According to a story on StarTribune.com, Minnesota last year sold fewer than 100,000 state duck stamps for the first time in two decades.
The state's Department of Natural Resources sold 95,467 licenses. Last year, it sold 100,134. In 1999, it sold 128,000.
Waterfowl hunters in Minnesota, like hunters in other states, must carry a state waterfowl stamp (or validation) as well as the federal Duck Stamp (or electronic validation).
The Star Tribune reports that pheasant stamp sales and small game license sales are down as well. Officials say all three declines could be part of the larger nationwide drop in people participating in outdoor recreation.
And since funds raised through the sale of state duck stamps pay for waterfowl research, management, and habitat, thereby improving conditions not just for waterfowl, but many birds, that's not good news for birdwatchers. --C.H.