Host Pippin Ross talks with wildlife artist Joe Hautman about his painting of black scoter ducks which will grace next year's federal duck stamp.
ROSS: You're listening to NPR's Living On Earth. Unless you fly in certain circles, you might not realize that there's a new federal duck stamp artist for 2002. Every year hundreds of wildlife painters vie to have their work adorn the annual duck stamp. It's the stamp water fowl hunters must buy for 15 dollars every year to validate their licenses. Stamp collectors, officially known as philatelists, and conservationists, collect them, as well. Almost all the proceeds go toward conserving wetland habitat in the National Wildlife Refuge system. I am joined now by this year's winner, Joe Hautman. Hi Joe. Congratulations.
HAUTMAN: Thank you.
ROSS: This is really something of a family dynasty you Hautmans have going here. Your brother Bob has handed the duck stamp crown over to you for this year, and you have a third brother, Jim, who's also worn the crown in the past. And you, yourself, have won previously. What's up with that? Or maybe I should say, "What's down with that?" Is that something in the gene pool?
HAUTMAN: (Laughs.) Well I don't know. People ask me that a lot, and I don't know how you could ever answer that question, because we all grew up with artwork around the house, too. And that's probably the main influence is our mom is an artist. We all like painting, and we all like ducks because of my dad's interest in ducks. So, I guess it's a natural thing.
ROSS: Now it's the Fish and Wildlife Service's responsibility to choose which bird is going to be on the stamp every year. And this time it was the black scoter's turn. That's a sea duck, right?
HAUTMAN: Yeah. It's found both on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. But growing up in Minnesota it isn't really a duck I had ever seen before I went up to Alaska and saw them one time.
ROSS: Uh-huh. Can you describe it?
HAUTMAN: Well, it's not the most magnificent looking duck, and that's the reason that it actually was the one the Fish and Wildlife chose for the artists to do this year, is that it's the only one that's never been on a stamp before.
ROSS: So, what did you do, go up to Alaska and have some of these scoter's model for you?
HAUTMAN: Yeah. We went up there and hunted them to get mounts for reference purposes and also to take photographs.
ROSS: Oh. So you hunted them.
HAUTMAN: Oh, yeah.
ROSS: Uh-huh. A little duck a l'orange, huh?
HAUTMAN: (Laughs.) Well, the scoter is not one you'd want to be doing l'orange with. It's supposedly-- although I never actually tried it-- not one of your tastier ducks.
ROSS: So when can we get our hands on the black scoter stamp?
HAUTMAN: Well, it won't be sold to the public until July first, next year.
ROSS: Oh, I don't think I can wait.
HAUTMAN: (Laughs.) Well, they're still selling my brother's stamp. He won last year, and that's the one that's in force till July first of 2002.
ROSS: Joe Hautman is a wildlife artist who lives in Plymouth, Minnesota, and he's the federal duck stamp artist for 2002. Thanks for joining us, Joe.
HAUTMAN: Thank you.
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