Renowned Minnesota wildlife artist James Hautman is the winner of the 2021 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced Sunday, Sept. 26.

Hautman, of Chaska, Minn., won the contest after two days of competition with his acrylic painting of a pair of redheads floating in the water. The announcement was made via live stream at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters in Falls Church, Va.

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Hautman and his brothers, Robert and Joe, have won numerous state and national duck stamp competitions over the years. Robert Hautman, of Delano, Minn., placed second in this year's federal Duck Stamp Contest with his acrylic painting of Ross's geese.

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James Hautman’s winning artwork will be made into the 2022-2023 Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, or “Duck Stamp,” which will go on sale in late June 2022. The FWS 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.

This year, the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission, chaired by Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, approved the allocation of more than $111 million from the fund, 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.

“The talent at this year’s Duck Stamp contest was incredible,” Martha Williams, principal deputy director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said in a statement. “The remarkable attention to detail showcases the birds’ beauty in their natural environment. The sale of Duck Stamps plays a major role in the conservation of public lands and is an essential component of the Biden-Harris administration’s America the Beautiful initiative to conserve 30% of our land and waters by 2030. Buy a Duck Stamp and help conserve habitat that protects wildlife and provides recreational opportunities such as hunting, fishing, birdwatching, and hiking.”

Joshua Spies of Sioux Falls, S.D., took third place with his acrylic painting of a flying drake redhead.

Since the Duck Stamp was established in 1934, sales to hunters, bird watchers, outdoor enthusiasts and collectors have raised more than $1.1 billion to conserve over 6 million acres of habitat for birds and other wildlife and provide countless opportunities for hunting and other 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 national wildlife refuge that charges an entry fee.

More info: fws.gov.