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What was your first set of hunting decoys

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What was your first set of hunting decoys
In a week from tomorrow (August 5 1959) I will be sixty years old. So it seems like a life time ago when I first started hunting ducks. I was just a young pup and didn't have much money at all. Just like most kids that age (14). So I looked for any kind of deal I could find . Free was always the best deal .But ! the hardest to come by. So to get to the point of this post. Can you remember your first set of duck decoys. I remember mine! To me they were so cool. They were a dozen of used G&H Black Duck Decoys. I found them at a yard sale. I was so happy when I found them. Until I found out why they were for sale. The man that own them lost his life when he was cutting down a tree. I knew his son and his family. It felt weird to buy them .But they wanted them to get used. So for years I respected the heck out of those decoys. I still have some of them today. I don't use them anymore. But ! I still think of them different today. Then all the other decoys that I have.
anthony sr
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Re: What was your first set of hunting decoys In reply to
 My first decoys were hand made cork black duck. Found a old freezer for cork and a head from a former warden. Made up 16 black duck, bodies were fair, first heads looked more like a merganser, but they got better.
We worked in a estate where by buddies dad was the caretaker. We were working and the madam came into the garage and saw what we were doing. We only had three files to work with and she watched for a few minutes. The next week we had the large bundles of files, courtesy of of the former Miss Nickelson, nickelson files.
Still have a few left, but upgraded to Herters.
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Re: What was your first set of hunting decoys In reply to
Capt

Great story thank you. We all had to start some place. I never had the skill to carve a duck out of a block of cork( wish I did). But me hearing story's of milk jug decoys. Decoys made from plywood ( My first field decoys by the way). Rags for some people. What ever it took we found a way. That's what I love about duck hunters. Skill or know still we still get the job done.
anthony sr
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My first decoys were given to me by my grandfather and uncle. They were solid wood and very heavy, divers mostly. I believe they were made in Connecticut probably the late 40's.
The first i purchased were paper mache because they fit my budget and they were light, i was too young to drive.
Later on my partner and i bought Herters 63's and later moved up to 72's.
I still have some of the originals.

As a young man i learned two important lessens concerning decoy painting
1. You can't use oil base paint on styro-foam decoys and
2. You can't thin water base paint with turpentine. Yep, i did both.

It's okay to laugh.
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Re: What was your first set of hunting decoys In reply to
4 flambeau woodies and 6 Carrylite mallards I bought in 1996. Still have them.


Carl
Mobile, AL
DHBP Member since 1998

"Life is too short to drink bad beer."
Disclaimer: This post and/or report is not a substantiation of or reflection on the true accuracy of the present surveying methods. It is only a report on or comment concerning local observation and/or results. Your results and observation may vary based on your location, local water conditions, food supply, weather conditions and migratory patterns "
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Re: What was your first set of hunting decoys In reply to
Bill

We all learn the hard way, Lost more boat anchors then I wish to talk about. Because! I didn't tie them to the boat. When I was young and dumb. Know I'm old and dumb, but still have all my anchors. Thanks for your story.
anthony sr
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Re: What was your first set of hunting decoys In reply to
Carl

Thanks for letting me know your first decoys, I'm sure you have many more decoys today. Thanks
anthony sr
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Re: What was your first set of hunting decoys In reply to
Not as many as I used to, but still too many!

I think I was up to around 13 dozen at one point.
When I got ready to move down to Tampa, I sold most of my gadwalls, some of my cans and some of my coots too.


Carl
Mobile, AL
DHBP Member since 1998

"Life is too short to drink bad beer."
Disclaimer: This post and/or report is not a substantiation of or reflection on the true accuracy of the present surveying methods. It is only a report on or comment concerning local observation and/or results. Your results and observation may vary based on your location, local water conditions, food supply, weather conditions and migratory patterns "
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Re: What was your first set of hunting decoys In reply to
I was blessed to have an older cousin who was president of Midland, Mi DU chapter and took me duck and goose hunting with his decoys.
Around 1970 my first purchases were 2 dz. G&H shell goose decoys for field hunting and 1 dz. G&H water keel magnum mallard decoys. I still have and use them at times.
I remember the reason I got the water keel decoys was the bag was light to carry in a dz to a pond/flooding to set up. I found out later when I started boat/canoe hunting that in high winds they had a tendency to blow over. Not a good look to incoming ducks. lol. Use to get free burlap bags from the grain elevator businesses to lay on and cover us when field hunting.
Steve
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Re: What was your first set of hunting decoys In reply to
I was 14 (ten years ago) when my parents bought me a dozen flambeau mallard decoys for Christmas. I've lost a couple to missed shots (1 was me the other was my brother) lost one to weather. I have 3 left that are mallards and repainted the rest as buffleheads




Benjamin Pendleton
Northeast N.C.
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Re: What was your first set of hunting decoys In reply to
Steve

Yes my friend you were lucky to start off so good with your decoys. Nothing like seeing a flock of ducks coming in then flaring off fast because your decoy were upside down. Been there and done that. Thank you for sharing.
anthony sr
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Re: What was your first set of hunting decoys In reply to
Ben

First don't feel bad about shooting your decoys. I hunted with a guy ONCE that shot three of my cork decoys. We have all lost and shot decoys. Your a young buck and will buy many more decoys in your life. But one day you will be moving up in the age game. And it will be you telling the story on how you r bother shot your first decoys. And truth me the story will be ten times better forty years from now.Wink
anthony sr
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Re: What was your first set of hunting decoys In reply to
I started with what I could afford, a yard sale and junk shop mix of plastic Italian Sportplast and Flambou blacks and mallards and have been upgrading ever since.
I found it was really hard to get paint to stick to and stay on the plastics.
At this point it is mostly cork with a mixed dozen Blackwater Rough Riders in Mallards and blacks and about 3 dozen Herters Bluebills.
I have a dozen herters goose floaters converted to Brant, I still hunt over plastic goose floaters as anything else is heavy as hell.

Now my first pair of waders were hefty trash bags inside Jungle boots - those got upgraded quick
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First ones I bought as a teenager with my hard earned money, 1960's, Tex Wirtz bluebills, Herters plastic Mallards, and Canada Geese.

Then a friend of my uncle Frank gave my cousin and I some Wildfowler Mallards. That pretty much changed how I thought about decoys. More or less planted the seed for me to carve my own decoys.


With wooden decoys ya know yer gonna need a Duck Boat... Right?! Plus a whole lot of other waterfowling gear gathered over a lifetime.

Have one of the Wirtz bluebills still rigged and ready to go, as are the Herters Canada Geese. Ya never know what a new season may call for.

Sometimes I hold that old Wirtz bluebill (check out all the other decoys that I am care taker of) and think. Look What The Hell You Did!











"Art does not reproduce what is visible - but makes things visible." ~ Paul Klee, artist, 1920
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I'm not sure where my first dozen of plastic mallards came from. But I do remember where my next 2 dozen came from. I was working as an engineering intern and one of the engineers was an avid duck hunter and decoy collector. Once he found out I was into duck hunting he asked me how many decoys I had. When I told him I had a dozen he assured me that was not enough. I told him as a student I don't have money for decoys so it will have to wait. The next day a bag with 2 dozen decoys ended up in my truck bed. I thanked him for such a kind gift and he told me he wouldn't miss them. Now I understand what he meant. I have more than enough now and my plastics get used occasionally when hiking in instead of boating so when couple of years ago we had an intern who was just starting out as a duck hunter with no decoys I jumped on the opportunity to pass on couple dozen decoys to him.
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First I bought in my early twentys were Quack Blk. Ducks. Married with lots of bills and 2 kids I couldn,t even afford to buy the whole dozen at one time. First season I was using them I made the mistake of leaving them set overnite on creek I hunted. Planned on coming back next morning to hunt but work got in the way and didn,t make it. When I finally got there a couple days latter decoys gone. Learned a good lesson and have never left a decoy out since unless I had complete control of area. After that a lot of carrylites and eventually G&H,s. Moved on to redoing herters 72,s and Restles but occasionaly use some of the newer flocked plastics or some beans when in the cork mood. Way to many decoys do I caretake but at least it lets me change things up a bit during the season!
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Re: What was your first set of hunting decoys In reply to
lawrence

Paint doesn't go on plastic decoys for crap most of the time. Cork was always my choice for most of my hunting. But as I got older stuff got heavier . And I keep buying way more then I could ever use. After getting two dozen of my cork decoys robbed . I went to foam and then to plastic. My corks look so much better and road the waves like a real duck. But there is a lot of work that goes with cork decoys. So now I'm loaded with Hidgon foam filled decoys nice as heck and look really great.
As far as your first waders. I hear you brother: I think just about all of us started with that same pair. And you know what. It was ok for me to get wet everyday and freeze my tail off. Because I didn't know any better. I went swimming many days for a duck. Thanks for your story.
anthony sr
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Re: What was your first set of hunting decoys In reply to
Vince

Your decoys keep you sharp as a tack. Your a artist and a sportsmen dream. To take what you love and to shape it into a working art piece. Is a dream of just about every hunter. But only a blessed few can do it like you. So get the paint and get ready for some detail work. Thanks as always for your stories.
anthony sr
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Re: What was your first set of hunting decoys In reply to
Neal

That is a great story! and I have done the same many times. Given back to a new hunter is wonderful. Great job. Its hard for a person to get into duck hunting. If you want a boat and some decoy like most of us. Its not a cheap sport. I have given dozens of decoys away waders, guns back in the day , Even a boat or two. If I can help someone to keep our sport going I'm there. The man that helped you was a great man. Your a great man for helping someone else. And I hope the man you helped keeps the ball rolling. Thanks
anthony sr
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Re: What was your first set of hunting decoys In reply to
My first set of decoys were a dozen little flambeau teal. Over the next few years, I gathered more. I still have them
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Re: What was your first set of hunting decoys In reply to
Mine were a cheap 12 pack of mallards from bass pro. They were assimilated into someone else?s spread once I started carving.
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Re: What was your first set of hunting decoys In reply to
Dani

I have those same teal decoys, Thanks for sharing your first decoys with us.
anthony sr
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Re: What was your first set of hunting decoys In reply to
Michael

We all started with something. And moved on to bigger and better things. But those first ones were the best to us beginners. We were now duck hunters with those first decoys. Thanks
anthony sr
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Re: What was your first set of hunting decoys In reply to
I've still got the same 2 dzn-ish Carrylite teal I bought in 1998 for the first early teal season I hunted when I moved to Mobile.


Carl
Mobile, AL
DHBP Member since 1998

"Life is too short to drink bad beer."
Disclaimer: This post and/or report is not a substantiation of or reflection on the true accuracy of the present surveying methods. It is only a report on or comment concerning local observation and/or results. Your results and observation may vary based on your location, local water conditions, food supply, weather conditions and migratory patterns "
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Re: What was your first set of hunting decoys In reply to
One dozen J.C. Higgins fiber mallards purchased at Sears and Roebuck in 1957. I believe they were made by General Fibre Co. in St. Louis who also made the Ariduk brand. Next Carrylite plastics in 1972>G&H>GHG Pro Grade now.

Last edited by:

Jeff Churan: Aug 2, 2019, 4:52 AM