Most hunters are aware that we have far more big game species now than we did at the turn of the 20th century, when market hunting, subsistence hunting, and habitat destruction took a huge toll on wildlife. That being said, we're now experiencing a profound downward spiral of many species of upland birds, primarily due to encroachment of civilization where rural acres are lost, and habitat alteration or changes due to different farming practices and varying land uses that are detrimental to wildlife species.
For example, not long ago, wild bobwhite quail thrived by the millions in the south. Now they're essentially gone, replaced by pen-raised birds. The same is true with wild ring-necked pheasants, which were extremely abundant in places like western New York, Pennsylvania, and other states. They too have been largely replaced by pen- raised birds. Ruffed grouse in New England, sage grouse in the west, and others are also adversely affected by habitat changes.
In order to resolve these dilemmas, many conservation organizations have been formed. Many states offer their own upland bird stamps. But what about a Federal Upland Bird Stamp? This concept has just been unveiled. Good idea? Bad idea? Many of us, including me, aren't fond of federal intervention in our lives, or new taxes. At first I thought this federal stamp concept might be a way for the government to squander sportsmens dollars. But we can look at the highly successful Duck Stamp and Pittman Robertson Act to see how there might be positive benefits.
(Stamp prototype designed by Oregon Wildlife Artist Shari Erickson)
I'm not convinced this will work, or how it will work, but I'm keeping an open mind. It might very well be an answer, or a partial answer, to the plight of upland birds. If you're interested in seeing more, go to http://www.uplandstamp.org/ for more information.