The Illinois Daily Usage Stamps

Daily Usage Stamps Issued


In the early 1950s the IDOC imposed a fee on the public hunting grounds. This was necessary to help defray the cost of running the public hunting program in Illinois. The fee was quite reasonable compared to the expense involved in belonging to a private club. According to an excerpt from an article written by a hunter in Outdoors in Illinois, “The [public hunting] areas provide the Illinois hunter a place where he has a reasonable chance to bag some ducks without having to lay out a day’s wages to do so.”

After a hunter drew his blind, he then paid the daily usage fee for himself and his partners. For each fee paid, a separate stamp was affixed to his permit. As the blinds accommodated up to three hunters, one, two or three “daily usage stamps” were affixed to each permit (see Figure 11). 



Figure 11. Permit designated for the Sparland Wildlife Area with two 1953 daily usage duck stamps affixed. Two hunters, whose names are located at the bottom of the permit, occupied the same blind. Further, each stamp has a diamond-shaped punch indicating the blind was checked by area personnel for compliance.



One of the roles the stamps served was as a control. For example, if the daily hunter capacity at a particular area was 50, then a maximum of 50 daily usage stamps would be issued at the location on each hunt day. To facilitate this control, the stamps were serial numbered. Although the stamps were gummed, they were frequently stapled to the permits.

The stamps validated the permits for a single day’s hunt. At the end of the hunt, the permits and stamps were collected by IDOC personnel in charge of a checkout procedure. During this procedure the number of each species of waterfowl killed was recorded (Ball, 1993). To ensure that all of the permits and stamps were returned, every hunter’s state hunting license was held at the check station as collateral. The permits and stamps were then sent to IDOC Headquarters in Springfield for possible audit and subsequent destruction.

Janousek (1960) and Vanderford (1973, 1977) both reported that the daily usage stamps were first issued in 1953. Both stated that $2.00 stamps were used on the public duck hunting grounds and $4.00 stamps were used on the public pheasant hunting grounds. It may be of interest to note that the $2.00 daily fee was identical to that charged on the state waterfowl management areas in California during the 1950s (Fine Public Shooting, 1955).

Like all of the daily usage stamps issued through 1972, the 1953 stamps featured the insignia of the IDOC in the background. The specific year date, “DAILY USAGE STAMP” and the fee are printed in black ink over the top of the insignia. All daily usage stamps have the serial number printed below the insignia. The insignia includes a map of Illinois with a tree, a goose, a fish and a beaver located in the four corners of the state. Circling the map is the inscription “STATE OF ILLINOIS / DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION.” The 1953 stamps have the insignia printed in orange ink on blue paper and white paper for the $2.00 and $4.00 values, respectively. The serial numbers are printed in black.

The dimensions of daily usage stamps issued through 1972 often vary one to three millimeter. This has been noted primarily for those issued prior to 1959, after which time the stamps became more uniform in size. However, all stamp measurements cited in this article should be considered approximations. The $2.00 stamps from 1953 measure 32 x 37 mm and the $4.00 stamps measure 32 x 40 mm (see Figures 1, 11 and 12).


Figure 12. 1953 Daily usage stamp with $2.00 face value. Note this unusual example has been punched twice.



Both Values are perforated 12. Applegate stated in his catalog that the illinois daily usage stamps were “Apparently printed in panes three stamps wide, hence only the center stamp is full perf. 12.” In the Handbook of Fish and Game Stamps, Vanderford stated: “All stamps… [are] believed to be from sheets of 25 (5×5). Sheets [are] imperforate [on] all sides except [for a] 10 mm perforated selvage at [the] left.” After completing a study of the daily usage stamps in collections today,I have determined that Vanderford was correct. For the location of the stamps with specific serial numbers in the 25-subject panes, see Figures 13 and 14. Fourteen of the $2.00 stamps and four of the $4.00 stamps have been recorded from 1953.



Figure 13. Layout of 25-subject pane showing the position of stamps and the last two digits of their serial number.



Figure 14. $3.00 and $5.00 stamps from 1960. The last two digits of their serial numbers is 85 and 95. Therefore, they are from positions six and sixteen, respectively.



When this article was originally published in 1994, I wrote that it seemed likely daily usage stamps were issued prior to 1953 and possibly as early as 1950. For many years I had been aware of a letter written by William E. Cloe, Acting Superintendent of Game Management, to revenue collector and dealer Elbert S. A. Hubbard in 1956. At this time Hubbard was doing much to further the collecting of state revenue stamps. He founded the State Revenue Society in 1955 and started the State Revenue Newsletter in 1959 (Martin, 1994).

Hubbard had heard about the daily usage stamps, possibly from fellow revenue specialist John Bobo who lived in Illinois, then made a request of the IDOC for additional information. Cloe’s letter was in reply. In it he stated, “The Department of Conservation, State of Illinois, has been using Daily Usage Stamps on the state owned hunting grounds since 1950” (See Figure 15). Previous to researching the current article, I had assumed this statement to be incorrect (possibly due to a typographical error).



Figure 15. Letter from William E. Cloe to Elbert E. A. Hubbard stating Daily Usage Stamps have been used since 1950.



With Cloe’s letter in mind, I sought materials dated 1950-52 . The 1950 and 1951 Annual reports of the IDOC were located, along with a Game and Fish Code dated July 1, 1951. The Annual reports make no mention of daily usage stamps. The Code does. Section 3, subsection (F) reads: “The Department is authorized to issue a Public Hunting Grounds daily usage stamp at a fee of $2.00, such stamp to expire at the end of the day of issue. Any person who is a resident of the State of Illinois, shall obtain such a stamp from the Department to be attached to the permit card assigned to a person under the provisions of the rules and regulations made by the Department for the Operation of State Public Hunting Grounds.”

The 1951 Code allowed for the possibility that Cloe’s statement was indeed correct. The fact that daily usage stamps were not included in the 1950 and 1951 Annual Reports did not prove the stamps were not issued during those years, (The 1953 Annual report did not mention the stamps shown in Figures 1, 11 and 12 either). On the other hand, the 1951 Code speaks to the authority the IDOC had to issue stamps at that time. I stated that perhaps they did not actually do so until 1953 and that additional information may someday be discovered that will establish the first year of issue for this series.

As of 2015, two examples of the $2.00 stamp from 1951 and one example of the $2.00 stamp from 1952 have been recorded. Shortly before his death in 2004, state fish and game dealer Barry Porter of Hendersonville, Tennessee contacted me and informed me he had discovered a 1951 Illinois daily usage stamp in a small lot he bought. He subsequently sold me the stamp. In 2010, a second example was recorded by duck stamp dealer Bob Dumaine of Houston, Texas. The latter example now resides in the Casaplar collection. The 1951 stamps are unusual in they are imperforate. They measure 31 x 37 mm and have “No” preceding the serial number (see figure 16).



Figure 16. 1951 daily usage stamp discovered by Barry Porter in 2004.



In December of 2014, revenue specialist Eric Jackson called me with news that he had just acquired a 1952 Illinois daily usage stamp. This stamp is significant for the fact that it is the first perforated stamp and the first to look like the remaining stamps in the series issued through 1972. It measures 32 x 36 mm and is perforated 12 (see Figure 17).


Figure 17. 1952 daily usage stamp discovered by Eric Jackson in 2014.




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