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DennisMcFeely

decoy collecting

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DennisMcFeely

I am on the precipice of an extremely slippery slope.

 

Only a few years ago brdhunter47 introduced me to waterfowling on the Eastern Shore of Md but I've been fascinated with the lore of the place for much longer.  Twenty years ago I used to go to the Waterfowl Festival in Easton each year and now that I've been returning I have the bug pretty bad.  I'm looking to draw on the knowledge here to help point me in the right direction of this journey.

 

- What books would you recommend that are specific to the market hunting and wf hunting history of this area?  I'd like to concentrate on the Chesapeake Bay for now as opposed to other areas of the country.

 

- Decoy collecting is a world of its own but what books or resources might be best to learn about the noted carvers of the Bay area?  I've heard of the Ward brothers but what are some others?  I plan to visit the Ward museum and the Havre de Grace decoy museum, any other recommendations?

 

With due respect I'm able to do a google search but what I'm after is first hand knowledge from the board.  All of this is a part of Americana that's fascinating and for me the Eastern Shore is a place that just gets in your bones. 

 

Thanks in advance for any input or PMs.

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sprocket
5 hours ago, DennisMcFeely said:

I plan to visit the Ward museum and the Havre de Grace decoy museum, any other recommendations?

 

That's a great start - just go there and find a spark, follow the flame.

 

Don't overlook machine cut birds, yard sale stuff and generally under-rated sources.  I prefer working birds but bought damaged art birds at a yard sale.  Gather that which makes you happy.

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DennisMcFeely

Great advice thank you 

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sprocket

I once wanted to commission a bird that would become part of my working blocks - it would be hollow to accept the ashes of my Dad & I.

 

Yeah, that all got tossed because neither one of us want to be on a shelf for that long and never go out because nobody would honor using the wooden blocks.

 

A friend from a club cleaned out his stash, gave me a dozen working blue bills from the 20's, paper shells to match - machine cut blocks and a bunch of heads.  The heads are a treasure.  I honored a guide with a pair of blocks that he almost refused - he understood what it meant to me to give them to him.  Weird on any other forum, I was pleased to give him such items he would never find if he looked for them.  I still think of his smile.  He was around here back when but no matter.

 

I got a steal on paper deekes via face-space - paid half of every flea market over price/haggle point.  Kid just wanted them to be used.  It may be the best value trade I ever made - if they float...;)

 

So much good stuff out there - go find it - wall art, shelf art - old junk, awkward blocks - relax, enjoy, have fun.

 

If you want an investment, buy metals like brass, lead, silver, gold & platinum Master Cards...

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Brdhntr47

First stop should be the Havre de Grace decoy show. May 4, 5, & 6.  Best decoy show and it's Upper Bay.

I have a bunch of suggestions for you on books covering market hunting, decoys and the upper bay. I'll share titles and such with you when I get back home sometime in April. Most of the books are out of print but I know a book store on the shore that usually a has them in stock at reasonable prices.

 

Give me a call. Use my cell. I haven't been home for a couple months. Gotta go now, the fish are calling.

 

Dennis

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Rick Hall
16 hours ago, DennisMcFeely said:

- What books would you recommend that are specific to the market hunting and wf hunting history of this area?

 

Don't remember there being much, if anything, in it about market hunting, but Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Decoys & Long Guns Tales of Carroll's Island Ducking Club by C.John Sullivan Jr. will give you a feel for the hunting at the clubs of the late 1800s and early 1900s.  The author is/was(?) much more historian than writer, but has dug out a lot of information "from the horse's mouth," rather than just retelling old stories and perhaps exercising "poetic license" in the process.

 

(A lot of Chessie owners would be disappointed to learn that it wasn't the market hunters but the gentlemen gunners of the time who codified our breed.)

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Irishwhistler

 

Dennis,

Get ye hands on a copy of  "THE OUTLAW GUNNER" by Harry M. Walsh.  T'is just what ye are looking for👍.

 

Mike 🍀🇮🇪

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Rick Hall

John Sullivan's Waterfowling on the Chesapeake, 1819-1936 would seem another of special interest, as I've sometimes seen it referenced with regard to decoys of the period.

 

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DennisMcFeely

Thanks for the replies so far guys just what I’m looking for 

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garyRI

Re: collecting decoys. Recommend you start with Joel Barber's Wild Fowl Decoys. Written in the 30s but still in print. Barber was among the first to point out that decoys are folk art, without using the term.

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Irishwhistler
2 hours ago, garyRI said:

Re: collecting decoys. Recommend you start with Joel Barber's Wild Fowl Decoys. Written in the 30s but still in print. Barber was among the first to point out that decoys are folk art, without using the term.

 

I have a first edition printing of the book  by Joel Barber and it provides a good overview of some very important historical makers.  Found the book at a small shop in NH and bought it for a steal.👌

 

Mike 🍀

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Dick Sellers

For a book about old decoys (not specifically Chesapeake Bay), you might check out "Decoys at Shelburne Museum" by David Webster and William Kehoe.  And for any of you New Englanders, the Shelburne museum in Vermont has one heck of a collection.

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sprocket
56 minutes ago, Dick Sellers said:

For a book about old decoys (not specifically Chesapeake Bay), you might check out "Decoys at Shelburne Museum" by David Webster and William Kehoe.  And for any of you New Englanders, the Shelburne museum in Vermont has one heck of a collection.

 

It's on the famous trout river everyone is supposed to fish before they die - I went there I think the "they" are referring to are the stocked fish in the brown water...Still, worth a run up to see the blocks.

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Irishwhistler
1 hour ago, Dick Sellers said:

For a book about old decoys (not specifically Chesapeake Bay), you might check out "Decoys at Shelburne Museum" by David Webster and William Kehoe.  And for any of you New Englanders, the Shelburne museum in Vermont has one heck of a collection.

 

Some Shang Wheeler birds in the Shelburne collection.  :"Stratford School".👍👌

 

Mikey 🍀

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