The Illinois Daily Usage Stamps

by David R. Torre, ARA


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The purpose of this article, the second of two discussing the stamps used on waterfowl management areas in California and Illinois, is to tell the story of the Illinois Daily Usage stamps. In Illinois, as in California, a number of such areas were developed in the 1940s and 1950s. In contrast to the situation in California, waterfowl depredations to agricultural crops did not serve as a major stimulus for these projects. The Illinois Department of Conservation (IDOC) had two priorities at this time. The first was to provide additional food and refuge for the large population of Canada geese that annually winters in the state. The second was to provide regulated public shooting grounds for sportsmen who could not afford to belong to private hunting clubs.

Since the early 1950s, daily usage stamps have been used at the public hunting grounds which operate on a (daily) permit basis. These have included waterfowl areas such as Rice Lake, Sanganois, Horseshoe Lake and Union County. The stamps are an integral part of the permit system; they act as a control limiting the number of hunters to the area’s specific daily capacity, they provide evidence that the appropriate fees have been paid and they validate hunter’s permits or stand-by cards for the day’s hunt. Following the end of the season, they are also available as an auditing device.

Information about the stamps was first published in the State Revenue Newsletter in June of 1960. Editor David C. Strock reported that daily usage stamps had been issued on public hunting grounds in Illinois from 1955 through 1958 with a $2.00 face value for ducks and a $4.00 face value for pheasants. A $4.00 stamp from 1957 was illustrated. In November of 1960 Joseph J. Janousek, in his State Game Hunting and Fishing Revenue Stamps column, stated that the first daily usage stamps had been issued in 1953 (see Figure 1). Janousek provided descriptions of both values from 1953, 1956 and 1957. A question mark followed the years 1954 and 1955. In the early 1960s [Frank L.] Applegate’s Catalogue of state and Territorial Game and Fishing License Stamps was published. The catalog included descriptions of both values from 1958 and 1959.



Figure 1. In 1960, Joseph J. Janousek reported the first daily usage stamps were issued in 1953.



In 1973 the State Revenue society (SRS) published E. L. Vanderford’s Handbook of Fish and Game Stamps. The handbook included descriptions of daily usage stamps from 1953 through 1969, with the exception of 1954 and 1955 which were listed as “information wanted.” The handbook stated that starting in 1959, the stamp with the higher face value was required to hunt geese in addition to pheasants on public hunting grounds (see Figure 2). In 1977 the SRS published Vanderford’s Check List of State and Locally Issued Migratory Waterfowl License Stamps. Daily usage stamps from 1970 and 1971 were described. Vanderford added, “Daily usage duck stamps were discontinued after 1970 and the goose-pheasant stamps discontinued after 1971.”



Figure 2. E.L. Vanderford’s Handbook of Fish and Game Stamps stated that the $5.00 stamp from 1959 was the first required to hunt geese.



In 1991 Scott Publishing Company came out with a Federal and State Duck Stamp Catalogue. The catalog listed and pictured daily usage duck stamps for 1953, 1956-70 and 1972. Daily usage stamps required to hunt geese (and pheasants) were listed for 1959-72. The 1972 goose/pheasant stamp was also pictured. Scott did not list daily usage stamps from 1954 or 1955. By this time most consultants to the catalogue, including E.L. Vanderford and myself, had come to believe that stamps had not been issued for those years. Since the 1991 Scott catalogue was published, much more has been learned about the Illinois Daily Usage stamps. Some of the more important facts to be presented in this article are as follows:


  1. We now know Illinois issued daily usage stamps in 1951 and possibly as early as 1950. In any event, the state became the third to issue stamps required to hunt waterfowl (following Ohio in 1937 and South Dakota in 1949).
  1. Daily Usage Stamps were required to hunt geese prior to 1959. Starting in 1953, the $2.00 stamps were used on the public hunting ground operated at the Horseshoe Lake Goose Refuge. Starting in 1954, the same stamps were also used at the Union County Goose Refuge.
  1. Illinois has continued to issue Daily Usage Stamps through the present time. The stamps have been employed over a longer period (60+ years) than any other state-issued waterfowl series on record.
  1. The series has not been consecutively issued, however. Although stamps were issued in 1954 and 1955, tickets (similar to enlarged theater tickets), were used in their place from 1973 through 1976.




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