Minnesota’s Bob Hautman wins his third federal duck stamp contest

Bob Hautman’s winning painting features mallards.

Stevens Point, Wis. — Déjà vu all over again?

Well, not really, but when the prestigious federal duck stamp contest came to Wisconsin for the first time ever, Sept. 15-16, the winner and his family were no strangers to being selected best of all the rest.

That’s because Bob Hautman, of Delano, Minn., won the 2017 contest held at UW-Stevens Point with his acrylic painting of mallards in flight.

This is the third time that Hartman has won the national contest. It is the 13th time that someone from the Hartman family has won the contest. His brothers, Jim and Joe, have won a total of 10 federal duck stamp contests in previous years.

But what should give encouragement to wildlife artists throughout the nation is that the winner cannot compete during the following three years, which means that Bob, Jim, and Joe Hautman, who have won the contest the last three years in a row, will not be eligible to compete in the 2018 contest.

Artists should break out the oils and acrylics and begin painting this fall. The five species that will be eligible for the next contest have not yet been announced, but normally include the four species that didn’t win the previous year. So that would mean that blue-winged and cinnamon teal, gadwall, and harlequin ducks will all be eligible next year, plus a species to be named soon.

Wisconsin artists should be heartened to learn that coming in second this year was Greg Alexander, of Ashland, with his painting of a cinnamon teal.

In previous years four Wisconsin artists have painted or sketched the federal duck stamp.

New this year was the attention that UW-Stevens Point and its graduates received from the wildlife art world. Many graduates of the UW-Stevens Point College of Natural Resources (CNR) have gone on to top careers at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or Wisconsin DNR and other state wildlife agencies. Those students were featured during the ceremonies.

The year of planning by the UW-Stevens Point CNR and College of Fine Arts played out without a hitch, and helped to bring attention to Wisconsin’s rich history of leadership in natural resources.

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