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One artist will be a lucky duck with state stamp contest

Artists should get all their ducks in a row: The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is seeking original artwork for its 2021-2022 California Duck Stamp Art Contest.

The artwork must depict the gadwall, which is the species selected by the California Fish and Game Commission for the 2021-2022 hunting season.

Similar in size and shape to a mallard, the common dabbling duck has muted coloring for both males and females. Male gadwalls exhibit intricate feather patterns with subtle yet striking color variations of brown and gray ending in a black patch at the tail, according to the CDFW news release.

Stamp designs are to be in full color using the medium(s) of the artist’s choosing, barring photographic process, digital art, metallic paints or fluorescent paints. Photographs, computer-generated art, art produced from a computer printer or other computer/mechanical output device (other than air brush) are not eligible for entry and will be disqualified.

The design must be the contestant’s original hand-drawn creation, not copied or duplicated from previously published art or photos.

Submissions will be accepted April 26 through June 4. The contest is open to U.S. residents who are 18 years of age or older (as of March 8). Entrants are not required to be California residents.

All entries must be accompanied by a completed participation agreement and entry form, which are available, along with official rules, at

Entries will be judged in June by experts in the fields of ornithology, conservation and art and printing. They will select first-, second- and third-place winners, as well as an honorable mention.

The winning first-place artwork will be reproduced on the 2021-2022 California Duck Stamp. Although hunters are no longer required to purchase a physical stamp for their hunting license — now that California has moved to an automated licensing system —  the CDFW still produces the stamps, which can be requested at Proceeds generated from stamp sales go directly to waterfowl conservation projects throughout California.