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Hunting theme no longer mandatory in US duck stamp contest

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Artists will no longer have to incorporate hunting imagery to win a coveted spot for their work on the federal duck stamp, a reversal of a Trump-era requirement.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it’s eliminating the “celebrating our waterfowl hunting heritage” theme from its annual Federal Duck Stamp contest, a change that goes into effect after this year’s competition. The Biden administration said this week that artists competing to have their work featured on the stamp will “have more freedom of expression” without a mandate to include a gun, dog or some other hunting component.

Since it was established in the 1930s, the duck stamp has generated more than $1.1 billion for conservation efforts, including the preservation of roughly 6 million acres of wetlands, according to the service.

Waterfowl hunters who are at least 16 years old are required to buy the $25 stamp to hunt. The stamps are also sought after by others including conservation supporters and collectors who just appreciate the striking artwork.

When the Trump administration enacted the hunting imagery requirement in 2020, it said it was helping recognize the role hunters play in conservation efforts. But some groups including the National Audubon Society opposed the move, saying it unnecessarily stirred up political controversy.

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