The United States Department of the Interior (DOI) has released the 2017-2018 Federal Duck Stamp.

The United States Department of the Interior (DOI) has released the 2017-2018 Federal Duck Stamp.

To select the stamp design the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service holds an art contest annually, and for this year’s stamp a painting of a trio of Canadian geese in flight by James Hautman was chosen.

The Hautman family are not strangers to the duck stamp. The 2017-2018 stamp will be the fourth for James Hautman, while five other stamps have featured the work of Hautman’s brothers, Joe and Robert.

In order to hunt ducks, geese, or other types of waterfowl, a hunter over the age of 16 is required to purchase and carry a duck stamp along with other hunting requirements.

In 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act to protect wetlands during the dust bowl.

According to the DOI, 98 percent of proceeds from the purchase of duck stamps go into the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund, which purchases and protects wetland habitat. Over 300 national wildlife refuges have been created or expanded with stamp funds, with $950 million raised since 1934, used to acquire 5.7 million acres.

Locally funds from stamp sales were used to purchase St. Vincent Island in 1968 for $2.2 million from the Nature Conservancy which purchased the island from private owners.

The duck stamps are also the longest running single-themed federal stamp and are prized by stamp collectors.

A current stamp will also gain you free access to any national wildlife refuge that charges an entry fee.