Tester reloads to save Duck Stamps

Senator works across party lines to increase support for wetland, wildlife conservation

(HELENA, Mont.) – Senator Jon Tester is taking another shot at making sure that Duck Stamps can still fulfill their original purpose: preserving wetlands and supporting Montana’s sportsmen and women.

Tester, the former Chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, this week introduced legislation to increase the price of the Federal Duck Stamp to $25. The current price of $15 was set more than 20 years ago. Duck Stamps serve as hunting licenses on National Wildlife Refuges and allow access to Refuges where admission is charged.

Tester’s legislation is needed because Duck Stamps, the sale of which supports conservation efforts, have lost 40 percent of their value since last being increased in 1991. Paired with higher land values, the decrease in the value of Duck Stamps is making wetland preservation more difficult.

Tester introduced similar legislation in December, but after working with Republicans, is now re-introducing his bill with bipartisan support.

“Sportsmen and women purchase Duck Stamps to preserve wetlands that are home to some of our best places to hunt and recreate,” Tester said. “I hear all the time from Montanans who are concerned about maintaining access to some of our best hunting lands. This bipartisan bill will help make sure our outdoorsmen and women can continue to enjoy our treasured outdoor traditions.”

Ninety-eight percent of Federal Duck Stamp revenue goes to acquiring important migratory bird habitat. Since being created in 1934, Duck Stamp revenue has preserved nearly six million acres of wetlands and wildlife habitat.

Tester previously sought to adjust the price of Duck Stamps with his Sportsmen’s Act, but the bill was blocked by political gamesmanship.

This week’s bill, the Federal Duck Stamp Act of 2014 (S. 2621), is supported by Ducks Unlimited. It is co-sponsored by Senators David Vitter (R-La.), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Chris Coons (D-Del.) and John Boozman (R-Ark.).