The acrylic painting of a lesser scaup (bluebill) drake by Richard Clifton of Milford, Delaware, was selected from 138 entries as the winner of the 2020 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest in Falls Church, Virginia.
Clifton’s artwork, which features a dramatically lit scaup near cattails with a lanyard of duck calls in the foreground, will be made into the 2021-2022 Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, a.k.a. Duck Stamp. The $25 stamp is required of all hunters aged 16 and older to hunt waterfowl in the United States. Funds raised conserve wetland habitat in the National Wildlife Refuge System to benefit wildlife and people. Duck Stamp revenues also help provide public access for hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities.
“Hunters and anglers are the backbone of American conservation, and the Duck Stamp is one of the many ways they contribute to conserving America’s waterfowl and wetlands throughout the country,” said David Bernhardt, U.S. secretary of the Interior.
The Federal Duck Stamp was established in 1934. Stamp sales have raised more than $1 billion to conserve over 6 million acres of habitat for birds and other wildlife, and provide countless opportunities for hunting and other recreation on our public lands.
“For more than 80 years, millions of waterfowl hunters have made a difference in protecting our nation’s birds and their habitats,” said Aurelia Skipwith, director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “The Trump Administration has prioritized protecting our wildlife and their habitats and provided access to some of the most spectacular places available for hunting, fishing, birdwatching, hiking and other outdoor activities.”
Beginning in 2020, the stamp contest now has a permanent theme of “celebrating our waterfowl hunting heritage,” so each entry must include an element of waterfowl hunting. Each year, five species are eligible. For the 2020 contest, the species were lesser scaup, gadwall, cinnamon teal, brant and red-breasted merganser.
Lesser scaup paintings dominated the contest, sweeping the top three spots. In addition to Clifton’s winning entry, James Hautman of Chaska, Minnesota, took second with a trio of bluebills and a hunter pushing his boat into the weeds, while his brother, Joseph Hautman of Plymouth, Minnesota, took third with a flock of bluebills and hunters in a boat crashing through a wave.
The 2020 contest was Clifton’s second win. His artwork (ring-necked ducks) previously appeared on the 2007-2008 federal stamp.
The judges for this year’s Federal Duck Stamp Contest were Donnie Satchell, Jane Lawson, Eric Morris, Scott Penegar and Paul Wait, senior director of communications for Delta Waterfowl.
“It was an incredible honor to be chosen to judge such an important contest that supports waterfowl conservation and hunting,” Wait said. “All of the artwork was wonderful, which made choosing a winner difficult among so many exceptional paintings. I’m thrilled to have represented duck hunters and Delta Waterfowl on the panel.”
The 2021-2022 stamp will go on sale in late June 2021.
“The Duck Stamp is one of the most successful conservation programs ever created. I am so proud to be a part of this annual tradition that combines the best of talented artwork from around the country with habitat conservation,” said Jerome Ford, assistant director for the USFWS Migratory Bird Program. “As the only federally regulated and sponsored art contest, competing artists offer their time and talent to capture the beauty of waterfowl and the tradition of waterfowl hunting.”
For more information, visit fws.gov/birds/get-involved/duck-stamp/buy-duck-stamp.php.