Duck stamp

This photo shows the 2020-2021 Duck Stamp and Junior Duck Stamp, which became available on June 26.

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has begun selling the Federal Duck Stamp, formerly known as the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, for 2020-2021.

The new Federal Duck Stamp and the Junior Duck Stamp are available for purchase with new artwork.

This year, a pair of black-bellied whistling-ducks painted by artist Eddie LeRoy of Eufaula, Alabama, is on the new Federal Duck Stamp.

The Federal Duck Stamp plays an important financial role in wildlife conservation. Since 1934, sales of this stamp have raised funds to protect 6 million acres of wetland habitat on national wildlife refuges around the country.

The Junior Duck Stamp, which is also now available for purchase, raises funds to support youth conservation education and this year features a wood duck painted by Madison Grimm, 13, of South Dakota.

According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, they have made access to public lands for hunting and fishing a priority. The service has proposed the largest ever expansion of hunting and fishing opportunities on national wildlife refuges and national fish hatcheries, kept refuge and fish hatchery lands open to the public during the coronavirus pandemic, and recently amended the regulations for the Federal Duck Stamp art contest.

From 2021 on, every Federal Duck Stamp must feature an element reflecting the contribution hunters have made to conservation.

Funds raised from the sale of Federal Duck Stamps go toward the acquisition or lease of habitat for the National Wildlife Refuge System.

Duck Stamps are required for waterfowl hunters 16 and older, but are also voluntarily purchased by birders, outdoor enthusiasts and fans of national wildlife refuges.

A current Federal Duck Stamp is also good for free admission to any national wildlife refuge that charges a fee.

The Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest is the culmination of a year-long educational program that helps students learn about wetlands and waterfowl conservation along with creating a painting or drawing of a bird. The winning art, chosen through a national contest, is made into a stamp the service sells to the public. Proceeds support conservation education.

According to the service, both the 2019-2020 and the 2018-2019 stamps will each have sold at least $1.5 million. Since 2019, Federal Duck Stamp sales have generated more than $1.1 billion for conserving wetland habitat.

Federal Duck Stamps are valid from July 1 through the following June 30. The stamps stay on sale for three years after they are issued.

The contest to select the 2021-2022 Federal Duck Stamp is scheduled to be held on Sept. 25 and 26 at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.

The new Duck Stamps are available for purchase online, at some sporting goods and retail stores, some post offices and national wildlife refuges. Find all buying options online at http://www.fws.gov/birds/get-involved/duck-stamp/buy-duck-stamp.php.

Margaret Slayton can be reached at margaret.slayton@newspressnow.com.