The northern shoveler, more commonly known in Louisiana as a "spoonbill duck" or "spoonie" or "smiling mallard," is the feature species for the Louisiana Duck Stamp contest for 2019.

Northern shoveler will be the featured species in the competition for the 2019 Louisiana Waterfowl Conservation Stamp, or Louisiana Duck Stamp, the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries announced along with the rules and time frame. 

Announcing the contest in February instead of June this year and into the future will allow competing artists more time to prepare their entries after knowing the featured species, a news release said. 

“I was asked by some regular contest entrants if LDWF could announce the species in time to photograph birds using Louisiana’s wintering habitats before they returned north,” said Larry Reynolds, LDWF Waterfowl Program manager, “and that seemed a reasonable request.’’

The northern shoveler, or spoony, is a dabbling duck named for its large spatulate bill specialized with well-developed lamellae for seining aquatic invertebrates and other food items from the water and pond bottom, a news release said.

Shovelers are commonly seen in marsh and flooded agricultural habitats across the state and are highly visible this time of year in large colorful flocks foraging in rice fields. Shoveler populations in North America have grown steadily since the early 1990s and provide abundant hunting opportunity.

The 2019 contest will be restricted to designs with northern shovelers as the focal species. Their habitat must be shown.

To enter, an artist must submit an original, unpublished work of art (along with a signed and notarized artist's agreement and a $50 entry fee) to Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, Attn: Louisiana Waterfowl, Conservation Stamp Program, 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA 70808.

Entries will be accepted from Oct. 15 through Oct. 23. The contest starts at 10 a.m. Oct. 24 in the Louisiana Room at the LDWF Headquarters building. The public is invited.

To fill out the 2019 Louisiana Waterfowl Conservation Stamp competition artist agreement and see the full list of rules, go to http://www.wlf.louisiana.gov/hunting/2019-louisiana-duck-stamp-contest .

The Louisiana Legislature authorized the Louisiana Waterfowl Conservation Stamp program in 1988. The program was created to generate revenue for conservation and enhancement of waterfowl populations and habitats in Louisiana.

Judging for the art competition will be based on the following criteria:

1. Accuracy of form, size, proportion, color and posture.

2. Level and accuracy of detail in all aspects of the waterfowl.

3. Appropriateness, accuracy and detail in depiction of the habitat.

4. Attractiveness and creativity in composition, subject, background and lighting.

5. Suitability for reproduction as stamps and prints.

A panel of judges with experience in waterfowl biology and/or artistic method will select the winning design. The competition is open to artists 18 and older. Employees of LDWF and members of their immediate families are ineligible.

For information, contact Larry Reynolds at (225) 765-0456 or lreynolds@wlf.la.gov.