Duck Carving in Maryland

Day 1097

     Back in the early 1900’s Havre de Grace, Maryland, was known mostly for its duck carvers. Because of it’s position on the Susquehanna River, migratory ducks would stop here. Duck hunting was a major sport.

     Because duck hunters are basically lazy, they wanted the ducks to come to them. Hence the industry of duck decoys. 

     Decoys are models of birds used to draw waterfowl within shooting range of hunters. The Indians made decoys of straw long before the first settlers arrived in the area. By 1812, wooden decoys, carved and painted as a particular species, were common in duck hunting.

     Decoys were a simple tool designed to enhance a hunter’s chances. Decoys were made for one purpose, to kill ducks. It didn’t have to be a work of art, but every decoy maker had an idea of what they were supposed to look like.

     The decoy was hand made of wood and hand painted. Each decoy maker had his own design of painting. Decoy making soon became an art form.

     Sinkboxes resembled a floating coffin. The sinkbox is surrounded with over 200 decoys. The hunter sits down in the box where it was difficult for the ducks to see him. A hunter could expect to bring in over 100 ducks a day. The sinkbox rig was too successful at luring in ducks. It was outlawed in 1935 to protect the declining duck population. 

     Are they live or memorex?

     If you know what I am talking about, you are really, really old. 

     Ok, bottoms up!

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