The Honey Lake Waterfowl Stamps

Stamps Issued


At the August meeting of the California fish and Game Commission, the DFG announced that it supported a seasonal fee for the Lassen County waterfowl management areas. It was hoped that such a fee would encourage more use of the areas. The commissioners then amended Section 271, sub-section (f), of the Waterfowl Management Area Hunting Regulations to read: “Shooting Fees. Shooting fees on all waterfowl hunting areas (except Napa Marshes) shall be $2.00 per day for persons 16 years of age or over except that on Honey Lake Waterfowl Management Area and Madeline Plains Waterfowl Management area the shooting fee shall be either $2.00 per day or $5.00 per season for persons 16 years of age or over. Holders of such seasonal permits shall be subject to the same restrictions as holders of daily permits, and shall be accommodated on the same first-come, first-served basis up to the shooting capacity of the areas named” (Fish and Game Commission Minutes, meeting of August 17 1956).

To make the purchase of seasonal permits even more attractive, the commission made two further changes. First they dropped the advance reservation procedure for the two Lassen County areas. Section 271, subsection (a), was amended to read, “At the Honey Lake Waterfowl Management Area and the Madeline Plains Waterfowl Management Area permits for each shooting day will be issued in the order of registration on the area, but never at any one time in a number exceeding the shooting capacity of the area as determined by the state employee in charge of each area” (Fish and Game Commission Minutes, meeting of August 17, 1956). By doing away with reservations, holders of the seasonal permits could not be prevented from hunting on days which might have otherwise sold out in advance.

The commission also decided to allow pheasant hunting on the HLWMA, on regular waterfowl shoot days, at no extra charge to holders of daily or seasonal waterfowl permits. A new Section 271.2 was adopted for pheasant hunting on waterfowl management areas. Subsection (a) read: “Pheasant hunting will be allowed on the Honey Lake Waterfowl Management Area as follows: On waterfowl shoot days (Saturdays, Sundays Wednesdays and holidays) as established in section 271, pheasant hunting will be permitted by persons holding regular waterfowl shooting permits during the regular shooting hours for pheasants…Such pheasant shooting shall be allowed at no additional fee other than the regular entry fee on waterfowl shooting days.” No pheasant hunting was to be allowed at the Madeline Plains Waterfowl management Area. (Fish and Game Commission Minutes, meeting of September 28, 1956).

Unlike the daily permit cards employed at, the time, the seasonal permits used at the Honey Lake and Madeline Plains waterfowl management areas were in the form of stamps. Once purchased, the stamps were to be affixed to the reverse of the holder’s state of hunting license. A federal waterfowl stamp was required in addition to the seasonal permit stamp (see Figure 12). The license was presented at manned check stations to show at the state and federal fees had been paid.



Figure 12. Honey lake seasonal permit stamps were affixed to the reverse of the holder’s state hunting license.



The 1956-57 Honey Lake seasonal permit stamps were printed in black ink on white paper. As with all Honey Lake stamps, they were printed as single stamp booklet panes with a tab attached to the top. The panes are rouletted between the stamp and the tab. Fifty panes were stapled together to form a booklet. The stamp without the tab measures approximately 49 x 37 mm (see Figures 1 and 14).

The Handbook of Fish and Game Stamps states that 750 stamps were printed. As reported by Applegate, the stamps were printed the State Printing OfFice. Verification of this fact can be seen on the stamps themselves, included in the imprint located in the lower right corner. The 1956 Honey Lake stamps were serial numbered “XXH” to differentiate them from those printed for Madeline Plains, which were numbered “XXM” (Vanderford, 1973).

A DFG “Report of Licenses Delivered” on October 2, 1956, shows that 250 stamps were initially delivered to Area Manager Mac Foster (see Figure 13). These were numbered 1H to 250H. A to similar report dated November 1, 1956, shows that Foster received an additional 300 tamps at this time (numbers 251H to 550H). When a delivery of stamps was received, it was divided up between the two units. Therefore, the seasonal permit stamps were not issued in consecutive numerical order.



Figure13. The first line of blue ink towards the bottom shows that 250 Honey Lake seasonal permit stamps were delivered to Mac Foster in 1956.



Both Applegate and Vanderford have reported that 236 stamps were sold at the HLWMA during the 1956-57 season. This number has been verified through monthly sales and inventory reports obtained from the Fleming Unit office. The stamps were numbered 1H-35H and 51H- 251H. Of the 236 stamps sold, only three examples have been recorded. Of the three examples, only one of the stamps has survived affixed to a license (see Figure 14). For quantities of Honey Lake seasonal permit stamps printed and sold through 1966-67, see Table II.



Figure 14. 1956-57 Honey Lake stamp used on the reverse of a California hunting license.




The economical seasonal permits combined with an improving Lassen County economy to push the total number of hunters using the HLWMA up to 1,695 during the 1956-57 season (44th Biennial Report for the Years 1954-56). The increase in hunter usage reflected a statewide trend. The 1956-57 season set a record for the number of hunters using state-operated waterfowl management areas (48,661), as well as for the number of birds killed (150,803) and the average number of birds per hunter (3.1). The average of over three birds per hunter “was by far the best of any public shooting areas in the United States” (Waterfowl Hunters Bag Record, 1957).



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