July 27, 2008

Latest DNR Wildlife Stamp Contest to Feature Walleye

By Chris Niskanen, Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.

Jul. 27--Walleye artists, start your paintbrushes.

The subject of Minnesota's newest wildlife stamp competition is also the state's fish, officially known as the walleye, but also affectionately known as Walter or Mr. Waldo.

Yes, the yellow-flanked fish gets its own stamp this year, which will be sold on a voluntary basis to anyone who wants to contribute to the state's walleye-stocking program. If you choose to buy the walleye stamp, plan on spending $5 more for your fishing license.

The Minnesota Legislature created the stamp earlier this year.

The walleye stamp joins the trout and salmon, migratory waterfowl, wild turkey and pheasant as species featured in wildlife art contests sponsored by the Department of Natural Resources.

There are rules.

The fish painting must focus on a walleye (Sander vitreus vitreus), though the fish doesn't have to be in the water. It could be on a stringer or held in someone's hand, said Mark Ebbers, DNR fisheries program consultant.

"A walleye must be in the picture, but the details are up to the artist," Ebbers said. Also, other fish may be in the design, but they must be common species in Minnesota lakes that have walleyes. Other fish must "depict a common interaction between species," according to the DNR's news release.

The walleye also must be accurately rendered.

"On our judging panel, we usually have a fish biologist or ichthyologist to verify if, for instance, a fin is in the correct position

or isn't," Ebbers said. The painting also can't use any "photographic products" or it will be disqualified.

No prizes will be given, but the artist retains rights over the original image. Only Minnesota residents are eligible.

Ebbers has no idea how many entries the DNR will get, but the trout and salmon contest usually draws 18 to 25 entries. The DNR sent out contest rules to 300 artists who have entered any of the state's wildlife stamp contests.

Don't plan on seeing the image on your next fishing license, however. The stamp won't actually be given to license buyers unless they ask and fork over an extra $2.50 for postage. Most stamp buyers only will see a "validation" line on their license that shows they bought the stamp.

--Artists can deliver their walleye stamp design to the DNR from Oct. 13-24. Artwork must be delivered to the DNR by 4 p.m. on Oct. 24, or it must be postmarked by that time. The mailing address is 2009 Walleye Stamp Contest, DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife, Box 20, 500 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN, 55155-4020.

--Be sure to write "Walleye Stamp" clearly on the outside of the container or envelope.

--Judging takes place at 2 p.m. Oct. 30, at the DNR offices in St. Paul.

--For more information go to www.mndnr.gov.


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Copyright (c) 2008, Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.

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