Program annually raises up to $40 million for wetlands conservation
An acrylic painting of two black-bellied whistling ducks by Eufala, Alabama, artist Eddie LeRoy recently won the 2019 Federal Duck Stamp Contest.
The painting will adorn the 2020-’21 Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, which will go on sale in late June 2020.
“These artists are extremely talented, and the quality of the art is matched by the incredible conservation work funded by duck-stamp sales,” U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt said. “By purchasing a duck stamp, waterfowl hunters have helped raise millions of dollars to conserve wildlife and healthy wetland habitats within the National Wildlife Refuge System.”
The federal duck stamp raises $25 to $40 million annually for the conservation and protection of wetland habitats in the National Wildlife Refuge System to benefit wildlife and outdoor recreation. Waterfowl hunters 16 and older must buy and carry the current federal duck stamp. Many non-hunters also purchase the stamp to support habitat conservation. About 98 percent of the stamp’s proceeds go to the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund. Since the program was established 85 years ago, stamp sales have raised more than $1 billion to conserve more than 6 million acres of habitat for birds and other wildlife, and provide numerous opportunities for hunting and recreation on public lands.
The federal duck stamp contest win, announced Sept. 29, was LeRoy’s first. Cory McLaughlin of Wells, Texas, placed second with an oil painting of a black-bellied whistling-duck pair, and Frank Mittelstadt of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, took third with his acrylic painting of a bufflehead pair.
“The duck stamp is a beautiful collectible and a great artistic tradition,” said Jerome Ford, assistant director for the Service’s Migratory Bird Program. “The design of each year’s stamp has been chosen in this wonderful open art contest. I am proud to be a part of this heritage that also benefits habitat and wildlife.”
The 2019 contest had 190 entries,13 of which made it to the final round of judging. Eligible species included the bufflehead, northern shoveler, emperor goose and black-bellied whistling-duck.
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Realtree waterfowl editor Brian Lovett has been an obsessive duck and goose hunter for more than 30 years, chasing his passion on the Dakota prairies and the marshes and open water of his home state of Wisconsin. He's been a writer and editor in the outdoors industry since 1991.