Haut­man wins 2017 Fed­eral Duck Stamp Con­test

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - - OUTDOORS - PAUL A. SMITH

Build­ing fur­ther on an un­par­al­leled fam­ily legacy in wildlife art, Robert Haut­man of De­lano, Minn., won the 2017 Fed­eral Duck Stamp Con­test.

It marked the third time Haut­man won the pres­ti­gious com­pe­ti­tion and the 13th time he or one of his brothers — James and Joseph have each won five — has taken the top prize.

"I want to thank my brothers for win­ning the last two years, so I didn’t have to get beat by them," Robert Haut­man, 58, said at the Saturday cer­e­mony in Stevens Point. "And thanks to ev­ery­body who sup­ports ducks. It’s a great deal."

Haut­man's win­ning paint­ing shows a drake and hen mal­lard drift­ing in for a land­ing, wings ex­tended, in the fore­ground with other ducks in the dis­tance.

The art­work will ap­pear on the 2018-'19 Fed­eral Duck Stamp.

UW-Stevens Point hosted the event in part­ner­ship with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Four Wis­con­sin artists have won the con­test: Wal­ter E. Bohl 1943-'44; Owen J. Gromme 1945-'46; Martin R. Murk 1977-'78; and Arthur G. An­der­son 1987-'88.

But the 2017 con­test marked the first time the com­pe­ti­tion was held in Wis­con­sin.

A panel of five judges win­nowed 215 en­tries in three rounds of scor­ing on Fri­day and Saturday.

Greg Alexan­der, 57, of Ash­land, Wis., fin­ished sec­ond with a paint­ing of cin­na­mon teal. Third place was awarded to Chris­tine Clay­ton, 23, of Sid­ney, Ohio for a paint­ing of blue-winged teal.

The judges, whose iden­ti­ties were kept se­cret prior to the con­test, were: Jane Kim, an artist from Cal­i­for­nia; Tim Pear­son, an artist and fish­ing guide from Du­luth, Minn.; Richie Prager, a duck stamp col­lec­tor from Green­wich, Conn; Bob Spo­erl of Wau­paca; and Ja­cob Straub of Stevens Point.

Spo­erl is a busi­ness­man who serves on the na­tional board of con­ser­va­tion or­ga­ni­za­tion Ducks Un­lim­ited.

Straub is an as­sis­tant pro­fes­sor at UW-Stevens Point where he works as the Kennedy-Grohne Chair in Wa­ter­fowl and Wet­lands Con­ser­va­tion.

The win­ning en­try in the con­test is of­ten re­ferred to as the "mil­lion dol­lar duck" be­cause of the fi­nan­cial implications for the win­ning artist.

The Fed­eral Duck Stamp con­test is the only ju­ried art com­pe­ti­tion run by the U.S. gov­ern­ment.

The stamp pro­gram was ini­ti­ated in 1934 to raise funds to im­prove habi­tat con­di­tions and as­sist wa­ter­fowl pop­u­la­tions, in­clud­ing some, such as the wood duck, that were threat­ened.

All wa­ter­fowl hunters age 16 and older must pur­chase and carry a Fed­eral Duck Stamp. The stamp costs $25.

In ad­di­tion to hunters, many con­ser­va­tion­ists, artists, col­lec­tors, bird watch­ers and other out­door recre­ation­ists also buy the stamps to sup­port wildlife con­ser­va­tion.

To date, stamp sales have raised more than $950 mil­lion and have pro­tected nearly six mil­lion acres for birds and other wildlife, ac­cord­ing to the service.

The Fed­eral Duck Stamp is con­sid­ered one of the most suc­cess­ful con­ser­va­tion pro­grams ever cre­ated not only for its im­pact on im­prov­ing and pre­serv­ing wet­land habi­tats but for its ef­fi­ciency. For every dol­lar spent on the stamp, 98 cents go to­ward ac­quir­ing vi­tal habi­tat for wa­ter­fowl and other wildlife, ac­cord­ing to au­dits of the pro­gram.

Wis­con­sin, which typ­i­cally ranks in the top five states for num­ber of wa­ter­fowl hunters, has long been a ma­jor con­trib­u­tor of stamp rev­enue.

The pro­gram also has had a sub­stan­tial im­pact in the Badger State, help­ing to pro­tect: 21,136 acres at Hori­con Na­tional Wildlife Refuge; 11,799 acres at Leopold Wet­land Man­age­ment Dis­trict; 7,435 acres at St. Croix Wet­land Man­age­ment Dis­trict; 597 acres at Trem­pealeau Na­tional Wildlife Refuge; and 262 acres at Ne­cedah Na­tional Wildlife Refuge.

The 2018 Fed­eral Duck Stamp Con­test will be held at Sil­ver Spring Pre­serve Na­ture Cen­ter near Las Vegas.

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