After two days of competition, Chuck Black of Belgrade, Montana, emerged as the winner of the 2023 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest with an oil painting of a northern pintail. The announcement was made at an event and via live stream at the Olmstead Center at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa.
Black’s oil painting will be made into the 2024-2025 Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, or “Duck Stamp” which will go on sale in late June 2024. The Service produces the Federal Duck Stamp, which sells for $25 and raises approximately $40 million in sales each year. These funds support critical conservation to protect wetland habitats in the National Wildlife Refuge System for the benefit of wildlife and the enjoyment of people.
Earlier this week, the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, chaired by Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, approved the allocation of more than $50.6 million in grants through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and funds from the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund. The fund is made up partly of Duck Stamp dollars, to support the acquisition of lands from willing sellers for the Refuge System. The new areas provide additional access to the public to some of the most spectacular places available for hunting, fishing, birdwatching, hiking and other outdoor activities.
“I encourage everyone to buy a Duck Stamp as they have such a significant impact in conserving wetlands for waterfowl and so many other species,” said Service Director Martha Williams. “The art entries for this contest are impressive, and they serve as an important reminder of the wildlife and habitats the Duck Stamp is designed to protect.”
Since it was first established in 1934, Federal Duck Stamp sales to hunters, bird watchers, outdoor enthusiasts and collectors have raised more than $1.2 billion to conserve over 6 million acres of habitat for birds and other wildlife and provide countless opportunities for wildlife-oriented recreation on public lands.
Waterfowl hunters age 16 and older are required to purchase and carry the current Federal Duck Stamp. Many non-hunters, including birdwatchers, conservationists, stamp collectors and others, also purchase the stamp in support of habitat conservation. Additionally, a current Federal Duck Stamp can be used for free admission to any that charges an entry fee.
In addition to Chuck Black, Adam Grimm of Wallace, South Dakota, placed second with an acrylic painting of a northern pintail pair, and Gerald Mobley of Claremore, Oklahoma, took third place with an acrylic painting of a northern pintail.
Des Moines, Iowa, was chosen as the site of this year’s contest because of its importance in the conservation history of the Federal Duck Stamp. The Jay N. Darling Legacy Institute, located at Drake University, houses artifacts and other memorabilia used in the creation of the first Duck Stamp and interprets this important tie between art and conservation.
Of 199 entries judged in this year’s competition, 24 entries made it to the final round of judging. Eligible species for this year’s Federal Duck Stamp Contest were the snow goose, American black duck, northern pintail, ring-necked duck and harlequin duck. View the online gallery of the 2023 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest entries.
For the first time in Federal Duck Stamp Contest history, the judging panel was comprised completely of females. The judges for this year’s Contest were Gail Anderson, MJ Davis, Rebecca Humphries, Rue Mapp, Dr. Karen Waldrop, and the alternate judge was Jennifer Scully.
You can contribute to conservation and America’s great outdoors tradition by buying Federal Duck Stamps at many national wildlife refuges, sporting goods stores and other retailers, through the U.S. Postal Service, or online at https://www.fws.gov/service/buy-duck-stamp-or-e-stamp.