Duck Stamp Contest & Event Information

for artists, spectators and conservationists


The 2018 Federal Duck Stamp Art Competition will be held Friday and Saturday, Sept. 14 & 15, 2018 at  Springs Preserve in Las Vegas, Nev. Contest judging will begin at 10 a.m. each day.

 Springs Preserve will offer free admission to its 180-acre site during the contest weekend.

Come enjoy the art contest and explore Nevada history, culture and wildlife in the preserve’s botanical gardens, museums and trails. Learn about wise water use and other sustainable lifestyle choices you can make.

Throughout the weekend, enjoy special demonstrations of outdoor wildlife and recreational skills and visit partner information booths to learn how to experience more of what southern Nevada has to offer. Explore the different art, stamp and other vendors to take home the perfect souvenir from your visit.

Special note: The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is committed to providing access to the Contest for all participants. Springs Preserve is wheelchair accessible throughout many of its public areas. The contest will be live-streamed and will be closed captioned. Please direct all requests for on-site sign language interpreting services, or other accommodation needs, to Suzanne Fellows at In order to be accommodated, all requests must be in writing and must be received by close of business on August 30, 2018.

Why Las Vegas?
At first glance, Las Vegas may not seem a logical choice as the site of the Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest. However, did you know that:
• Las Vegas is more than just “The Strip”; several federal, state, city, and nongovernment partners work together to provide millions of acres of public access to outdoor recreation opportunities in the southern Great Basin.
 Desert National Wildlife Refuge is the largest refuge outside of Alaska.
 Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge is a critical Pacific Flyway stopver; more than 73 percent of the refuge was created using monies from the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund - to which Federal Duck Stamps have contributed over $1 billion dollars.
Tule duck decoys, which are made from tule rushes and feathers and resemble canvasbacks, are the oldest known examples of waterfowl decoys. A cache found in Nevada, created 2,000 years ago by Native Americans, point to a rich history of wildlife and a waterfowl hunting tradition in the area.

We invite you, your family, and friends to come explore the desert, learn the new skills, and take part in the rich tradition of the Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest.

Where Can I Get More Information?
Watch this space,  visit the Springs Preserve website, and follow us on  Facebook and  Twitter for the latest details.


Entries must adhere to all contest regulations requiring a live portrayal of one or more of the five eligible waterfowl species (2018: wood duck, American wigeon, northern pintail, green-winged teal and lesser scaup) as the dominant foreground feature that is clearly the focus of attention.

Additionally, all 2018 contest entries will also be required to portray one or more visual element(s) reflecting the theme "Celebrating Our Waterfowl Hunting Heritage"

Each entry will be judged on the quality of art as it would appear as a Federal Duck Stamp, based on accuracy of portrayal of the chosen eligible species, the entry's design and composition, and how well it illustrates the waterfowl hunting theme.

 2018 Federal Duck Stamp Contest Rules & Entry Forms (1.8MB)

Who Can Enter the Federal Duck Stamp Contest
The Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp Art Contest is open to all U.S. Citizens, nationals and resident aliens who are at least 18 years of age by June 1, 2018.

At least one of the five eligible waterfowl species must be the dominant feature of your entry (in the foreground and clearly the focus of attention). Eligible species for 2018 are:

Wood duck
American wigeon
Northern pintail
Green-winged teal
Lesser scaup

For 2018, artists are required to include a hunting-related accessory and/or portray the theme "Celebrating Our Waterfowl Hunting Heritage." Hunting-related accessories might include hunting dogs or waterfowl decoys. A  national wildlife refuge may also be featured as background habitat. Non-eligible species or other designs that depict uses of the stamp for sporting, conservation and/or collecting purposes are optional.

There can be no writing (including numbers on bird bands) depicted on your entry. Do not sign your entry.

Entry may be in any media EXCEPT photography or computer-generated art. Design must be the contestant's original hand-drawn creation. The entry design may not be copied or duplicated from previously published art, including photographs, or from images in any format published on the Internet.

Entry Size Requirements
Entries must be 7" x 10" and matted over with bright white matting. The matting must be 1" wide. Total size (entry with matting) must be 9" x 12" and less than ¼" thick. We suggest using a 1/8" masonite board or foamcore with 1⁄8" matting to equal the total width of 1/4" thick.

Entry Submission Requirements & Deadline
Include the official entry forms and your payment with your artwork (see  contest regulations (1.8MB) for entry forms and payment information). Artists may submit their artwork and entry fee beginning on June 1, 2018. No early entries will be accepted. All artwork must be postmarked no later than midnight August 15, 2018.

Send your entry to:
Federal Duck Stamp Contest
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Headquarters
5275 Leesburg Pike, MS: MB
Falls Church, VA 22041

Note: All art entered in the 2018 contest will be held for display at a special event through the end of September 2018. No artwork will be returned immediately after the contest. No artist may obtain his or her work immediately after the contest.

After the Duck Stamp contest and display period, 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 return address; also, please submit working phone numbers. Please notify the Duck Stamp Office of any changes to your return address by emailing

A panel of five noted art, waterfowl and stamp authorities judges each competition. Judges evaluate entries according to criteria in regulations including, but not limited to accuracy of the waterfowl and habitat, composition, inclusion of any mandatory elements or published theme, and suitability to be made into a 1 3/4" L x 1 1/2" W stamp. No entries are judged prior to the start of the contest; any piece of art that meets the published criteria of the  2018 Contest Rules (1.8MB) will be accepted for judging.

Tips and Hints
Before you begin your entry, find out what characteristics make  good stamp design (253.7KB).

You must be 18 years old by June 1 to enter the Federal Duck Stamp Contest. Younger artists should check out the Junior Duck Stamp Conservation and Design Program.

Federal Duck Stamp Contest winners receive no compensation for their work other than a pane of stamps carrying their design signed by the Secretary of the Interior. However, winning artists may sell prints of their designs, which are sought after by hunters, conservationists, and art and stamp collectors.

History of the Federal Duck Stamp Contest
 Jay N. "Ding" Darling designed the first Federal Duck Stamp in 1934. In subsequent years, 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. To this day, the contest remains open to any artist 18 or older who is a U.S. citizen.

In 2005, the Federal Duck Stamp Contest was held outside Washington, D.C., for the first time in its history. The Fish and Wildlife Service continues to hold the contest in various locations around the country in order to give more people the opportunity to attend.


On Sept. 16, artist Bob Hautman of Delano, Minn., took top honors at the 2017 Federal Duck Stamp Contest, held at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. His pair of mallards in acrylic bested 216 other entries.

2017 Federal Duck Stamp Contest Top 3 art and Full Scoring

For more information about the Federal Duck Stamp, see our History of the Federal Duck Stamp page. You can also buy Duck Stamps, Junior Duck Stamps, E-Stamps and stamp-related products.

If you would like more information about entering the Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest - including inquiries from entered artists and prospective entrants - please contact Suzanne Fellows at

If you are a member of the news media and you need information about the Federal Duck Stamp or would like to arrange an interview, contact Rachel Fisk Levin at or 703/358-2405.

Last Updated: July 18, 2018