Annual California Duck Stamp Art Contest for CDFW

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) invites artists to submit their original artwork to the 2021-2022 California Duck Stamp Art Contest. Submissions will be accepted April 26 through June 4.

The artwork must depict the species selected by the California Fish and Game Commission, which for the 2021-2022 hunting season is the gadwall. These common dabbling ducks are similar in size and shape to a mallard, with both males and females donning somewhat muted coloring. Despite lacking the bright colors typical of other male ducks, male gadwalls exhibit intricate feather patterns with subtle yet striking color variations of brown and gray ending in a black patch at the tail.

The winning artwork will be reproduced on the 2021-2022 California Duck Stamp. The top submissions are traditionally showcased at the Pacific Flyway Decoy Association’s art show in July, but this year’s show status is pending due to COVID-19.

The design is to be in full color and in the medium (or combination of mediums) of the artist’s choosing, except that no photographic process, digital art, metallic paints or fluorescent paints may be used in the finished design. Photographs, computer-generated art, art produced from a computer printer or other computer/mechanical output device (air brush method excepted) are not eligible for entry and will be disqualified. The design must be the contestant’s original hand-drawn creation. The entry design may not be copied or duplicated from previously published art, including photographs, or from images in any format published on the Internet.

The contest is open to U.S. residents 18 years of age or older as of March 8, 2021. Entrants need not reside in California. All entries must be accompanied by a completed participation agreement and entry form. These forms and the official rules are available online at

Entries will be judged in June. The judges’ panel, which will consist of experts in the fields of ornithology, conservation, and art and printing, will choose first, second and third-place winners, as well as honorable mention.

Since 1971, CDFW’s annual contest has attracted top wildlife artists from around the country. All proceeds generated from stamp sales go directly to waterfowl conservation projects throughout California. In past years, hunters were required to purchase and affix the stamp to their hunting license. Now California has moved to an automated licensing system and hunters are no longer required to carry the physical stamps in the field (proof of purchase prints directly onto the license). However, CDFW will still produce the stamps, which can be requested by interested individuals at