Page of 123Collecting Waterfowl Stampsby David R. Torre, ARADeﬁnitionFish and game license stamps, as deﬁned here, are those stamps required by federal, state, local or tribal law to be purchased by sportsmen and afﬁxed to a license prior to ﬁshing or hunting for various wildlife in the U.S. In most instances, such stamps convey additional rights that are not granted by a basic ﬁshing or hunting license. A fee is generally paid by the sportsman to acquire these additional rights and the stamp serves as a receipt. For this reason, ﬁsh and game license stamps fall under the philatelic classiﬁcation of revenue stamps. Once the stamps have been afﬁxed to the license (and subsequently signed by the licensee in many cases) the license has been validated for harvesting the particular species involved — within the limitations established by a ﬁsh and game code.Waterfowl stamps are a subcategory of ﬁsh and game license stamps that have been especially popular with stamp collectors. Much of this popularity is owing to the rich and colorful history of the federal duck stamp program in the U.S. The term “duck stamp” is not entirely accurate when referring to the federal stamps. In fact, the stamps convey the right to hunt for many different species of waterfowl, including ducks, and are therefore waterfowl stamps. This is to distinguish them from the relatively small number of true duck stamps that have been issued in this county. Among those governments to issue duck stamps are Marion County, Kansas and the States of California and Nevada (see Figure 1). FIGURE 1. MARION COUNTY, KANSAS BECAME THE FIRST
GOVERNMENT IN THE WORLD TO ISSUE A DUCK STAMP IN 1943.Page of 223Background Information and Historical ContextThe federal waterfowl stamps arose out of the need to generate public awareness and funding for waterfowl conservation in the early part of the twentieth century. At this time, overhunting and a series of drought years had reduced North American waterfowl to dangerously low levels. One of the biggest needs was for waterfowl habitat — protected areas where the birds could breed and also rest during their rigorous migrations. On March 16, 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act into law. The ﬁrst federal waterfowl stamp was designed by J. N. “Ding” Darling, a nationally recognized cartoonist and a conservation leader (see Figure 2). Proceeds from stamp sales went to preserve and restore waterfowl habitat, so that the survival of numerous waterfowl species could be ensured for future generations. FIGURE 2. SMALL DIE PROOF FOR THE FIRST FEDERAL
WATERFOWL STAMP. THE STAMP WAS DESIGNED BY
JAY N. DARLING AND ISSUED IN 1934.Among the initial federal stamps in the 1930s were those designed by famous wildlife artists such as Frank Benson, Richard Bishop and Roland Clark(see Figure 3). Oversized and depicting engraved waterfowl scenes, these beautiful stamps attracted an immediate following among stamp collectors. The federal waterfowl stamp series has evolved into the longest running series of stamps ever issued by the U.S. government and continues to attract large numbers of new collectors to the hobby of ﬁsh and game stamp collecting today. FIGURE 3. THE FIRST FEDERAL STAMPS WERE DESIGNED BY FAMOUS WILDLIFE ARTISTS. ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR WAS BY ROLAND CLARK AND ISSUED IN 1938.Page of 323In addition to habitat, continuing research was necessary to collect data related to annual waterfowl production and harvest. This data plays a signiﬁcant role in determining conservation policies aimed at keeping the various waterfowl populations in equilibrium. It was necessary to collect much of this data at the state and local level. Soon, state and local governments were issuing waterfowl stamps to generate funding for their own waterfowl conservation programs and also to help regulate the harvest within their own geographical areas. Ohio became the ﬁrst state government to issue a waterfowl stamp in 1937 (see Figure 4), for Pymatuning Lake, and Marion County, Kansas became the ﬁrst local government in 1941 (see Figure 5). FIGURE 4. OHIO BECAME THE FIRST STATE TO ISSUED A WATERFOWL STAMP IN 1937. FIGURE 5. MARION COUNTY, KANSAS BECAME THE FIRST LOCAL GOVERNMENT TO ISSUE A WATERFOWL STAMP IN 1941. NOTE “WATER FOWL” IS PRINTED IN TWO WORDS.Page of 423Unlike the federal stamps, the early state and local issues were not pretty, usually featuring printed text in lieu of artwork. However, these stamps were attractive to collectors for other reasons. Foremost, they were an integral part of the waterfowl stamp story in the U.S. The history and stories behind the different state and local stamps was varied and frequently quite interesting. Also, the state and local stamps were issued in relatively small quantities solely to meet localized licensing demands, adding a challenge factor to the mix.It was with the advent of state and local waterfowl stamps that E.L. Vanderford and “pioneer” collectors began to form specialized waterfowl stamp collections. Such collections then had much to offer: there was the beauty of the federal stamps, the engaging local history of the stamps issued by Marion County, Kansas, the political and social history connected with the stamps issued for public hunting grounds at Honey Lake, California and Rice Lake, Illinois (see Figures 6 and 7) and the great rarity and status of the legendary Pymatuning Lake, Ohio issues. FIGURE 6. FOLLOWING WWII, STAMPS WERE ISSUED FOR THE PUBLIC HUNTING GROUNDS AT HONEY LAKE, CALIFORNIA. STAMPS WERE FIRST PRINTED IN 1956 AND THE SERIES CONTINUED FOR 30 YEARS, THROUGH 1985-86. FIGURE 7. ILLINOIS WAS THE FIRST STATE TO ISSUE STAMPS FOR HUNTING AT PUBLIC HUNTING GROUNDS IN 1951. DAILY USAGE STAMPS ARE STILL IN USE TODAY.Page of 523Starting in the late 1950s, another chapter in the U. S. waterfowl stamp story was written. The Rosebud Sioux Tribe of South Dakota became the ﬁrst tribal government to issue ﬁsh and game license stamps, including a tribal game bird stamp that was required to hunt for waterfowl on their reservation (see Figure 8). The fact that Native American artifacts could now be included in their collections intrigued pioneer waterfowl stamp collectors. The Indian reservation stamps helped to make the hobby even more interesting and added an element of social history. FIGURE 8. THE ROSEBUD SIOUX BECAME THE FIRST TRIBAL GOVERNMENT TO REQUIRE A STAMP TO HUNT WATERFOWL IN 1959.In 1967, Vandenberg Air Force Base in southern California became the ﬁrst U. S. military base to print stamps for hunting waterfowl. The vast majority of hunting that takes place on the base is by military personnel and the stamps have always been highly regulated. For these reasons, relatively few have found their way into the hands of collectors (see Figure 9). FIGURE 9. IN 1967, VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE ISSUED THE FIRST MILITARY ADHESIVES.Page of 623In 1971, California issued what is regarded as the ﬁrst pictorial state waterfowl stamp (see Figure 10). Other states followed and this stimulated a large increase in the number of waterfowl stamp collectors in the 1970s and 1980s (see Figures 11 and 12). FIGURE 10. CALIFORNIA ISSUED THE FIRST PICTORIAL DUCK STAMP IN 1971. THE STAMP WAS DESIGNED BY STAFF ARTIST PAUL JOHNSON. FIGURE 11. IN 1973, IOWA ISSUED THE FIRST MULTI-COLORED STATE STAMP. IT WAS DESIGNED BY NATIVE SON MAYNARD REECE, WHO IS FAMOUS FOR DESIGNING FIVE FEDERAL WATERFOWL STAMPS. FIGURE 12. OTHER STATES SOON FOLLOWED WITH THEIR OWN BEAUTIFUL WATERFOWL STAMPS.Page of 723Methods of Collecting; On licenseToday, waterfowl stamp collecting is a major hobby with thousands of enthusiasts worldwide. There are many options for the prospective new collector. Traditionally, collectors will start out with the federal stamps and then progress onto the state, local and tribal issues. However, one of the enjoyable things about collecting is the high degree of personal choice allowed. Some collectors may wish to collect only federal stamps, or only pictorial federal and state stamps. Some collectors prefer unused stamps and others prefer to collect stamps that have been actually used by hunters and removed from licenses. Many advanced collectors try to acquire stamps that are still afﬁxed to the original license, thereby showing their intended usage (see ﬁgures 13 through 16). FIGURE 13. ADVANCED COLLECTORS SEEK STAMPS AFFIXED TO ORIGINAL LICENSES, SHOWING THEIR USAGE. THE OWNERS OF THESE LICENSES DESIRED TO HUNT AT HONEY LAKE. THEY WERE REQUIRED TO PURCHASE BOTH A FEDERAL WATERFOWL STAMP AND A HONEY LAKE STAMP.Page of 823 FIGURE 14. THIS LICENSE SHOWS A COMBINATION USAGE WITH FEDERAL, STATE (KANSAS) AND MARION COUNTY STAMPS AFFIXED. LICENSES WITH MULTIPLE STAMPS AFFIXED ARE POPULAR WITH COLLECTORS. FIGURE 15. 1964-65 FEDERAL WATERFOWL STAMP USED ON LICENSE WITH MARYLAND BIG GAME STAMPS FOR ARCHERY AND FIREARMS.
Page of 923 FIGURE 16. CALIFORNIA LICENSE WITH STAMPS REQUIRED TO HUNT WATERFOWL FROM THREE DIFFERENT GOVERNMENT JURISDICTIONS; VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, FEDERAL AND CALIFORNIA.A popular speciality area within collecting waterfowl stamps on license is collecting early federal stamps on Form 3333. When the ﬁrst stamp was issued in 1934 (known as RW1 for Revenue Waterfowl #1), regulations stated a stamp could not leave the post ofﬁce unless afﬁxed to the hunter’s license or the blue stamp holder known more commonly as Form 3333 (see Figure 17). In either case, the piece of paper the stamp was afﬁxed to should bear the hunter’s identifying signature. The reasoning behind this is that the government did not want hunters to share stamps and deprive waterfowl conservation efforts of badly needed funding. FIGURE 17. THE FIRST FEDERAL STAMP USED ON FORM 3333. THE FORM IS CANCELLED “HONOLULU, HAWAII”. DUE TO ITS RELATIVELY SMALL POPULATION AND LIMITED WATERFOWL HUNTING, VERY FEW STAMPS WERE SOLD IN HAWAII FROM 1934 – 1936. THEREFORE, FEDERAL STAMPS USED ON HAWAIIAN FORM 3333S ARE DIFFICULT FOR COLLECTORS TO ACQUIRE.Next >