Indiana Artist Jeffrey Klinefelter With Another California Contest Honor To Win Upland Bird Stamp Competition

A few years back, we profiled a compelling documentary – The Million Dollar Duck – about the federal duck stamp art contest and the colorful and eccentric characters vying for the top prize. Filmmaker Brian Golden Davis introduced us to Indiana’s Klinefelter family, artists who have been frequent winners in various contests, including California’s annual contests. Jeffrey Klinefelter is the latest winner of the Golden State’s upland bird stamp competition.

Here’s the press release from California Department of Fish and Wildlife:

2022/2023 Upland Game Bird Stamp Art Contest winning entry of chukar by artist Jeffrey Klinefelter of Etna Green, Indiana.

A painting of chukar has been chosen by a panel of judges as the winning entry in the 2022-2023 California Upland Game Bird Stamp Art Contest. The painting was created by Jeffrey Klinefelter of Etna Green, Ind.

Klinefelter previously placed first in the 2021-22, 2019-20, 2018-19 and 2017-18 California Upland Game Bird Stamp Art contests, as well as the 2020-21 California Duck Stamp Art Contest.

Sponsored by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), the annual contest determined the official design for this year’s California Upland Game Bird Stamp.

Contest entries were judged by a panel of experts selected for their knowledge in the fields of ornithology, conservation, art and printing. Designs were judged on originality, artistic composition, anatomical accuracy and suitability for reproduction as a stamp and print.

The judges were initially drawn to the attention to detail in Klinefelter’s painting, especially in the feathers on the rump and wing cover. They also highlighted the accurate coloring of the feathers. They appreciated that the chukar looked healthy and well-fed with realistic anatomy and noted their believable proportions in relation to the background. This background habitat impressed the judges as well, reminding them of a snowy grassland in the northeastern corner of California.

Coloration and habitat were two of the biggest challenges for Klinefelter when he was planning his painting. “There are no chukars in Indiana,” he said, “and pen-raised ones aren’t as colorful, so I had to do some research. Also, photos can throw you as far as coloration since photographers tend to increase color intensity.” The research paid off, however, as the judges specifically noted the accuracy of the color and background in Klinefelter’s painting.

Painting of two birds standing on rocks with grass and snow in background, with 1st place ribbon - link open in new tab or window.
Three small birds standing on a rock, with 2nd place ribbon - link open in new tab or window.
Two birds on grass with trees in background, with 3rd place ribbon - link open in new tab or window.
Three birds with mountain range in background, with honorable mention ribbon - link open in new tab or window.

Diane Ford of Bethesda, Md., placed second in this year’s competition. Xochitl Acosta Brent of Redwood City, Calif., received third. Debra A. Ostlund of Pine River, Minn., received honorable mention.

An upland game bird validation is required for hunting migratory and resident upland game birds in California. The validation replaces the stamp through CDFW’s Automated License Data System, but the stamp is still produced and available to hunters upon request. Monies generated from upland game bird validation sales are dedicated solely to upland game bird-related conservation projects, hunting opportunities, public outreach and education. CDFW annually sells about 165,000 upland game bird validations and distributes approximately 24,000 stamps.

Any individual who purchases an upland game bird validation may request their free collectable stamp by visiting An order form is also available on the website for collectors who do not purchase a hunting license or upland game bird validation, or for hunters who wish to purchase additional collectible stamps.