Maryland waterfowl hunters can buy the 2007 federal duck stamp today, a day earlier than most of the rest of the country.
To boost sales of the $15 stamp, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has allowed Bass Pro Shop at Arundel Mills to roll out the stamp at 10 a.m., and the Postal Service will issue first-day cancellations.
Revenue from U.S. sales, about $25 million annually, is used to buy wetlands for the National Wildlife Refuge System. Maryland has three refuges on the Eastern Shore and two on the Western Shore.
The first stamp, depicting mallard ducks, was issued in 1934.
"It is one of the longest-lived wildlife economic engines," said Paul Peditto, director of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources' Wildlife and Heritage Service. "This little piece of paper with glue on the back is responsible for preserving over 5 million acres of wildlife habitat nationwide."
Hunters older than 16 are required to carry the stamp, but it is also a collector's item. Older versions are worth up to $12,000.
This year's stamp features a painting of two ring-necked ducks by Delaware artist Richard Clifton.