|Delaware River Style Gunning Decoys|
Work from the Migration Fine Art Series is only available via galleries.
Overview: Almost every decoy carver develops his style from one of the major hunting regions across the United States. Since I grew up hunting along the banks of the Delaware River I’ve been heavily influenced by the style of the decoys I saw in the hunting rigs used by my local hunters and carvers. Although I don't make copies of old decoys, I do follow the history and traditional characteristics of the Delaware River style decoys.
Originally decoys were made to fit the specific purpose of luring flying ducks to land relatively close to a hidden hunter. Since keen observation is the difference between a hunter and a good hunter, the original Delaware hunters must have spent long days sitting on the riverbank watching rafts of ducks float down the river. Knowing what contented, resting ducks looked like allowed them to make convincing decoys, and they did.
The hunter would set out one or two dozen decoys in the middle of the river and row up current a hundred yards or so and sit on the bank watching with binoculars. When the live ducks landed amongst the decoys, the hunters would push off and float with the current towards the decoys. The front of the boat was decorated with grass or white canvas to simulate trash or grass floating down the river. The live ducks would contently sit waiting for the realistic decoys to fly from danger. When the hunter got in range he dropped oar, picked up his gun, and bagged dinner.
Since Delaware River decoys were never mass-produced they are among the most pampered and spoiled decoys in history. The meticulous carving and painting of each unique decoy is what makes them such a collectable decoy, and such a treasure to own.
Availability: Since each decoy is individually hand carved and hand painted they are never produced for "stock" or storage. Each year I may make several hunting rigs to use down at the out back, and subsequently sell these. I may also carve some specifically for upcoming shows or competitions, and will often sell them afterwards. And of course many of the decoys are carved specifically for a client who knows exactly what they want.
Each is carved of white cedar, hollowed, and painted with artists’ oils, and therefore the feather pattern will patina with age. It will carry the traditional Delaware style raised primaries on its back. Each decoy is branded on the bottom with VGIII and if it is hunted over will also have “out back” and the year they were used burned in. "Out back" is the name of my hunting property located on the Delaware Bay.
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