2023 Louisiana Waterfowl Conservation Stamp Competition winner

Published 8:30 am Sunday, November 6, 2022

Buck Spencer of Junction City, Oregon, has won the 2023 Louisiana Waterfowl Conservation Stamp Competition sponsored by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF). The annual contest, in its 35th year, determines the image on what is commonly called the Louisiana Duck Stamp.

Bufflehead was the species selected for this year’s contest. Spencer’s painting features a bufflehead pair swimming on a still waterbody.

A total of 19 entries were submitted for the contest, including eight from Louisiana artists and others from Florida, Indiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oregon, Texas, Virginia and Washington.

Second place went to Jeffrey Klinefelter of Indiana and third place to Garrett Jacobs of Florida.

Spencer, a self-taught wildlife artist, has several first place finishes in other state bird stamp competitions, including the Oregon Habitat Conservation Stamp contest, the Oregon Upland Game Bird Stamp contest, the Oregon Duck Stamp contest, the California Upland Game Bird Stamp contest, the Virginia Duck Stamp contest and the Michigan Ducks Unlimited Sponsor Print contest.

“My father worked for wildlife services, inspiring me to start studying and drawing animals at a very young age,’’ Spencer said. “I had previously worked in the oil field industry and that allowed me the unique opportunities to travel from the frozen prairies of North Dakota to the Everglades of Florida observing the diverse wildlife species and habitats along the way.’’

“Mr. Spencer competed against many high quality works and talented artists, including three past winners of this contest,’’ said LDWF Waterfowl Program Manager Jason Olszak. “Buffleheads have not appeared on the Louisiana Duck Stamp previously, and the winning entry is highly detailed and accurate in both color and form, and will make an attractive stamp for collectors.’’

The bufflehead, closely related to the goldeneyes, is North America’s smallest diving duck and is comparable in size to the more common green-winged teal. Aptly named after its resemblance to a bull bison’s head, the buffalo-headed duck is also commonly referred to as a butterball.

Less sociable than other diving ducks, buffleheads are not often found in large rafts on big water, but rather in small flocks or pairs in lakes, reservoirs, open marsh pools, and coastal estuaries throughout the late-winter in Louisiana.

Like wood ducks and goldeneyes, the bufflehead is a cavity nester but specializes in smaller cavities created by the northern flicker, reducing competition for nest sites by the larger birds. Consequently, their breeding range encompasses wooded regions in the Aspen Parklands and Boreal Forests of northern Canada and Alaska.

Judges for this year’s contest were: Richard Christopher Davis of Hillsdale/Amite, Louisiana, an artist, owner of RC Davis Gallery and the 1998 Louisiana Duck Stamp Competition winner; Bryan Leach of Lake Charles, who serves at Delta Waterfowl’s Regional Event Manager; Fred Roetker of Lafayette, a retired biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and who made many waterfowl survey trips during his career; Cassidy Lejeune of Maurice, Louisiana, Ducks Unlimited’s Director of Conservation Programs for south Louisiana; and Dr. James Van Remsen of St. Gabriel, Louisiana, the Curator of Birds and Professor of Biological Sciences at the LSU Museum of Natural Science.

The Louisiana Legislature authorized the Louisiana Waterfowl Conservation Stamp program in 1988. The program was created to generate revenue for conservation and enhancement of waterfowl populations and habitats in Louisiana. Since 1989, more than $15 million has been generated for wetland. An average of $400,000 per year is available for wetland and waterfowl habitat.

Revenues have supported wetland development projects on wildlife management areas and the Louisiana Waterfowl Project, a cooperative endeavor between LDWF, Ducks Unlimited, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to provide habitat for waterfowl and other wetland birds on private lands.

The 2023 stamp will go on sale June 1, 2023. The artist will retain the original artwork and will have reproduction rights to the image for prints and other commodities after LDWF has used the image to produce the stamps.

For more information, contact Jason Olszak at jolszak@wlf.la.gov or 337-735-8687. For more information on Spencer, go to https://buckspencerart.com/.