- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 12, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Gene Mueller's column on increasing the price of the federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp omitted vital information that readers should have (“Duck stamp hike latest tax assault on hunters,” Sports, Wednesday). Everyone should know that the wildlife of America are conserved with funds from American anglers and hunters.

Why should the price of the duck stamp be raised? According to the Consumer Price Index, a stamp that cost $15 in 1990 should cost $24.70 today just to keep up with inflation. In addition, land prices in important waterfowl habitat areas have skyrocketed since 1991. Land prices in the North Dakota prairies have tripled since 1998. In Minnesota, an acre that cost $400 in 1991 now costs more than $1,400. The numbers are similar for waterfowl habitats across the country.

The first duck stamp was sold in 1934. Even at the height of the Great Depression, more than 600,000 hunters paid more than $10 million (in today's dollars) to protect future waterfowl populations.

Raising the price of the duck stamp is not a new idea. President Bush suggested it last year in his budget request to Congress. Now a Democrat and a Republican, both hunters themselves, are joining to lead the way for conservation. They are Reps. John Dingell, Michigan Democrat, and Robert Wittman, Virginia Republican, who also are members of the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission. No one likes to see prices go up, but this is an investment in waterfowl we are proud to support.

SCOTT SUTHERLAND

Director of Governmental Affairs Office

Ducks Unlimited

Washington

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