Release Date: 06/27/2006

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) has announced that the chocolate Labrador retriever will be featured in the "Retrievers Save Game" series for the 2007 Louisiana Waterfowl Conservation Stamp, or Louisiana duck stamp competition.

The chocolate lab must be prominent in the design and each entry must also include live waterfowl selected by the artist.  Artists may also choose to include harvested waterfowl, duck decoys, hunting scenes and other backgrounds along with wetland habitats.

After 16 years of featuring waterfowl, the program switched to the retrievers series two years ago, because all of the popular waterfowl species had already been used. 

"Instead of repeating one of the previously used ducks or geese, we decided on this new approach," Robert Helm, LDWF waterfowl program manager, said.  "We were encouraged by last year's participation in the new retriever series and look forward to additional entries this year."

Labradors come in black, yellow and chocolate color phases.  Only the chocolate lab will be allowed on entries this year, following the black and yellow labs the first two years.  Labradors came from Canada in the most eastern province of Newfoundland and Labrador.  It has been said that fishermen from this area carried these hardy retrievers in boats to retrieve fish coming off the trawls in the north Atlantic.  The Labrador's hunting and swimming ability, and his good disposition did not go unnoticed by English sportsmen, who introduced these dogs to Europe in the mid-1800s. 

American sportsmen adopted the breed from England and subsequently developed and trained the dog to fulfill the hunting needs of this country.  Today, as in the past, the versatile Labrador will eagerly enter in ice-cold water to retrieve a duck and work all day in the heat of a dove field.  They are very adaptable and their mild temperament makes them ideal family companions.

"Retrievers are very popular among Louisiana sportsmen and we think that some people who might not be attracted to the more traditional duck stamp art might consider purchasing a print featuring a dog," Helm said. 

The Louisiana Legislature authorized the Louisiana Waterfowl Conservation Stamp program in 1988.  The program was created to generate revenues for conservation and enhancement of waterfowl populations and habitats in Louisiana.  During the last 18 years, more than $8.5 million has been generated for wetland conservation with approximately $5 million spent on land acquisition.

The Louisiana Waterfowl Program, a cooperative endeavor between LDWF, Ducks Unlimited and the Federal Natural Resources Conservation Service has also benefited private lands.

Entries for the competition will be accepted from Oct. 16 to Oct. 20.  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.  Entries should be addressed to Robert Helm, Louisiana Waterfowl Conservation Stamp Program, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, 2000 Quail Drive, Baton Rouge, LA 70808, or P.O. Box 98000, Baton Rouge, LA 70898.

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 anatomy of both the retriever and 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.   Judging will take place on Oct. 25, at LDWF headquarters in Baton Rouge.

The competition is open to all artists 18 years of age and older.  Employees of LDWF and members of their immediate families are ineligible.

For more information, contact Robert Helm at 225/765-2358 or rhelm@wlf.louisiana.gov.