Home Sports Outdoors: LDWF announces 2024 Louisiana Duck Stamp Contest

Outdoors: LDWF announces 2024 Louisiana Duck Stamp Contest

By Trey Iles, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries has announced the rules and timeframe for the 2024 Louisiana Waterfowl Conservation Stamp, or Louisiana Duck Stamp, competition. 

“The ruddy duck will be the featured species in this year’s competition,” said Jason Olszak, LDWF’s Waterfowl Program Manager. 

This commonly overlooked diving duck is North America’s most common stiff-tailed duck, easily identifiable on water by its stocky build and thick neck. 

The tail is often held upright, stiff and wren-like, and is diagnostic of no other water bird in Louisiana.

Small-winged, appearing an awkward flier, it prefers to dive or swim away from danger, but when in flight, it is recognized by its fast, erratic flight and buzzy wingbeat.

Most often found on large bodies of fresh to brackish shallow water, the ruddy duck primarily feeds on aquatic invertebrates, their larvae, and to a lesser extent, vegetation and seeds.

The core breeding range of the ruddy duck is the Prairie Pothole region of Canada where it usually nests in permanent wetlands with nests anchored to emergent vegetation.

 Its eggs are also the largest in proportion to body size of any North American duck, a complete clutch approaching 100% of the female’s body mass. 

During courtship, male ruddy ducks beat their bill against their inflated neck causing swirls of bubbles on the surface of the water, followed by a characteristic belch.

The 2023 contest was restricted to designs featuring the bufflehead. Hailing from Junction City, Oregon, Buck Spencer’s rendition of a swimming pair continued a long tradition of excellent stamp designs. The Louisiana Waterfowl Conservation Stamp bearing that design will go on sale June 1. Stamps can be purchased at: https://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/assets/Licenses_and_Permits/Files/state_duck_stamp_request_form.pdf.

The 2024 contest will be restricted to designs with ruddy duck(s) as the focal species. Artists are reminded of the requirement for associated habitat representative of Louisiana wetlands.  An additional reminder to artists: It is extremely uncommon for ruddy ducks wintering in Louisiana to have their full alternate breeding plumage.

“The primary objective of this program is to provide revenue to create, enhance and maintain habitat for waterfowl and associated wetland wildlife,” Olszak said, “so a habitat component is required in each entry and is one of the five judging criteria.” 

To enter, an artist must submit an original, unpublished work of art, along with a signed and notarized artist’s agreement and a $50 entry fee.  Entries should be addressed to: 

Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
Attn: Louisiana Waterfowl Conservation Stamp Program
2000 Quail Drive
Baton Rouge, LA 70808 

Entries will be accepted from Oct. 16-Oct. 24, 2023, with the contest to be held in the Joe L. Herring Louisiana Room at the LDWF Headquarters building, beginning at 10 a.m. on Oct. 25, 2023. The public is invited to attend.

Please visit these links to fill out the 2024 Louisiana Waterfowl Conservation Stamp Competition artist agreement and see the full list of rules: 

https://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/assets/Hunting/Waterfowl/Files/2024-Duck-Stamp-Artist-Agreement.pdf
https://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/assets/Hunting/Waterfowl/Files/2024-Duck-Stamp-Contest-Rules.pdf

The Louisiana Legislature authorized the Louisiana Waterfowl Conservation Stamp program in 1988. The program was created to generate revenue for conservation and enhancement of waterfowl populations and habitats in Louisiana. During the last 25 years, more than $15 million has been generated for wetland conservation with approximately $6 million spent on land acquisition. In addition, revenue has supported wetland development projects on Wildlife Management Areas and the Louisiana Waterfowl Project, a cooperative endeavor between LDWF, Ducks Unlimited, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to provide habitat for waterfowl and other wetland birds on private lands. 

Judging for the art competition will be based on the following criteria:

  • Accuracy of form, size, proportion, color and posture.
  • Level and accuracy of detail in all aspects of the waterfowl.
  • Appropriateness, accuracy and detail in depiction of the habitat.
  • Attractiveness and creativity in composition, subject, background and lighting.
  • Suitability for reproduction as stamps and prints. 

A panel of judges with experience in waterfowl biology and/or artistic method will select the winning design. The competition is open to all artists 18 years of age and older. Employees of LDWF and members of their immediate families are ineligible. 

For more information, go to https://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/page/louisiana-duck-stamp or contact Jason Olszak at 337-735-8687 or jolszak@wlf.la.gov.