Montanan Wins Prestigious 2023 Federal Duck Stamp Competition
Montana is full of extremely talented artists. We're the second most popular state in the US for photographers, and the art community is vibrant. One artist, Chuck Black of Belgrade, just won the 2023 Federal Duck Stamp competition.
Black beat out 199 entrants this year with his stunning painting of a northern pintail duck. US Fish and Wildlife Service Director Martha Williams said in a press release,
The art entries for this contest are impressive, and they serve as an important reminder of the wildlife and habitats the Duck Stamp is designed to protect.
The Federal Duck Stamp was established in 1934.
The roughly two-inch stamp comes out next year.
Black's artwork will be released as the Federal Duck Stamp beginning in late June of 2024. Larger prints should be available around the same time. The $25 duck stamp is required by federal law for all waterfowl hunters age 16 and up.
Stalking his subjects.
In a YouTube video released earlier this week, Chuck shared that he decided to seriously pursue the Duck Stamp competition in 2020. He visited Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge to shoot some subject matter with his camera. The 53,000-acre refuge is located about 20 miles west of West Yellowstone. It nearly touches the Idaho border and is considered a premiere destination for wildlife and outdoor landscape photography.
The Federal Duck Stamp has raised serious money for conservation.
Since its inception 89 years ago, the Duck Stamp program has raised over 1.2 billion dollars. These funds support critical conservation to protect wetland habitats in the National Wildlife Refuge System.
Aha! The duck that inspired the winning painting.
In his video, Black wrote this about the handsome drake,
"Each morning he would proudly await the arrival of the hen who was nesting nearby."
Photos captured, Black settled into his studio and began work on the oil painting.
I can't paint or draw worth a crap, so it always amazes me when I see something like this come to life.
Not just for hunters.
The Federal Duck Stamps are popular with bird watchers, outdoor enthusiasts, and collectors too. Sales of the stamps have helped conserve over 6 million acres of habitat for birds and other wildlife.
A childhood dream for the artist.
Black wrote in his video, "Winning the Federal Duck Stamp contest has been a dream of mine since I was a kid growing up in Minnesota, admiring the work of Terry Redlin and the Hautmans." Congratulations to Black for his stunning painting and the exposure he'll surely receive for this accolade.