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Duck Decoys and Duck Calls

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duck decoy For hundreds of years, waterfowl decoys have been crafted and used by hunters to attract live ducks and other waterfowl to hunting blinds.  In addition to duck calls or bird-sounding noisemakers, they have proven to be the best way to hunt an otherwise elusive and sensitive prey.

Duck decoys may be made of wood, cork, or plastic, and they are shaped and finished to look like real ducks.  A cork decoy is the most realistic in the way that it floats on water, but cork and wood are rarely used anymore because of their relatively heavy weight and the need to dry them after use.  Plastic decoys are more economical, widely available, and lighter and easier to carry to a hunting spot.  Decoys have been designed to imitate many duck species, although mallard duck decoys are the most common since most other duck species are willing to socialize with mallards.

mallard duck decoy Early waterfowl decoys were hand-carved out of several different kinds of wood, and used many different kinds of painting techniques to make them look authentic.  Many of these decoys were stamped and dated to show where they came from, and when they were made.  While inexpensive, mass-produced replica decoys have become quite popular, hand-carved decoys have become collectible pieces of art.  They are often prized by folk art and antique collectors.

Over the years, skilled woodcarvers have created beautiful, hand-painted wood decoys that are decorative art objects in their own right.  Decorative waterfowl decoys are much more detailed than the decoys used for hunting purposes, and they may sell for thousands of dollars.  People buy and collect these handcrafted decoys to display them as works of art. features convenient access to decoy shops and birding resources where you can find a great selection of hand carved decorative decoys and waterfowl hunting decoys.  If you are a carver, be sure to visit this wood carving tools site, where you can find information about basic carving tools, as well as links to carving tool and accessories suppliers.

Decoy Shops and Woodcarvers

  • Decoy Classics
    Specializes in hand-carved reproductions of classic duck and shorebird decoys.
  • Russell Allen Decoys
    Offers custom, hand carved decoys and folk art as well as professional decoy and folk art restoration.
  • Mad River Decoys by Audobon
    Mad River Decoys specializes in decoys for rare and endangered seabird restoration.
    Features innovative decoys with flapping wings and weedless paddling feet.
  • Decoy Heritage
    Jim Allen's Decoy Heritage is a Tuckerton, New Jersey-based decoy business.

Decoy Auctions

  • Guyette & Schmidt
    This antique decoy auction firm specializes in antique duck, shorebird, and fish decoys, waterfowl art, and duck calls.
  • Frank and Frank Sporting Collectibles
    This New Jersey-based decoy auctioneer offers free decoy appraisals.

Decoy Museum

  • Havre de Grace Decoy Museum
    Located in northeastern Maryland, this decoy museum features an extensive collection of working and decorative waterfowl decoys.  Via demonstrations, exhibits, lectures, and tours, the museum strives to preserve the history and culture of waterfowl hunting and decoy making in the Chesapeake Bay area.

Related Birding and Hunting Resources

  • Midwest Decoy Collectors Association
    This nationwide decoy support group offers services to decoy carvers, collectors, and enthusiasts.
  • Ducks Unlimited
    This leading wetlands conservation group features decoy and duck hunting resources.
  • Duck Hunters Refuge
    Duck hunting and goose hunting resources and information.
  • Decoy Magazine
    Bi-monthly publication that serves the interests of decoy collectors worldwide.  The magazine provides information about decoys and their makers as well as comprehensive coverage of decoy auctions, shows, and events.
  • Assateague Island Hunting
    This Virginia-based guide service offers waterfowl hunting in Assateague, Chincoteague, and their surrounding wetlands.
  • Pitboss Waterfowl
    This Maryland-based hunting guide offers guided hunts on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and throughout Chesapeake Bay.
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
    Working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife, and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.

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Decoy Guide - Hunting Decoys and Collectible Decoys

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