The Illinois Daily Usage Stamps

Stamps After 1953


The earliest annual reports to include the daily usage stamps are from 1954 and 1955. The information provided by these reports is significant for two reasons. First, when this article was originally published in 1994, no examples of either value had been recorded from 1954 or 1955 and it was previously believed that stamps were not issued for those years (Vanderford, 1991; Cummings, 1991). It should be noted that Strock (1960) had reported that both values were issued in 1955, but his claim was never substantiated.

Second, the Handbook of Fish and Game Stamps indicates that the $4.00 stamps from 1959 were the first daily usage stamps used to hunt geese on public hunting grounds in Illinois. The 1954 and 1955 Annual Reports prove otherwise.

The 1954 Annual report states that the $2.00 stamps were used at the Anderson Lake, Rice Lake, Sanganois and Woodford County Public Duck Hunting Areas. A total of $9,122 was collected in daily usage fees at the four locations. The report also states that the $2.00 stamps were used at the Horseshoe Lake and Union County Goose Refuges. A total of $2,762 was collected in fees at the two refuges. This confirms that a public hunting ground was established at the Union County refuge in 1954, as proposed in the 1953 Annual Report. The $4.00 stamps were used at six public pheasant hunting areas (see Figure 18).



Figure 18. Page from the 1954 Annual Report.



The 1955 Annual Report states that the $2.00 stamps were used at the same four duck hunting areas as in 1954, at a new public duck hunting ground located at the Marshall County Wildlife Refuge and at the Horseshoe Lake and Union County Goose refuges. The $4.00 stamps were used at eight pheasant hunting areas (see Figure 19).



Figure 19. Page from the 1955 Annual Report.



The Annual reports for 1956 through 1959 do not specifically mention the daily usage stamps. However, it is now assumed that the $2.00 stamps were used at the public duck and goose hunting areas through 1958. Starting in 1959 the $4.00 stamps, previously used only at the pheasant areas, were also used at the goose refuges (Vanderford, 1973). For a listing of the waterfowl management areas where each kind of stamp was used, see Tables I and II. These tables show the total number of hunters which paid the daily usage fees each year. As one stamp was affixed to a permit for each hunter who paid the daily usage fee, these figures also represent the total number of stamps used each year.







Since this article was originally published, a $4.00 daily usage stamp from 1954 and a $2.00 stamp from 1955 have also been recorded. The 1954 stamp was discovered by revenue specialist Richard Friedburg and the 1955 stamp by Eric Jackson. Both stamps currently reside in the Csaplar collection (see Figure 20).


Figure 20. The 1954 and 1955 daily usage stamps in the Csaplar collection.



The 1955 Annual Report contains two additional items of interest. The first is a table comparing the number of state hunting licenses sold each year from 1945 through 1954. The total number of licenses sold (resident and nonresident) increased 63 percent from 326,567 in 1945 to 515,709 in 1954. This supports the statement made earlier that hunting boomed in Illinois following WWII, as it did in California. Coincidentally, the sale of state hunting licenses in California also increased 63 percent during this period, from 393,282 in 1945-46 to 620,587 in 1954-55 (45th Biennial report for the Years 1956-58).

The second item of interest concerns crop production on the Illinois waterfowl management areas. The 1955 Annual Report states that only two of the areas currently included farming operations, the Horseshoe Lake and Union County Refuges. According to an excerpt from the report: “…on these refuges there are large concentrations of Canada geese that spend the winter. They start arriving from the north in late September and early October, and do not leave until March and April. The Division [of Game Management] grows feed for these geese, to take care of them as long as they remain. At Horseshoe Lake the Division farms approximately eight hundred acres. At Union County the Division farms approximately four hundred acres….The farming operations entail growing corn, millet, milo, and kaffir corn for grain crops, and several pasture crops, such as alfalfa, rye, clover, fescue, bluegrass, brome, and other grasses for for age.”

Nearly 200,000 Canada geese and more than 1.5 million ducks wintered in Illinois during 1955-56. Both of these figures were all-time highs. The 200,000 geese represented an 800 percent increase over the low recorded in 1945-46. Much of the increase can be explained by the success achieved at the new Union County Refuge. In 1949 the refuge was the recipient of 60 geese transplanted from the Horseshoe Lake Refuge. Within six years the Union County flock had increased to 46,000 (Callaway, 1956).

Examples of both values of daily usage stamps are known from 1956. Less than five of the $2.00 and less than ten of the $4.00 have been recorded. The $2.00 stamps have the insignia printed in green ink on manila paper and measure 32 x 37 mm. The $4.00 stamps have the insignia printed in orange ink on light blue-green paper and measure 32 x 39 mm. The serial numbers are printed in black ink (see Figure 21). A unique pair of the 1956 $4.00 stamp was discovered by fish and game collector Jan Wooton (see Figure 22). Starting in 1957 and continuing through 1972, all serial numbers are in red ink.



Figure 21. $2.00 (ducks and geese) and $4.00 (pheasant) stamps from 1956.



Figure 22. The only pair recorded of the 1956 $4.00 stamp.



Throughout the 1950s the IDOC enlarged the waterfowl management areas by purchasing surrounding tracts of land as they became available. For example, the size of the Sanganois Wildlife Refuge was increased from 3,160 acres in 1951 to 6,078 acres in 1959. During this same period the Horseshoe Lake Refuge was increased from 5,320 acres to 9,342. Similar increases were made to several of the pheasant areas (1959 Annual Report).



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