Thursday, December 3, 2009

Top-Notch Artists Create Ultimate In ’Fowl Foolery

By Taylor Wilson

It’s sort of a twisted story, really.

Decoys arose out of necessity—for waterfowlers to fool ducks into gun range.

And then, over time decoys became art (and quite collectible art as a matter of a fact).

Then today, well, artists are still designing decoys, and some of their more modern designs are again being designed more for use/necessity than for the showcase or shelf.

For example, Avery Outdoors ( was among the first, if not the first, company to begin manufacturing decoys designed by decoy artists. Indeed, the Memphis-based company’s new life-size Pro-Grade™ duck and goose decoys are designed via the original artwork of World Champion carvers Dick Rhode and Rick Johannesen.

Of course, based on that kind of creation, it is understandable that the detail is amazing (as well as, well, artistic). There are many various species in the line, all designed with a variety of unique body styles and head positions. For example the GHG Pro-Grade mallards have 12 body styles ranging from actives, resters, sleepers, surface feeders, skimmers and etc.

The GHC Pro-Grade specklebelly and Canada goose shells have five body styles.

And again, the detail in design and color is amazing.

“Are such measures needed to fool a duck?” That might be the question for some.

And one answer might be: “well, you don’t get much more realistic than this and not risk hunting over live decoys.” (And that might be true.)

Seeing these designer decoys on the water for the first time, hunters certainly have to look twice, and I imagine real ducks do, too.

True, sometimes it may not be needed. If a duck wants to be somewhere, if the weather is just right, well, it may not matter. They may land on a black jug like I hunted over as a kid.

But then on other days (and I think there are a lot more of these), the difference may very well be in the details.

In the Mid-South, we hunt ducks that are shot at for many miles before they even get to us. And if something isn’t “right” flocks are not likely to even give us a second look. The more real, the better the deal.

So designer decoys…there you have it. Something to think about and add to your duck hunting arsenal.