Federal Duck Stamp Office
Migratory Birds



2015 Federal Duck Stamp Contest will be held Sept. 18 & 19

The Federal Duck Stamp Contest is the only federally legislated art competition in the country. This year's contest will be held Sept. 18 & 19 at the National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown, W. Va. It is free and open to the public.

The contest will be live-streamed beginning at 10 a.m. Eastern each day. A link to the broadcast will be posted here just prior to the contest.

Please read the 2015 Duck Stamp Contest Regulations carefully before you submit your entry.

If this is your first time entering the contest, here is some important information you'll want to know:


You may submit your artwork beginning on June 1, 2015. No early entries will be accepted. All artwork must be postmarked no later than midnight August 15, 2015.

Please mail all entries to:
Federal Duck Stamp Contest
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters
5275 Leesburg Pike, MS: MB
Falls Church, VA 22041

Special Note: After the Duck Stamp contest is judged, art is returned via Federal Express to the address submitted on the contest entry form. Please do not submit art with a P.O. box address; also please submit working phone numbers. Please notify the Duck Stamp Office by email of any changes to your return address.

Find out what art characteristics make good stamp design

Eligible Species
Each year, five species are eligible to appear on the Federal Duck Stamp.
For 2015, the species are:

    • Blue-winged teal
    • Cinnamon teal
    • Gadwall
    • Mallard
    • Trumpeter swan

If you have any questions, please contact the Federal Duck Stamp Office.

History of the Federal Duck Stamp Contest

Jay N."Ding" Darling designed the first Federal Duck Stamp in 1934. It depicted two mallards about to land on a marsh pond. In subsequent years, other noted wildlife artists were asked to submit designs to be considered for the stamp. The first art contest, in 1949, was open to any U.S. artist who wished to enter. Sixty-five artists submitted 88 design entries that first year. The number of entries rose to 2,099 in 1981 in the only art competition of its kind sponsored by the U.S. Government.

A panel of noted art, waterfowl and philatelic authorities judges each competition. Winners receive no compensation for their work, other than a pane of stamps carrying their design. Winning artists may sell prints of their designs, which are sought after by hunters, conservationists and art collectors.

Five species are eligible for the contest each year. Artists may choose to use any medium or media. Designs may be black-and-white or full color, and must measure 10 inches wide by 7 inches high.

History of the Federal Duck Stamp

In 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, or Duck Stamp, with the stroke of his pen. In signing the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act, one of the first and most successful of conservation programs in this Nation's history was created.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service annually sponsors a stamp design contest, with wildlife artists from across the nation submitting their work for judging by a panel of artists, philatelists and wildlife experts. The winning art is used on the next year's stamp.

The Act mandates that all waterfowl hunters 16 years of age or older purchase a duck stamp. Proceeds from sales, less the cost of producing the stamp, are used to buy or lease wetlands and associated upland habitats for inclusion in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Wildlife Refuge System. Since the program's inception, Duck Stamp sales have raised more than $800 million to conserve over 6.5 million acres of crucial habitat throughout the United States. With this record of achievement, the Duck Stamp program has been called "one of the most successful conservation program ever initiated."

Fortunately, the sale of stamps is not restricted to hunters. Anyone can purchase the stamp, which can be used as an annual "season pass" to national wildlife refuges charging entrance fees. Conservationists buy the stamp because they know that 98 cents of every dollar invested in the stamp permanently conserves wildlife habitat for future generations; a small investment will bring you and your family long-term returns. Philatelists purchase the stamp as a collectible—a $1 stamp purchased in 1934 may bring as much as $750 for a stamp in mint condition today.

In providing the means to acquire habitat, the Duck Stamp Program offers a simple way for anyone to participate in the conservation of a natural resource we all share: migratory birds.



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2014-2015 Federal Duck Stamp by Adam Grimm


Last updated: February 6, 2015
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