STAMP OF APPROVAL
Louisiana Waterfowl Conservation Stamp Generates Revenue For Louisiana’s Wetlands
story by TRey Iles, LDWF Public Information
Tim Taylor sat on the side of the road in suburban New Jersey, his car disabled, his anxiety building as he was suddenly in a tight spot. Taylor, a Garden State artist from Mount Arlington, N.J., had his original painting, entry form and a cashier’s check for the entry fee all ready to ship for Louisiana’s Duck Stamp competition.
But time was against him. He was already racing the clock on the way to send in his entry to beat the deadline. But with his car in disrepair, delivering his picture to Louisiana in time seemed a near impossible task.
That’s when he got an idea and let modern technology assist him. With his cell phone, he took pictures of his painting, the entry form and cashier’s check and texted them to Larry Reynolds, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Waterfowl Program Manager and overseer of the duck stamp contest.
“It was two days before the contest and the deadline was approaching,’’ Reynolds recalled. “I told him if he could get it to Baton Rouge by 9 a.m. the morning of judging I would include him in the contest.’’
Taylor did and Reynolds is glad he came through. His entry, which features a pair of canvasbacks flying in a cloud filled sky, was selected the winner of the 2018 Louisiana Waterfowl Conservation Stamp competition sponsored by LDWF. The contest was held in October of 2017 and the stamp will go on sale June 1, 2018.
Taylor has good credentials. He finished fourth in the Federal Duck Stamp Contest in 2014 and 10th in 2007. He won the 2010-11 California Duck Stamp contest and was second the previous year. He is also skilled at drawing Christmas scenes on storefront windows.
“It’s an amazing piece of artwork,’’ Reynolds said. “The detail is stunning. It’s going to make a great stamp because of the contrast between the bird and the background. The judging was as clear as it could be. The winning entry got the top score from all five judges.’’
Reynolds said the 2018 contest drew 15 entries this year, down from recent years. But the overall quality was much higher, he said.
Garrett Jacobs of Orlando, Fla., was the runner-up for the second year in a row and Tony Bernard of Lafayette, the 2008 and 2015 Louisiana Duck Stamp winner, was third.
The Louisiana Waterfowl Conservation Stamp program was established in 1988 by the Louisiana Legislature to generate revenue for conservation and enhancement of state wetlands, benefitting migratory waterfowl overwintering in Louisiana. The program has generated almost $13 million for wetlands conservation in Louisiana since 1989.
But, with technological advances in licensing, the physical stamp is no longer required to be carried by the state’s duck hunters like the federal duck stamp still is.
“It used to be you bought a (state) duck stamp, you put it on your hunting license and that was your license to hunt ducks in Louisiana,’’ Reynolds explained. “Now, with point of sale electronic license, a ‘duck license’ is printed on their hunting license, and if you want an actual duck stamp you must purchase that separately for a separate fee. It’s now a stand-alone collector’s item or conservation purchase. Hunters don’t have to purchase it to be able to hunt.’’
That means the stamp must be of the highest quality for those who want to collect it.
“The one thing our contest is very good at doing is generating high quality art work,’’ Reynolds said.
The judging criteria must be met by each entry to be considered. Judges are looking for accuracy, realism of the duck and, equally important, appropriate habitat. Painting aesthetics are also considered.
Reynolds selects five judges each year, including two waterfowl biologists with years of experience in their field, two artists or professionals in the wildlife art community, and the state chairman for Duck’s Unlimited.
Judges for this year’s contest included Jeff Gleason, the Gulf of Mexico Bird Conservation Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from Lacombe; Barry Wilson, the Coordinator of the Gulf Coast Joint Venture of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan from Lafayette; R.C. Davis, an artist from Amite who won the 1998 Louisiana Duck Stamp Contest, Murrell Butler, a wildlife artist from St. Francisville and the 1988 Artist of the Year for the National Wild Turkey Federation, and Ellis Guilbeau, Louisiana State Chairman for Duck’s Unlimited from Carencro.
The artist retains the original artwork and will have reproduction rights to the image for prints and other commodities after LDWF has used the image to produce the stamps.
The stamp can be purchased beginning June 1, 2018 at LDWF headquarters in Baton Rouge.
For more information on the duck stamp contest, contact Larry Reynolds at firstname.lastname@example.org or 225-765-0456.