Waterfowl Hunting in Alaska
License and Duck Stamp Requirements

License Requirements

Resident Hunters

All Alaska residents age 18 or older must possess a hunting license to hunt in Alaska and must carry it while hunting. Resident hunters 60 years old or older may obtain a free, permanent identification card issued by the Department. This card replaces the sport fishing, hunting, and trapping licenses. Disabled veterans qualified under AS 16.05.341 may receive a free hunting license. Residents with an annual family income equal to or less than the most recent poverty guidelines for the state may buy a $5.00 low-income license.

Nonresident and Alien Hunters

All nonresident or alien hunters, regardless of age, must possess the appropriate hunting license to hunt waterfowl.

Nonresident Military Personnel

Members of the military service on active duty who are permanently stationed in the state, and their dependents who are living in the state, and are not yet Alaska residents under AS 16.05.940(28), may buy a special nonresident military license or a non-resident small game license.

Duck Stamps

State Duck Stamp

Waterfowl hunters must purchase a current year's Alaska State Duck Stamp for all fall hunting and for those that qualify for the spring/summer subsistence hunt unless you:

  • are an Alaska resident under the age of 18;
  • are an Alaska resident 60 years of age or older;
  • are a disabled veteran eligible for a free license;
  • qualify for a low-income license; or
  • are hunting only cranes and snipe.

You can purchase a state waterfowl stamp from the ADF&G online store or from a local vendor. If you have any questions about obtaining a state waterfowl stamp, please contact ADF&G Licensing at adfg.license@alaska.gov or call 907-465-2376.

State Duck Stamp

Ring-necked Duck Aythya collaris

The 2021 Alaska state duck stamp features a photo of a lone male Ring-necked Duck at sunset by Jamin Hunter Taylor of Southcentral Alaska. The only boy in a family of 6 children, he often found himself on his own, either doing something creative indoors or off in the woods near his house letting his imagination run wild. His dad is an avid outdoorsman and, as such, was always out hunting, trapping, or fishing depending on the season. His love of birds and nature is rooted in his childhood. Many of his days are now spent in the woods, hunting critters on his own terms and in his own way. Instead of a gun, he carries a camera. Photography is always in season and there is no bag limit. He chose to go by J. Hunter Photography because it connects him to his roots and with what he loves to do.

A compact duck with a peaked head, the male Ring-necked Duck has a cinnamon neck ring, but the ring is almost never visible in the field, which is why the bird is often referred to as a "ringbill". Ring-necked Duck are similar in appearance to both Greater and Lesser Scaups. Unlike the scaups, the Male Ring-necked Duck has a black back.

Ring-necked Ducks breed in freshwater marshes and bogs across the boreal forest of northern North America. These diving ducks are often seen in patches of open water fringed with aquatic vegetation. They tend to remain in pairs during the breeding season but group into large flocks during migration and over winter on lakes and swamps. Pairs tend to form in spring and stay together until incubation begins. Ring-necked Ducks build their nests among dense emergent plants in marshes. Typically building their nests directly over the water or on floating vegetation; this helps protect the nests from land-based predators.

Ring-necked Ducks feed by diving underwater. When diving, they leap forward in an arc to plunge underwater, and they swim using only their feet for propulsion. Ring-necked Ducks eat submerged plants and aquatic invertebrates. They also eat mollusks (swallowing them whole and crushing the shells in their gizzard) as well as snails, caddisflies, dragonfly nymphs, midges, earthworms, and leeches. Protein-rich animal food is important during the breeding season when adults are raising their young.

Duck populations can fluctuate from year to year because of wetland conditions on the breeding grounds. They are among the most likely of North American ducks to eat spent shot they find on the wetland bottoms where they feed, which can make them vulnerable to lead poisoning. The 1991 ban on lead shot for waterfowl hunting helped alleviate this, but old lead shot remains in wetlands where Ring-necked Ducks continue to find it. Ring-necked Ducks are sensitive to development and degradation of wetland habitats.

The State Duck Stamp is valid from February 1 to January 31 the following year to encompass both the spring/summer subsistence and fall hunting seasons.

Federal Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp

2021-2022 Federal Duck Stamp, featuring a drake Lesser Scaup by Richard Clifton of Milford, Delaware. This stamp expires on June 30th, 2022 and can be purchased from the United States Postal Service, most major sporting goods stores and large chain stores that sell hunting and fishing licenses and online at https://www.duckstamp.com

Federal Duck Stamp

By purchasing a Duck Stamp, you will be showing your support of bird conservation in our National Wildlife Refuge System, 98 cents of every duck stamp dollar goes directly into the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund to purchasing of vital bird habitat benefitting ducks, geese, and other migratory birds.

Federal Duck Stamp Exemption for Subsistence Hunters

A Federal Duck Stamp is not required if you are a qualified permanent rural Alaska resident or an eligible person living in an included area. Seasons when you may hunt without a federal duck stamp vary depending on how you qualify for this exemption. However, you must purchase a hunting license and state duck stamp unless you qualify for license and duck stamp exemptions listed above. For questions or clarifications, please contact the USFWS Office of Law Enforcement at (907) 786-3311.

Junior Duck Stamp

The Federal Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Program is an integrated art and science curriculum developed to teach environmental science and habitat conservation. The program combines art, science, and cultural curricula to teach a greater awareness of our nation's natural and cultural resources. Participants select a species of North American waterfowl, do research on this species and its habitat, and then depict the waterfowl in an artistic medium. Students learn about conserving habitats while they explore the aesthetic qualities of wildlife and nature.

2019 Junior Duck Stamp
Kansas artist Margaret McMullen's acrylic painting of a pair of hooded mergansers has been chosen to appear on the 2021 junior duck stamp. A panel of five judges picked the 18-year-old's painting for the top honor from among 53 entries in this year's National Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest.

The Junior Duck Stamp Program has many benefits:

  • Introduces school age children to an important and fragile part of the natural world.
  • Instills a sense of individual responsibility toward the environment.
  • Benefits waterfowl and their habitats as well as all migratory birds and hundreds of plants and animals that share wetland habitats.

The Junior Duck Stamp is not required to hunt waterfowl. Proceeds from the sale of the $5 stamp are re-invested into the Junior Duck Stamp Program to support conservation education and provide recognition for contest participants and winners. The Program continues to educate youth about land stewardship and the importance of connecting to their natural worlds.

For more information or to learn about and participate in this program: