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September 4, 2012

MADISON - More than 40 pieces of wildlife artwork were on display for the combined judging of the designs to be featured on the 2013 Wisconsin Wild Turkey, Pheasant, and Waterfowl Stamps. The judging took place on Saturday, August 25, at the Aldo Leopold Legacy Center in Baraboo. There were 10 entries for the Wild Turkey Stamp, 11 for the Pheasant Stamp, and 21 for the Waterfowl Stamp, all submitted by artists from around the state of Wisconsin.

2013 turkey stamp
2013 Wild Turkey Stamp by Craig Fairbert of Ladysmith

2013 pheasant stamp
2013 Pheasant Stamp by Craig Fairbert of Ladysmith

2013 waterfowl stamp
2013 Waterfowl Stamp by William Millonig of Campbellsport

A nighttime scene of a gobbler perched on a tree branch, submitted by Craig Fairbert of Ladysmith, took the top prize for the 2013 Wisconsin Wild Turkey Stamp design contest.

Fairbert also won the 2013 Wisconsin Pheasant Stamp design contest with his painting of a rooster set in a Wisconsin farmland landscape.

William Millonig of Campbellsport won 1st place in the 2013 Wisconsin Waterfowl Stamp design contest with his painting of two Long-tailed Ducks flying over Lake Michigan.

The judging panel for the three contests included Cory Catlin, president of the Wisconsin Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation; Bruce Urben, secretary for the Wisconsin Waterfowl Association board of directors; Jim Shurts, Wisconsin Conservation Congress delegate for Dane County; and Tim Eisele, a freelance outdoor journalist.

2013 wild turkey & pheasant stamp design contests

Craig Fairbert, an avid hunter and fisherman, resides in Ladysmith, Wisconsin, with his family. He's been drawing since kindergarten, giving him four decades of experience. Though his drawing skills are a gift which has always been with him, Fairbert attended the University of Wisconsin - Madison in order to hone his skills in color theory, design, and layout. He enjoys painting in a variety of styles, both tightly detailed and more impressionistic, and lists Luke Frazier and Kyle Sims as inspirations. After graduating from UW-Madison in 1991, Fairbert took a position with Adams Outdoor Advertising and eventually painted over 700 billboards in the Madison area, something he considers a priceless experience.

When creating his entry for the 2013 Wild Turkey Stamp design contest, Fairbert decided to do something different and paint a turkey in a setting not typically seen on previous stamps, which usually feature a gobbler in full strut during the spring. In contrast, his approach when painting his 2013 Pheasant Stamp entry was to paint a classic scene of a rooster moving through a Wisconsin farmland setting. In both cases, it's clear that his approach paid off; judges were impressed by his attention to detail and the radiant qualities of his artwork.

Fairbert's advice to beginning artists is to practice, practice, practice. He urges novice artists to learn from their mistakes, noting that no painting can ever be perfect and that acknowledging this will allow you to grow as an artist.

Fairbert has had previous success in Wisconsin's wildlife stamp contests, taking first place in the contests for the 2009 Wild Turkey Stamp, 2008 Pheasant Stamp, and 2010 Waterfowl Stamp. He has also won first place for the 2005 and 2008 Wisconsin Great Lakes Trout Stamp and the 2007 and 2010 Wisconsin Inland Trout Stamp.

This year's first runner-up for the Wild Turkey Stamp contest was Robert Wilkens of Kiel, and the second runner-up was Virgil Beck of Stevens Point. For this year's Pheasant Stamp design contest, the first runner-up was Brian Kuether of Greenfield, and Robert Leum of Holmen tied with Caleb Metrich of Lake Tomahawk for second runner-up.

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 more than $750,000 annually for habitat management and restoration projects, education, research, equipment purchases and the management of the wild turkey program in our state.

Sales of the $10 Pheasant Stamp bring in more than $370,000 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.

2013 Waterfowl Stamp design contest

William Millonig lives in Campbellsport, Wisconsin, on the edge of the northern unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest. He has been painting since he was a young boy and can't remember a time when he didn't draw and paint under the tutelage of his mother, who was also an artist. Millonig began taking classes in art when he was young, and has had instruction from several different schools and artists. He counts Owen Gromme and Thomas Aquinas Daly among his inspirations, and has worked with Rockne Knuth and Dan Gerhartz. Millonig loves to hunt and fish, enjoys cross-country skiing and hiking, and appreciates any activity that gets him outdoors where he can experience the wonders of Wisconsin's diverse landscapes and natural areas.

Millonig drew from a variety of sources while designing his entry for the 2013 Waterfowl Stamp design contest. He remembers seeing Long-tailed Ducks while salmon fishing with his father-in-law on Lake Michigan, and used a photo from one of his many trips to Door County to create the background for this particular painting. He was also able to use reference photos from friends who do hunt ducks on the open waters of Lake Michigan, and borrowed mounts from another friend, when painting the pair of flying ducks.

Millonig has also enjoyed success in previous Wisconsin stamp design contests, taking first place for the 1986 and 1997 Wild Turkey Stamp contest, the 2010 Pheasant Stamp contest, the 1995, 2002, and 2009 Inland Trout Stamp, and the 1988 Great Lakes Trout Stamp.

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

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, September 04, 2012

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