Migratory Bird Hunting & Conservation Stamp Act

 Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp Act (16 U.S.C. 718-718j, 48 Stat. 452), as amended -- The "Duck Stamp Act," as this March 16, 1934, authority is commonly called, requires each waterfowl hunter 16 years of age or older to possess a valid Federal hunting stamp. Receipts from the sale of the stamp are deposited in a special Treasury account known as the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund and are not subject to appropriations.

Funds appropriated under the  Wetlands Loan Act (16 U.S.C. 715k-3 - 715k-5; 75 Stat. 813), as amended, are merged with duck stamp receipts and provided to the Secretary for the acquisition of migratory bird refuges under provisions of the  Migratory Bird Conservation Act (16 U.S.C. 715 et seq.; 45 Stat. 1222), as amended, and since August 1, 1958, (P.L. 85-585; 72 Stat. 486) for acquisition of "Waterfowl Production Areas."

The original price of the stamp was set at $1, and the price was increased to $2 by an August 12, 1949, amendment (63 Stat. 599) and to $3 by P.L. 85-585, approved August 1, 1958 (72 Stat. 486). Public Law 92-214, December 22, 1971, (85 Stat. 777) raised the price to "a sum not less than $3 and not more than $5 as determined by the Secretary of the Interior" based on land values and needs of the migratory bird resource.

Public Law 95-552 (92 Stat. 2071), signed October 30, 1978, authorized an increase to $7.50 if all sums appropriated to the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund in the proceeding fiscal year and those monies deposited from the sale of stamps in the preceding fiscal year have been obligated.

The Postal Service prints, issues and sells the stamp and is reimbursed for its expenses from money in the fund. Public Law 94-215, approved February 17, 1976, (90 Stat. 189) amended the Act to allow, among other things, the sale of stamps at places other than post offices and authorized consignments to "retail dealers." The 1976 amendment also changed the name of the stamp from "Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp" to "Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp."

A contest is held each year by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to select the design of the stamp. Public Law 97-307 (96 Stat. 1450), approved October 14, 1982, amended the Act to credit contest entrance fee revenues to the account which pays for administering the contest, rather than to the General Fund.

Public Law 98-341 (98 Stat. 311), approved July 3, 1984, designated the week of July 1-8, 1984, as National Duck Stamp Week and commemorated 1984, the 50th year of the program, as the Golden Anniversary Year of the Duck Stamp.

Public Law 98-369, signed July 8, 1984, amended the 1934 Act to authorize reproductions of the duck stamps and require that all resulting proceeds be deposited into the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund. It required that color reproductions be less than three-fourths or at least one and one-half times the linear size of the actual stamp.

Public Law 99-625 (100 Stat. 3502), November 7, 1986, and P.L. 99-645, Title II, 202 (100 Stat. 3586), November 10, 1986, amended the Duck Stamp Act to ensure that Gramm-Rudman deficit reduction requirements do not result in the price of the stamp being rolled back to $5.

The  Emergency Wetlands Resources Act (P.L. 99-645; Stat. ) enacted November 10, 1986 authorized an incremental increase in the price of the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp to $10 in the years 1987 and 1988, $12.50 in 1989 and 1990, and $15 in each hunting year, thereafter.

Public Law 100-653 (102 Stat. 3827), enacted November 14, 1988, authorized the Service to recoup from sales of duck stamp reproductions the marketing and promotional costs of the duck stamp licensing program.

Public Law 105-269 (111 Stat.2381), enacted October 19, 1998, authorized the Service to expend up to $1,000,000 of Duck Stamp sale receipts to promote additional stamp sales, subject to approval of the marketing plan by the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission.

Public Law No: 113-264, enacted on Dec. 18, 2014, increased the price of duck stamps from $15 to $25, authorized the Department of the Interior to reduce the price of stamps for a hunting year if the increase in the stamp price resulted in a reduction in revenues deposited in the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund, and established a subaccount in the Fund to be used by Interior to acquire easements for the conservation of migratory birds. It directs the Secretary of the Treasury to transfer all amounts in excess of $15 from the sale of each stamp to the subaccount.

Last Updated: October 17, 2016