Federal Duck Stamp Program

Federal Duck StampIn the past, hunters needed a Federal Duck Stamp t0 hunt waterfowl.  Today, it’s called a Migratory Bird Hunting & Conservation Stamp.  The stamp is required to hunt all migratory game birds.  In California, those birds include:

  1. Band-tailed Pigeons
  2. Coots
  3. Doves (Western mourning and White-winged doves)
  4. Ducks
  5. Geese
  6. Moorhen
  7. Snipe

What is a Federal Duck Stamp?

Federal Duck StampThe Federal Duck Stamp used to be required only for hunting waterfowl (i.e. ducks, geese, and brant).  Today, it’s required to hunt all migratory game birds.  It’s formally known as a Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp.  Sales are used to protect wetlands, mostly at National Wildlife Refuges for the purpose of hunting and other recreational opportunities.  With the stamp, you get free entry onto National Wildlife Refuges. For more info, go to the USFWS webpage

Who needs a Federal Duck Stamp?

In general, everyone needs a Federal Duck Stamp to hunt migratory game birds. However, there are a few exceptions:

  1. Youth hunters under the age of 16, commonly referred to as “juniors,”
  2. Federal and State agencies,
  3. People authorized to raise the birds,
  4. People authorized to kill the birds to stop property damage,
  5. For certain Alaskans that are living off the land. 

Where do I get my stamp?

You can buy your Federal Duck Stamp directly from the Amplex Corporation, either online or by calling (800) 852-4897.  You can also get them from most U.S. Post Offices by going to  www.usps.com or calling (800) 782-6724.  (Click here to find your local Post Office and ask them if they sell them.) Finally, you can get them from some National Wildlife Refuges and CDFW license agents, and most major sporting good stores.

Warning shot!!! You cannot get them from CDFW license offices, and E-stamp aren’t available in California. Click here for more info from the USFWS.

How much does it cost?

In 2015, the general fee for a Federal Duck Stamp was $25.00.  For juniors, the fee is only $5.  If you just want to collect the stamp, it’s $35.  For more information on current fees, click here.

How do I use the stamp for hunting?

After you buy a Federal Duck Stamp, you have to “validate” it before hunting.  To validate it, sign and date with an ink pen across the face of the stamp.  Stick it to the back of your hunting license.

Warning shot!!!  Don’t forget you have to carry your hunting license, Federal Duck Stamp, and California Duck Validation while in the field hunting ducks and geese.  You have to show your stamp to federal and State officers and employees responsible for enforcing game laws.

Do I need anything else?

In addition to a California Duck Validation, you’ll also need to complete the HIP Survey, buy a hunting license, and put a California Duck Stamp on it.  If you plan to hunt Upland Game Birds, you’ll also need an Upland Game Bird Validation.

Where are the regulations?

Click here to read the rules and regulations about Federal Duck Stamps.