I just put up a post in 10,000 Birds reporting on a recent study of duck stamp sales and duck hunting. There have been changes in recent years in the patterns of both waterfowl hunting and the purchase and use of federal duck stamps. Waterfowl hunters are required to have a duck stamp, and about 90% of the funds raised through the sale of these artistic quasi-philatic devices are used to secure wildlife preservation areas. For decades, duck population numbers and duck stamp sales were closely correlated, but recently this correlation has broken down. Read the post to find out the details and possible explanations.
There has been a discussion about the idea of developing a federal wildlife stamp that bird watchers or other nature enthusiasts could buy, either voluntarily or as a requirement for access to certain wildlife areas, to supplement wildlife protection projects. Such a stamp would also bring non-hunters to the table and secure a position for them as stakeholders in conservation policy making. While hunters clearly contribute to wildlife protection (up to the point that they pull the trigger and shoot a wild thing, that is!) it is also true that non-hunters both benefit from wildlife protection and would like to do more to make a contribution. The current situation in many states seems to be that hunters have more of an influence in conservation policy than perhaps they should given that they are only one part of the equation. But licensing fees for hunting, including duck stamp sales, may give hunters more of a voice in the process than one would expect in considering the diverse range of individuals who support and benefit from conservation. A wildlife stamp would help increase available funds for these projects and result in a more even distribution of influence.
Again, go read the post for more details.