Northwoods artists take top honors in state wildlife stamp contests
A Lake Tomahawk artist won the 2021 wild turkey stamp design competition and the waterfowl stamp design contest. Robert Metropulos of Arbor Vitae took first place for the pheasant stamp design and second place in the wild turkey design. The competition is sponsored by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR).
Metrich has been painting since he was 10 years old and is mostly self-taught. According to a release from the DNR, he gains inspiration for his art from hunting trips. Metrich said he hunts almost every day in April, bringing his camera along to take photos for reference materials for future paintings. He said he believes his success as an artist comes from his unfiltered love for hunting, wildlife and nature in general.
Metropulos has won several turkey, pheasant and waterfowl stamp design contests in the past in Wisconsin, Delaware, Indiana and Ohio. He has also been a Wisconsin Pheasants Forever featured artist of the year and has placed within the top 10 pieces for the federal duck stamp competition as well.
Proceeds from the $5.25 stamps purchased by wild turkey hunters brings in over $775,000 annually for habitat management and restoration projects, research, education and other programs involving wild turkeys.
Revenue generated from the $7 waterfowl stamp is estimated at $350,000 annually and goes toward habitat management, restoration and protection in Wisconsin and Canada for waterfowl and other wetland species.
A $10 pheasant stamp is required to hunt pheasant in the state. Proceeds amount to about $500,000 each year for the conservation and management of wild pheasants and their habitat, along with the state game farm that raises them for stocking efforts on state public hunting grounds.