By Gary Koehler

One of the noblest endeavors a waterfowl hunter can undertake is to fuel the interest of youngsters in the outdoors. Scot Storm, DU's 2014 Artist of the Year, has done his part, and then some.

For the past several years, Storm and his brother have mentored a number of young hunters by coordinating an annual waterfowl hunting trip to North Dakota. These kids and others like them represent the future of our sport as well as the future of waterfowl and wetlands conservation.

"I guess it started when my son, Logan, got big enough to hold a shotgun," Storm says. "He was involved in elementary school sports, and so were his friends. Sports these days require a lot of time, with practices during the week and games on weekends. My brother and I were concerned that spending all that time with team sports would take away opportunities for these kids to get outdoors."

To make sure the boys didn't miss out on waterfowling, Storm and his brother decided to take them on a big-time duck and goose safari in North Dakota. The hunting can be terrific, but these outings involve much more than shooting.

"We sit there and identify the ducks and make sure the boys know what's coming in," Storm says. "This year we had a huge flock of mallards, 500 to a thousand, and not a shot was fired. Everyone sat and watched the birds come in. I asked the boys why they didn't shoot. Every one of them said they had never seen anything like it, that it was beautiful. They had an appreciation for what they had just seen."

2014 DU Artist of the Year Winner Scot Storm with his painting, Tranquil Waters

Tranquil Waters, by Scot Storm, will be available at DU fundraising events nationwide in 2014.
Storm's own art is filled with an appreciation of the birds he paints and the beauty of their natural habitats. In Tranquil Waters, a gorgeous painting of three wood ducks, the warm, subtle background enhances the birds' natural good looks. The painting took top honors in this year's DU art contest.

"That painting actually came from a pond on our homestead," Storm says. "I spend a lot of time out there taking photographs with my friend Tom Martin, especially in the spring. We had some cool morning sun coming through, which created the glow reflecting off the ducks."

Storm spends countless hours outdoors. He spends a week each spring in South Dakota during the waterfowl migration. His travels can take him to any number of diverse locales, especially when a client commissions him to paint a particular scene. Upcoming is a visit to Alaska.

"It's never enough," Storm says of his research and photography sessions. "My time in the field varies from year to year. But I always spend quite a bit of time in the blind."

Storm, who lives in Freeport, Minnesota, says his home-state roots are a big plus. "The thing about living here is that Minnesota has a little bit of everything-ducks, geese, pheasants, white-tailed deer, and more," Storm says. "That provides me an opportunity to watch and photograph a variety of wildlife. And that keeps me fresh."

Storm has been a full-time wildlife artist since 1999, when he walked away from a career in architecture to concentrate on his passion. He won the 2004-2005 Federal Duck Stamp Contest and was DU Artist of the Year in 2005. His work has since appeared on state duck and pheasant stamps from North Carolina to Oklahoma. He is among 31 artists to have been chosen as DU Artist of the Year since the program was introduced in 1972.

"I have no regrets about leaving architecture and pursuing my art," Storm says. "I've had so many good experiences and have met so many interesting people from coast to coast. And my art, which is my job, allows me to be outdoors. You can usually find me down in the swamp."

Ducks Unlimited's National Art Package
Contributing Artists

Down Time
By Adam Smith
Even big bucks get tired on occasion. This trophy whitetail is taking a breather from a long day in the timber.

Ducks Unlimited's National Art Package
Contributing Artists

Landing Pintails, Lifting Fog
By Richard Clifton
Is there any duck more elegant than the pintail? These two are set for a landing as the fog lifts on an autumn morning.

Ducks Unlimited's National Art Package
Contributing Artists

Outnumbered and Surrounded
By John Aldrich
He's probably not going to do much retrieving today, but this little guy is receiving an early introduction to his future accomplices.

Ducks Unlimited's National Art Package
Contributing Artists

Hurry Dad
By Ralph McDonald
Uh oh, we're running late today. And the ducks are right on time. Let's move along.

Benelli Montefeltro B1481 Silver is DU's New Gun of the Year

In addition to yet another outstanding wildlife art package, Ducks Unlimited events will feature a wide array of exclusive collectibles in 2014. Decoys, knives, related artifacts, and quality gear will be available nationwide throughout the year. Of special note is DU's Gun of the Year, a Benelli Montefeltro B1481 Silver semiautomatic shotgun. This 12-gauge beauty is chambered for three-inch shotshells. It features Benelli's inertia-driven cycling system, silver receiver with special DU engraving, AA Grade stock and forearm, vented recoil pad, and a hard case and lock. Check with your local DU committee or visit the DU website at for upcoming events in your area.