The Wild Duck Chase by Martin J. Smith
Inside the Strange and Wonderful World of the Federal Duck Stamp Contest

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His dive into the world of competitive duck painting is deep. Chapters on artists and contest rules...are interspersed with a detailed history of the duck stamp program. And Smith is clearly enamored with the results.
-LA Times

Synopsis

THE WILD DUCK CHASE is the basis for "The Million Dollar Duck,?? a documentary feature film, directed by Brian Golden Davis and written by Martin J. Smith, premiering at The Slamdance Film Festival in January 2016. The book takes readers into the peculiar world of competitive duck painting as it played out during the 2010 Federal Duck Stamp Contest-the only juried art competition run by the U.S. government. Since 1934, the duck stamp, which is bought annually by hunters to certify their hunting license, has generated more than $750 million, and 98 cents of each collected dollar has been used to help purchase or lease 5.3 million acres of waterfowl habitat in the United States.

As Martin J. Smith chronicles in his revealing narrative, within the microcosm of the duck stamp contest are intense ideological and cultural clashes between the mostly rural hunters who buy the stamps and the mostly suburban and urban birders and conservationists who decry the hunting of waterfowl. The competition also fuels dynamic tensions between competitors and judges, and among the invariably ambitious, sometimes obsessive and eccentric artists--including Minnesota's three fabled Hautman brothers, the "New York Yankees" of competitive duck painting. Martin Smith takes readers down an arcane and uniquely American rabbit hole into a wonderland of talent, ego, art, controversy, scandal, big money, and migratory waterfowl.
 

About Martin J. Smith

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Martin J. Smith is editor in chief of the monthly Orange Coast magazine and a former senior editor of the Los Angeles Times Magazine. He is author of three crime novels, and his nonfiction books include Oops: 20 Life Lessons from the Fiascoes That Shaped America and Poplorica (both with co-author Patrick J. Kiger). Smith lives in Southern California.
 
Published September 18, 2012 by Walker Books. 272 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Arts & Photography, Sports & Outdoors, Business & Economics, Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, Humor & Entertainment, Crafts, Hobbies & Home. Non-fiction
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LA Times

Above average
Reviewed by Alice Short on Oct 03 2012

His dive into the world of competitive duck painting is deep. Chapters on artists and contest rules...are interspersed with a detailed history of the duck stamp program. And Smith is clearly enamored with the results.

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