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Additional Contacts: Steve Lightfoot, TPWD, 512-389-4701, steve.lightfoot@tpwd.texas.gov; Joshua Winchell, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, (703) 358-2279, Joshua_Winchell@fws.gov

TPWD Website: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us

TPWD News Release — Sept. 30, 2009

Texas Waterfowlers Concerned Over New Federal Duck e-Stamp Process

AUSTIN, Texas — A change in the Federal Duck Stamp process to an "e-stamp" or electronic purchase this year is raising concern among some Texas duck hunters.

As part of Texas’ implementation of the Federal Duck e-Stamp program, Texas hunting license sales agents no longer provide the physical duck stamp directly. Instead, an endorsement on a tag located at the top of the hunting license indicates that a Federal Duck Stamp has been purchased through a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department license agent. The actual stamp is mailed at a later date. However, direct sales of the Federal Duck Stamp are still available at select U.S. post offices throughout Texas.

Unlike the Texas Migratory Game Bird Stamp, which is simply an endorsement printed on the hunting license with no stamp issued, the Federal Duck Stamp is still a stamp that upon receipt must be signed by the hunter and affixed to the back of the hunting license

Hunters who purchase their Federal Duck Stamp through TPWD license sales are issued a 45-day grace period to allow for fulfillment and mailing of their stamp. According to Fish and Wildlife Service officials, the 45-day grace period is a federal allowance and will be honored in all states, providing the hunter retains proof of purchase.

Federal Duck Stamp fulfillment is handled through a third party, AMPLEX, contracted by the Fish and Wildlife Service. Hunters should monitor their mail closely for an envelope marked "Federal Duck Stamp Information Enclosed" containing their Federal Duck Stamp. TPWD is not responsible for replacing Federal Duck Stamps lost in the mail.

Last year during a pilot testing of the new process, TPWD issued about 4,000 e-stamp endorsements and reported no problems with fulfillment. Conversely, the e-stamp process went statewide in August of this year and by the end of September TPWD reported nearly 70,000 Federal Duck Stamp endorsements.

"As with any new system, there are some kinks that need fixing," said Tom Newton in TPWD’s license section. "We know there was a lag in turnaround because of the shear number of purchases prior to teal season. I don’t anticipate that being a problem now because the bulk of our duck hunters have already bought theirs."

Federal agents and state game wardens will honor the 45-day grace period, however, hunters will be cited by federal agents after the grace period expires. The federal fine for hunting migratory birds without a valid stamp in possession is $200.

Hunters have the option of purchasing a Federal Duck Stamp from some U.S. Post Offices and at other sales outlets on the Internet. For more information online, visit http://www.fws.gov/duckstamps/ .

It is ultimately the hunter’s responsibility to ensure compliance with state and federal migratory game bird laws prior to hunting, which require the Texas Migratory Game Bird Stamp endorsement and after the 45-day grace period, physical possession of a Federal Duck Stamp signed by the hunter and affixed to the hunting license prior to hunting migratory waterfowl.

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