Duck Stamp Contest & Event Information

for artists, spectators and conservationists

Celebrating our Artist
We will not be able to host a public First Day of Sale Event in 2021. We hope to have a public celebration of our 2021-2022 Federal Artist Richard Clifton and Junior Artist Margaret McMullen and 2020-2021 Federal Artist Eddie LeRoy and Junior Artist Madison Grimm, our conservation partners, and the legacy and traditions of the Federal Duck Stamp Program at a later date. We do not know when or where this event will be able to take place. Information will be posted on this site.

2021 Federal Contest
The annual Federal Contest will be held on September 24 & 25, 2021. Please check back to find out how you can participate.

The 2020 Contest was held on September 25 & 26, 2020
You may view the entries to the 2020 Contest on our  gallery. Please remember these are low resolution scans that have not been color corrected. All judging was done viewing the originals in person in a controlled environment. An after  contest guide book (2.4MB) is available to assist you in following along with the videos of the Contest judging.  Day 1 of the judging and  Day 2 of the judging can be viewed on-line.

2021 Duck Stamp contest information for artists

The 2021 Federal Duck Stamp Contest rules are  now available (5.5MB).

Who Can Enter the Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest
The contest is open to all U.S. citizens, nationals and resident aliens who are at least 18 years of age by June 1, 2021.

Eligible Species
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 2021 are:
Greater White-fronted Goose
Ross’s Goose
Blue-winged Teal
King Eider

You must also include waterfowl hunting related accessory or scene that illustrates the theme “celebrating our waterfowl hunting heritage.” Waterfowl hunting related accessories include, but are not limited to, such elements such as hunting dogs and waterfowl decoys.

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 or lettering on signs) depicted on your entry. Do not sign your entry.

Only one entry per artist can be accepted.

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 material, including photographs, or from images in any format published on the Internet.

Entry Size Requirements
Entries must be 7" x 10" and oriented in the horizontal position. They must be 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 thickness of 1/4".

Entry Submission Requirements & Deadline
Include the official entry forms and your payment with your artwork (see  contest regulations (5.5MB) for entry forms and payment information). Artists may submit their artwork and entry fee beginning on June 1, 2021. No early entries will be accepted. All artwork must be postmarked no later than midnight August 15, 2021.

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 2021 contest will be held for display at a special event following the contest. No artwork will be returned until late October 2021. 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. No individual boxes or shipping material can be saved or returned. 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 in the  2021 Contest Rules (5.5MB) 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 in Kindergarten through twelfth grade 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. Sixty-five artists submitted 88 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.

Richard Clifton Wins 2020 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest
2019 duckstamp winner black-bellied whistling-duck pair Eddie LeRoy
Richard Clifton of Milford, DE, took top honors at the 2020 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest, held Sept. 25 and 26, 2020.

 News release
 Gallery of 2020 Federal Duck Stamp Contest entries
Top 3 Art and 2020 Contest Scoring
 Full contest scoring & list of entrants (193.8KB)

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

For 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 Valerie Fellows at or 703/358-2285.

Last Updated: June 23, 2021