Waterfowl Decoys the First American Folk Art

May 24, 2015 // Posted in: Uncategorized

A waterfowl decoy is a man-made object resembling a real duck. Waterfowl decoys are considered by many to be the first American folk art form. Historically carved from cork or wood, decoys have been fashioned from canvas, plastics, and even corn husks.

Although varied in detail and design, waterfowl decoys have particular styles and personalities. Working decoys were the among the first types created. Decorative decoys followed, with greater detail and often more fragile in construction.

Black Duck by Cigar Daisy

Black Duck by Cigar Daisy

As spring arrives, it’s time to sort through your decoy collection, finding ones for use in the fall and learning more about our hunting heritage. A great source of information is in the writings of Joel Barber, the first known waterfowl decoy collector. Barber started collecting in 1918 and helped to categorize this American folk art. “The Art of the Decoy” and “American Bird a Decoys” are great, period, texts to read as references and history on this incredible American tradition.

Make your American hunting tradition a living legacy through a membership to outstanding waterfowl clubs or land acquisition with the LandGuys. Hunting over vintage waterfowl decoys, learning more about our waterfowling heritage, or enjoying a day afield is an excellent way to add a page to an already rich book of American traditions.

Our Managing Broker, Scott Whittington has history in the Illinois River Carvers! His great uncle, Hector ‘Heck’ Whittington, was a well know carver in the Oglesby, Illinois area. Click Here to find out more on Heck’s decoys and Scott’s own entrance into the decoy carving world!



-LT Taylor