Gallery Ten

Maryland Chesapeake Bay Fishing Stamps

Maryland started to require sportsmen intending to fish on the Chesapeake Bay to purchase a special Sport Fishing Stamp and affix it to their license in 1985. The waters of the Chesapeake Bay were designated "tidal" to differentiate them from freshwater inland ponds and trout streams or "non-tidal" waters. The fee charged to residents and non resident was the same. Three different pictorial fishing stamps were issued. The most commonly sold stamp had a face value of $2.50 and this was for those who had already purchased a non-tidal license and the appropriate stamp(s).

If a person had not already purchased a non-tidal license, they could pick between a seasonal stamp for $5.00 (the second most common) or one that allowed fishing for three consecutive days for $2.00. The $2.00 stamp was by far the least commonly issued, and for most years the number sold was less than ten percent of the seasonal stamp. Unused examples of the early $2.00 stamps can be difficult for collectors to acquire. The series was discontinued after 1992.

During roughly the same period, Maryland also issued a Chesapeake Bay Sport Fishing License for boat owners. The owner of a boat not used for hire could purchase one license covering all guests on board for $25.00. Initially (through at least 1988), the license consisted of two parts. The first was a pair of stickers to be removed from a peelable backing and placed on the right and left sides of the vessel and the second was a separate non pictorial stamp required to be affixed to the sportsman's paper fishing license.

It is believed that Sylvia Tompkins was the first fish and game collector to discover these unusual stamps, in 1986. Sylvia worked at the Pentagon and was especially interested in the stamps from neighboring Maryland. After informing E. L. Vanderford of their existence, he asked if she was willing to trade him one of the vessel stickers the next year. She did so in 1987 and 1988, after which time she was not allowed to purchase the stickers or the stamps as a collector. Each of these years she kept the license stamp for her own collection.

After visiting Sylvia in 1990, I learned of the the Maryland Pleasure Boat Stamps and subsequently was able to obtain examples in future years from a friendly contact in the Department of Natural Resources License Section. By this time the format had changed, with both the self-adhesive license stamp and the stickers being issued se-tenant on the same piece of backing paper. After 1996, the Chesapeake Bay Pleasure Boat License, along with the stickers and stamps, was discontinued.

Massachusetts Archery Stamps

Massachusetts first required sportsmen hunting deer with a bow and arrow to purchase an Archery Deer Hunting stamp in 1960. The stamps were issued in an unusual booklet pane format, consisting of two across and six down. Two panes were stapled between covers to form a booklet.

Although the state kept unused remainders on sale to collectors for many years, these stamps were quite popular and by the time I first contacted them in 1980 – the 1962 and 1966 issues had already sold out. While visiting the Department in the late 1980s, I was introduced to former staff artist Dan Breen. Breen had been allowed to sell his original artwork and still had a few pieces available.

For 1968, Breen's original art traces the development of the stamp design. First, the figure of a Native American inside a shield was featured in the center of the design, with a bow and arrows in the background. Then he was asked to keep the Native American motif, but to add an image of a deer.

Breen's first attempt at this included a relatively small deer figure, with it's head turned away – making it rather difficult to determine it was a buck. The accepted design featured a larger deer head, facing the viewer – thus presenting a better balance both artistically and symbolically – between the two compelling motifs. I included a couple of these pieces in my first exhibit.

In 1968, E.L. Vanderford purchased some Archery Deer Stamps from the state and one pair of these was imperforate between. Starting in 1970, the wording on the stamps was changed; "Deer" was removed, leaving only "Archery Season".

In 1972, The State Legislature raised the fee from $1.10 to $5.10. According to Terry Hines, the stamps had already been printed and it was up to the issuing license agents to change the face value manually with a pen.

In 1974, the archery stamps were printed with a face value of $5.25, in error. Again, the issuing agent was required to manually change the fee with a pen. For both 1972 and 1974, uncorrected stamps represent unused remainders.

Starting in 1980, the Massachusetts Archery Deer Stamp was superceded by a Primitive Firearms and Archery Seasons Stamp.

New Mexico Hunting & Fishing Licenses

The Territory of New Mexico began to issue resident hunting licenses in 1909. They were pictorial multi-purpose licenses with no printed fee or species, only blank lines for them to be filled in. The fee was $1.00 for birds and $1.50 for a general license that conveyed the right to hunt for various big and small game.

On January 6, 1912, New Mexico became a state. For the first half of 1912, similar licenses were printed and issued, with lines for the fee and species to be filled in. However, once New Mexico became a state, their hunting & fishing licenses were non pictorial.

By September, a General Hunting License was issued with both the $1.50 fee and General Hunting License printed. These General Licenses were issued through 1916. That year, the licenses began to be printed on cloth and a transportation tag was added to the right side.

Starting in 1917, a series of rouletted strips was added to the left side. Each strip represented a progressively increasing number of rights to fish, hunt birds, hunt big game, hunt big game and birds and hunt big game, birds and fish. The increasing rights came at a proportionately increasing fee and the strips which represented rights that were not paid for were removed by the issuing agent.

By 1927-28, New Mexico changed the validity period from a calendar year to a fiscal year. Licenses were printed on paper again and, for this one fiscal year, only, the transportation tag and the strips were flip-flopped. Two additional tags were added to the right side starting in 1939.

When I began to travel around the country and visit with other fish and game collectors, I noticed that that only one, Tom Clark, had a few early New Mexico hunting or fishing licenses. I was told by everyone that that acquiring pre WWII licenses from this particular state was extremely difficult – so I thought this would make for an exciting thrill of the hunt experience.

Tom eventually allowed me to purchase his entire collection of U.S. hunting, fishing and trapping licenses (over 10,000) and I began to make yearly trips to New Mexico and run ads in local in newspapers in my pursuit of these elusive fish and game artifacts. I received a big break during Pacific '97, when a dealer brought a good run of over 20 different years to my booth and sold them to me. You will see that these licenses were issued to Leslie Langley.

Now, after over 30 years of enjoyment which has included taking my wife, Kay, to the many fine art galleries and restaurants in Santa Fe on numerous occasions and my son, Eric, spelunking at Carlsbad Caverns, skiing at Taos and for a tour of White Sands Missile Base, I am approaching my goal – to obtain at least one New Mexico Territorial or State license from every year through 1945. In this gallery, you can see what I have managed to accomplish so far.


North Dakota Non Resident Waterfowl Stamps

Non-resident waterfowl stamps were required of non-resident hunters, in addition to the non-resident small game stamp, starting in 1975. A non-resident general game stamp was also required to hunt waterfowl starting in 1983. Stamps printed through 1984 are imperforate while subsequent issues are rouletted on two sides.

There were two separate printings in 1975, one with and one without serial numbers printed on the stamps. Stamps without printed serial numbers were issued to hunters who had previously purchased a small game stamp for a season opening prior to waterfowl season. The license agent wrote in the same number on the waterfowl stamp that was on the hunter's small game stamp. Therefore, all used copies have the serial number written in. If the hunter had not already purchased a small game stamp, he was issued both kinds of stamps with matching printed serial numbers. By 1976 the non-resident small game and waterfowl stamps with matching printed serial numbers were printed and issued se-tenant.

Starting in 1984 the two stamps were printed and issued with a non-resident general game stamp, all with matching printed serial numbers, in a se-tenant format. No waterfowl stamps from 1976-1986 have been recorded without printed serial numbers. However, the North Dakota Game and Fish Department states they were also issued during this period.

By 1987 the waterfowl stamps were once again produced in two separate formats. In addition to the numbered stamps issued se-tenant with a small game and general game stamp (the waterfowl stamp is rouletted in black on two adjacent sides), stamps without serial numbers were printed and issued in booklet panes of five (1x5) with a tab at the top. The panes were rouletted horizontally between the stamps and between the stamps and the tab. The panes were plain rouletted (uncolored) in 1987, 1988, 1991, 1992 and 1993, and rouletted in color (black) the remaining years.

The supply of regular 1992 non-resident waterfowl stamps was exhausted before the end of the season. 1990 non-resident waterfowl stamp remainders were changed to 1992 with a ball point pen and put into use. In 1996 there were apparently two printings, as stamps have been recorded with both black rouletting (lower serial numbers) and plain rouletting (higher serial numbers). Used copies from the five-stamp panes prior to 1994 have serial numbers written in with a ball point pen. Starting in 1994, stamps issued in both formats have the serial numbers printed.

North Dakota experimented with point of sale (POS) or point of purchase (POP) as early as 1995. Following the 1995 season, the actual stamps were no longer printed in a se-tenant format, only booklet panes of five.

There were two printings in 2001. Stamps have been recorded on bluish-gray paper (lower serial numbers) and also the normal white paper (higher serial numbers). The series was discontinued following the 2002 season.

Utah Flaming Gorge Fishing Stamps

Starting in 1964, Utah required Wyoming fishermen fishing on the Utah side of Flaming Gorge Reservoir to purchase and affix a special stamp to their license. Wyoming reciprocally required Utah fishermen on the Wyoming side to purchase and affix a similar stamp and these can be seen here.

As described by E.L. Vanderford, the earlier issues featured an areal view of the dam and reservoir in brown on tan paper. They were valid for a calendar year. For 1965, 1966 and 1967, unused remainders of the 1964 stamp were overprinted with the current year of validity. In 1965 the year date was rubber stamped using both black and blue colors of ink. In 1966 and 1967 the year date was printed in red ink.

The 1968 stamps featured the seal of the Utah Fish and Game Commission  printed in the center in yellow-green ink on white matte paper. Those issued from 1969 through 1978 featured the seal for the Great State of Utah in several different colors on white matte paper. In 1978 there were two distinct printings. The first printing featured a blue seal and blue serial number. The second printing featured a pink seal and red serial number.

In 1979 the stamps were similar to those from 1968 – 1978 but featured the new Department of Wildlife Resources seal. Again, there were two distinct printings. The color of the seal was the same on both, however, the font and color of the serial number was different.

Starting in 1980, several changes were made. The validity period changed to a fiscal year, the stamps were enlarged and printed on colored (often coated) paper with a repeating Wildlife Resources seal. This brought to an end the classic period for the Utah Flaming Gorge Fishing series.

As with the Flaming Gorge Fishing stamps issued by the state of Wyoming, very few pioneer fish and game collectors knew of the existence of these stamps until E.L. Vanderford updated Joseph Janousek's fish and game listings in a column in The State Revenue Newsletter (SRS) starting in September of 1967.

As SRS editor (and fellow fish and game collector) Ken Pruess and Vanderford published the updated information state by state, in alphabetical order over a period of six years, by the time they got to Utah and Wyoming – many of the earlier stamps had already been destroyed. As a result, most of the stamps in this gallery were originally collected by Pruess and Vanderford, themselves.

Utah Lake Powell Fishing Stamps

Also in 1964, Utah began requiring both resident and non resident sportsmen intending to fish on nascent Lake Powell to first purchase a special stamp and affix it to their license. Lake Powell is actually a man-made reservoir straddling the Utah-Arizona border. When completed, the majority of the lake was within the State of Utah.

The 1964 stamps featured the seal of the Fish and Game Commission printed in light red ink on deep yellow paper with red serial numbers. Like the classic Flaming Gorge Fishing stamps, they were valid for a calendar year. No Lake Powell Fishing stamps were issued in 1965 or 1966.

Starting in 1967, the stamps were only required of sportsmen fishing on the areas of the lake which were included inside the Utah border. The 1967 stamps featured the seal for The Great State of Utah in blue ink on white matte paper. The year date was not printed on the stamps, in error.

The 1967 year date was applied with a rubber stamp, using black and blue inks. At least one resident stamp has been recorded with the year date missing. It is in used condition and has been removed from a license. A relatively small number of non resident stamps have been recorded with the serial number missing in unused condition.

The seal for the Fish and Game Commission was used again in 1968. Stamps printed from 1969 through 1976 featured the seal for the Great State of Utah printed in a variety of different colors on white matte paper.

After 1975, stamps were only required to be purchased by resident sportsmen. In 1977 there were two printings. The first featured the seal for the Great State of Utah printed in brown ink on white matte paper with brown serial numbers. The second was discovered by Ken Pruess and is exactly the same except it was printed on bluish-gray matte paper.

As with the Flaming Gorge stamps, 1979 Lake Powell stamps were similar to previous years but featured the new Department of Natural Resources seal. 1980 saw the same changes as with the Flaming Gorge series and the classic period for both series ended.

Once again, most of the stamps in this gallery were originally collected by Ken Pruess and E.L. Vanderford.


Botetourt County, Virginia Bear-Deer Damage Stamps

Starting in 1944, both resident and non resident sportsmen intending to hunt for big game in certain counties in Virginia were required to purchase a bear-deer damage stamp and affix it to their license. Proceeds from the sale of these stamps were used to reimburse farmers whose crops had suffered damage caused by the animals.

Bath and Buchanan counties were the first to issue stamps, followed by Wise in 1945 and Highland and Rockbridge in 1946. Eventually, 20 out of the 95 counties in Virginia had issued bear-deer damage stamps. Although they started and stopped at different times. Five counties – Floyd, Highland, Rockbridge, Scott and Smyth continued to issue these stamps into the 21st century.

I have selected the bear-deer damage stamps from two counties to present and briefly discuss today, for two different reasons. The first, Botetourt County, has always intrigued me. The series offers a variety of design styles – as do many of the counties – with the initial group being non pictorial, then comes one with a bear (1962-63) before closing out with a long run of maps.

However, it is the early non pictorial stamps from Botetourt that have always intrigued me. The reason is because they hold a mystery that has gone unsolved for over 60 years.

Printer A. According to Vanderford's Handbook of Fish and Game Stamps, the first ten stamps, 1952-53 through 1961-62, were "believed to be from panes of 6 (2 x 3) perforated between the stamps and at left selvage." Although the majority of these early stamps are scarce to rare, I have seen more than my share and can tell you this very unlikely.

According to Vanderford's description, only one out of every six stamps would be perforated all the way around and the remaining five would have a straight edge on one or two sides. The examples that have been recorded do not support this ratio, so the pane format must have been larger.

Printer B. However, this is not the real mystery. Starting with the third issue, 1954-55, and continuing through 1959-60 – there was a second type of Botetourt Bear-Deer Damage stamp printed. The stamps were printed in horizontal booklet panes of two (2 x 1) with a tab at the left. Single stamps have the appearance of having been issued in coil rolls, as they are rouletted or perforated on the sides and have a straight edged at the top and bottom.

In the his handbook, Vanderford states: "The true facts concerning the existence of these stamps may never be known." He then goes on to provide conflicting information. He refers to them as "unauthorized" and "spurious" but also says he has seen them used on license.

These stamps have always fascinated me. I cannot help but wonder why, if the stamps really were spurious (fake), county officials allowed this illegal activity to go on for six straight years.

In one of his exhibits, Ken Pruess offered a clue: "Due to a long-term dispute over printing contracts, for several years two printers each prepared stamps."

This suggests that in the minds of one or more officials (those which sided with Printer A) the second type was unauthorized and, therefore, not legal or valid. However, for this to go on for so long, there must have also been one or more county officials (those who sided with Printer B)  who felt the stamps were valid.

Washington County, Virginia Bear-Deer Damage Stamps

The second county I have selected is Washington County. They started issuing bear-deer damage stamps in 1950 and continued through 1989-90. Washington starts out with a long run of maps (through the 1960s), then finishes with an equally long run of pictorial deer and bears.

One of the reasons I chose this county is because the deer is a nice big buck and is a favorite with collectors – especially those who are hunters or who have spent time hunting in the past. One stamp in particular, the 1970-71 issue, was printed on red paper and has "WASHINGTON" emblazoned across the front in forest green ink – very striking and, well, very Christmassy!

Many people enjoy collecting the Virginia County Bear-Deer Damage Stamps because they check a lot of boxes from a philatelic standpoint. In addition to the "regular" stamps, there are a number of instances where a county has had one or more generic stamps produced with no validity date printed on them.

In cases where the regular stamps have not arrived from the printer before the start of a season – or when the supply of regular stamps has already been exhausted – the county clerks have then simply written the current validity period on the generic stamps and put them into service. Sometimes the same generic stamp will be called into service multiple times over an extended period of years.

Similarly, the Virginia County Clerks have proven they are not above taking unused remainders of regular stamps from previous years, crossing out the printed validity period and writing in a new one (manually, with a ball point pen) when the need arises. As these situations are to a greater or lesser extent temporary – the altered stamps are known as provisionals.

Again, there have been cases where remainders of the same regularly-issued stamp has been altered to fill in during many different fiscal years.

Another reason I have selected Washington County is because not only does the series illustrate all of the above – there are additional provisional overprints, other cases where stamps were printed and not issued during the validity period printed on the stamps (but were subsequently modified and put into use) and even one of the most striking errors in the fish and game hobby – just for good measure.

In short, the Washington County Bear-Deer Damage Stamp series is a philatelic dream come true – a smorgasbord, really, that includes something of interest for just about all fish and game collector tastes and proclivities.


I would like to give credit to my old friend Les Lebo for originally collecting many of the stamps in this gallery, including the 1981-82 error. Les put together one of the finest fish and game collections of all time, greatly assisted Ken Pruess and E.L. Vanderford update Joseph Janousek's fish and game listings (which, in 1973, was published as the Handbook of Fish and Game Stamps), was one of the first to exhibit his collection of fish and game stamps at organized stamp shows and, in so doing, help to popularize our hobby early on, made substantial contributions to my own exhibits – and, fittingly, is one of the original members of our Hall of Fame.

Washington Archery & Muzzle Loading Stamps

The State of Washington started issuing combination Archery & Muzzle Loading Rifle Stamps, along with Upland Bird Stamps, in 1971. Washington established special early seasons  for sportsmen to hunt with either a bow and arrow or muzzleloading rifle.

As with the Upland Bird Stamps, those issued from 1971 through the 1977-78 seasons were all oversized (measuring 76 x 51 mm). In addition, all of the Archery & Muzzleloading Stamps issued through 1977-78 featured the same design of a muzzleloading rifle over a bow and this is considered the classic period for this series. In 1978 the image was removed and the stamps were reduced in size.

As reported by E.L. Vanderford in his Handbook of Fish and Game Stamps, both the Washington Archery & Muzzleloading stamps and the Upland Bird Stamps were [produced in pads consisting of an unknown number of stamps] with a tab at the bottom and carbon paper separating a copy for the Game Department records.

In the handbook, Vanderford stated: "After removing [it] from [the] pad and tearing off [the] bottom tab, the separated stamp is rouletted 3.25 at top and bottom (my emphasis)."

After the handbook was published, Vanderford pointed out to me that, in fact, the stamps are rouletted 5 at the top and 3.25 at the bottom. Which is kind of interesting and unusual. This continued to be the case until the the last of the Upland Bird Stamps were printed for the 1984-85 season.

Relatively few Archery & Muzzleloading stamps were sold to hunters during the classic period (as compared to the Upland Bird Stamps) so these are difficult for collectors to acquire on on license, showing their usage.

E.L. Vanderford may have been the only pioneer fish and game collector to purchase an unused stamp from the Washington Game Department each year from 1971-72 through 1977-78. The set Van collected is shown in this gallery.


Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Hunting & Fishing Stamps

The Cheyenne River Reservation is located in northwest South Dakota. It is bordered by the Standing Rock Reservation to the north and the Missouri River to the east. It was established by Congress in 1889, when the Great Sioux Reservation was broken up and divided into seven smaller ones.

The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe (CRST) began issuing their own fish and game stamps in the early 1980s. The earliest recorded usage for a CRST stamp is from 1984. However, it is possible that they issued stamps in prior years.

The CRST had separate stamps printed for (tribal) members and non members. The tribe's stamps were always printed without year dates or face values as they were intended to be used year after year until supplies were exhausted. All their stamps were printed with a line to fill in the hunter's tribal license number.

The same type of stamps which have been recorded used in 1984 have been recorded used as late as 1991. These early stamps were non-pictorial and were issued in booklet panes of six (3x2) with a tab at the left. The panes were plain rouletted 9 3/4 between the stamps and between the stamps and the tabs. They have dry gum.

By 1989, new semi-pictorial stamps had been printed and were being used concurrently with the non-pictorial stamps. The first printing of the semi-pictorial stamps was on self-adhesive chrome-coated (gloss) paper with a peelable backing material that was cut flush with the stamps. The semi-pictorial stamps were issued in booklet panes of five (5x1) with a tab at the left. The panes were perforated 11 3/4 between the stamps and between the stamps and the tabs. Six panes were stapled between covers to form a booklet.

Tribal license agents found it inconvenient to work with stamps from the first printing for two reasons. First, they found it difficult to remove the flush backing paper from perforated stamps. Second, after the license number was written on the coated paper with a ball-point pen it often smeared and became illegible. Subsequent printings were on matte paper with dry gum.

Starting in 1993, reprinted stamps were rouletted instead of perforated. Starting in 1994, adhesive big game (antelope and deer) stamps were discontinued and rubber stamps were used in their place.