Minnesota Profile: State Waterfowl Stamp
This 2-inch-by-1-inch reproduction of a waterfowl painting goes on sale in March. The 2005 stamp features a pair of white-winged scoters from an acrylic painting by David Chapman of Minnetonka.
To legally hunt waterfowl in Minnesota, any resident hunter age 18 to 64 must purchase a state waterfowl stamp, then carry it, or proof of purchase, along with a Minnesota small game license. (Residents hunting on their own property do not need a state stamp.) All duck hunters over 16 must also buy and carry a federal duck stamp.
Not just for hunters.
Birders and others who care about wildlife and wetlands can help protect habitat by purchasing Minnesota waterfowl stamps. Improved waterfowl habitat naturally benefits cranes, bitterns, warblers, and other species too.
Annual sales generate $500,000 to $900,000 for habitat enhancement. Since 1977, sales of more than 3 million stamps have raised nearly $14 million.
In 1934 J.N. "Ding" Darling, political cartoonist and chief of the U.S. Biological Survey (now U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), pioneered the plan to raise money for waterfowl management by creating and selling a federal duck stamp. In 1971 California became the first state to develop its own stamp program. Today all 50 states have them.
In 1977 Minnesota issued its first state waterfowl stamp. About 127,000 hunters and collectors purchased the stamp for $3. Created from a painting by wildlife artist David Maass, it depicted three mallards rising above cattails. Maass adapted the image from the Minnesota Waterfowl Association logo, which he also designed. The MWA helped pass the state stamp legislation. Habitat stamps for pheasants, trout and salmon, and wild turkeys followed.
Since 1978 a contest has solicited entries and selected winners. DNR biologists develop a list of eligible breeding or migrant species. The DNR convenes a panel of experts in ornithology, waterfowl management, and publishing or wildlife art to judge entries. Minnesota is renowned for its numerous outstanding wildlife artists, including the nationally acclaimed Hautmann brothers (James, Robert, and Joe), who have had their art featured on more than 40 state and federal stamps. Thirteen Minnesota artists have won 19 of the 70 federal duck stamp contests.
Purchase waterfowl stamps at DNR licensing outlets. One year after issue, the DNR destroys unsold stamps.
Tom Conroy, DNR regional information officer