The Wisconsin DNR has been selling waterfowl stamps for more than 40 years.
Each year, sales from the stamp generates hundreds of thousands of dollars for habitat management, restoration, education, and research projects.
“It’s a great program in that duck stamp fee actually doubles in what we get in projects. However, after all the years of no increase, cost of inflation, we’re seeing lesser bang for our buck because the duck stamp hasn’t been increased,” said Former Wisconsin Conservation Congress Chair Larry Bonde. He has been one of many people working for the better part of the last decade to get the Wisconsin Legislature to increase the cost the duck stamp.
Since 1997, the price of the stamp has been $7.
By increasing that price by $5 Bonde believes DNR will be able to fill all the project funding requests that come in.
“These wetland projects are incredible for anyone who is a bird lover, bird watcher, watching the migratory waterfowl use them. Trappers benefit from it. There’s a lot of people who purchase these duck stamps that aren’t really waterfowl hunters, but they realize the good in it,” said Bonde. “It also offers them an opportunity for the non-consumptive user, who may be a birder, to buy this stamp and be a contributor to something that really enhances the resource for all Wisconsinites.”
The Joint Finance Committee voted to include the $5 increase in the next state budget.
There’s still a lot that needs to happen for it to pass including a full assembly and senate vote and be approved by Governor Evers, but Bonde is hopeful.
“The sporting groups that all were part of this coalition to make this happen this year worked extremely hard to have Governor Evers have it part of his budget, so when you see the Joint Finance put something that was already in the Governor’s budget back into the budget when they essentially create a new one. We feel we have an extremely good opportunity to make it go this time around,” he said.
The Joint Finance Committee is still working on budget items.
It’s expected to go to the full legislature for a vote later this summer.