Mandatory Georgia State Duck Stamp Proposed

GON Staff | February 16, 1989

Recent hard times for waterfowl in Georgia may soon get a much-needed financial boost. Legislation before the Georgia General Assembly would require Georgia duck hunters to purchase a $5 Georgia duck stamp. The state stamp would be in addition to the $10 federal duck stamp that is already required. 

The bill making the state stamp mandatory was introduced to the House, Game, Fish and Parks Committee and was passed by the House unanimously. The bill, however, hit a snag last Wednesday in the Senate Natural Resources Committee where it received a do-not pass recommendation.

According to officials with the Game and Fish Division, which supports the bill, the committee misunderstood the function of the stamp and saw it as simply another tax.

Thursday the senate reconsidered and over-ruled the no-pass recommendation. At press time, the bill was in the Senate Rules Committee awaiting scheduling to come before the Senate. With Senate approval, the bill goes to Gov. Harris for his signature and becomes law. 

The new stamp is projected to raise approximately $100,000 annually, which would be used, along with money raised from the sale of duck stamp prints, to match funds available for waterfowl habitat improvement by Ducks Unlimited (DU). DU’s Matching Aid to Restore States Habitat (MARSH) program returns 7.5 percent of the money raised by DU in Georgia to the Game and Fish Division on a dollar-for-dollar matching basis. Currently that amounts to about $150,000 annually. Highly successful waterfowl impoundments, supported by MARSH funds, have been completed at Rum Creek and B.F. Grant WMAs. Several others are under construction, and more are planned.

If the mandatory duck stamp is approved, the state would have a total of about $300,000 annually to spend on waterfowl habitat improvement projects. The legislation comes at an opportune time, according to David Waller, assistant director of the Game and Fish Division.

“The Game and Fish Division has just installed a full-time waterfowl biologist (Todd Holbrook in the Fort Valley office),” said Waller. “A full-time biologist and a secure source of funding to match the contribution by DU is a tremendous step in the right direction for waterfowl in Georgia.” 

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