Mar 11, 2001
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Joe Hautman, duck stamp art winner, will be at wildlife art show in Redlands.

    The name Hautman should sound familiar. Three brothers with this last name, all from Plymouth, Minn., have won the federal duck stamp art competition several times since 1989. On Wednesday, Joe Hautman won the competition again with a painting of a male black scoter, or sea duck.

    This was Joe’s second winning duck stamp design, and his artwork will grace the 2002-2003 federal duck stamp. Joe also won back in 1991, just two years after his brother Jim won for the first time in 1989. Jim also won in 1994 and 1998, and brother Bob won in 1996 and last year. Duck and goose hunters need only to pull out their hunting license and look at their federal duck stamp for this season to see Bob’s winning design.

    There were 246 paintings entered in this year’s competition, all of them of the black scoter, the only species of waterfowl never depicted on a duck stamp design since the program was first begun in 1934. With all of the artists focusing on the same subject, judging was closer and more intense than ever before, with 11 finalists and an unprecedented series of four tie-breaking votes to choose the winner.    

“I'm speechless. I was thinking I didn’t win because it was taking so long,” Hautman told Interior Secretary Gale Norton when she telephoned to give him the good news Wednesday, almost 10 years to the day after he won his first duck stamp contest.

    “I was so glad I wasn’t there to see the final judging. I spoke with one judge and she said she didn’t breath the whole final round,” said Hautman, who has a Ph.D. in physics but now paints full time, when he isn’t hunting.

    The three brothers come from a close-knit family who are avid sportsmen, and they try not to schedule exhibitions or commission paintings in the fall so it doesn’t interfere with their hunting trips. Joe said they were planning to go to the Dakotas next week for pheasants and had just returned from an archery whitetail hunt the previous week. His brother Bob forced them to cut that trip short because, as reigning duck stamp winner, had to be at the judging in Washington.

    “Now I might have to let them go hunt the pheasants without me,” said Joe Hautman, sounding a little disappointed.

    He’ll be in Easton, Maryland, this weekend for the first exhibition of the winning stamp art in an annual show there, and then turn around and come to Southern California next week for the Wildlife Art Festival at the San Bernardino County Museum in Redlands. This annual event features the top 100 entries in the federal competition, along with dozens of some of the finest wildlife artist in the nation displaying their artwork, and Hautman will be at the show Friday through Sunday (Nov. 16-18). Show hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and students, and $4 for children.

    But Hautman would rather be in the field than at the shows. “We spend a lot of hours out there with our cameras,” he said, but admitted that when fall rolls around there are more days with hunting gear than camera gear. “Then there are those times when we wish we had our cameras.”

    Hunters can appreciate the fact the Hautmans, who have painted most of the duck stamp designs for the past decade, understand their love of wildlife and hunting and support a program that has done so much for wildlife conservation since its inception in 1934. That was the year that Congress, at the urging of sportsmen, required that all waterfowl hunters purchase and carry a Federal Duck Stamp while hunting. An amazing 98 percent of the purchase price of each duck stamp is used to acquire wetland habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife species. Most of the nation’s 94-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge system, which encompasses more than 535 national wildlife refuges, has been funded by this hunters’ stamp.

    The first stamp was commissioned to a political cartoonist, Ding Darling, and with the Hautman dynasty, some are jokingly suggesting that the USFWS simply disband the competition and commission the painting to a different one of the brothers each year.

    “It feels like I have to win twice to get any respect in this family,” joked Joe Hautman, who may have been one of the few artists who entered the competition who not only had seen black scoters, but had actually hunted them. Since black scoters do not frequent Minnesota, Joseph first saw them on a hunting trip to Alaska in 1990. He kept one to use as a mount to draw the stamp, knowing that it would eventually be a required subject in the competition.      

The black scoter, also called the American scoter, is a medium-sized sea duck. The male is all black except for a yellow knob on its upper bill and the silver-gray under-surface of the flight feathers. At quick glance, it resembles the common coot and is sometimes called a “sea coot.” The female is uniformly gray-brown except for light patches on the cheeks and down the throat.      

Black scoters nest in the Arctic regions of Canada and western Alaska and winter along both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the United States. In winter, they are most numerous on the Atlantic coast, particularly in South Carolina and Georgia. They feed primarily on shellfish such as blue mussels, razor clams, oysters, and quahog clams. They also eat a small amount of plant material such as eelgrass, muskgrass, algae, and pondweed.      

“I'm proud that the Service continues the duck stamp tradition,” said acting Service Director Marshall Jones. “And as we celebrate Joseph Hautman's rendition of a black scoter that will appear on the 2002 Duck Stamp, we can also celebrate those places where ducks and geese live, breed, feed and thrive: America's National Wildlife Refuges.”      

The 2002-2003 Federal Duck Stamp will go on sale July 1. Duck Stamps can be obtained from U.S. post offices, national wildlife refuges, most Walmarts and K-Marts and stores that sell hunting and fishing supplies. They sell for $15.

    For more information or to see artwork by the Hautman brothers, you can go to their website at http://www.hautman.com. For more information on the Wildlife Art Festival, log on to the museum’s web site at http://www.sbcountymuseum.org. And for more information on the federal duck stamp program, both its benefits to wildlife and to see images from all past stamp designs, log on at http://duckstamps.fws.gov/

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