DNR announces 2024 wild turkey, pheasant and waterfowl stamp design contest winners

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced the winners of the 2024 Wisconsin wild turkey, pheasant and waterfowl stamp design contest. Many wildlife artists from around the state submitted over 30 pieces for judging.

Each year, Wisconsin wildlife artists enter to have their paintings featured on the next renditions of the wild turkey, pheasant and waterfowl stamps, which are available for purchase through Go Wild and license agents. By purchasing stamps, hunters, conservationists and stamp collectors fund habitat management and restoration around the state.

While hunters are required to purchase stamps to pursue these birds, anyone interested in supporting grassland, wetland and forest management activities is encouraged to purchase a Wisconsin wild turkey, pheasant or waterfowl stamp to support conservation in the state.

This year’s judges were Paul Smith, an outdoor news writer for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Mark Kakatsch from the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation and Bill Koelpin Jr., a professional wildlife artist.

Kenosha resident Jim Tostrud won first place in this year’s wild turkey stamp competition with a portrait featuring a close-up of a gobbling tom. Tostrud has been an avid outdoorsman, turkey hunter and a professional wildlife artist for much of his life, and he has competed in Wisconsin’s salmon and trout stamp contests in prior years as well.

Robert Wilkens, of New Holstein, took first place in the pheasant design contest with artwork depicting a rooster pheasant in the snow. Wilkens has been creating wildlife artwork since he was about 18. His interest in wildlife stamp design contests began with the federal duck stamp competition and has only grown since. Wilkens has won Wisconsin wildlife stamp design contests in the past, along with the Wisconsin trout stamp contest.

Ryan Rickaby, of Suamico, took first place in the waterfowl design contest with a portrait of a lone blue-winged teal. Rickaby has a passion for the outdoors including wildlife photography. In fact, the inspiration for his painting came from a photo he had previously taken. Rickaby inherited his passion for wildlife art from his father, Jon Rickaby, who himself has previously won Wisconsin wildlife stamp contests.

Wilkens also won second place in the wild turkey design contest and third place in the waterfowl design contest. Robert Andrea, of Spooner, won second place for the pheasant design contest, and Robert Luem, of Holmen, won third place. James Pieper, of Iron Ridge, won second place in the waterfowl design contest, and Mark Kanitz, of Markesan, won third place in the wild turkey design contest.