Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Updated: October 13, 9:32 AM ET
It's turned into a "he said, she said, what'd she just say?" situation for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The Associated Press reported that due to a printing error, hunters looking to order duck stamps using the phone number on the back of the newest version, which went on sale July 31, were taken to "Intimate Connections" and introduced to a breathy female voice offering to turn them on for $1.99 a minute.
Two numbers are transposed, making what was supposed to spell out 1-800-STAMP24 actually spell out 1-800-TRAMP24. That's 1-800-872-6724 (TRAMP) instead of 1-800-782-6724 (STAMP).
The stamps, which are required for legal waterfowl hunting, sell for $15. They generated $22 million in revenue in 2006-2007, 98 percent of which goes into the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund.
The USFWS Web site has an image of the 2008-2009 stamp showing wildlife artist Joe Hautman's depiction of a pair of northern pintails, followed by this copy:
The correct phone number to order duck stamps is : 1-800-STAMP24
The full effect of the error may not take effect until next summer when duck hunters start looking to reorder, but the TRAMP number is no longer a working sex chat line.
USFWS spokesperson Rachel Levin told the AP that this was an unfortunate "typographical error that was not caught" but it's not worth the $300,000 it would cost to recall and reprint the 3.5 million stamps that have the wrong number.
"Printing uses a lot of paper and ink and a lot of resources. Since this is a conservation stamp, we really felt like that money could be better used," said Levin, who added that the correct number to order more stamps appears on the card twice and the incorrect number once.
Levin said the stamps are still valid. The USFWS learned of the snafu early last week when contacted by several who had purchased the stamps and called the number.
The printers of the stamp, Ashton Potter Security Printers of Williamsville, N.Y., told the AP they printed exactly what they were given.
Duck Stamps, created in 1934 as federal licenses for migratory waterfowl hunting, have generated more than $700 million that has been used to help purchase or lease over 5.2 million acres of waterfowl habitat in the U.S. Besides hunting, holders of a stamp can gain entrance to National Wildlife Refuges that charge admission.
Each year, wildlife artists compete to have their work chosen for the Federal Duck Stamp, the crowning jewel of a career. Winners receive no compensation, but artists may sell prints of their designs, which are sought by hunters, conservationists and art collectors.
Hautman's Web site has framed work of his pintails selling from $185 to $1,195.