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The Honey Lake Waterfowl Stamps

Honey Lake Stamps Discontinued


In the mid 1980s several changes were made in the way the public hunting program was operated at the Honey Lake Wildlife Area. In an effort to cut costs, the DFG reduced the number of area personnel from seven to three (Holmes, 1993). According to an excerpt from a Resources Agency Memorandum dated January 16, 1985: “Check stations presently require four-five people to operate them each shoot day exclusive of [the waterfowl and pheasant] opening weekends which require additional manpower. Under the new program only two-three HLWA personnel will be required.”

Daily permits were no longer sold at the Honey Lake Wildlife Area during the season. The only daily permits available from the Area Manager were for the opening weekends of the waterfowl and pheasant seasons and those only by applying for an advance reservation. After the opening weekends hunting was allowed only by seasonal permit.

The check stations were no longer manned, except for on the opening weekends and for one hour prior to the legal shooting time for the rest of the season. Hunters were required to check-in to the area during this one hour period. The daily hunter quotas remained in effect. The Honey Lake Wildlife Area employee in charge would check-in hunters on a first-come, first-served basis and would close the area if the hunter capacity was reached. The daily hunter capacity for the area at this time was 125 for the Fleming Unit and 100 for the Dakin Unit (1985 California Regulations for Hunting on State and Federal Areas).

Hunters were put on their honor regarding bag limits and the skeleton Honey Lake Wildlife Area staff made spot checks to provide enforcement. The 1985-86 seasonal permit stamps would be the last issued for the Honey Lake Wildlife Area. The stamps were printed in black ink on light blue paper with red serial numbers. They were oversized, measuring approximately 51 X 52 mm (see Figure 30).



Figure 30. Following the 1985-86 season the Honey Lake stamps were discontinued.



Previous to the 1986-87 season, the DFG placed all of the state-operated public hunting areas in categories according to hunter usage. Heavily hunted areas were designated as “A” Areas; moderately hunted areas, such as the Honey Lake Wildlife Area, were “B” Areas; areas with little hunting were placed in the “C” category. Generic seasonal permits were printed and issued to hunters in card form (see Figure 31). Type A permits allowed hunting at any area statewide and cost $75.00. Type B permits allowed hunting at any B or C Area and cost $25.00 (DFG News Release, September 20, 1986). As the seasonal permit stamps were specific for the Honey Lake Wildlife Area, they were discontinued (Holmes, 1993).



Figure 31. Obverse (above) and reverse of generic seasonal permit cards that were issued to hunters starting in 1986.



As of 1994, hunting is still allowed at the Honey Lake Wildlife Area with a Type A or B permit. The permits may be purchased “through the mail, at license agents, or at DFG regional offices” (Hunter Information Sheet for the Honey Lake Wildlife Area, 1993). Hunting on the opening weekend for waterfowl continues to be by reservation only at the Honey Lake Wildlife Area. Many other state-operated areas, being more heavily hunted, require applications for reservations for each day of the season. Previous to the 1986-87 season, the statewide reservation system was “restricted to allow an individual to apply only once for each area during each half of the waterfowl season” (DFG News Release, June 8, 1985).

Starting in 1985, hunters were allowed to submit one application for each day of the season per area. This greatly increases their chances of being allowed to hunt for at least one day during the season. The applications are in the form of computer cards. There are two types, one for Type A Areas and one for type B and C Areas. The application for type B and C Areas is used to apply for opening weekend of the waterfowl season at the Honey Lake Wildlife Area (see Figure 32).



Figure 32. Applications for waterfowl hunting reservations were handled by computer starting in 1985. A used card for Type A Areas is shown above with a 1987-88 application stamp affixed and an unused card for Type B and C Areas below. In the case of the used example, the hunter asked for and subsequently was selected to hunt for a day at the Gray Lodge Wildlife Management Area.



In order to help defray the cost of the new application program, a non-refundable $1.00 application fee was imposed starting with the 1986-87 season (DFG News Release, September 20, 1986). To show that the fee has been paid, the prospective hunter is required to purchase a “waterfowl application stamp” and affix one to each application submitted. The first stamp was printed in black on blue paper (see Figure 33).



Figure 33. 1986-87 waterfowl application stamp, formerly in the Vanderford collection.



Starting in 1990, the fee was raised to $1.05 and license agents were allowed to retain five cents for each stamp sold. The application stamps are all non-pictorial and are identical every year, with two exceptions. The paper color is changed and they have a new expiration date. The stamps are die cut and feature pressure sensitive gum. They are placed on a backing material and issued in booklet panes of ten (2 x 5) with a tab at the top (see Figure 34). Five panes are stapled together to form a booklet. Once removed from the backing material, individual stamps measure approximately 17 x 25 mm. For quantities of waterfowl application stamps sold through the 1992-93 season, see Table IV. For a photo gallery featuring images of all waterfowl application stamps issued from 1986-87 through 1997-98, click here.



Figure 34. Pane of non-refundable waterfowl application stamps required on every application submitted (left) and booklet cover (right).






The Will and Abby Csaplar collection contains an unusual usage of a waterfowl application stamp during the 1987-88 season (see Figure 35). The application stamp is used on the hunter’s California hunting license. In no way is this a proper usage and it would not have secured him a day to hunt at a management area. As the stamps were still fairly new, I assume the hunter was confused as to where to place the stamp. Interesting, to say the least.



Figure 35. Waterfowl application stamp used on a state hunting license, Csaplar collicense.



When the Honey Lake seasonal permit stamps were discontinued following the 1985-86 season, it brought to an end the longest consecutively issued series of waterfowl stamps by a state government in the twentieth century. The Honey Lake series ranks second only to those issued by Marion County, Kansas, for both state and local governments in the twentieth century (Torre, 1993a). For descriptive information on Honey Lake stamps from specific years, see Table V.




According to a memorandum from Area Manager Kit Novick to DFG Wildlife Management Supervisor Banky Curtis, dated October 24, 1986, “All of the new hunting programs (season permits, no checking stations, reservations) are working well and still provide high hunter opportunity and hunt quality with less DFG manpower and time…The new system works fine—let’s not change it.” Although stamps are no longer seen as an indispensable part of the Honey Lake operation in California, they continue to serve an important role on public hunting grounds in Illinois. In the next issue of The American Revenuer… “The Illinois Daily Usage Stamps.”



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