If the birds on your duck stamp look like ducks (or geese) and you think they would walk, fly, and sound like one, too … there’s a good chance they were painted by one of Minnesota’s Hautman brothers.
After all, it’s happened 12 times now.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service named Jim Hautman the winner of this year’s Federal Duck Stamp contest over the weekend. That ties him with his brother Joe as a five-time winner of the country’s prestigious waterfowl art competition. Another brother, Bob, has won the contest twice.
For his acrylic painting of Canada geese, the judges gave the nod to Jim Hautman over Bob, who finished in third place. Last year the three Hautman brothers swept the top three spots.
You can find bios of all three Hautman brothers on their web page.
Not only are they the only brothers to have won the Federal Duck Stamp contest, their paintings have also been selected for stamps in all 50 states, the site says.
(It also notes the mention the Hautmans received in the Coen brothers’ Oscar-winner “Fargo.”)
What’s a duck stamp?
Waterfowl hunters have to buy duck stamps and carry them while hunting. The federal ones are used by those hunting in a National Wildlife Refuge.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service sells them for $25 and says the stamps generate about $25 million a year for protection of wetlands for waterfowl habitat. 98 percent of the stamp proceeds go toward the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund, they say.
They’re also popular with collectors, giving rise to the National Duck Stamp Collectors Society.
The mystique surrounding the annual Duck Stamp competition is the subject of a new documentary film, “The Million Dollar Duck.” It will debut on Animal Planet Wednesday night at 8:00. Naturally, the Hautman brothers feature prominently in it.
Here’s the trailer: