On September 24, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced the winner of the 2022 Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest. Joseph Hautman of Plymouth, Minnesota took home the top prize with a painting of three tundra swans flying over a wetland area. His acrylic painting will be made into the 2023-2024 Federal Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, which is more commonly known as the “Duck Stamp.”

Federal duck stamps have been required for any hunter nationwide pursuing waterfowl since the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp Act of 1934, which was conceived of by former Field & Stream editor Ray P. Holland. Other birders and conservation can also purchase the stamp on a voluntary basis. The act has become a cornerstone of wetlands conservation in the U.S. and has funded the acquisition and preservation of more than 6 million acres through the National Wildlife Refuge System. Today, the stamp costs $25 dollars a pop and raises approximately $40 million in sales each year. Each year’s duck stamp is chosen through an open public contest.

three tundra swans fly in painting
Hautman’s painting beat out 187 other entries. Joseph Hautman

“The Duck Stamp Contest is one of my very favorite events every year,” said USFWS Director Martha Williams in a press release. “I am always impressed with the caliber of the art submitted, and each and every entry reminds us of the beauty of the natural world the duck stamp is designed to protect. I encourage everyone to buy a duck stamp as it makes a real impact in conserving wetlands habitats for waterfowl and many other wildlife species.”

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It’s not the first time Hautman took first place in the contest. In fact, he and his brother James Hautman—who won last year’s contest—are something of a duck stamp juggernaut. With the most recent win, both Hautman brothers have won six federal duck stamp contests each. Hautman’s entry edged out 187 entries, including 54 finalists.