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Contact information
For information on pheasant and wild turkey stamp funding, contact:
Alaina Gerrits
Assistant upland wildlife ecologist
Bureau of Wildlife Management
608-261-8458
For information on waterfowl stamp funding, contact:
Sara Comstock
Assistant wetland habitat specialist
Bureau of Wildlife Management
608-261-0775

Wildlife stamp funding and stamp design contest

For many years, Wisconsin's wild turkey, pheasant and waterfowl stamp programs have been providing opportunities for wildlife and habitat management, with efforts directed toward key species. Turkey, pheasant and waterfowl hunters are required to purchase a species-specific stamp to legally harvest these game birds in Wisconsin. Sales of these three stamps bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars annually for species management throughout the state, including habitat management, restoration, education, and research projects.

Every other year, at the start of each fiscal biennium, there is a chance for non-profit, conservation, and non-government organizations, along with local, state and federal government agencies to apply for stamp funds. Eligible projects include habitat management, education, outreach, and research that directly benefit wild turkeys, pheasants and waterfowl. Application guidance documents for the three stamp programs are posted below within the "application information" tab. Read the guidelines for information regarding who can apply, what types of projects are eligible and how to obtain and submit an application.

Every year, local artists from around Wisconsin compete for the opportunity to have their artwork featured on the Wild Turkey, Pheasant and Wisconsin Waterfowl stamps. More information about the competition can be found in the "stamp design contest" tab below. To purchase a wildlife stamp and support habitat conservation in Wisconsin, visit the wildlife collector stamp web page.

2019 turkey stamp
2020 Wild Turkey Stamp by Brian Kuether of Greenfield, WI

2019 pheasant stamp
2020 Pheasant Stamp by Brian Kuether of Greenfield, WI

2019 waterfowl stamp
2020 Wisconsin Waterfowl Stamp by Robert Metropulos of Arbor Vitae, WI


Application information

The application period for the FY20-21 Wisconsin Wild Turkey and Pheasant Stamp funds is now closed. Funding for successful applicants will be available during the DNR fiscal year 2020 and 2021, beginning July 1, 2019.

The application period for the Wisconsin Waterfowl Stamp funds is now closed.

Wild turkey

History of the wild turkey stamp
Wild turkey stamp funds have been providing opportunities for wild turkey management in Wisconsin since 1996. In accordance with Wisconsin Statutes s. 20.370(1)(ht), wild turkey restoration, all moneys received under s. 29.164(a), wild turkey hunting stamps, shall be applied to "developing, managing, preserving, restoring and maintaining the wild turkey population in the state." Hunters play a key role in the success of the wild turkey management program through their purchase of the wild turkey stamp, which provides vital financial support to the future of turkey management and hunting in Wisconsin. Since wild turkeys were first successfully reintroduced into Wisconsin in 1976, the population has increased and expanded statewide. Successful restoration of the wild turkey resulted from tremendous hunter and landowner support, good survival and high-quality habitat.

Today, all turkey hunters are required to purchase the $5.25 wild turkey stamp to legally hunt turkeys in Wisconsin. Besides hunters, many stamp collectors also purchase the stamp. Sales bring in around $750,000 annually for wild turkey stamp projects. Proposed projects using wild turkey stamp funds must address goals and objectives described within the wild turkey management plan.

How funds are allocated
Money from the wild turkey stamp program is available to DNR personnel, conservation groups and organizations and other units of government. Habitat projects on public and private lands are eligible for funding, but individual landowners are not eligible to receive funds directly. To receive wild turkey stamp funds, a project proposal must be submitted. The proposals need to include a project description, the estimated cost of the project, expected partner contributions and the requested amount from wild turkey stamp funds. Applicants are strongly encouraged to incorporate cost-sharing; cost-sharing with partner groups and other government agencies has stretched available dollars and allowed for wild turkey stamp funds to be distributed to more projects.

When project proposals are received, DNR upland wildlife staff as well as members of the DNR Wild Turkey Advisory Committee review the projects and decide on recommended funding distributions. These allocations receive final approval from the DNR wildlife policy team. Project review and funding takes place every two years, during the biennial budget process. At the end of each biennium, any unspent money lapses back into the wild turkey stamp account. Both an interim and a final accomplishment report are required from the project managers. These accomplishment reports outline the actual costs and progress of the project and also include the number of acres affected.

Working with partners
Cost-sharing is an important part of wild turkey stamp allotments. Wisconsin's wild turkey stamp program has been very effective at fostering cooperative relationships with non-profit and conservation groups, private landowners and both government and non-government organizations. Partnerships with these organizations are beneficial because they stretch the availability of wild turkey stamp dollars, allowing more projects to be funded. In addition, partnering also encourages public interest in conservation and natural resources and involves local user groups in actual habitat work. Therefore, proposals that leverage funding from an outside cooperating local conservation organization to cover part of their project costs are given higher priority during the ranking and review process. From 1996 to 2017, over $12.3 million was contributed in cost-shared dollars, the majority of which came from the Wisconsin Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) in matching funds.

Accomplishments
Since 1996, the first year Wisconsin's wild turkey stamp funds were available, 1,152 projects have been funded benefiting Wisconsin's wild turkey. Allocated money from the wild turkey stamp exceeds $17.1 million, matched by over $15.8 million in partner funds, affecting 803,184 acres of public and private lands.

Pheasant

History of the pheasant stamp
Pheasant stamp funds have been providing opportunities for ring-necked pheasant management and hunting in Wisconsin since 1992. Starting in the fall on 1992, hunters statewide were required to purchase a Pheasant Stamp to hunt pheasants, and the resulting funds were first available for habitat and species management work in 1993. In accordance with Wisconsin Statutes s. 20.370(1)(hr), pheasant restoration, 40 percent of the moneys received under s. 29.191(2), pheasant hunting stamp, shall be applied to "developing, managing, preserving, restoring and maintaining the wild pheasant population in the state." The remaining 60 percent goes toward the management of the state game farm, which raises pheasants for release on public hunting grounds. Projects funded by pheasant stamp dollars along with countless partner dollars and efforts have managed, preserved and restored hundreds of thousands of acres of pheasant nesting, brood-rearing and winter habitat.

Today, a $10 pheasant stamp is required to hunt pheasants statewide. Besides hunters purchasing the pheasant stamp, many stamp collectors also purchase the stamp. On average, the pheasant stamp generates approximately $500,000 annually. This estimate including an allocation from the conservation patron license sales. Total stamp revenue to date since 1992 exceeds $5.6 million.

How funds are allocated
Money from the pheasant stamp program is available to DNR personnel, conservation groups and organizations and other units of government. Habitat projects on public and private lands are eligible for funding, but individual landowners are not eligible to receive funds directly. To receive pheasant stamp funds, a project proposal must be submitted. The proposals need to include a project description, the estimated cost of the project, expected partner contributions and the requested amount from pheasant stamp funds. Applicants are strongly encouraged to incorporate cost-sharing; cost-sharing with partner groups and other government agencies has stretched available dollars and allowed for pheasant stamp funds to be distributed to more projects.

When project proposals are received, DNR upland wildlife staff as well as members of the DNR Pheasant Advisory Committee review the projects and decide on recommended funding distributions. These allocations receive final approval from the DNR wildlife policy team. Project review and funding takes place every two years, during the biennial budget process. At the end of each biennium, any unspent money lapses back into the pheasant stamp account. Both an interim and a final accomplishment report are required from the project managers. These accomplishment reports outline the actual costs and progress of the project and also include the number of acres affected.

Working with partners
Cost-sharing is an important part of the pheasant stamp program. Over the years, Wisconsin's pheasant stamp program has been very effective at fostering cooperative relationships with local non-profit organizations such as Pheasants Forever, Wings Over Wisconsin and other local conservation groups. These partnerships are beneficial because they stretch the available pheasant stamp dollars, thus allowing a greater number of projects to be funded. In addition, working with partners allows pheasant stamp dollars to reach private landowners through technical assistance programs. From 1993 to 2014, more than $7.5 million has been contributed in cost-shared dollars. The pheasant stamp program continues to expand on these partnerships every year.

Accomplishments
Since 1993, the first year the Wisconsin's pheasant stamp dollars were available, 513 projects have been funded benefiting the ring-necked pheasant. Allocated money from the pheasant stamp funds exceeds $10.6 million and has been matched by close to $7.9 million in partner funds. These funds have affected 536,479 acres of both public and private lands.

Waterfowl

History of the Waterfowl Stamp
Waterfowl (duck) stamp funds have been providing opportunities for waterfowl management and hunting in Wisconsin since 1978. In accordance with Wisconsin Statutes s. 29.191(1)(b)1, the department shall expend 67% of the money received from fees for waterfowl hunting stamps for developing, managing, preserving, restoring and maintaining wetland habitat and for producing waterfowl and ecologically related species of wildlife. The remaining 33 percent, in accordance with s. 29.191(1)(b)2, shall be used for the development of waterfowl propagation areas within Canada which will provide waterfowl that migrate through Wisconsin and throughout the Mississippi flyway. Money for the development of waterfowl propagation areas in Canada shall be provided only to nonprofit organizations.

Since European settlement, approximately half of Wisconsin's wetlands that waterfowl depend on, have been lost or degraded due to farming practices and development. The recognition of the loss of habitat and Wisconsin's importance to breeding ducks in the Mississippi flyway led some conservationists to create the state waterfowl stamp. The first price of the waterfowl stamp in 1978 was set at $3.25 and generated over $400,000 in the first year for waterfowl habitat work.

Today, a $7 waterfowl stamp is required to hunt ducks and geese statewide. Besides hunters purchasing the stamp, many stamp collectors and bird enthusiasts also purchase the stamp to support the conservation of waterfowl and wetland habitat. On average, the waterfowl stamp receives annual revenues (including an allocation from the conservation patron license sales) of approximately $520,000, of which approximately $350,000 is allocated to Wisconsin waterfowl conservation work and approximately $170,000 is allocated and leveraged for Canadian Prairie Pothole waterfowl habitat conservation work.

How funds are allocated
Money from the waterfowl stamp program is available to DNR, conservation organizations, and other units of government. Habitat projects on public and private lands are eligible for funding, but individual landowners are not eligible to receive funds directly. To receive waterfowl stamp funds, a project proposal must be submitted. A proposal needs to include several details, such as a project description, the estimated cost of the project, location and the requested amount from waterfowl stamp funds. Applicants are strongly encouraged to incorporate cost-sharing; cost-sharing with partner groups and other government agencies has stretched available dollars and allowed for waterfowl stamp funds to be distributed to more projects.

When project proposals are received, members of the Migratory Game Bird Committee review the projects and recommend funding allocations. These allocations receive final approval from the DNR Wildlife Leadership Team. Project review and funding allocations takes place every two years, during the biennial budget process. Project managers are to report progress annually and may make requests to carry-over funding into the next fiscal year if necessary to finish committed project work. Due to the complex nature of wetland habitat projects (e.g. engineering, permitting, contracting, site conditions, etc.), waterfowl stamp projects take, on average, 2-3 years to complete after projects are approved for funding. Not only do waterfowl stamp funded projects benefit breeding and migrating waterfowl, they also benefit other wetland dependent wildlife such as amphibians, reptiles, shorebirds, invertebrates, and native wetland plants. Waterfowl stamp projects also serve a value role in improving water quality by retaining floodwaters, recharging and filtering groundwater, trapping sediment and nutrients from surface water runoff, and providing aquatic habitats for people to recreate in.

Working with partners
Cost-sharing is an important part of the waterfowl stamp program. Over the years, Wisconsin's waterfowl stamp program has been very effective at fostering cooperative relationships with local non-profit organizations such as Ducks Unlimited, Wisconsin Waterfowl Association and other conservation groups. These partnerships are beneficial because they leverage the available waterfowl stamp dollars, thus allowing a greater number of projects to be funded. A majority of waterfowl stamp projects occur on public lands. However, partner organizations and units of government often serve an important niche by improving waterfowl habitat on private lands through land use agreements with private landowners. Waterfowl stamp projects on private lands help produce more waterfowl and other birds that migrate through Wisconsin during the fall when hunters and bird watchers take to the marshes.

Accomplishments
Total stamp revenue from 1978 through 2018 was over $18 million. Since the inception of the state Waterfowl Stamp program, hundreds of projects have been funded to protect, restore, enhance and maintain wetland habitat. Between FY10 and FY19, approximately 160 waterfowl stamp projects have been funded across the state. In recent years, projects involving major maintenance of wetland infrastructure and wetland restoration in priority waterfowl habitat areas have been the highest priority for funding. The State of Wisconsin currently manages over 250 miles of dike and over 1,100 water control structures across more than 1,000 impounded wetlands. Currently, waterfowl stamp funding alone is not capable of maintaining Wisconsin's wetland habitat or meeting wetland goals as outlined in the Upper Mississippi River/Great Lakes Region Joint Venture.

For more information on completed waterfowl stamp projects in Wisconsin and Canada, visit the waterfowl management web page.

Stamp design contest

We are no longer accepting artwork for the 2020 Wisconsin Waterfowl, Wild Turkey and Pheasant Stamp Design contests. Check this page regularly for updates on next years competition.

2020 contest rules:

Contest Winners:

Last revised: Wednesday August 21 2019