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Ron Louque Gets The Vote In The 2002 Federal Duck Stamp Contest

Virginia wildlife artist Ron Louque was the clear winner in the Federal Duck Stamp Art Contest today. He has entered the contest every year since 1973 and has come close some times, but has never won.

Louque's acrylic painting of a pair of snow geese bested 249 other entries and will become the 2003 -2004 Federal Duck Stamp, which goes on sale July 1, 2003. The Federal Duck Stamp Contest is sponsored each year by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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.

This is the first time Louque, who was in the audience watching the contest, has won the Federal Duck Stamp Contest.

"I am thankful that the judges appreciated my painting," were Louque's first words. "It's a dream come true. I wanted a fool proof entry so I created 300 compositional studies to show to friends. I got that narrowed down to four and then was stuck. I had eight days to paint what usually takes me two weeks."

The painting's background depicts the lighthouse at Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.

"I wanted to use a refuge with a distinctive feature as background since next year is the National Wildlife Refuge System's Centennial," said Louque. "The lighthouse is such a majestic feature, plus my painting is based on the effect of light, so I called the manager at Chincoteague NWR and he sent me photos of the lighthouse. There was a flock of snow geese in the picture... It must have been a sign"

Louque, a taxidermist since a child, used two stuffed snow geese and photographs as reference. Louque has also been an avid duck hunter since childhood.

"I was going to the painting that hit the heart, not the intellect," said Louque. "The light source evoked an emotional response to the painting. Also, I am glad that my wife, Anne, put up with me these last six months."


Second place in this year's Federal Duck Stamp Contest went to Terry Doughty of Brookfield, Wisconsin, for an acrylic rendering of a male and female wood duck.

Third place, after a two-way tie, went to Karen Latham of Hastings, Minnesota for her watercolor rendition of a ring-necked duck. Latham is also the mother of two Junior Duck Stamp Contest winners. Lathem's daughter Bonnie won the National Junior Duck Stamp contest a few years ago and daughter Rebecca won third a year prior.

The top 20 painting from this year's Federal Duck Stamp Contest will be displayed at the Easton Waterfowl Festival in Easton, Maryland, November 10-12. They will also appear at the Wildlife West Festival in Redlands, California, later next month.

Eligible species for this year's contest were the gadwall, snow goose, wood duck, wigeon and ring-necked duck.

The greater snow goose is slightly larger then the more common lessor snow goose. The greater snow goose nests in the extreme eastern Arctic areas of Canada and in Greenland. The goose migrate during the fall and winter months along coastal marshes and crop lands from New Jersey to North Carolina. They winter in large flocks and their raucous calling can be heard for several miles.

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, 2003. The 2003-2004 Duck Stamp will be available at select locations in both a self-adhesive format and the traditional gummed format.

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 540 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 70 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.

- FWS -

For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, visit our home page

Editors Note: Photos of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place art are also available on the Internet at http://duckstamps.gov (jpeg and tiff format) or by contacting 202/208-5636.

Nicholas Throckmorton
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Public Affairs
Room 3353
1849 C. Street, NW
Washington D.C. 20240

202/208-5636 - phone
202/219-9463 - fax

Please do NOT mail disks or photos via the U.S. Post Office. The irradiation process melts disks and photos.

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