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The Wild Duck Chase: Inside the Strange and Wonderful World of the Federal Duck Stamp Contestby Martin J Smith
Synopses & Reviews
The Wild Duck Chase takes readers into the peculiar world of competitive duck painting as it played out during one year's Federal Duck Stamp Contest-the only juried art competition run by the U.S. government. Since 1934, the duck stamp, which is bought annually by hunters to certify their hunting license, has generated more than $750 million to help purchase or lease 5.3 million acres of waterfowl habitat in the U.S.-the core of the National Wildlife Refuge System.
As Martin J. Smith chronicles in his revealing narrative, within the microcosm of the duck stamp contest are intense ideological clashes between the hunters who buy the stamps and the birders and conservationists who decry the hunting of waterfowl. The competition also fuels dynamic tensions between competitors and judges, and among the invariably ambitious, sometimes obsessive, and often eccentric artists-including Minnesota's three fabled Hautman brothers, the "New York Yankees" of competitive duck painting. Martin Smith takes readers down an arcane and uniquely American rabbit hole into a wonderland of talent, ego, art, controversy, scandal, big money, and migratory waterfowl.
"I call it America's first reality show--'American Idol' for wildlife artists," says Pat Fisher, chief of the Federal Duck Stamp Office, about the annual art contest.
About the Author
Martin J. Smith is editor in chief of the monthly Orange Coast magazine and the author of three crime novels and several nonfiction books, including Oops: 20 Life Lessons from the Fiascoes That Shaped America and Poplorica: A Popular History of the Fads, Mavericks, Inventions, and Lore That Shaped Modern America (both with coauthor Patrick J. Kiger). Smith lives in Southern California.
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