Shari Erickson of Beaver Creek, Ore., won for her painting of a pair of Barrow’s Goldeneye, the species for this year's competition and stamp. This was Erickson's first duck stamp contest win.
"I absolutely love Barrow’s Goldeneye. They’re my favorite bird to paint, which is really what provoked me to enter this duck stamp contest," Erickson said. A nature and wildlife artist since 1985, Erickson has been entering duck stamp contests since 2009.
The image beat out 15 other entries submitted by artists nationwide and will adorn the 2011-12 stamp. In past years, waterfowl hunters were required to affix stamps to their hunting license but this year, with California moving to an automated licensing system, hunters are no longer required to carry the physical stamps in the field -- proof of purchase prints directly onto the license. The stamps will now be mailed, upon request, to license-holders at the end of the hunting season.
The Department of Fish and Game sells about 70,000 duck stamps annually, including sales to collectors. In addition to the stamps, the department typically 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 original art will be on display, along with the second, third and two honorable mention pieces, at the Pacific Flyway Decoy Assn. art show, July 15-17 in Sacramento.
The entire library of California duck stamps can be viewed on the DFG website.
-- Kelly Burgess
Photo: The winning artwork for the 2011 California waterfowl hunting stamp. Credit: Department of Fish and Game