The stamp became a required purchase for anyone hunting waterfowl in Colorado in 1990 and has featured many of the state's various duck and goose varieties since then. While digital records have eliminated the need for hunters to purchase a physical gum-back stamp, many still choose to.

The species selected for the 2012 stamp was the Ross' Goose - a small white goose with black feathers on the wings. Delaware-based wildlife artist Richard Clifton's depiction of a male and female Ross' goose standing on the bank of a pond was selected as the first place winner in the Department of Wildlife's annual Waterfowl Stamp artwork contest and will be the 2012 image.

According to the Division of Wildlife that image will help raise money for wetland conservation in Colorado.

Sales of the stamp and reproductions of the artwork it features raises over $100,000 a year in dedicated funding for this cause according to the Department of Wildlife.

"We've done hundreds of projects around the state since 1990 when we first had these funds available," Brian Sullivan, Wetlands Program Coordinator, told 9NEWS. "And so we've achieved nearly 20,000 acres of habitat conservation through this program."

This is the third year in a row Clifton has won Colorado's Waterfowl Stamp art contest and he told 9NEWS this year's bird provided a special challenge as the Ross' goose isn't common in his native Delaware. Therefore he improvised to come up with the reference materials he needed to create the painting.

"What I needed to do to gather reference is I went and spent a lot of hours in the evening photographing snow geese here in some neat lighting. I took some of those reference materials and just altered those birds that I had photos of and turned them into Ross' geese," Clifton said.

He, along with several artists who submitted images for the contest, donated their artwork to the Colorado Wildlife Heritage Foundation this year. The Foundation will make many of those images available for sale to collectors in the form of stamps and prints later this summer.

For more information please visit or the Department of Wildlife's website.