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The Legacy of Wildlife Artist James Meger

Meger's "Storm Break" was Pheasants Forever's Print of the Year in 2001-2002.

Over his 30-year-plus painting career, wildlife artist James Meger became synonymous with Pheasants Forever, as his creations were selected as Pheasants Forever Prints of the Year more times – six – than any other. Meger passed away last week after a battle with cancer.

Even at Pheasants Forever’s beginnings, Meger built a connection to “The Habitat Organization.” Pheasants Forever’s first goal was passing the Minnesota Pheasant Habitat Stamp bill. The Pheasant Stamp is required of all Minnesota pheasant hunters ages 18 through 64, and sales generate money for habitat enhancement efforts on both public and private lands in the pheasant range of Minnesota. But the stamp also opened the door for artists to compete to have their work featured, and Meger’s work graced Minnesota’s third such stamp in 1986.

Since 1984, Pheasants Forever has also selected an annual Print of the Year, limited-edition prints that local Pheasants Forever chapters have used to raise funds for their area conservation efforts. Meger has been selected as Pheasants Forever’s Print of the Year artist more times than any other, including:

Year                Print

1989-90           Homestead

1997-98           Thanks Be Given

1999-2000       The Pumpkin Patch

2000-2001       Pony Express

2001-2002       Storm Break

2003-2004       Forever Pheasants

Meger was selected as Pheasants Forever's Print of the Year artist six times.

These prints raised hundreds of thousands of dollars, and not just in Minnesota. While best known in his native state – Meger was from Lyon County in southwest Minnesota’s pheasant country – his signature style separated him in an era rich with talented wildlife artists, and distinguished him at Pheasants Forever banquets from Indiana to Idaho.

“James Meger’s artwork was, without question, the most popular among our members,” says Ben Streitz, Pheasants Forever’s Director of Special Markets who worked with Meger in organizing print fundraising efforts since 1996, “He was the master of painting the modern farmstead with family, habitat and pheasants. His trademark was to hide all types of critters inside his paintings. People would just love looking for all the hidden animals. At a Pheasants Forever banquet you just had to look at the where the prints were lined up; there would always be a crowd surrounding his work.”

Messages for the Meger family can be left at www.caringbridge.org/visit/jamesmeger.

Field Notes are written and compiled by Anthony Hauck Pheasants Forever’s Online Editor. Email Anthony at AHauck@pheasantsforever.org and follow him on Twitter @AnthonyHauck.

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3 Responses to “The Legacy of Wildlife Artist James Meger”

  1. Les Froehlich says:

    We lost a brilliant artist last Thursday RIP prayers go out to he and his family

  2. Margaret Keane(Peggy Anderson) says:

    I was classmate of James at St.Edwards in Minneota, and Minneota High school, graduating in 1960. He and my older brother Greg, his sister MaryAnn and I would have great fun playing after school. Climbing trees,getting into fist figts, running races, mostly laughing and looking out for each other.. His first “Pheasants in Flight” inspiration was from our farm in Graceville, Mn….
    My heart goes out to his wife and daughter…. My neice Kim Gilbertsen ran into him at an art showing a few years ago and he told her how Peggy had left several voice mails for him to call Greg, who had terminal cancer.. Now the two of them can be hunting Pheasants together .. He will be missed dearly.. When I visited Jim and his family in Edina after out 30th high school reunion, a 15 minute vist turned into 3 hours!!! He said Peggy, you and your family are welcome at my home anytime!! This is a sad,sad day!!!

  3. Greg Bordignon says:

    Jim, You were a great artist, person and friend. I so much enjoyed when we could talk art and you would give me works of constructive criticism and especially encouragement. I still remember the first time we met you said ” Keep doing what you are doing and you will do well” I’ll miss you my friend.


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