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August 27, 2013

MADISON - Close to 30 pieces of wildlife artwork were on display for the combined judging of the designs to be featured on the 2014 Wisconsin Wild Turkey, Pheasant, and Waterfowl Stamps. The judging took place on Saturday, August 24, at the Aldo Leopold Legacy Center in Baraboo. There were 8 entries for the Wild Turkey Stamp, 7 for the Pheasant Stamp, and 13 for the Waterfowl Stamp, all submitted by talented artists from around the state of Wisconsin.

2014 turkey stamp
2014 Wild Turkey Stamp by Virgil Beck of Stevens Point

2014 pheasant stamp
2014 Pheasant Stamp by Caleb Metrich of Lake Tomahawk

2014 waterfowl stamp
2014 Waterfowl Stamp by Caleb Metrich of Lake Tomahawk

A woodland scene of a strutting gobbler, submitted by Virgil Beck of Stevens Point, took the top prize for the 2014 Wisconsin Wild Turkey Stamp design contest.

The winning entry for the 2014 Wisconsin Pheasant Stamp design contest is painting of a pair of pheasants set in a Wisconsin farmland landscape, submitted by Caleb Metrich of Lake Tomahawk.

Metrich also took first place in the 2014 Wisconsin Waterfowl Stamp design contest with his painting of a swimming wood duck drake. This is the fifth time in the history of the three stamp design contests that the same artist has painted the winning design for both the Pheasant and Waterfowl Stamps.

The judging panel for the three contests included Earl Duckett, president of the Wisconsin Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation; Craig Schlender, president of the Sauk County Chapter of Pheasants Forever; and Jim Gronowski, state chairman of Wisconsin Ducks Unlimited.

2014 Wild Turkey Stamp design contest

Virgil Beck, an artist and naturalist, resides in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. He's been painting since 1967, giving him over four decades of experience. Beck began painting at home at the age of 13, later attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison and earning a degree in Fine Art. He spent a number of years working for the Walt Disney Company in Los Angeles before returning to the woods of Wisconsin.

Beck lists Robert Kuhn as an artist whose work he admires, particularly Kuhn's ability to capture the essence of an animal's movements. Beck used his observations of turkeys at the Marshfield Zoo and at Schmeeckle Reserve in Stevens Point when composing his submission, and advises beginning artists to draw what they see from life as much as possible rather than rely on photographs. He believes it's better to see your subject and make a quick sketch, stating that first-hand experiences tend to stick with you. The amount of effort an artist puts into research will be reflected in their final product.

Beck has had previous success in Wisconsin's wildlife stamp contest, taking first place in the contest for the 1987 Wild Turkey Stamp. He has also won first place for the 1996 and 2002 Wisconsin Great Lakes Salmon & Trout Stamp and the 1999 and 2008 Wisconsin Inland Trout Stamp.

Two artists tied for first runner-up for the 2014 Wild Turkey Stamp contest: Robert R. Wilkins of Kiel and Steven A. Hovel of DeForest. The second runner-up was Robert Leum of Holmen.

Sales of the Wild Turkey Stamp help provide future opportunities for turkey management and hunting in Wisconsin. All turkey hunters are required to purchase the $5.25 Wild Turkey Stamp to legally hunt turkeys in Wisconsin. Sales of the Wild Turkey Stamp bring in over three-quarters of a million dollars annually for habitat management and restoration projects, education, research, equipment purchases and the management of the wild turkey program in our state.

2014 Pheasant and Waterfowl Stamp design contests

Caleb Metrich, 30, resides in Lake Tomahawk. He's been painting for as long as he can remember, and virtually all of his skills were self-taught through trial and error and experimenting with various media. Metrich grew up in a home that placed great value on spending time in the outdoors, and one of his favorite activities is hunting with his father; the two of them have travelled across the Midwest in pursuit of turkeys, deer and waterfowl.

Metrich likes to paint what he's observed in nature. In order to gather reference material for his Waterfowl Stamp submission, he used a ghillie suit to sneak up on flocks of wood ducks on the lake behind his parents' house, allowing him to observe these beautiful birds from only 4 feet away. His Pheasant Stamp submission is a composite of several scenes he photographed while traveling through Merrill.

Metrich's advice to beginning painters is to paint what comes naturally - don't try to force it. Being accurate in your depiction of nature is also crucial, and Metrich says he is particularly grateful to his father, a retired taxidermist with years of wildlife knowledge, who provided mounted wildlife specimens to work from as well as helpful critiques.

Metrich previously took first place in the 2012 Wild Turkey Stamp design contest.

For this year's Pheasant Stamp design contest, the first runner-up was Brian Kuether of Greenfield, and the second runner-up was Steven A. Hovel of Deforest.

Sales of the $10 Pheasant Stamp bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars annually for the development, management, conservation and maintenance of wild pheasants and their habitat in the state and also help to support the stocking of pen-reared pheasants on Wisconsin's public hunting grounds. A Pheasant Stamp is required to hunt pheasants in the state of Wisconsin.

The first runner-up for this year's Waterfowl Stamp contest was John Nemec, Jr. of Peshtigo, and the second runner-up was Craig Fairbert of Ladysmith.

Proceeds from the sale of the $7 Waterfowl Stamp are used for managing, restoring, and protecting habitat in Wisconsin and Canada for waterfowl and other wetland-associated species. Duck and goose hunters are required to purchase the Wisconsin Waterfowl Stamp in order to hunt waterfowl in the state.

Please note that an electronic "stamp approval" is printed on the licenses of wild turkey, pheasant, and waterfowl hunters at the time of purchase. Hunters will not receive an actual stamp unless they request it. DNR service centers have the state stamps available free of charge for hunters with stamp approval. Anyone else interested in collecting the Wisconsin wildlife stamps may purchase one directly from the DNR. For more information, call the DNR Call Center at 1-888-WDNRINFo (1-888-936-7463) or use the online licensing center.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Krista McGinley, assistant upland wildlife ecologist, at (608) 261-8458 or

Last Revised: Tuesday, August 27, 2013

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