A painting of a male ring-necked pheasant and a Brittany hunting dog has been chosen by a panel of judges as the winning entry in the 2015-2016 California Upland Game Bird Stamp Art Contest. The painting was created by Roberta “Roby” Baer of Redding, the first California artist to win the honor since the 2011-2012 contest.
Sponsored by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), the annual contest is held to determine the official design for the upcoming year’s California Upland Game Bird Stamp.
Artists submitted their own original depiction of a ring-necked pheasant. The setting and details were determined by the individual artists, but entries had to include at least one adult ring-necked pheasant and be representative of the species’ natural habitat in California if a background was included.
The entries were judged Thursday by a panel of experts who were selected for their knowledge in the fields of ornithology, conservation, art and printing. Designs were judged on originality, artistic composition, anatomical accuracy and suitability for reproduction as a stamp and print.
The judges praised the acute realism of the winning entry and one noted the “remarkable level of detail” evident in Baer’s rendering of the pheasant.
The realism that impressed the judging panel was inspired by Baer’s fond memories of youthful adventures in the outdoors.
“When the species for this contest was announced, it brought up old memories of hiking when I was a kid growing up in the country,” said Baer, a wildlife artist who was raised in Palo Cedro (Shasta County). “I remember seeing those stunning pheasants all the time and hearing their distinctive sound. For me, it was like going back home when I was painting.”
An upland game bird validation is required for hunting migratory and resident upland game birds in California. The validation replaces the stamp through CDFW’s Automated License Data System, but the stamp is still produced and available to hunters upon request. Money generated from upland game bird validation sales are dedicated solely to upland game bird-related conservation projects, hunting opportunities and outreach and education. CDFW annually sells about 175,000 upland game bird validations and distributes approximately 17,000 stamps.
Any individual who purchases an upland game bird validation may request their free collectable stamp by visiting www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/collector-stamps. An order form is also available on the website for collectors who do not purchase a hunting license or upland game bird validation or for hunters who wish to purchase additional collectible stamps.
The ring-necked pheasant was chosen this year due to CDFW’s recent efforts to fund projects to address pheasant population declines in California. For more information, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/conservation/birds/pheasant.
Tim Turenne of Richfield, Minn., placed second and Diane Ford of Bethesda, Md., placed third.