On the last Saturday of September, a panel of judges considered the finalists from among 137 entries to the Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest, livestreamed from US Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters, in Falls Church, Virginia. The Hautman Brothers—Joe, Bob and Jim, who had won an unprecedented 13 Federal Duck Stamp contests between them—settled in to watch the proceedings after a morning duck hunt in central Minnesota. This year’s competition in the long-running sibling rivalry ended up going to Jim, who won his sixth contest with his acrylic painting that sets a dramatic, threatening sky and a skiff of hunters crossing a lake as the background for a pair of redheads bobbing in the foreground.
The tension of the painting resonates with every duck hunter who feels the tug of adventure with the challenging conditions of waterfowling. The Hautman Brothers grew up hunting together, and their wildlife paintings, borne of their experiences and devotion to depicting them in art, inform their long-running success.
Jim Hautman’s painting will be made into the 2022–’23 Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp—the $25 stamp that all migratory bird hunters age 16 and over must carry with their hunting license. The Federal Duck Stamp, which will go on sale in late June, annually raises approximately $40 million, most of which is used to support the acquisition of critical habitat for the National Wildlife Refuge System.
Since the stamp was established, in 1934, it has raised more than $1.1 billion and helped conserve more than 6 million acres of habitat for birds and other wildlife. A current Federal Duck Stamp also can be used for free admission to any national wildlife refuge that charges an entry fee.
For more information on the Federal Duck Stamp, visit the USF&WS website.