The Next Generation Demonstrates Excellence at 2023 NRA Youth Wildlife Art Contest

The Next Generation Demonstrates Excellence at 2023 NRA Youth Wildlife Art Contest

Congratulations are in order as the winners have been announced in the National Rifle Association’s George Montgomery/NRA Youth Wildlife Art Contest 2023. View the names of winners and their impressive artwork online by clicking here.

Winners were selected from over 360 entries and include Chenglin Sofia Ji, who was awarded Best in Show (pictured above) for a stunning recreation of a wood duck. First place in Category IV—Grades 10-12 went to Morgan Feng for a polar bear mother and cub resting in a snowbank.

Painting of polar bear with cub rolling in snow.

Each of the other three award categories (Category III—Grades 7-9, Category II—Grades 4-6, and Category I—Grades 1-4) have first, second and third place winners. There are over dozen honorable mentions, too, which demonstrates the ongoing popularity of the contest nationwide.

Winning artwork includes depictions of bears, foxes and wolves, plus pheasants, quail, rabbits and various waterfowl. Even mice and racoons make appearances. The art also will be showcased in the upcoming Winter issue of the NRA’s Club Connection magazine.

The George Montgomery/NRA Youth Wildlife Art Contest is one of the many ways that the NRA encourages the next generation of hunter-conservationists to learn about and appreciate America's wildlife. The contest offers young artists interested in hunting and wildlife an outlet to use their creative talent, and the opportunity to practice artistic techniques and refine wildlife identification skills through the creation of original works of art.

The contest also encourages youth to nurture and combine their interests for the visual arts, hunting and wildlife conservation. It reinforces the positive impacts of hunting and wildlife conservation to the American public at large, too.

The NRA Youth Wildlife Art Contest began in 1987. In 2010, the George Montgomery Foundation of the Arts presented an endowment to the NRA for long-term support of this program. Montgomery was an American actor and artist who frequently played rugged, individualistic characters in over 80 films and televisions series throughout the 20th Century. Known best for his roles in westerns, Montgomery grew up the youngest of 15 on a farm. He drew from his childhood and acting roles in his art, creating many fine sculptures depicting fellow actors and scenes from the Old American West. Noteworthy bronze sculptures of Mongomery’s include those of Clint Eastwood, Ronald Reagan and John Wayne.

The George Montgomery/NRA Youth Wildlife Art Contest is open to students grades 1-12 (including home-schooled children). All entries must portray North American game birds or animals that may be legally hunted or trapped and must be signed by the artist. Endangered species and non-game animals, such as eagles and snakes, are not eligible subjects. To confirm whether a certain animal or bird is eligible, check out the list of approved North American game animals and birds on the contest web page.

First, second and third place winners are selected for each category and are awarded $750, $500 and $250, respectively. One entry is selected to receive the Best in Show award and a $1,000 prize. Judges also may choose non-winning entries to be recognized with an honorable mention award.

Submissions for all artworks are in digital form only. Preferred specs for submissions are that they be a minimum of 8½”x11” with 300 DPI or higher resolution. All submissions must be original artwork and will be subject to an originality verification process. Submissions determined to have been traced or copied from a published photograph without copyright permission from the photographer, or from another artist’s work, shall be disqualified. Once all the entries are in, NRA staff participates in voting.

Do you know a young artist with interests in conservation, hunting, the outdoors and wildlife? Encourage him or her to check out the 2024 George Montgomery/NRA Youth Wildlife Art Contest.