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Famous cartoonist Jay “Ding” Darling produced this brush and ink drawing of mallards that became the first Federal Duck Stamp in 1934-35. Photo by USFWS.

Famous cartoonist Jay “Ding” Darling produced this brush and ink drawing of mallards that became the first Federal Duck Stamp in 1934-35. Photo by USFWS.

The Federal Duck Stamp –
A storied history begins a new chapter

The Federal Duck Stamp has a long and storied history and a new chapter is being added to that history right here in the Midwest. That new chapter begins as the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point hosts the 2017 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest, Sept. 15-16.

The event is open to the public at 10 a.m. both days for those wanting to join in on history in the making as the winning art is selected from entries from artists nationwide that will adorn the 2018-19 Federal Duck Stamp. Four previous artists from the state of Wisconsin have won the coveted title and have had their art featured on the stamp: Walter E. Bohl in 1943-44; Owen J. Gromme in 1945-46; Martin R. Murk in 1977-78; and Arthur G. Anderson in 1987-88.

We’re excited to host the event here in the Midwest at the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point which has one of the nation's premier natural resources college programs and some history of its own with the Federal Duck Stamp Contest. College of Natural Resources Dean, Christine Thomas served as a contest judge in 2012 and has actively worked over the last several years to bring the 2017 contest to Stevens Point.

In 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act (Duck Stamp Act) as America looked to stop and reverse the destruction of wetlands that are vital to the survival of migratory waterfowl. Under this Act, all waterfowl hunters aged 16 and older must purchase and carry a Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp each year, known today as the Federal Duck Stamp. In addition to hunters, many conservationists, artists, collectors and outdoor recreationists also buy the stamps as a way of supporting and participating in wildlife conservation.

Today, sales of duck stamps to hunters, bird watchers, outdoor enthusiasts and collectors have raised more than $950 million, which has been used to protect nearly six million acres for birds and other wildlife. The Federal Duck Stamp is one of the most successful conservation programs ever initiated and is a highly effective way to conserve America’s natural resources. For every dollar spent on Federal Duck Stamps, 98 cents go towards acquiring vital habitat for protection in the National Wildlife Refuge System.

The Federal Duck Stamp Contest to select the winning stamp design is the nation’s oldest continuing federally sponsored art competition; winners become noteworthy among wildlife artists and stamp enthusiasts.

Artists in the Midwest hold a long-standing place in the history of the Federal Duck Stamp Contest. Including the four Wisconsin artists previously mentioned, more than 20 Federal Duck Stamp artists have hailed from states in the Midwest, including James and Joseph Hautman, who share the honor of the most Duck Stamp Contest wins at five apiece.

Who will earn the high honor and recognition as this year’s Federal Duck Stamp winning artist? Join us Sept. 15-16 in Stevens Point to find out and witness history in the making.

More information about the contest and Federal Duck Stamps:

2017 Federal Duck Stamp Contest - UW Stevens Point

History of the Federal Duck Stamp

Federal Duck Stamp Contest Rules

Gallery of Previous Duck Stamps

How to Buy Duck Stamps

By Larry Dean
Regional Office – External Affairs

Last updated: June 8, 2020