No environmental rule is too small or petty for the Trump administration’s crosshairs. The federal Fish and Wildlife Service implemented a new rule in May to make hunting paraphernalia a mandatory requirement in the annual duck stamp design contest. The updated guidelines, based on a theme of “celebrating our waterfowl hunting heritage,” state that entries “must also include appropriate waterfowl hunting-related accessories or elements.” But, according to Audubon Magazine, at least 24 of 138 artists this year found sneaky ways around the ridiculous requirement by including subtle shotgun shells or wooden duck calls, which hunters use to lure in the birds. “It’s just not good for trying to get the correct message across for people who don’t know anything about hunting,” wildlife artist Rebekah Knight said.
The duck stamp is a $25 license to hunt waterfowl but most of the money goes toward bird conservation and, as a result, the stamps are popular among birdwatchers and non-hunters, and the design contest typically has a conservation theme. “It’s almost comical the desperate lengths the dwindling hunting industry is willing to go to make its clients feel relevant,” Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals, said last month when her organization sued over the new rule.