And the winner is ... usually one of the Hautman brothers in the federal duck stamp contest. "Lucky" is their word. "Extremely talented" comes from others.
Brothers Joe, Bob and Jim Hautman have won the Federal Duck Stamp contest an unprecedented 10 times, with Joe the latest winner. Here Bob Hautman, left, displayed his 2001 print winner, Jim Hautman, center, held his 2011 print winner, while Joe Hautman, right, showed off his 2012 print winner.
It's like winning the lottery.
Over and over again.
When Joe Hautman won the 2011 federal duck stamp contest this fall with his painting of a wood duck, it continued a most remarkable streak. Minnesota's three Hautman brothers -- Joe, Jim and Bob -- now have won an unprecedented 10 of the past 21 highly prized federal duck stamp contests, including three of the past five.
They are the New York Yankees of wildlife artists.
"It's beyond belief,'' said Bill Webster, 86, who founded Wild Wings gallery in Lake City in 1967 and has promoted wildlife art for decades. "They are just extremely talented.''
No family has dominated the stamp contest like the Hautmans since it was launched 62 years ago. Maynard Reece, an Iowa artist, has won five times -- the last in 1971. That's the most anyone has won. But two Hautman brothers are closing in on that mark.
Joe, 55, of Plymouth, has won it four times -- 1992, 2002, 2008 and 2012 -- including the last two times he entered. Brother Jim, 47, of Chaska, also is a four-time winner -- 1990, 1995, 1999 and 2011.
And Bob, 52, of Delano, has won twice -- 1997 and 2001. He finished runner-up last year to brother Jim.
The Hautmans seem to be in a league of their own, but you wouldn't know it talking to them.
"I think we've been lucky,'' Joe said the other day. "The last two times I won it was on tiebreaking votes. The first time I won, I wasn't even doing it [painting] professionally.''
Sure, and the Yankees' 27 World Championships were luck, too?
"They are being modest,'' Webster said. "The fact that they have won so many times -- I wish I could say there was a trick to it, but it's just talent. They just keep on winning.''
The Hautmans say there is friendly competition among them, but each will critique the work of the others to help them achieve the best possible artwork.
"We're definitely competitors, but in a friendly kind of way,'' Joe said. "I would have been happy to see Bob win. It's such a fun thing for us to do and to be involved with because of the conservation and hunting connections.''
The three are hunters, as was their dad.
Future of stamps?
Winning a federal duck stamp contest isn't as lucrative as it once was. Artists get no compensation from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which conducts the contests. But artists make money by selling prints of the winning stamps to collectors.
"It's not like the old days,'' Joe Hautman said. "They used to say you're a millionaire if you win.''
Winning is still financially lucrative, he said, but the demand for such artwork has declined, along with the number of duck hunters.
And the future of wildlife stamps is uncertain.
Minnesota also holds contests for five different state wildlife stamps -- duck, pheasant, turkey, trout and walleye -- but since 2007, hunters haven't been required to buy the actual stamps. Instead, they can buy stamp "validations'' on their hunting or fishing licenses.
Since then, sales of the physical stamps have fallen dramatically. The state sold 330,000 in 2006 but fewer than 30,000 so far in 2011. Just 11 percent of the 89,000 state duck stamps sold this year were the actual stamps.
Still, the state stamps and contests aren't likely to fade away soon. State law requires them, meaning the Legislature would have to kill the stamps. So far, lawmakers have been unwilling to do that.
"If the stamps go away, it will be a sad day for artists,'' said John House of Melby, Minn., a five-time state stamp winner. "The stamp competition is an opportunity to distinguish yourself. I'm forever grateful for the opportunities.''
Meanwhile, the federal Fish and Wildlife Service also has launched a pilot program that allows waterfowl hunters to buy the $15 federal stamps online. The "electronic stamp" is good for 45 days while the printed stamp is mailed. After 45 days, hunters must possess the actual stamp to legally hunt waterfowl.
"The federal stamp is a cherished tradition,'' said Rachel Levin, Fish and Wildlife Service spokesperson. "We don't have any plans for doing away with the printed stamp.''
The federal contest attracts 200 to 300 entries, she said. Next year will be the 80th anniversary of the stamp, which has generated more than $750 million to buy or lease more than 5.3 million acres of waterfowl habitat.
Artists can't enter for three years after they win, so both Joe and Jim Hautman will be on the sidelines, rooting for brother Bob to pull off another win for the family. It would be the third consecutive Hautman win.
What are the odds of that?
Don't bet against it.
Doug Smith • firstname.lastname@example.org
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|Washington||11/30/14 12:00 PM|
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|Dallas||12/4/14 7:25 PM|
|Golden State||13||1st Qtr 6:24|
|New Orleans||6:30 PM|
|LA Clippers||7:00 PM|
|New York||7:00 PM|
|NY Islanders||2||3rd Prd 10:40|
|Winnipeg||0||1st Prd 13:51|
|Montreal||0||1st Prd 14:43|
|Detroit||1||1st Prd 16:10|
|Carolina||0||1st Prd 11:25|
|Vancouver||0||1st Prd 14:14|
|Miss Valley St||66||FINAL|
|Stephen F Austin||83||FINAL|
|Middle Tennessee||28||2nd Half 12:58|
|Char Southern||22||2nd Half 15:49|
|Princeton||42||2nd Half 12:16|
|Drake||26||2nd Half 12:30|
|USC Upstate||33||2nd Half|
|Cal State Fullerton||36|
|Rider||22||1st Half 3:30|
|High Point||5||1st Half 13:02|
|Emerson||7||1st Half 10:54|
|Savannah State||8||1st Half 11:59|
|Monmouth||10||1st Half 11:35|
|South Alabama||0||1st Half 13:10|
|Boise State||7||1st Half 12:07|
|Vanderbilt||12||1st Half 12:48|
|Gonzaga||6||1st Half 15:13|
|Holy Cross||6||1st Half 13:54|
|Bradley||4||1st Half 15:46|
|Alabama State||19||1st Half 11:01|
|Delaware State||15||1st Half 12:24|
|Tennessee St||6:30 PM|
|North Carolina||7:00 PM|
|Cleveland State||7:00 PM|
|UT Martin||7:00 PM|
|SE Louisiana||7:00 PM|
|Murray State||7:30 PM|
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|Miss State||8:30 PM|
|La Salle||8:30 PM|
|North Dakota||9:00 PM|
|Long Beach State||10:30 PM|
|UC Santa Barbara|
|(13) Arizona State||35||FINAL|
|(21) Colorado State||24||FINAL|
|East Carolina||7:30 PM|
|North Texas||11/29/14 11:00 AM|
|Old Dominion||11/29/14 11:00 AM|
|(16) Georgia Tech||11/29/14 11:00 AM|
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|West Virginia||11/29/14 11:00 AM|
|Rice||11/29/14 11:00 AM|
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|Utah||11/29/14 12:00 PM|
|Texas State||11/29/14 1:00 PM|
|Idaho||11/29/14 1:00 PM|
|Wyoming||11/29/14 2:00 PM|
|New Mexico St||11/29/14 2:00 PM|
|UAB||11/29/14 2:30 PM|
|(4) Miss State||11/29/14 2:30 PM|
|(18) Ole Miss|
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|(22) Minnesota||11/29/14 2:30 PM|
|(5) Baylor||11/29/14 2:30 PM|
|Florida||11/29/14 2:30 PM|
|(1) Florida State|
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|Connecticut||11/29/14 3:00 PM|
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|ULM||11/29/14 5:00 PM|
|Middle Tennessee||11/29/14 6:00 PM|
|Hawaii||11/29/14 6:00 PM|
|Wake Forest||11/29/14 6:00 PM|
|Pittsburgh||11/29/14 6:00 PM|
|(15) Auburn||11/29/14 6:45 PM|
|(3) Oregon||11/29/14 7:00 PM|
|Utah State||11/29/14 9:15 PM|
|(25) Boise State|
|Washington||11/29/14 9:30 PM|
|Nevada||11/29/14 9:30 PM|
|UCF||12/4/14 6:30 PM|
|Northern Ill||12/5/14 6:00 PM|
|(12) Arizona||12/5/14 8:00 PM|
|(19) Marshall||12/6/14 2:00 AM|
|(11) Kansas State||12/6/14 2:00 AM|
|Iowa State||12/6/14 2:00 AM|
|Oklahoma State||12/6/14 2:00 AM|
|Hamilton||11/30/14 5:00 PM|
|Cal State Fullerton||78|
|Miss Valley St||46||FINAL|
|No Dakota State||79|
|New Mexico St||97|
|Fla Gulf Coast||86||FINAL|
|IUPUI||51||2nd Half 4:22|
|East Carolina||50||2nd Half 5:30|
|USC||60||2nd Half 12:31|
|Sam Houston St||43|
|Minnesota||23||2nd Half 15:43|
|Kent State||30||2nd Half 11:24|
|Montana||43||2nd Half 9:37|
|(9) Kentucky||40||2nd Half 16:26|
|Arizona||46||2nd Half 9:02|
|Northern Ky||30||2nd Half 12:40|
|Stetson||39||2nd Half 11:29|
|American Univ||25||2nd Half|
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|Stony Brook||19||1st Half 2:00|
|TCU||6||1st Half 12:32|
|(5) Stanford||8||1st Half 11:23|
|(11) North Carolina||11|
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|Portland||7||1st Half 13:45|
|Stephen F Austin||2||1st Half 14:34|
|Alcorn State||2||1st Half 14:16|
|Lafayette||14||1st Half 14:28|
|Florida||14||1st Half 11:44|
|Miami-Ohio||5||1st Half 12:41|
|SE Missouri St||11||1st Half 13:41|
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|Montana State||7:00 PM|
|(22) Syracuse||7:00 PM|
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|Coll of Charleston||7:30 PM|
|Wake Forest||7:30 PM|
|San Jose St||7:30 PM|
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|Missouri State||8:30 PM|
|Ole Miss||8:30 PM|
|Prairie View||8:30 PM|
|UC Santa Barbara|
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