The 84th annual 2017–18 Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, known popularly as the Duck Stamp, was issued nationwide June 23 and formally celebrated at a first-day-of-sale ceremony at Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in Little Rock, Arkansas.
The $25 stamp features three Canada geese in flight above an autumnal wetland. The original artwork for the stamp was created by James Hautman, of Chaska, Minnesota in an annual open artwork contest. Hautman has won the contest five times. In 1989, James was the youngest artist to win the contest at age 25. His subsequent wins were in 1994, 1998, and 2010.
The stamp — which has both self-stick and moisture-activated versions — is a mandatory license stamp for waterfowl hunters, but also serves as a fundraiser for wildlife habitat conservation.
Last fall, a panel of five judges chose Hautman’s art from among 152 entries. His fifth win puts him in elite company as only two other artists — one of them his brother, Joseph — have won five first-place awards.
The 2017–2018 Junior Duck Stamp, which also went on sale June 23, features a pair of trumpeter swans painted by Isaac Schreiber, 12, of Duffield, Virginia. Judges selected his entry as the winner during the Junior Duck Stamp Art Contest in April from among the best-of-show winners from all 50 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.
Since 1934, sales of the Duck Stamp have raised more than $950 million to conserve nearly 6 million acres of wetlands habitat, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which administers the stamp. The service states that 98 percent of the proceeds from the sale of the stamp are spent on habitat conservation.
The contest to select the 2018-2019 stamp will be held September 15 and 16 at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
The new Duck Stamps are available for purchase online from the U.S. Postal Service, at many sporting goods and retail stores, some post offices, and at national wildlife refuges.