Hautman wins duck stamp contest again
The great basketball coach John Wooden famously said, “Winning takes talent. To repeat takes character.”
Wooden knew a lot about winning. No other coach ever led a team to more than two NCAA championships in a row; UCLA won seven in a row under Wooden’s leadership. Ever yone knows there’s more to be a champion than raw talent. It takes hard work, practice, persistence and sometimes a little bit of luck doesn’t hurt.
Jim Hautman, an artist from Chaska, Minn., knows a lot about winning, too. In Philadelphia this past weekend, Hautman was crowned the winner of the 2016 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest for the fifth time. His illustrious career spans over 25 years of painting award-winning wildlife images and on Saturday he proved he still has what it takes to be a champion.
His winning painting of a trio of Canada geese will be made into the 2017-2018 Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conser vation Stamp, or “Duck Stamp,” which will go on sale in late June 2017.
His winning streak began in 1990 when he became the youngest ever winner of this prestigious competition. And in 1995 he won again, garnering the first-ever perfect score for his painting of a mallard. Hautman went on to earn another perfect score in 1999. His fourth win was for the 20112012 stamp. To date his artwork has been featured on 23 different conservation stamps.
If you’re wondering why he doesn’t have any back-to-back wins, it’s because the contest rules state the first-place winner can’t compete for the next two years, maybe so other people have a chance to win. Other people like Jim’s two brothers, Joe and Bob.
Jim is not the only talented artist from the Hautman family. He is tied with his brother Joe, a former physicist, for the most Federal Duck Stamp Contest wins. Joe was not eligible to compete in this year’s contest since he won last year. Their other brother, Bob, has two wins under his belt. Bob’s rendition of a pair of Canada geese came in third this year. In 2015, this family of exceptional artists made history when the brothers placed first, second and third in the contest. Between them they have won the contest 12 times.
The Hautman family has built quite a duck stamp dynasty. In fact, they are so well known they were mentioned by name in an Academy Award-winning film. At the end of the movie “Fargo,” Norm Gunderson tells his wife Marge that his mallard made the three-cent stamp, but “Hautman’s blue-winged teal got the 29-cent.” It probably helped that the Hautman brothers grew up in St. Louis Park, Minn., and were childhood friends of some other
famous brothers from St. Louis Park, Joel and Ethan Coen, the duo who wrote and directed “Fargo.”
The Federal Duck Stamp Contest is the only juried art competition sponsored by the federal government. Any artist 18 years or older may enter a painting and more than 100 masterpieces vie each year to be picked to grace the front of the stamp. This year, the judges had to narrow down the field of 152 entries to eight finalists. The contest rules identify the eligible species for the stamp and this year’s species were the Canada goose, brant, northern shoveler, red-breasted merganser and Steller’s eider.
The 2016-2017 Federal Duck Stamp is now on sale. It features a pair of trumpeter swans painted by Joe Hautman and costs $25 apiece. Waterfowl hunters nationwide 16 and older are required to purchase and carry the current Migratory Bird Conservation and Hunting Stamp. In Mar yland, hunters are required to buy the Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp for $9 as well.
And if you want to see the original Duck Stamp art, the top entries each year, along with winning entry from the Federal Junior Duck Stamp Contest, go on a tour across the nation to be exhibited at museums, refuges and festivals. Southern Marylanders can take a short drive to Easton to see the works of art in person at the 2016 Easton Waterfowl Festival, held Nov. 10 to 13.
The stamp is purchased by a much larger group of people than just duck hunters. Anyone can help support conservation by buying a stamp. Fishermen, wildlife photographers, stamp and art collectors, birders and outdoor enthusiasts often purchase the stamp to support the conservation and preservation of habitat for birds and other wildlife.
Ninety-eight percent of the proceeds go to the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund, which is focused on purchasing habitat for inclusion into the National Wildlife Refuge System. Since 1934, sales have helped protect more than 5.7 million acres of bird and wildlife habitat.
In addition to serving as a hunting license, a current Duck Stamp is a free pass to any national wildlife refuge that charges an entry fee. A stamp can be purchased at sporting goods stores, many wildlife refuges, through the U.S. Postal Service or on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website.