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The Art of the Stamp, Conservation and Consequences

Greg Tinsley  

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) recently revised rules set by the previous administration regarding the artwork for federal duck stamps, guidelines which had required artists to promote a hunting theme in honor of the extraordinary role waterfowlers continue to play in this unmatched 87-year-old program. 

The cancelled hunting-heritage-theme duck stamp saw only one printing in 2021, which will undoubtedly add to that edition’s value as a collectible.  

original duck stamp
Original Duck Stamp


For 2022 it was back to business-as-usual for artists competing in the annual Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp Contest, the only art competition of its kind sponsored by the United States government.  According to the USFWS, the stamp once again provides artists with maximum flexibility when designing their works while broadening the appeal of the duck stamp to a more diverse audience.

The Painting Behind Mossy Oak’s Inaugural Turkey Stamp

The USFWS must admit, of course, that waterfowlers exponentially purchase the greatest number of duck stamps. To date, more than $1.1 billion has been raised by the program, which has acquired more than 6 million acres of critical wetlands.  

Additionally, the USFWS acknowledged: 

“Funds generated from duck stamp sales are used to protect waterfowl and wetland habitat in the National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) system. Numerous other birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, and amphibians benefit from habitat protected by the Duck Stamp revenues, including an estimated one-third of the nation’s endangered and threatened species. The healthy wetlands protected by Duck Stamp funding sequester carbon and contribute to addressing the impacts of climate change, including absorbing flood waters and storm surge.”

Many hunters will remember that the Trump administration was heralded for expanding hunting and fishing activities on 2.2 million acres within the NWR system. The current administration actually added to those NWR increases for sportsmen in August 2021, praising its effort as the largest expansion of recreational opportunities in recent history.  

2021 2022 duck stamp
The 2021-’22 federal duck stamp featuring a pair of “bolt-on” duck calls was awkward at best. But the idea of recognizing American waterfowlers for their critical support for the program was solid. 


JN Darling
Jay Norwood “Ding” Darling (1876-1962) was a Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist and a hunter. He is best known for continent-scale conservative leadership, conservation fundraising and artistic skills, which came together to create the first federal duck stamp. The federal duck stamp institution, funded almost entirely by American waterfowlers, will have raised more than $2 billion by 2034, the program’s 100th Anniversary.


And we must continue to provide incremental monies to true conservation organizations and high-value conservation initiatives. For instance,

America’s newest and brightest conservation fundraising product is homegrown to these pages.  In addition to notable corporate support benefitting the likes of Ducks Unlimited, the National Wild Turkey Foundation, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, the Bass Angler Sportsman Society and Major League Fishing – Mossy Oak has just unveiled one of the most heartfelt efforts in the history of conservation. 

The creation is a gorgeous, commemorative stamp aimed squarely at raising and directing funds to the perpetuation of America’s greatest upland game bird, the wild turkey. It is a limited-edition tribute that no turkey-hunting aficionado should be without. 

(Nor is it coincidence that this inaugural Mossy Oak Moments Turkey Stamp features a hunting theme.)

Framed for your den or office?  Next-level. Few conservation art-form investments represent such generational return, while handsomely announcing your shared value commitment to wild turkeys and their healthy habitats.
Join the Mossy Oak conservation efforts by clicking here.

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