Page of 150The Honey Lake Waterfowl Stampsby David R. Torre, ARAIntroductionFollowing the federal waterfowl stamps, the two most popular series of waterfowl stamps among longtime collectors are undoubtedly those issued by California for Honey Lake and the Illinois Daily Usage stamps. The Honey Lake stamps are non-pictorial, while the Daily Usage stamps may be liberally described as semi-pictorial. Their appeal results less from their aesthetic qualities than from their usages, related history (both social and philatelic) and longevity.Their usages differ in a strict philatelic sense. The Honey Lake stamps were required to be afﬁxed to state hunting licenses which they validated for an entire season. The Daily Usage stamps were afﬁxed to permits, distinct from the holder’s state hunting license, which they validated for a single day. In a broader sense their usages were alike. Both series of stamps conveyed the right to hunt on public shooting grounds located on state waterfowl management areas. Such areas were widely developed in the 1940s and 1950s to meet a triad of pressing social needs; that is, to preserve the waterfowl of North America for the beneﬁt of current and future generations, to reduce and control waterfowl depredations on agricultural crops and to provide regulated waterfowl hunting for sportsmen who could not afford to belong to private clubs.Both series trace their origins to the 1950s, placing them among the earliest state issues required to hunt waterfowl. The Honey Lake stamps are the longest consecutively issued series of waterfowl stamps by any state government in the twentieth century (1956 to 1986). The Daily Usage stamps have been issued over an even longer period of time, although not consecutively (1951 to the present). The stamps were ﬁrst discovered by pioneer ﬁsh and game collectors in the early 1960s and have been avidly collected since. Recently they have enjoyed a surge in popularity, prompted by the large number of collectors now specializing in state-issued waterfowl stamps.One of the difﬁculties encountered by collectors of all types of ﬁsh and game stamps is a scarcity of published information. The primary purpose of this article and a second to follow in the April  issue of The American Revenuer is to tell the stories of the two stamp programs. In addition, the need for state waterfowl management areas will be chronicled. Related waterfowl legislation will be included and the Pittman-Robertson Act of 1937 will be discussed at some length. It is hoped that this knowledge will expand the frame of reference collectors have for ﬁsh and game stamps thereby allowing the hobby to be more enjoyable and rewarding.Page of 250The following is a brief literature review for the California stamps. A separate review for the Illinois stamps will appear as part of the next issue’s article. Information about the Honey Lake stamps was ﬁrst published in [Frank L.] Applegate’s Catalogue of State and Territorial Game and Fishing License Stamps in the early 1960s. Applegate provided a description of the ﬁrst ﬁve “Seasonal Permit” stamps, which he reported as ﬁrst being issued for the 1956-57 season (see Figure 1). FIGURE 1. IN THE EARLY 1960S, APPLEGATE WAS THE FIRST TO PUBLISH INFORMATION ABOUT THE HONEY LAKE STAMPS.
THIS EXAMPLE WAS IN THE VANDERFORD COLLECTION FOR MANY YEARS.The number of stamps sold for the ﬁrst four issues was included and it ranged from 236 to 306. Applegate also published a description of a “Madeline Plains Seasonal Permit” stamp that he reported as being issued for 1956-57 only. Applegate stated that both the Honey Lake and Madeline Plains stamps were printed by the California State Printing Ofﬁce and that “all remainders had been destroyed by the state”.Page of 350Starting in the mid 1960s, E. L. Vanderford wrote a series of articles reporting on state and local ﬁsh and game stamps for the State Revenue Newsletter. When Vanderford had ﬁnished covering all of the states that had issued stamps up until that time, the articles were updated and compiled into Vanderford’s Handbook of Fish and Game Stamps. The State Revenue Society (SRS) published the landmark reference in 1973. In the handbook Vanderford provided descriptions of the Honey Lake stamps that had been issued through 1971-72. For 1966-67 there were two types listed. Type I stamps to were numbered from 1 to 700 and bear an imprint in the lower right corner. Type II stamps were numbered 701 to ? and lack the imprint (see Figure 2). FIGURE 2. E. L. VANDERFORD’S HANDBOOK OF FISH AND GAME STAMPS LISTED TWO TYPES OF 1966-67 STAMPS. TYPE II LACKS THE PRINTER’S IMPRINT IN THE LOWER RIGHT.Vanderford provided additional information about the Madeline Plains stamp. He stated that Madeline Plains was also a state-owned and operated area north of Honey lake but had been abandoned “primarily due to the inaccessibility of the area.” The California Department of Fish and Game had informed Vanderford that seasonal permit stamps, similar to those used at Honey Lake, and been issued for 1956-57 and that 119 were sold. As Vanderford was previously unaware of a Madeline Plains stamp, he stated “Veriﬁcation by actual inspection of [a] stamp is desired.”In 1977 the SRS published Vanderford’s Check List of State and Locally Issued Migratory Waterfowl License Stamps. The checklist included descriptions of Honey Lake stamps used from 1972-73 through 1975-76. By this time Vanderford had come to believe that he was given erroneous information concerning the Madeline Plains stamp and that it was ,in fact, a myth. Therefore, the stamp’s description was deleted from the checklist and in its place was the statement “Information needed—none now known to exist.”In 1991 Scott Publishing Company published a Federal and State Duck Stamp Catalogue. The catalog pictured all of the Honey Lake stamps issued through 1985-86 and provided a brief description for each. No mention was made of the Madeline Plains stampPage of 450Waterfowl Restoration and ConservationThe early part of the twentieth century was a grim time for North American waterfowl. Man and nature combined to reduce once abundant populations to critically low levels. Over killing by professional and recreational hunters was primarily responsible for the initial downturn through the ﬁrst decade. Hunting regulations were generally lax, with long seasons typically lasting from four to six months and excessive bag limits being the rule (see Figure 3). FIGURE 3. COVER (LEFT) AND THE FIRST PAGE OF CALIFORNIA GAME LAWS, CIRCA 1903. THE BAG LIMIT FOR DUCKS IS LISTED AS 50 PER DAY.Page of 550“Market hunting” was then a legal and common practice, whereby professional hunters killed obscene numbers of waterfowl to sell to market (see Figure 4). Starting around 1910 a nation-wide farming boom in the U.S. precipitated the drainage of huge tracts of wetlands and resulted in the destruction of many prime waterfowl breeding areas. Feeding and rest areas important to migrating waterfowl were also negatively affected. FIGURE 4. TOP: MERCHANT’S RECEIPT FOR 40 DUCKS MADE OUT TO A MARKET HUNTER FROM OREGON ON NOVEMBER 18 1903. BOTTOM: ILLUSTRATED ADVERTISING COVER FROM THE SAME COMPANY USED A YEAR LATER.Page of 650Waterfowl restoration and conservation soon became prevailing topics for discussion. With the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, the federal government accepted responsibility for the protection of migratory waterfowl in the United States. In the 1920s conservation leaders, including Connecticut Senator Frederick Walcott, promoted the idea of federal waterfowl management areas (Madson, 1994). Like the federal refuges developed in the past, the primary purpose of the areas would be to provide much needed habitat, food and protection for breeding and migrating waterfowl. In contrast to the single-purpose refuges, however, the waterfowl management areas envisioned by Walcott and others would serve society in multiple ways.For example, it was proposed that portions of the areas could be opened for public hunting at appropriate times of the year. Although some might question the ethics involved in permitting hunting on a conservation area, it would actually be consistent with the best interest of waterfowl to have as much harvesting of the resource as possible take place in a highly regulated environment. By increasing the utility of conservation areas for a broader spectrum of the citizenry, it would be easier to win support and secure funding. The waterfowl management area concept quickly received widespread support and funding became the next issue.Many conservation leaders, including Walcott, favored the idea of a “national hunting stamp” which had been proposed by George A. Lawyer (Dolin and Dumaine, 2000). Lawyer was employed by the Bureau of Biological Survey (now known as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service). He held the titles of Inspector, Migratory Game Law from 1916 to 1918 and Chief U.S. Game Warden from 1918 to 1926. In these roles he traveled the country gathering data on migratory birds. He sketched a proposed design for the ﬁrst federal stamp in the 1920s that was heavily inﬂuenced by a California hunting license he was issued in 1919 (see Figure 5).Page of 750 FIGURE 5. IN HIS TRAVELS GATHERING DATA ON MIGRATORY WATERFOWL, GEORGE LAWYER VISITED CALIFORNIA IN 1919. HIS BUSINESS CARD IS SHOWN ABOVE. THE HUNTING LICENSE HE WAS ISSUED (MIDDLE) HEAVILY INFLUENCED THE DESIGN HE SKETCHED FOR HIS PROPOSED FIRST NATIONAL HUNTING STAMP (BOTTOM).The national stamp idea, however, encountered opposition from those who thought it would be infringing on the states’ rights to license hunters. In 1925 a committee was formed by state conservation leaders to look into an alternative to the hunting stamp. The committee recommended an excise tax on ﬁrearms and ammunition. Although receiving support from More Game Birds In America, the forerunner to Ducks Unlimited, the idea soon had to be put aside when Congress repealed all excise taxes (Madson, 1994).As arguments over funding waged through the 1920s, the need for additional waterfowl areas became increasingly urgent. A decade of lower-than-normal rainfall was followed in the late 1920s by the onset of a severe drought. Some of the most important breeding areas remaining in the U.S. went completely dry and waterfowl production was extremely low. Due in large part to the efforts of Senator Peter Norbeck of South Dakota, the Migratory Bird Conservation Act was passed in 1929. This act basically called for the federal government to live up to the responsibility it had accepted in 1918, in part by developing the waterfowl management areas to offset the effects of drainage and drought on waterfowl habitat (McBride, 1984).Page of 850The devastating drought and subsequent Dust Bowl lasted through the ﬁrst half of the 1930s. A side effect of the drought was widespread botulism which was born in stagnant lakes and resulted in the loss of additional hundreds of thousands of birds (Paciﬁc Waterfowl Flyway Report Number Two, May 1948). Pressure to secure funding for the waterfowl areas was mounting. Senator Walcott was instrumental in the formation of the Senate Special Committee on the Conservation of Wildlife Resources.In 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed J.N. Ding Darling head of the Bureau of Biological Survey. With Darling’s assistance, the committee helped to ﬁnally win approval for a hunting stamp. The bill passed through Congress on March 10, 1934. On March 16, President Roosevelt signed the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act into law. Darling was selected to design the ﬁrst stamp which has become known as RW1 (for Revenue Waterfowl ) and he was the ﬁrst person allowed to purchase stamps on August 22, 1934. Stamps went on sale to the general public two days later (see Figure 6). FIGURE 6. THE FIRST FEDERAL WATERFOWL STAMP (RW1) WAS ISSUED IN 1934. THE STAMP ON THE BLUE CARD BELOW (FORM 3333) IS A STAMP FROM THE FIRST SHEET SOLD TO DING DARLING ON AUGUST 22. THE CARD IS SIGNED BY DARLING ON THE REVERSE SIDE.Page of 950The Pittman-Robertson ActIt soon became evident that the federal government could not hope to run an effective waterfowl management program without the cooperation of the state conservation agencies. The task was simply too large and complex. State ofﬁcials were receptive to accepting joint responsibility for the restoration of waterfowl. However, they were lacking well trained personal to accumulate the data necessary for adequate management and also funding to purchase and develop their own waterfowl management areas.As a result of efforts by Darling, the First American Wildlife Conference was held in St. Louis in 1937 (Moum, 1987a). The Great Depression had forced Congress to reimpose excise taxes in 1932. Subsequently, there was renewed interest in a tax on arms and ammunition. At the conference conservation leaders agreed that the tax revenue should be made available for state conservation programs (Madson, 1994).Carl Shoemaker, a former state ﬁsh and game director, attended the conference as Secretary to the Senate Special Committee on the Conservation Wildlife Resources. Upon returning, Shoemaker drafted a proposal for a ten percent excise tax and was able to secure support from key leaders in the ﬁrearms industry (Madson, 1994), Senator Key Pittman of Nevada and Representative Willis Robertson of Virginia introduced the legislation known ofﬁcially as the Federal Aid In Wildlife Restoration Act in Congress. On September 2, 1937, President Roosevelt signed the bill into law (Moum, 1987a; Madson, 1994).Senator Robertson had previously been a member of the Virginia Game and Inland Fisheries Commission. He was familiar with the way in which state legislatures sometimes acted. Robertson insisted on adding an amendment to Shoemaker’s bill before introducing it in the House. Robertson’s farsighted amendment prohibited state legislatures from diverting funds (obtained through the sale of hunting licenses, etc.) from conservation departments to balance state budgets. If this occurred, the state would no longer be eligible for funding from the Federal Aid In Wildlife Restoration Program (Madson, 1994). In recognition of the efforts of the two Congressmen, the act has become popularly known as the Pittman-Robertson (P-R) Act.According to the Act, “An amount equal to the revenue accruing from the excise tax imposed by Section 610, Title IV of the Revenue Act of 1932 (47 Stat. 169), as extended on ﬁrearms, shells and cartridges is authorized to be set apart in the Treasury as a special fund to be known as “The Federal Aid to Wildlife Fund.” (Annual Report of the Pittman- Robertson Program For the Fiscal Year Ending June 30, 1946)Currently the Pittman-Robertson Program collects an 11 percent tax on sporting riﬂes, shotguns, ammunition and archery gear intended for hunting, along with a ten percent tax on handguns (Madson, 1994). The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is custodian of the fund. With the exception of administration costs, all of the money is distributed to state ﬁsh and game departments (Johnson, 1958). Under the terms of the Act, the funds are apportioned to the departments according to the total land area and the number of hunting license holders in each state. The larger the state and the more hunting licenses a state sells, the larger the portion of the “P-R pie” the state is eligible to receive.Initially, the state game departments must pay for the full cost of each project through license and stamp sales. Once everything has been completed according to a pre-approved plan, the projects may then be reimbursed up to 75 percent of the total cost from the federal fund. Therefore, the states ultimately pay for only 25 percent of each approved project (Johnson, 1958; Moum, 1987b). Pittman-Robertson funds are primarily used by the states for the purchase, development and maintenance of wildlife habitat and also for scientiﬁc research into problems facing wildlife restoration (Moum, 1987b; Madson, 1994).Next >