Federal Duck Stamp Office
Migratory Birds





Information for Artists

The first Federal Duck Stamp, designed by J.N. “Ding” Darling in 1934 at President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s request, depicts two mallards about to land on a marsh pond. In subsequent years, other noted wildlife artists were asked to submit designs. The first 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. This is the only art competition of its kind sponsored by the U.S. government.

A panel of noted art, waterfowl, and philatelic authorities is appointed by the Secretary of the Interior to judge 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.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service mails contest regulations to interested artists each spring. All entries must be postmarked no later than midnight, August 15th. Artists may choose their own medium. Designs may be in black-and-white or full color, and must measure 10 inches wide by 7 inches high.

Jay Norwood "Ding" Darling created the first Federal Duck Stamp in 1934

Jay Norwood "Ding" Darling was the creator of the first Federal Duck Stamp. Pictured here as a young man in 1904. USFWS/Sioux CityJournal

Federal Duck Stamp Contest Regulations

The Federal Duck Stamp Office has released the Duck Stamp Contest Regulations, which contain the list of eligible species for the coming years. If you would like to request a printed copy of these regulations you may email the Duck Stamp Program (include a valid postal mailing address). You may also call the office (703-358-1784) to request a copy.

Duck Stamp Artist Bob Hines.  He designed the 1946-1947 Stamp.

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service artist Robert (Bob) Hines designed the 1946-1947 Federal Duck Stamp. USFWS/Luther Goldman



For more information, call (703) 358-1784 or email duckstamps@fws.gov

Have you entered the contest?
For artists who have entered the contest, the Federal Duck Stamp Program understands your interest in having the most up to date information regarding contest results and the status of the artwork. Below are a couple of reminders that may answer some questions for you:

1. How can I find out if my artwork made it safely to the Federal Duck Stamp Program Offices?
The best way is to send your entry using a carrier that allows tracking. For the United States Postal Service this is certified mail. For other carrier services, you simply need to record your tracking number. You may also call the Duck Stamp Office beginning two weeks after the final deadline for the art entry.

2. The contest is over, when will I receive my artwork?
A majority of the art entries will be returned to artists within two months of the judging. For artists who have placed in the top 25 places (usually the top 5 to 6 scores), your art work will tour for the next year. You should then receive your art approximately 14 months from the date of the contest. If you have questions about the location of your art, contact the Federal Duck Stamp Office at duckstamps@fws.gov.

Last updated: January 9, 2015
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