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Black Bear and Migratory Game Bird Stamps Announced

Artwork to Support Conservation and Wildlife Initiatives

Autumn Color by Steve Oliver

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources announced that a Delaware resident won this year’s Maryland Black Bear Conservation Stamp Design Contest, while the award for top Migratory Game Bird Stamp Design went to a Wicomico County resident.

The winners were chosen by a panel of judges April 28 at the 47th Annual Ward World Championship Wildfowl Carving Competition and Art Festival in Ocean City.

“Congratulations to the winning entries and thank you to everyone who submitted some terrific artwork this year,” Wildlife and Heritage Service Director Paul Peditto said. “Every entry showcases the talents of some gifted artists while supporting important conservation efforts to understand and protect our wildlife.”

Steve Oliver of New Castle, Delaware won the 21st Annual Maryland Black Bear Conservation Stamp Design Contest with his painting, Autumn Color, a close-up portrait of a black bear with warm tones of fall foliage surrounding him. This is his seventh win since first entering the contest in 2000.

“I submit each year because I believe in the program and want to support anything that helps protect wildlife and help people understand why black bears do what they do,” Oliver said.

Proceeds from the sale of Black Bear Conservation Stamps and other related items are used to compensate Maryland farmers experiencing damage caused by black bears. These proceeds are added to the Black Bear Compensation Fund. The bear stamps and other related items can be purchased on the department’s online store.

Blackwater Visitors by Paul Makuchal

Blackwater Visitors by Paul Makuchal

Paul Makuchal of Pocomoke City won the 42nd Annual Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp Design Contest with his painting, Blackwater Visitors, an iconic image featuring two black ducks, a drake and a hen, flying low above the Eastern Shore’s marshland.

The artwork will be featured on the stamps hunters purchase to hunt all migratory game birds in the state with the proceeds funding migratory game bird research and habitat enhancement on public lands. Since 1974, stamp sales have provided more than $7 million for migratory game projects.

This is Paul Makuchal’s fourth title as Maryland Migratory Game Bird Stamp Contest winner, following his previous selections in 1998, 2006 and 2013.

“It’s a thrill to win the contest again and a great honor to be part of the event,” Makuchal said.