Hunting Waterfowl Hunting Duck Hunting

Field & Stream Bought a $33,000 Duck Stamp Contest Entry. Here’s Why.

When John Oliver, Field & Stream, and a decades-old conservation program meet, you get this crazy story
Alex Robinson Avatar
The duck stamp contest entry named "Duck Hunt." Artwork by Eric Joyner

Duck hunters, and most hunters, are familiar with the successful and humble duck stamp program. If you want to hunt migratory waterfowl, you must buy a $25 federal stamp. That money goes to conserving and improving wetlands and prairie habitat, which grow more ducks. For decades this program has been clipping along without much fanfare until last week, when John Oliver aired this video highlighting, and poking a little fun at, the annual duck stamp contest.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver commissioned their own duck stamp contest entries (which you can see below or here) that are equal parts awesome and ridiculous. That video brought the duck stamp to a national audience—it now has more that 2 million views. But here’s the cool part: Last Week Tonight auctioned off its duck stamp contest entries with all the proceeds going to the federal duck stamp program.

duck stamp contest entries joke
The joke entries commissioned by Last Week Tonight.

The highest bidder, who dropped a cool $33,200 for the most expensive stamp, just happened to be the folks who own Field & Stream (they own Outdoor Life as well). But why?

Well, it turns out that a Field & Stream editor helped develop and promote the duck stamp program in the first place. Read current F&S editor-in-chief Colin Kearn’s story on that here.

 In many ways, it’s fitting that the company that owns our titles, Recurrent, is now throwing down money to help support and promote a federal conservation program that F&S helped create.

“Recurrent commits funds every year for nature-based solutions to climate change because conservation and sustainability are vital to our company’s mission,” says North Equity Managing Partner Matt Sechrest. “This was a unique opportunity for us to support conservation while honoring Field & Stream and Ray Holland. We’re really proud of all the Duck Stamp program has accomplished over the years—thanks in large part to Field & Stream and Outdoor Life readers and writers—and hope this renewed enthusiasm will help the program continue to thrive for years to come.”

Over the years, the duck stamp program has generated more than $1.1 billion for wetland habitat conservation. More than six million acres have been acquired using federal duck stamp revenue. The Last Week Tonight auction has raised more than $100,000 (or the equivalent of 4,000 stamps) for the program.

Maybe someday Kearns and I will take Sechrest to a public wetland that’s been conserved through the program his dollars are now helping fund. And whether you’re a John Oliver fan or not, for the $100k that his bit raised in the name of good fun and waterfowl habitat, I’d invite him too.