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Winner of 75th Anniversary Federal Duck Stamp Contest Named


October 13, 2007


Joshua Winchell, 202 219-7499
Rachel F. Levin, 612-309-5760 (cell)

Wildlife artist Joe Hautman of Plymouth, Minn., today won the 2007 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest – the oldest and most prestigious wildlife art competition in America – with his depiction of a pair of pintail ducks. Department of the Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne announced the winner in front of a crowd of 300 people at the contest, held at BIG Arts in Sanibel, Fla.

“It was a privilege for me to congratulate Joe Hautman when the judges chose his art to grace the 75th Duck Stamp,” said Secretary Kempthorne. “The Duck Stamp program is unique in the realm between art and conservation. This art will be transformed into an equally beautiful stamp and help protect wetlands by generating funding through the sale of that stamp to hunters, stamp-collectors and conservationists. People talk about how art can change the world, and the Duck Stamp is an excellent example. You just need to look at the more than five million acres of waterfowl habitat protected by their purchase using funds from the stamp for proof of the power of this art.”

Hautman’s painting – chosen from among 247 entries from artists across the country – will be featured on the 2008-2009 Federal Duck Stamp which will go on sale in late June 2008. Federal Duck Stamp sales raise about $25 million each year to fund wetland habitat acquisition for the National Wildlife Refuge System. The annual Federal Duck Stamp Contest is the only federally-sponsored juried art competition, and is run by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. This year’s contest crowns the winner of the 75th duck stamp since the program’s inception in 1934. Before 1949, a commission selected the design.

"This was the most exciting Duck Stamp contest in history,” said H. Dale Hall, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “To have a three-way tie for first place, then to have the artist and his family right here in the audience, was fantastic. We’re going to continue to move this contest around the country to give the public a chance to own this.”

The competition was surrounded by a week of public events at J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge and BIG Arts celebrating the life of artist, conservationist and creator of the Duck Stamp, J.N. “Ding” Darling. Born in 1876 in Michigan, Darling was a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner for his conservation-themed cartoons. He also served as Chief of the Bureau of Biological Survey, the forerunner of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, from 1934-1935. Darling’s conservation legacy remains the foundation for the broad-based support and strategic vision of North America’s successful waterfowl management efforts.

All waterfowl hunters age 16 and older are required to purchase and carry the current Migratory Bird Conservation and Hunting Stamp – commonly known as the Duck Stamp – but conservationists, stamp collectors and others also purchase the stamp in support of habitat conservation. Ninety-eight percent of the proceeds from the $15 Duck Stamp go to the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund, which supports the purchase of acres of wetlands for inclusion into the National Wildlife Refuge System.

To date, Duck Stamp funds have been used to acquire habitat at hundreds of refuges, in nearly every state in our nation. There are 548 national wildlife refuges spread across all 50 states and U.S. territories. A current Duck Stamp can be used for free admission to any national wildlife refuge open to the public. Refuges offer unparalleled recreational opportunities, including hunting, fishing, bird watching and photography.

Joe Hautman won the Federal Duck Stamp contest in 1992 and 2002. He has also won multiple state Duck Stamp contests. His brothers, Bob and Jim, are also multiple Federal Duck Stamp Contest winners.

Hautman attended the Federal Duck Stamp contest this year with his family. The audience gave him a standing ovation when his art was chosen as the winning piece.

“I’ve been to a lot of Duck Stamp contests, and this is the most exciting one I’ve been to,” Hautman said. “I’d like to thank my family, and the Fish and Wildlife Service, who turns this artwork into wetlands and ducks.”

Hautman’s winning art depicts two pintails—a male and female—nestled gracefully atop reeds in a marsh.

Second place went to Harold Roe, of Sylvania, Ohio, who painted an acrylic of a lone green-winged teal. Roe has previously placed highly in the Federal Duck Stamp Contest. Third place went to Scot Storm of Freeport, Minn., who painted a pair of mallards in acrylic. Storm’s work appeared on the 2004-2005 Federal Duck Stamp.

Eligible species for this year's contest were the mallard, northern pintail, canvasback, green-winged teal and harlequin duck.

Although no cash prize is awarded for winning the Federal Duck Stamp Contest, the artist receives worldwide recognition and, because he or she retains the rights to the original art, can profit from the sale of limited edition prints.

Duck Stamps bearing this year's winning design will go on sale at post offices, National Wildlife Refuges, some national retail chain stores, and various sporting-goods stores nationwide in late June of 2008. The 2008-2009 Duck Stamp will be available at select locations in both a self-adhesive format and the traditional gummed format. In addition, the Service recently started a three-year pilot program allowing the state fish and wildlife management agencies of Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Texas, and Wisconsin, to sell stamps electronically through their individual automated licensing systems, providing a special receipt as proof of purchase.

The five judges for the competition were selected by the Secretary of the Interior for their dedication to conservation and professional expertise. They are:

  • Jim Sprankle of Sanibel Island, Fla., is one of the best-known wood sculptors of wild birds in the world and a former pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Cincinnati Reds.
  • Matt Hogan is executive director of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. Matt is an avid hunter, angler and fly-fisherman.
  • Jeanie Morris from Springfield, Mo., is president of the Springfield Arts Council and has studied painting with many well-known artists in both the United States and Europe.
  • Cheryl Ganz is the chief Curator for Philately at the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum. She co-chaired the Winton M. Blount Symposium on Postal History and was curator of National Postal Museum exhibits at the Washington 2006 World Philatelic Exhibition and the American Philatelic Society Stamp Show 2006.
  • Eugene Hester of Springfield, Va., is a former Deputy Director of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He is an avid wildlife photographer and outdoor writer, his photographs and articles appearing in many national and state magazines, as well as books, calendars and other publications.
  • Richard Slaughter, (alternate judge), from Easton, Md., is the publisher of the nature and conservation-focused Attraction Magazine. He is an avid waterfowler, collector of working decoys, wildlife art expert and collector of Federal and State Duck Stamps.

Downloadable images of the top three paintings and additional information concerning the contest will be available on the Internet at

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 97-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System which encompasses more than 548 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 66 national fish hatcheries, 64 fish and wildlife management assistance offices, 64 Fishery Resource Offices, and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

“Ding” Darling Wildlife Society – a non-profit Friends of the Refuge organization with 1,400 members – supports environmental education and services at J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. It supports projects such as the Education Center, internships, interpretative signage, research, student education, and informational literature. The society’s volunteer corps number 230 and has been recognized nationwide as the model for other refuge cooperating associations. The Society has won two prestigious awards: The National Voluntary Service Award in 1991 from the National Recreation and Parks Association and the Friends Group of the Year in 1999 from the National Wildlife Refuge Association. Visit

Known as Sanibel and Captiva’s home for all the arts, BIG ARTS has been providing cultural enrichment and fulfillment to island residents since 1979. BIG ARTS began when a group of artists dreamed of a cultural center on the island. Today, BIG ARTS members and participants enjoy a wide spectrum of performing and visual arts events and the community participates in more than 160 educational classes and workshops each year. Visit

Joe Hautman reacts to being named the 2007 Duck Stamp Contest Winner.   Photo by Tom MacKenzie, USFWS   Oct 13, 2007   Big Arts, Sanibel, Fl Winning Art for 2007:   Pintails in acrylic by Joe Hautman, Plymouth , MN (USFWS photo) USFWS Director H. Dale Hall (L), Joe Hautman, 2007 Duck Stamp winner (center) and Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne October 13, 2007 Big Arts, Sanibel, Fl.



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