Duck Stamp Contest & Event Information

for artists, spectators and conservationists


The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has published the final 2018 Contest Rules in the Federal Register.

Entries into the 2018 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest will be required to portray one or more visual elements reflecting the theme “Celebrating Our Waterfowl Hunting Heritage.” Contestants will be judged on the quality of their art and how well they illustrate this hunting theme.

Entries must adhere to all contest regulations requiring a live portrayal of one or more of the five eligible waterfowl species (for 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.

 News release
 Final rule
 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.

One of the five or fewer waterfowl species selected each year must be the dominant feature of your entry (in the foreground and clearly the focus of attention). The 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.

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, 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.


The 2018 Federal Duck Stamp Art Competition will be held Friday and Saturday, Sept. 14 & 15 at  Springs Preserve, 180-acre cultural institution designed to commemorate Las Vegas' dynamic history and to provide a vision for a sustainable future. Watch this space, as well as our  Facebook and  Twitter feeds, for more details.


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.

Wisconsin artist Greg Alexander took second place and Ohio artist and former national Junior Duck Stamp artist Christine Clayton of Ohio came in third.

2017 Federal Duck Stamp Contest Top 3 art and Full Scoring

Note to entered artists in the 2017 contest: If your art is on tour with the top 12, you will receive it back in November 2018. For all others, you should have received your art back in October 2017.

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 or if you need general information about the Federal Duck Stamp, please contact Rachel Fisk Levin at

Last Updated: March 22, 2018