Waterfowl hunters urged to buy two duck stamps

By Al Thomas, Columbian Outdoors Reporter



Odds and ends and other miscellaney that has accumulated while I’ve been on vacation four of the past six weeks fishing for fall chinook and coho…..

DUCK STAMPS: Duck season opened on Saturday, is closed today and Friday, then reopens for good this Saturday in Washington.

Hunters are required to buy a federal duck stamp and the conservation organization Ducks Unlimited is asking waterfowl enthusiasts to purchase two of the $15 stamps this year.

“The federal duck stamp has been an important tool in waterfowl habitat conservation for 77 years, but its ability to purchase and conserve important waterfowl habitat has been greatly diminished by inflation and rising land prices,” DU chief executive officer Dale Hall said in a news release. “The purpose of the ‘Double Up for the Ducks’ campaign is to show that hunters support the program and are willing to pay more for the duck stamp in order to conserve waterfowl habitat.

“We view the duck stamp as an investment in conservation, not as a tax on hunters.”

The cost of the stamp has not increased since 1991, marking the longest period in the program’s history without a price increase.

Simply put, $15 is not what it used to be. Based on the Consumer Price Index, the stamp would need to cost $24.26 today to have the same buying power that $15 had in 1991.

Ducks Unlimited supports legislation that would increase the price of the stamp from $15 to $25.

“Increasing the price of the duck stamp will take an act of Congress,” said Paul Schmidt, DU’s chief conservation officer. “To get Congress to act, waterfowl hunters must show their elected officials that their constituents care about conservation issues. The increased sales that will occur when hunters ‘double up’ on duck stamps will help conserve more habitat and also show Congress that hunters are serious.”

SALMON NUMBERS: Coastal salmon anglers off Washington and northern Oregon caught far fewer coho this summer than allowed by the quotas.

The coast is divided into four zones and each gets a coho quota for the summer fishery.

Anglers in the zone between Cape Falcon, Oregon, and Leadbetter Point, Washington, caught 79.4 precent of their allocation of 33,600 hatchery-origin coho.

Catches were best in the first two weeks of August when anglers averaged around a hatchery coho per rod. Adding in chinook, the average catch was 1.23 salmon per rod the week of Aug. 1-7 and 1.34 the week of Aug. 8-14.

The Columbia River ports caught 89.5 percent of their chinook allocation.

HUNTING OPENER: Calls from Klickitat County hunters are reporting poor opening-weekend success.

State officials reported checking 127 hunters Saturday with three 3-point deer on the Klickitat Wildlife Area and one 3-point from private land. The numbers for Sunday were 83 hunters with two 3-points on the wildlife area.

At Grays Bay, 21 hunters were checked with 29 ducks on Saturday, mostly pintails and widgeon.

Allen Thomas covers hunting, fishing, hiking and other outdoor recreation topics for The Columbian. He can be reached at 360-735-4555 or al.thomas@columbian.com. Follow him on Twitter at @col_outdoors.

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