Friday, November 2, 2012


Battery powered mechanical decoy!

Decoys of the 70s and 80s

The vintage red head, tried and true.
My father considered hunting/fishing/trapping his true vocation and we always thought he was born 50-75 years too late to be a frontiersman.  But he carried  on traditions his father and grandfather before him started as a way of survival on the prairie lands of western Minnesota.  Our house was always full of men dressed in kahki (before camo and bright orange), dogs,  kids and involved lots of activity in preperation for whatever season was upon us.  For years he hunted with wooden decoys which eventually ended up in gunny sacks in the attic.  Not until my mom passed, did we tackle the task of figuring out what was actually there.  One of my dad's last years of hunting brought him bragging rights by shooting two ducks with one shot---and that was after he lost eyesight in one eye due to glaucoma.  At any rate, it became necessary to downsize lots of equipment and our sons chose special mementos of their "Boppie."  We decided on the spur of the moment to include 3 of those vintage wooden decoys on a local consignment auction----I nearly dropped my teeth when they brought more than several hundred  dollars!  And they were well used by many hunters.  Several years ago the decoy collectors of America were in their element when a pair of never before seen pintail decoys were sold for $39,100 at an auction in Illinois.  They were carved years ago by a local bachelor farmer who spent long hours producing hundreds of these wooden art pieces.  Make no mistake---decoys are the ultimate in folk art, I believe.  At any rate they were found stored in a barn along with many others that had been purchased in the 1950s after the man's goods were sold by family members who thought he was dead. ( short version---he went into hiding because they thought he was not capable of taking care of himself).  We have a first hand account from another man who went to that auction and was only able to buy odds and ends on one of the hay racks due to lack of money....doesn't he wish!  Today, our son has continued the tradition of sitting in the blind waiting for that flock to land among the decoys.  Today's technology has provided a totally different type of duck----battery operated with moving wings.  Imagine my surprise a few weeks ago when I found two of these critters sitting on my kitchen cupboard getting  their batteries charged.  How my dad would have laughed----actually he probably is!

1 comment:

  1. Loved your story! Being born in the so called decoy capital of the world, Havre de Grace, MD I grew up with decoys as decorations throughout our home. My parents both hunted and I still have my mothers khaki hunting outfit from the 60's. None of our decoys were working birds, just very large knick-knacks. My sister and I still have all of these and I can't imagine my home without them.