Waterfowl hunters may have to pay a little more for stamps next year

When Will Ela of Hotchkiss and countless other waterfowl hunters across the nation buy their next Federal Waterfowl Stamp, the price likely will have increased by $10 over this year’s $15.

The U.S. Senate this week passed legislation passed this week authorizing the price increase, the first since 1991, and now the bill only has to be signed by President Barack Obama to become law as of Jan. 1.

The 67-percent increase is an effort to increase funds for wetlands habitat conservation.

All waterfowl are required to buy a federal waterfowl stamp, and next year might also see a jump in the cost of the Colorado waterfowl stamp, also required of Colorado hunters.

As part of its efforts to generate much-needed revenue, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is considering a $5 hike in the state’s so-called duck stamp, bringing the cost to $10.

An analysis of the revenue indicates that extra $5 from every waterfowler would bring in an additional $175,000. It would be first price increase since 1990.

The bipartisan support shown for the Federal Waterfowl Stamp (or, Duck Stamp) increase has been hailed by conservationists as well as both major political parties.

“The additional duck stamp funding provided by waterfowl hunters and other conservationists will not only conserve critical waterfowl habitat, but will also help ensure the future of our waterfowling traditions,” said Dale Hall, Ducks Unlimited CEO.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in 2011, some 1.5 million duck stamp purchasers funneled more than $20 million into habitat preservation.

In its 23 year history, federal duck stamp proceeds have helped preserve 6 million acres of habitat for future generations.

“At a time when millions of acres of wildlife habitat are at risk of being lost forever, congressional approval of this bipartisan legislation is a critical boost for wetlands conservation,” Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe said. “By restoring the lost purchasing power of the Federal Duck Stamp, this legislation will give us the opportunity to work with thousands of additional landowners across the nation to maintain vital habitat for waterfowl, grassland birds and hundreds of other native species.”

Ducks Unlimited, the world’s largest nonprofit dedicated to conserving waterfowl habitats, hailed the duck stamp price increase as a major win for wetlands and waterfowl conservation.

“For decades, duck hunters have proudly paid their own way, funding countless conservation initiatives all across the country that have helped increase duck numbers and improve wetland habitat,” said Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Teddy Roosevelt Conservation Partnership. “Yet we want to do more. Duck hunters and waterfowl enthusiasts understand the importance of our Duck Stamp purchases, and we thank Congress for putting aside politics to pass this commonsense bill.”

Current waterfowl stamps expire on June 30, 2015 and the new prices, should the president sign the act into law, will likely appear on stamps for the 2015-2016 season.