The California Department of Fish and Game is inviting artists nationwide to submit their original work to the 2011 state duck stamp contest.
The image must depict a male and female pair of Barrow's Goldeneye (Bucephala islandica), the species selected by the California Fish and Game Commission for the 2011-12 stamp, which all state waterfowl hunters must purchase.
The artwork needs to be original and hand-drawn, and can be in the medium or combination of mediums of the artist's choosing (with some exceptions, which are not eligible and will be disqualified if entered). Complete rules are available online at www.dfg.ca.gov/duckstamp/contest/rules.
Entries will be accepted from March 1 until April 30 and must be accompanied by a completed participation agreement, an entry form and a nonrefundable $50 entry fee payable to "California Wildlife Foundation."
Entries will be judged at a public event to be held in Sacramento in May. The top submissions will also be showcased at the Pacific Flyway Decoy Assn. art show in July.
In past years, waterfowl hunters were required to affix stamps to their hunting license. This year, California has moved to an automated licensing system, and hunters are no longer required to carry the physical stamps in the field -- proof of purchase prints directly onto the license. However, the Department of Fish and Game will still produce the stamps, which will be mailed at the end of the hunting season.
The department sells about 70,000 duck stamps annually, including sales to collectors. In addition to the stamps, the department issues signed, limited-edition prints also valued by art collectors. Since its inception in 1971, the California duck stamp program has raised more than $22 million, and the money can only be spent on waterfowl-related conservation projects. It is the first, and oldest, state duck stamp program in the country.
The entire library of California duck stamps can be viewed on the Department of Fish and Game website.
-- Kelly Burgess
Photo: The 2010 California duck stamp art, portraying of a pair of redheads, by Timothy Taylor of Mine Hill, N.J. Credit: California Department of Fish and Game