By Collector | July 6, 2008
Carvers who created duck decoys worked in various regions throughout the United States, including New England, the South Atlantic, and into the Gulf Coast Region. These craftsman worked in areas where duck hunting was a booming business in the late 1800’s and into the early 1900’s. Hunters often killed hundreds of ducks per day and then sold them to area restaurants for a profit. Legislation was passed, however, in 1918 that prohibited commercial duck hunting and limited the number of ducks that could be taken at any one time. As a result, the demand for decoys decreased with the passing of this legislation.
New England, boasting lakes, rivers, and freshwater marshes, was a perfect area for decoy carvers to set up shop. Southern New England was well known for quality, hand carved, and hand painted decoys. Carvers such as Elmer Cromwell, Joe Lincoln, and George Boyd all hailed from this region, producing distinctive carvings with unique traits.
The South Atlantic
The Eastern Shore of Virginia and the Outer Banks of the Carolinas was another excellent region for carvers to practice their art. The region was home to many types of waterfowl, including geese, ducks, and shorebirds, as well as multiple private hunting clubs and resorts. Throughout the late 1800’s, carvers and hunters worked together to keep commercial hunting alive and well. Famous carvers from this region included Ira Hudson, the Cobb family, and Hicks Caines.
The Gulf Region
Southern Louisiana was another popular area for decoy carvers. The backwaters of the Mississippi attracted migratory birds on their way south. Carvers from this region brought elements of their native cultures into their decoys, creating individualized hand carved masterpieces with amazing details. Nicole Vidocavitch worked in this area, and is considered to be the greatest carver of the Gulf Coast region.