Bob Hautman of Delano on Saturday picked up his third win in the annual juried art contest since 1996 with his acrylic painting of a pair of mallards.
Beating a crowded field of 215 entries in a contest made popular by a reference in a Coen Brothers’ film and a recent documentary, Hautman’s painting will grace 2018’s $25 Federal Duck Stamp. Established in 1934, some 98 percent of the purchase price of each stamp, required for waterfowl hunting, goes directly to help acquire and protect wetland habitat in the National Wildlife Refuge System.
“Our nation’s waterfowl hunters and other sportsmen and women have a long tradition of leading the way in conserving wildlife and habitat,” said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke in a statement. “There is no better example of this than the Duck Stamp, one of the most successful conservation programs in U.S. history, through which hunters have contributed hundreds of millions of dollars since its inception eight decades ago.”
Offically the Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, the first Duck Stamp was drawn by cartoonist Ding Darling, who in 1934 was the head of the U.S. Biological Survey, the forerunner of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Noted artists were asked to design subsequent stamps until 1949 when the public contest — the only one of its kind sponsored by the federal government — was established.
The five-judge panel who selected the winning final entry included a waterfowl biologist, a science illustrator, a wildlife artist, a lifelong hunter, and a stamp collector. Besides duck and goose hunters, many stamps are purchased each year by avid collectors, birdwatchers and wildlife groups, in all generating $40 million annually for conservation efforts.
Hautman also won the contest in 1996 and 2000.
The full gallery of the 2017 entries is below.