When it comes to Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (Duck Stamp) sales certain states stand out. As expected, states with lots of wetlands and hence, lots of duck hunters, lead the way in total duck stamps purchased since 1934. But as we know, the Duck Stamp has morphed into one of the nation’s best ways to conserve land, so if there is land to protect in your state, it doesn’t matter how many hunters are there.
Disclaimer: These rankings have nothing to do with our opinion of the states themselves or the people who live in them. We love each and every state and feel that all states are responsible for bird conservation.
#1 – Minnesota – Having a relatively low population and leading the way in total sales, 9.13 million, Minnesota is the clear winner when it comes to Duck Stamps. Benefiting from many many lakes full of waterfowl helps, but stamps = conservation and Minnesota = great!
#2 – Louisiana – The Pelican State has sold 5.72 million stamps and has the fourth most NWRs of any state.
#3 – North Dakota – With the most National Wildlife Refuges of any state, North Dakota has sold 2.6 million duck stamps. With seemingly more prairie potholes than people, this is one of the best birding places in the U.S.
#4 – South Dakota – With only a few more people than North Dakota and roughly the same amount of stamps sold – 2.6 million – the home of Mount Rushmore has been pulling its weight when it comes to buying stamps. There are plenty of places to bird in South Dakota and more on the way!
#5 – Wisconsin – Our second home and northern neighbor, the Badger State has sold over 1 million more stamps than Louisiana (6.78 million) but with over a million more people. Wisconsin has an extremely active birding community and a wide range of habitats, which means a lot of great birds can be found!
Fact: 34 states have sold over 1 million Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamps
#1 – Florida – In a state full of warm weather and great birds, nearly all of the 18+ million residents should be birders. Sadly, this is not the case and the Sunshine State has only sold a meager 1.61 million stamps. There is definitely room for improvement here and the rewards will be worth it!
#2 – Arizona – One of the most birdiest states in the country, Arizona has only managed to sell around 554,000 stamps. This is the 8th lowest amount even with a population of over 6 million people.
#3 – Hawaii – While not known for ducks or duck hunters, Hawaii still has a good amount of NWRs and a relatively large population for its size. However, the Aloha State has sold the least amount of duck stamps of any state, only 8,752!
Our home state of Illinois ranks somewhere in the middle. We have a high population (due to the Chicago area) and 4.91 million duck stamps sold. Unfortunately, there are not a lot of National Wildlife Refuges in our state and the best ones are a fairly long drive away (in southern Illinois).
But it doesn’t really matter where you live or how many refuges are nearby, duck stamps do more than save ducks or give you the ability to hunt ducks. These stamps are a bird conservationist’s best friend, so buy a few now. They make great gifts!