected, the Federal Duck Stamp Office designs and produce a stamp
that meets the needs and expectations of the public.
A similar process
is used for Junior
Duck Stamps. Annually, thousands of students across the
country enter artwork in
their state's Junior Duck Stamp contest.
Students from kindergarten to high school compete in one of
four age brackets (K-3rd, 4th-6th, 7th-9th and 10th-12th)
for a chance to win prizes. From the first place winners
in each age bracket, state judges select one Best of Show
to represent their state in the national contest. Each April, judges for the National Junior Duck
Stamp Contest select a winner from the Best of Show entries to become
the following year's Junior Duck Stamp.
Every year on July
1, the new Federal Duck Stamp and Junior Duck Stamp go on sale to the public at a First Day of Sale Ceremony.
After the First Day of Sale, the stamps can be purchased at
all national duck stamp retailers.
can I participate in the Duck Stamp Contest?
Whether you are an artist or
an interested citizen, you can participate in the Federal
Duck Stamp Contest. Anyone 18 or older can enter for a chance to see their artwork
on a Federal Duck Stamp. Even if you do not enter, you
can still participate by attending the contest and viewing
the judging. The Federal Duck Stamp Contest is usually held
in September or October. The exact dates and location vary. Call the Federal
Duck Stamp Office at 703-358-1784 for current contest information.
Duck Stamp Contest
You can also participate
in the Junior Duck
Stamp Contest. Any student in kindergarten through high
school can enter. Teachers, parents, students
or anyone interested can attend the state and national contest
judging. Contact your
state coordinator for information on state contests.
The National Junior Duck Stamp Contest is usually held at the
end of April. Call the Federal
Duck Stamp Office at 703-358-2405 for current contest information.
can I view Duck Stamps?
You can see every Federal
Duck Stamp and every Junior
Duck Stamp, along with artist and production
information, through our web image galleries.
Also, you can see
a number of Federal Duck Stamps and Duck Stamp-related artifacts
at the Smithsonian's National Postal Museum in Washington,
In 1995, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service transferred
its complete set of duck stamps to the Smithsonian. Included in the collection is a complete set of die
proofs. At transfer, the official collection consisted of 21
panes of 28 stamps each, dating from the first issue through
1954-1955. Under a current agreement between the Service and
the Smithsonian, a sheet, a pane, and die proof of
each issue is added to the collection annually.
can answer my questions about Duck Stamps?
For questions about
buying current Federal and Junior Duck Stamps and Duck Stamp products or about the Federal or Junior Duck Stamp contests, please contact the Federal
Duck Stamp Office.
If you have questions about historical Federal Duck Stamps/products or would like to know what an old Duck Stamp is worth, please contact a stamp dealer (search "Duck Stamp dealers" on the Internet) or an organization such as the National Duck Stamp Collector's Society.