Wildlife artists compete in Delaware’s duck, trout stamp contests

 

George Bradford, of Georgetown, stands beside his second-place effort in the Trout Stamp competition at Owens Station Shooting Sports and Hunter Education Center in Greenwood on Saturday. (Delaware State News/Mike Finney)

GREENWOOD — Wildlife artists from around the country put their best brush strokes forward in hopes of putting their own personal stamp on Delaware’s annual Waterfowl and Trout Stamp contests Saturday morning.

When judging was completed at the Delaware Ducks Unlimited Greenwing Event at Owens Station Shooting Sports and Hunter Education Center, Daniel Allard, of Marengo, Ohio, was named tops in the Waterfowl Stamp competition.

Eric Jablonowski, from Suwanee, Georgia, was named winner of the Trout Stamp contest.

“This year for the Waterfowl Stamp, the emphasis was on a pintail (duck) with a Golden Retriever,” said Fish and Wildlife Director David Saveikis. “Several years ago we came up with a five-consecutive year series of waterfowl stamps that also feature a hunting dog because retrievers are part of the duck hunting tradition.”

Mr. Jablonowski’s winning entry will be reproduced on a stamp that is required for most trout anglers. Some 6,500 trout anglers and stamp collectors support this program annually, generating funds to purchase trout for stocking in six northern New Castle County streams, Tidbury Pond in Kent County and Newton Pond in Sussex County.

The five judges pore over the 22 entries in the Waterfowl Stamp competition Saturday morning. (Mike Finney)

Georgetown artist George Bradford was the lone Delawarean to place in either category, finishing in second place in the Trout Stamp category.

“I’ve won (the competition) three times. That’s just the way it goes,” said Bradford, a 75-year-old who said he draws his inspiration from his old hunting days. ‘I just love creating wildlife and fish and ducks and stuff. I compete in both (events).”

Sponsored by the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Division of Fish and Wildlife in partnership with Ducks Unlimited, Mr. Allard’s winning artwork will be reproduced on a stamp which must be carried by most waterfowl hunters.

Waterfowl stamps are also purchased by collectors and other conservation-minded citizens.

This year marks the 38th anniversary of the Delaware Waterfowl Stamp contest, which began in 1980 to raise funds for waterfowl conservation, including acquiring and improving wetland habitats vital to the survival of migratory waterfowl.

For the Trout Stamp contest, artists had the opportunity to submit paintings of rainbow, brown or brook trout for consideration.

Mr. Allard’s winning entry will be reproduced on a stamp that is required for most trout anglers. Some 6,500 trout anglers and stamp collectors support this program annually, generating funds to purchase trout for stocking in six northern New Castle County streams, Tidbury Pond in Kent County and Newton Pond in Sussex County.

As for the Waterfowl Stamp, it has collected more than $2.8 million in 38 years.

“The money goes back to conservation, the Waterfowl for Wetlands Restoration and Management and then Waterfowl Habitat Management,” Mr. Saveikis said. “For every dollar of waterfowl stamp money, it brings in $3 of federal (aid in) Pittman-Robertson funds that are generated from an excise tax on firearms and ammunition.”

Mr. Saveikis said both artists’ winning entries will get reduced down to stamp size and they are also turned into a series of prints.

“There are collectors that collect both the stamps and the artwork prints,” he said. “So it’s popular not only for waterfowl hunters but also for art collectors.”

All of the contests’ entries will be on display at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge near Smyrna from Monday until April 24.

Delaware’s annual Waterfowl and Trout Stamp contests

(judging at Owens Station Shooting Sports and Hunter Education Center)

Waterfowl Stamp competition

1-Daniel Allard, Marengo, Ohio; 2-Garrett Jacobs, Orlando, Florida; 3-Paul Makuchal, Pocomoke, Maryland.

Honorable mention-Diane Ford, Bethesda, Maryland; Ron Kleiber, Erin, New York; Caleb Metrich, Lake Tomahawk, Wisconsin.

Trout Stamp competition

1-Eric Jablonowski, Suwanee, Georgia; 2-George Bradford, Georgetown; 3-Donnie Hughes, Lexington, South Carolina.

Honorable mention-George Bradford, Georgetown; 2-Jonathan Milo, Monroe, Connecticut; Broderick Crawford, Clayton, Georgia.

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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