Federal Duck Stamp contest winner selected
The artwork that will grace the 2011-12 Federal Duck Stamp has been chosen.
Artist James Hautman, from Chaska, Minn., took top honors for his acrylic painting of a pair of white-fronted geese. Hautman had won three times before, in 1989, 1994 and 1998.
"I'll tell you what, it just leaves you speechless," said Hautman, who was in the auditorium as the judges voted his art the winner. "Even though I've won it before, it's tough to breathe sitting out there."
The stamp, which all waterfowl hunters age 16 and older must possess, is produced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and will go on sale in late June for $15. The stamps also allow free admission to any public national wildlife refuge.
Of 235 entries in this year’s two-day competition, held Friday and Saturday at the David Brower Center in Berkeley, 11 entries made it through to the final round of judging.
In the final round of judging, James and Robert Hautman's paintings were tied for first place, and a tie-breaker vote was held to determine the winner.
"Once again, our panel of judges has chosen a beautiful work of art to grace our next Federal Duck Stamp," said Dan Ashe, deputy director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "My sincerest congratulations to James on his astounding fourth contest win and to all of the artists who entered this year. By entering the Duck Stamp Contest, you are all playing a role in supporting one of the world’s most successful and effective conservation programs."
Purchase of the stamps, also prized by philatelists, birding enthusiasts and conservationists, helps to support migratory bird habitat, raising about $25 million annually to fund the acquisition and preservation of wetlands for the National Wildlife Refuge System. Since 1934, sales of Federal Duck Stamps have helped to purchase nearly 6 million acres of wildlife habitat for the system.
-- Kelly Burgess
Images, from top: Winning artwork for the 2011-12 Federal Duck Stamp artwork by James Hautman; Second- and third-place art. Credit: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service