Howard Hanson was born and raised on a farm in central Minnesota. Howard started hunting waterfowl at the early age of 7 years with his mother and father. Howard attended school in Clarissa, MN and was active in sports. After high school Howard moved to Minneapolis and got a job in retail. Howard was drafted into the Army and served in the Korean War.
After getting out of the military, Howard attended the Minnesota School of Business in Minneapolis. Because of his military experience, Howard was soon hired by Federal Cartridge. While spending most of his career with Federal (20 years) as their Director of Marketing, Howard was very involved with the development of steel shot.
While at Federal, Howard learned about the Minnesota Waterfowl Association when it was still based in southern Minnesota. Howard quickly found it to be an excellent organization, but he also believed it needed to be statewide. Howard not only helped, but became involved with MWA and was the Association’s President in 1976. Then he moved the headquarters to Minneapolis.
In the early 1970’s Howard and the Board members put together a plan to develop the first state duck stamp. It took 3 years to pass the legislature, but the duck stamp advocates had the support of then-
Governor Perpich. Every bit of Howard’s vacation time for three years was spent at the Capitol fighting for the duck stamp. The bill passed in 1977. To date, the stamps have generated more than $16 million dollars for waterfowl habitat in Minnesota.
Howard was involved with many other conservation organizations and is a charter member of T.I.P. Howard has always been involved with conservation issues because he felt he could make a difference, and always thought it was important to be able to give something back.
Howard is now retired and spends as much time as possible at the Lake. Howard and his wife Joan, and live in Battle Lake, Minnesota.
We are proud to honor Howard Hanson for leaving us the legacy of the Minnesota Duck Stamp that has provided countless acres of wetland habitat that host the ducks we love each spring, summer and fall.
Bob Hautman's winning pintail design was his second image to be chosen as a Federal Duck Stamp - his first win was the 1997-1998 stamp featuring a majestic solitary Canada goose. Since his 1997-1998 Federal win, Robert has painted the 1999 and 2011 Texas Duck Stamps, the 1999 SCWA Stamp, and was selected to paint the 2001-2002 New Jersey Duck Stamp. He also won the Minnesota Duck Stamp for 2001-2002.
Hautman credits his success to the influence of his parents and a supportive family environment. His mother Elaine is an accomplished painter; and his late father Tom bestowed on his family a love of the outdoors and a commitment to wildlife conservation. Robert began his wildlife painting career in 1983 painting “Birds on Boards,”" and selling at local art fairs.
In 1987 he won his first contest, the Minnesota Duck Stamp, with a pair of Buffleheads. He has been painting, doing shows, and winning contests ever since. Robert currently resides on a farm near Delano, Minnesota where he is working to restore portions of the land back to wetlands and prairie.
Robert was the Minnesota Duck Stamp Contest Winner in 1988, 1992 and 2001. He added the uplands to his stamp credits with a Minnesota Pheasant Stamp win in 1995. The 989 Nevada Duck Stamp, the 2011 Texas Duck Stamp and many other state stamps are also his creations.
We are proud to honor Bob Hautman for his stunning portrayals of the wildlife we all love, but especially the ducks that grace our skies, wetlands and hearts.
Born in 1964, James Hautman grew up in an artistic family surrounded by nature. He burst onto the wildlife scene in 1989, when at age 25,he became the youngest ever winner of the prestigious Federal Duck Stamp Contest. He has gone on to win the 1995, 1999 and 2011 Federal contests.
In addition to his four Federal Duck Stamp wins, Jim has painted more than 20 state conservation stamp designs, and the 1990 Australian duck stamp. In 1989 and 1996 Jim also won the Minnesota State Duck Stamp Competition, and in 1991and 1994 he won the Minnesota State Pheasant Stamp Contest, as well as the 1997 Wild Turkey Stamp Contest,. In 1991 he was named Ducks Unlimited International Artist of the Year. Recently he won that award again in 2010 with his painting “First Light – Canvasbacks.”
Pheasants Forever has also selected Jim as Artist of the Year for 1993, 2004, 2008and 2010. In 2002 he was commissioned by the United Nations to paint a series of birds for their endangered species stamp collection. Publications such as Time magazine, USA Today and The Wall Street Journal have featured articles on his work. Jim’s artwork has been on display in the Oval Office of the White House, the Smithsonian Institute, the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, the United Nations and in public and private collections throughout the world. Jim and his wife Dorothy live in Chaska, Minnesota.
Jim recently won the Federal Duck Stamp contest for the 2011-2012 stamp – his fourth win -- and was named the Ducks Unlimited 2011 Artist of the Year.
We are proud to honor Jim Hautman for the glorious images he has painted in support of wildlife, waterfowl, and the wetlands we all live for. To date, Jim’s winning duck stamps have generated over $100,000,000 for conservation across the country.
Joe Hautman’s first experience as a professional artist came when he won the Federal Duck Stamp contest in 1991. Although he had never sold a painting, he suddenly found himself visiting President George H. Bush in the Oval office, and receiving honors for his artistic achievements.
From an early age Joe loved to draw and paint, he soon became fascinated by the sciences as well. His artistic talents took a back seat during his academic career. He studied physics at the University of Minnesota, and eventually earned a PhD. D. from the University of Michigan.
In the midst of an active research career, Joe began to enter the Federal Duck Stamp contest as a way to exercise his artistic skills. His surprise victory provided the incentive he needed to return professionally to his first love. He now paints full-time and finds his art career as challenging and fulfilling as his scientific research. Joe also won the Federal contest for the 2002 and 2008 duck stamps, and recently became a four-time winner with his rendition of a drake wood duck which will be on the 2012 stamp.
Joe lives in Plymouth, Minnesota. His work features a variety of North American animals and, inspired by several trips to India, tigers and other Asian wildlife. The well-researched detail and accurate naturalistic settings in his paintings are a reflection of his scientific background, as well as his reverence for wildlife and habitat.
We are proud to honor Joe Hautman for his unmatched talent in capturing the beauty of nature and the beloved waterfowl we hunt … and also for the millions of dollars generated for waterfowl habitat through the sale of his federal duck stamp images over the years.
John Idstrom has always been a Minnesota boy, spending his early years in Trimont, Cambridge, Willmar and Northfield. He graduated from St. Olaf College in 1955 with a degree in biology. He was drafted into the United States Army, serving for two years during the Korean War as a cryptographer at the Pentagon.
After graduating from St. Olaf College, John was hired by the Minnesota Conservation Department as a research biologist based at the Big Game Unit of the Carlos Avery Research Center in Forest Lake. He specialized in deer, moose, elk and black bear.
In 1970 John returned to the land of his youth, where he transferred to game management as Area Wildlife Manager for the Minnesota DNR in Owatonna. He was in charge of five counties – Rice, Steele, Freeborn, Dodge and Mower. Here he was involved in the hands-on tasks of restoring and preserving habitat for wild creatures, especially waterfowl.
One of John's victories was the Bill Bryson case that went to the Minnesota Supreme Court. John fought with his testimony, helped save a seventeen-acre wildlife marsh, and set a precedent for the future. Many landowners were asking for wetland restorations in the 1970’s and John was successful in saving over one hundred of them.
John’s hobbies are extensive. Along with his love for wildlife and dogs, he has developed his talent as an artist. John enjoys making bronze sculptures of North American big game trophy animals using the lost wax method. He also loves woodcarving shorebirds from antique patterns, woodcarving duck decoys, painting waterfowl with oil paints, and etching birds.
Along with his family, hunting has been one of John's great joys. He started in 1943 in Kandiyohi County, at age twelve with his beloved father, brother and cousins. The Chesapeake Bay Retriever is his dog of choice and he has had four of them, as well as a Brittany. Waterfowl hunting is his favorite sport but he also loves fly fishing and bait casting. He has always enjoyed cooking his wild game and fish.
John and Jane, his wife of 53 years, have two sons: John who lives in Tacoma, Washington, with his wife Sarah and their daughter Claire; and Scot who lives in Decorah, Iowa, with his wife Becky and their three children Jacob, Claudia and Johanna.
We are proud to honor John Idstrom for being among the pioneers of wetland restoration, an immutable voice for their preservation, and always defending what he knew was right for waterfowl.
Steve Kufrin was born on October 24, 1942 in Benson, MN. Steve grew up in the Benson area and learned to hunt ducks from his father. Steve had a passion for duck hunting from an early age. Football was another passion. In high school, Friday nights were for football games, but immediately afterwards he and a buddy would drive to his family “duck shack” on Lake Johanna near Benson, where they would spend the entire weekend duck hunting.
When high school was over, Steve joined the Air Force from 1960 – 1965, which included three years in England. After the military, Steve went on to college at Willmar Community College, where he became editor of the college newspaper and president of the student body. Steve would schedule his classes in the fall to start at 11:00 a.m. so he could get out duck hunting before school started.
Steve parlayed his people skills into becoming a writer for the Swift County Monitor in Benson, MN. While in the Air Force, Steve would get letters from friends and family, telling him that there were no ducks and no pheasants. That experience etched a clear path for Steve's life after he got out of the Air Force: His calling was trying to make a difference for wildlife.
Steve saw for himself the wetlands disappearing, and the grasslands going under the plow: Habitat destroyed. Steve wrote many articles about his discontent. Lucky for Steve, most of the landowners were receptive to his conservation ideas.
Steve also became the Editor of the MWA Magazine, in which his tireless dedication to conservation causes and issues was seemingly endless. Soon after, Steve went to work for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, at the Regional Office in the Twin Cities. Steve was charged with working with private land owners in the Partners for Wildlife Program. Steve had a gift for working with landowners and explaining the Federal programs that were available to help them to promote conservation. He also was gifted in working with valued partners, whether it be state or federal agencies, or the many non-profit conservation organizations doing great work on the landscape.
Steve was a titan for habitat, wetlands and hunter access. Steve was a very skilled decoy carver as well. When you saw a Kufrin decoy, you knew that it was worthy for any mantel. Steve often taught folks how to carve, or held demonstrations to show how it’s done, including decoy painting at MWA’s Woodie Camp, for many years.
Upon his retirement in 2005, Steve dedicated his life to family and friends. Steve passed away in 2009 of a brain tumor after 5-year battle. Steve was honored with a 739 acre WPA that holds his name, the Kufrin WPA, near Benson, MN. Also, Steve won the prestigious National Wetlands Conservation Lifetime Achievement Award by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as well as the 2005 “Outdoor News Man of the Year” award. On March 19, 2005, then-Governer Pawlenty declared the day, “Steve Kufrin Day” in Minnesota. Steve is survived by his wife, Jill and daughters Emily and Becca.
We are proud to honor Steve Kufrin for the words and actions he used as he dedicated a life to preserving wildlfie habitat – especially that of waterfowl – in Minnesota. We know that wherever Steve is now, it's Friday night in duck camp, the woodstove is hissing, and the bluebills are coasting into Johanna on an October gale.
Don Parsons was born on October 14, 1929 in Minneapolis. Don grew up in Minneapolis, attended DeLasalle High School, and went on to the University of Minnesota. Don’s father was an avid hunter, and loved ducks as well as other wildlife. Don was introduced to hunting at a young age. He got his first shot gun 1938 – 20-gauge Harrington Richardson single shot. When he was 15 he bought his first duck boat for $35. Then when he turned 12, he got his first pump gun and went hunting in South Dakota for pheasants.
As a youth, Don would hunt around what is now Bloomington, and southern Minnesota near Chatfield, as well as traveling to South Dakota and Manitoba. That is where Don fell in love with duck hunting.
On one trip to Manitoba, Don and his father were looking out on the prairie and Don said, “Dad, is that a fire burning out there?” His Dad said, “No, those are ducks!” He said he couldn’t believe the amount of ducks that made up that flock to make it look like a thick plume of smoke.
Don started working for Warner Hardware in Uptown in April 1950, in the sporting goods section. In November of 1952, after returning from the Korean War, Don moved to the downtown Warner store in the sporting goods and gun department. Don became the Gun Buyer for
Warner Hardware and worked there until 1963. During his time at Warner Hardware, he met and married Dottie in 1954.
After a two year stint at Minneapolis Outlet where he was the Store Manager, he started a long stint at Cristies Sporting Goods in St. Louis Park, MN as their Store Manager. But in 1975 Don bought out the Outdoorsmen Reloading store and started Ammo Craft in Hopkins. Don owned and operated Ammo Craft until 2004 when he sold the company.
Don has been a leader in introducing kids and adults to calling turkeys, ducks and geese, always taking the time to teach and explain the in’s and out’s of calling, while also letting them try all the calls in his stores. Don has a one son, Rick Parsons that lives in Bloomington, MN. He has been married to Dottie for 67 beautiful years.
We are proud to honor Don Parsons for being an example of the consummate Minnesota Sportsman – a lover of all things wild, especially a duck marsh on a blustery morning – but especially for introducing countless young people to the outdoors.
Roger Strand was born on March 23, 1936, in St. Paul, Minnesota. He went to school in Minneapolis, but grew up and spread his wings on the north side of Green Lake in Spicer, Minnesota. The day school got out it was straight to the Green Lake cottage to hunt, fish and get lost in the woods until school started again.
Roger got his love for the outdoors from both his father and mother. His father was an avid duck hunter, and a founding member of the New London Hunting Club. The club property was located near New London on a sprawling duck mecca called Mud Lake. At age nine, Roger started hunting on Mud with his father, uncle, and older brother. At first he was only allowed to shoot at coots that flew by the boat. In the early 1950’s, his father bought 80 acres of land nearby which included Stoney Lake. This small lake was nearly surrounded by old growth forest and was a natural haven for wood ducks. A family hunting cabin was built, and Roger started a long adventure by placing his first wood duck box there in 1956.
Roger and his wife, Kay, are very proud of their four grown children: Mary, Mac, Katherine, and Bob. Roger’s medical career spanned 30 years, most of which were spent as a surgeon with the Affiliated Medical Center in Willmar where they raised their family. He had a special interest in surgery of the hand which helped in treating farm injuries brought for care from the surrounding region. Roger retired in 1991 to pursue the outdoor lifestyle he loved so much.
Stoney Ridge Farm in northern Kandiyohi County has been a big part of Roger and Kay Strand’s life. It includes the Stoney Lake property and the family hunting cabin. They moved into the farm house upon retirement and began stepping up efforts at managing what had grown to comprise 400 acres of wooded land, sloughs, and small kettle lakes. Kay and Roger have donated a permanent conservation easement on the land to the Minnesota Land Trust. The ownership remains in a private trust, but can never be developed by future owners. It can, however, be actively managed for wildlife, hunted, and used in perpetuity for conservation projects like the MWA fundraising event, Prairie Pothole Day.
In 1983, a half dozen people started up a Minnesota Waterfowl chapter in Kandiyohi County, working with MWA Director, Ray Norrgard. They wanted to see some wetland restoration happening in the county, and appropriately voted to call themselves the Prairie Pothole Chapter. Roger was the first president. The members puzzled about what kind of fundraiser to hold to accomplish their goals. They knew about a successful, privately-sponsored Game Fair event held for the first time the year before in Anoka County. They decided to initiate a rural, one day version of Game Fair on the Stoney Ridge grounds in September, 1983, to benefit the work of MWA. They were happily surprised when 500 people showed up with shotguns, bows, retrievers, and good appetites for lunch. Attendance figures now average 4000 with good weather. This is a family affair, with all kids’ events being free. On September 8, 2012, the 30th annual renewal will occur thanks to the ongoing dedicated work of chapter volunteers.
Roger enjoys his retirement, but doesn’t quite call it retiring. He simply switched careers. He now considers himself a conservation teacher and especially enjoys his time at the Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center, New London School, and MWA’s Woodie Camp where he teaches wood duck management. He is deeply involved with the Wood Duck Society, a national all-volunteer organization whose mission involves educating the public about wood duck habitat and active management. For many years Roger has been the editor of their publication, the Wood Duck Newsgram
We are proud to honor Roger Strand for being a tireless advocate for waterfowl in Minnesota, a teacher of our children, and a steward of the prairie pothole wetlands we all love so much.