New Hampshire Bill Seeks to Clarify State Laws Surrounding “E-Stamps”

Contact: Joe Bachar, New England States Coordinator

  • In 1934, the Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Act was passed which requires all migratory bird hunters aged 16 years and older to purchase a stamp annually to pursue migratory birds.
  • In 2013, the Permanent Electronic Duck Stamp Act authorized the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to permanently authorize any state to sell Federal Duck Stamps electronically, which “allows you to purchase a stamp online and immediately use the certification to legally hunt for 45 days while your physical stamp is mailed to you.”
  • S.B. 18 would amend the New Hampshire Code to clarify that an electronic receipt of a federal duck stamp is valid for 45 days or until the physical stamp arrives.
  • In addition to our support for S.B. 18, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) encourages New Hampshire to seek authorization from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service to sell electronic Federal Duck Stamps through their online licensing system.  

Why It Matters: Federal Duck Stamps are required to pursue many birds, including waterfowl and woodcock, which are popular in New Hampshire. There exists a great deal of variation across the states regarding the method by which these stamps are purchased. Although an electronic receipt or confirmation of purchase is valid under federal law, lack of clarity in certain states causes headaches for hunters who are trying to ensure they are fulfilling all legal requirements to pursue game.

This week, the New Hampshire Senate Committee on Ways and Means held a hearing which included S.B. 18 - “An Act Relative to the Purchase of Duck Stamps and the Suspension or Revocation of a License Issues by the Fish and Game Commission”. CSF is working with the leaders of the New Hampshire Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus and other legislative leaders to secure the passage of this bill.

Federal Duck Stamps have played a crucial role in the recovery and management of wildlife populations since their inception in 1934. Since then, sales of Federal Duck Stamps have generated over $1 billion for conserving 6 million acres of land that benefits game and non-game species alike. Additionally, each year FWS hosts a competition for artwork to be featured on the next stamp, which raises additional awareness for migratory bird conservation among hunters and the broader conservation community.

S.B. 18 is an important step to clarify the requirements surrounding Federal Migratory Bird Stamps (Federal Duck Stamps) in New Hampshire. Just as in the rest of the country, hunters aged 16+ who wish to pursue migratory birds in New Hampshire are required to purchase a Federal Duck Stamp. S.B. 18 makes it clear that the “confirmation of an electronic migratory bird hunting and conservation stamp, purchased within the previous 45 days” is equivalent to a signed physical stamp.

Furthermore, New Hampshire should consider seeking authorization from the FWS to become the 29th state to allow hunters to purchase Federal Duck Stamps from the same website/licensed agents that they already purchase other necessary licenses and tags. Currently, hunters are able to purchase Federal Duck Stamps online from state fish and wildlife agencies in 28 states, meaning New Hampshire hunters who purchase their stamps online have to use a different state’s website (e.g., Massachusetts currently offers Federal Duck Stamps for sale online). Seeking authorization to sell E-Stamps through the NHFG Department’s website would simplify this process for New Hampshire hunters and lead to overall greater satisfaction among hunters who appreciate the convenience associated with technological advances in the license and stamp purchasing process.

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