By Eric Gaertner Correspondent
Bay City, Mich. — When Peter Mathios was a young boy growing up
in northern California, he enjoyed drawing different species of
His passion for waterfowl and art continues today. One of his
original paintings of a duck was recently selected as the winner of
the 2006 Michigan Duck Stamp Design Contest.
Mathios’ painting called “American Wigeon” was selected from 12
entries this year to be used on next year’s Michigan duck
“I am definitely excited,” said Mathios, who also was named the
2006 Michigan Ducks Unlimited Artist of the Year. “There are
quality artists who enter (the Michigan Duck Stamp Design)
Mathios beat out Michigan artists Dietmar Krumrey and Rod
Lawrence in the contest. Krumrey, who ended up second, and
Lawrence, who placed third, both have won the contest at least five
“The quality of the work this year was great,” said Bruce Bahr,
an executive board member of the Michigan Duck Hunters Association,
the organization that runs the stamp contest. The Michigan Duck
Hunters Association is a non-profit group of waterfowl hunters and
Bahr, a former judge for the stamp contest, administers the
contest with his wife, Terry. The seven-member judge panel usually
includes the previous year’s winner, a DNR wildlife biologist, a
wetlands specialist, a couple of duck hunters, a Michigan Duck
Hunters Association member and a Ducks Unlimited member. Despite
not being a judge this year, Bahr believes the contest was
“It was tough,” Bahr said, pointing out that judges are looking
for detail in the artwork, true representation of the duck,
marketability, and the duck being the main focus of the artwork.
“We had eight entries that we could have flipped a coin,” Bahr
said. “They were nice.”
Mathios’ painting of the wigeon featured details in the water to
give the image a look of movement.
“The duck just kind of jumps out at you and the water looks like
it should be running out on you,” Bahr said.
“I was inspired by the look and motion of the water,” Mathios
said of the painting. “I wanted the water to breath life into the
bird. That’s what I was striving for.”
Mathios, 36, of Albany, Ore., is only the second non-Michigan
resident to win the event. According to Bahr, the contest used to
be only open to Michigan residents, but that rule recently was
The Michigan Duck Stamp Design Contest was established in 1976
by the Michigan DNR as a means of fund-raising for wetland
acquisition. The Michigan Duck Hunters Association took over the
long-standing contest in 1999.
Mathios will receive $2,500 for winning the stamp contest.
Krumrey will receive $500 for second place, and Lawrence will
receive $250 for third place.
While drawing waterfowl photographs from outdoor publications as
a youth, Mathios realized at a young age that “I always knew I
wanted to be a wildlife artist.”
Mathios went on to study art at the University of California.
Upon graduating from college, he moved to Oregon to hunt, fish,
ski, and paint. He’s now a teacher.
Mathios has won numerous awards during his art career. He was
named the Oregon Ducks Unlimited Artist of the Year for the fourth
time this year, designed the 2004-05 California hunting heritage
stamp, and won the 2001-02 New Zealand Fish and Game Habitat Stamp
The stamp with Mathios winning design on it is expected to be
released in late January, Bahr said. The stamp can be purchased on
the Michigan Duck Hunters Association web site at www.midha.org or
by writing to Michigan Duck Hunters Association, Waterfowl Stamp
Program, P.O. Box 20, Midland, MI 48640.