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Scot Strom Wins 2003 Federal Duck Stamp Contest

WASHINGTON, D.C. - 11/05/2003 - Wildlife artist Scot Storm, from Sartell, Minnesota, was the winner in the Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest today. This is his first win in 12 attempts since he started entering the contest in 1990. He has also won three state conservation stamp contests.

Storm's acrylic painting of a pair of redheads bested 213 other entries and will grace the 2004-2005 Federal Duck Stamp, which goes on sale July 1, 2004. The Federal Duck Stamp Contest is sponsored each year by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

"Generations of waterfowl hunters, stamp collectors, art lovers and conservationists have bought these beautiful stamps for more than 5 decades," said Service Director Steve Williams. "Their purchases directly contribute thousands of acres of irreplaceable waterfowl habitat to the National Wildlife Refuge System, now in its centennial year."

All waterfowl hunters age 16 and older are required to purchase and carry Duck Stamps. Ninety-eight percent of the proceeds from the $15 Duck Stamp goes into the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund, which purchases wetlands for the National Wildlife Refuge System.

"I choked and my hands started shaking, that usually does not happen," said Storm when asked how he felt when Interior Secretary Gale Norton called him to announce his victory. "It is hard to put in words what a great honor this is, to win the prestigious Duck Stamp contest. It has not hit me yet that I am in the midst of all these great artists that came before me."

Storm's painting depicts a male and female redhead flying over a North Dakota pond under a light pastel sky. Storm took a photo a few years ago at Hay Bale Slough near York, North Dakota. Storm's family has been hunting at a duck camp there for years. The background of his painting came directly from this photograph. He made several sketches of the duck positions and ran them by his critic, his wife, Kristin.

"My wife's critical eyes really help out my painting," said Storm.Second place in this year's Federal Duck Stamp Contest went to Jim Hautman of Chaska, Minnesota, for an acrylic rendering of a redhead pair. Hautman won the Federal Duck Stamp Contest in 1989, 1994, and 1998.

Third place went to Sherrie Russell-Meline of Mt. Shasta, California, for her acrylic rendition of a Ross' goose.

Eligible species for this year's contest were the redhead, Ross' goose, northern shoveler, ruddy duck and brant.

The Federal Duck Stamp Contest is the nation's only federally-sponsored art competition. No cash prize is awarded, but winning can boost the professional reputation of even a previously unknown wildlife artist. Winning artists stand to make hundreds of thousands of dollars from the sale of limited editions of prints of their Duck Stamp designs.

In addition to waterfowl hunters, stamp collectors, wildlife art lovers, and conservationists also buy Duck Stamps to add to their collections, enjoy as a miniature work of art, or as a simple way to support conservation. Duck Stamps can also be used to gain admission to those national wildlife refuges that charge entry fees.

Duck Stamps bearing this year's winning design will go on sale at post offices, national wildlife refuges, some national retail chain stores, and various sporting-goods stores nationwide July 1, 2004. The 2004-2005 Duck Stamp will be available at select locations in both a self- adhesive format and the traditional gummed format.

The redhead is a medium-sized diving duck resembling the canvasback, but distinguishable by its darker gray plumage, rounder head-shape, and yellow eye in the drake. Redheads are the only members of diving ducks to breed primarily in the prairies and prairie parklands, and winter in great concentrations from the Chesapeake Bay southward throughout the Gulf coast of the United States and Mexico, and in Idaho and California in the west. Redheads feed in a variety of water depths, consuming seeds of marsh plants and shoalgrass.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal Federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System which encompasses 542 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 64 fishery resource offices and 78 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces Federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Aid program that distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

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