Indiana Artist’s Turkey Painting Wins State’s Upland Bird Stamp Contest

The following is courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife:

Winning artwork of wild turkeys by Jeffrey Klinefelter.

Indiana Artist Wins California Upland Game Bird Stamp Art Contest

A painting of wild turkeys has been chosen by a panel of judges as the winning entry in the 2023-2024 California Upland Game Bird Stamp Art Contest. The painting was created by Jeffrey Klinefelter of Etna Green, Ind.

This is Klinefelter’s third win in a row, and seventh win overall, in the California Upland Game Bird Stamp Art contest. He also placed first in 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 noted the “flawless” turkeys in Klinefelter’s painting, pointing to the anatomical accuracy in the proportions and posture as well as the realism in the face and eyes. They also commented on the amount of detail in the feathers, in both definition and color, and appreciated how the crispness and vibrancy made the turkeys “pop” while remaining realistic. The showier male contrasted well with the duller females, and the more muted background habitat brought all three turkeys into focus while still being detailed enough to create a sense of place representative of California.

Sense of place was a conscious effort on Klinefelter’s part, and one that he found very challenging as someone who doesn’t live in California. “I wanted to create a more open background,” he said, “something wide open, but I found that kind of California landscape difficult to replicate.” He also found the turkeys themselves a challenge. “I have a lot of experience with eastern turkeys here in Indiana,” he said, “but no experience with the Rio Grande subspecies, the most common subspecies in California and the one I decided to paint.” He focused his attention on the differences between the two, especially in the tail feathers, and overcame the challenge admirably, as the judges can attest.

Carolyn Jenkins of Deltona, Fla., placed second in this year’s competition. Diane Ford of Bethesda, Md., received third. Jill Binger of Burney, Calif., received honorable mention.

Painting with blue ribbon of three turkeys in yellow grass
Painting with red ribbon of three turkeys amid grass and fallen logs
Painting with white ribbon of three turkeys in brown grass
Painting with light blue ribbon of a turkey in yellow grassland

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.