First 75th anniversary stamp sold to U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service director in Maryland
BALTIMORE -- The first 75th Anniversary Federal Duck Stamp was sold to H. Dale Hall, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) director, during a special ceremony hosted by Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, near Baltimore, Md., in June. The stamp features a pair of northern pintails depicted by Minnesota artist Joseph Hautman.

In 1934, Postmaster William Mooney sold the very first Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, popularly known as the federal duck stamp, to J. N. "Ding" Darling. Darling was the first federal duck stamp artist and also served as director of the U.S. Biological Survey, the forerunner of USFWS. Every year since, the first duck stamp sale has been made to the USFWS director.

"It's an honor to be the first in line to buy this stamp and help contribute to this unique wetlands conservation program," said Hall. "I'm proud to carry on the tradition started by Ding more than 75 years ago. Now more than ever, our nation depends on healthy wetlands and clean water for conserving waterfowl populations and ensuring healthy and safe communities. Purchasing this little stamp reaps huge dividends for our nation."

All waterfowl hunters age 16 and older are required to purchase and carry in the field the current Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, but conservationists, stamp collectors and others purchase the stamp and support habitat conservation. Ninety-eight percent of the proceeds from the $15 duck stamp go to the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund, which supports the acquisition of wetland and associated upland habitat for the National Wildlife Refuge System. To date, duck stamp funds have been used to purchase habitat at hundreds of refuges located in nearly every state in the nation. These refuges offer unparalleled recreational opportunities, including hunting, fishing, bird watching, and photography.

Winning artist Joe Hautman of Plymouth, Minn., previously won the federal duck stamp contest in 1992 and 2002. His brothers, Bob and Jim, are also multiple Federal Duck Stamp Contest winners. Hautman's winning art depicts a drake and hen pintail nestled in the type of wetland habitat his art will help protect.

Duck stamps can be purchased at hundreds of post offices across the country, as well as major sporting goods stores that sell hunting and fishing licenses. For information on the federal duck stamp program and related products, go online to http://www.fws.gov/duckstamps/.