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CHEYENNE - A pair of ring-necked ducks - a diving duck with a white stripe on its bill - will find their way to the back of the bird licenses of 6,000-plus Wyoming waterfowl hunters in 2007.

The 2007-08 Migratory Waterfowl Hunting and Conservation Stamp, or federal "duck stamp," is now available at post offices and some sporting goods stores across Wyoming. Richard Clifton’s acrylic painting of the swimming hen and drake ringnecks bested 296 other entries.

It was Clifton’s first win in the national competition, although he placed second in 1991, losing on a tie-breaking vote. The waterfowl hunter from Milford, Del. has won an astounding 24 state duck stamp competitions and was commissioned to paint the 1996 Australian duck stamp.

"Federal duck stamps were originally created in 1934 as the federal license required for hunting migratory waterfowl, but federal duck stamps have a much larger purpose today," said Larry Roberts, waterfowl biologist for the Game and Fish Department. "They are a vital tool for wetland conservation. The federal duck stamp program has been called one of the most successful conservation programs ever initiated and is a highly effective way to conserve America's natural resources."

In the 73 years of duck stamp sales, the program has raised more than $700 million to enhance 5.2 million acres of habitat at national wildlife refuges and waterfowl production areas across the country. All waterfowl hunters 16 and older are required to carry a signed duck stamp. The stamp also allows holders to visit national wildlife refuges for free.

An estimated one-third of the nation's endangered and threatened species find food and shelter in refuges established using federal duck stamp funds.
(contact: Larry Roberts (307) 473-3400 or Jeff Obrecht, photo of duck stamp available)

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