Me and Molly working birds.
Incorrigible is, by definition, "...bad beyond correction or reform...not easily swayed or influenced..."
There is no better way to describe my obsession with ducks, geese, decoys, and all of the other wonderful aspects of waterfowling. As a teenager I was exposed to waterfowl hunting and hand-carved decoys by my friend, Chris Michael, and was immediately hooked for life. Being young and unable to afford carved decoys I messed around with trying to make my own decoys but had little success. The seed was planted for making decoys, but it needed some nurturing.
While completing my Bachelor's in Wildlife Biology at the University of Vermont (1996) I continued to make a few basic decoys for my own rig, but time and work space were scarce. A move to Minnesota to complete a Master's degreee in Environmental Education (2000) provided me more space but still too little time to really make many decoys beyond my own needs.
Fortunately, one of my research positions included hunting scaup and canvasbacks for a living, which was a great way to really get to know those birds. However, shooting all-day, every day also changed my approach to hunting and made me want to get more than just ducks from each of my hunts. At the time I was lucky enough to meet some carvers, including Jim Burcio from the Pacific Flyway Decoy Association, who encouraged me to get back into decoy carving and allowed me to join their weekly carving sessions. Their knowledge and encouragement was all I needed to fuel my interest in making decoys. My introduction to George Williams and the rest of the Runamuck Decoy crew only served to add further fuel and knowledge to my obsession.
A move to Australia for a couple of years allowed me to expand the list of species I have hunted and carved. I was also able to introduce a whole new group of hunters to making modern hunting decoys through workshops and articles in hunting magazines. My effort is ongoing as a collaboration with Feathers and Fur Magazine publisher Graham Eames, wildlife biologist and decoy collector Dr. Hugh Lavery, and decoy and duck call maker John Byers.
Since arriving in Connecticut in 2002 to complete a Master's (2006) and my Ph.D. (2011) in Wildlife Management, I have been able to spend a bit more time making decoys for my own rig and occasionally for sale to other hunters. Having now, finally, completed school, I am now more willing and better able to take on more orders for decoys.
I regularly compete in several decoy competitions throughout the Northeast each year and my decoys consistently take home ribbons. While I enjoy competing in these competitions, decoy making for me is truly a practical art form and my decoys are designed as hunting tools. Although no two decoys are exactly the same, each decoy is hand-carved from cork, cedar or balsa and hand-painted with Golden acrylics one at a time. Paint patterns duplicate those found on ducks during hunting season, unless otherwise requested, and highlight key field marks while remaining practical to repaint after a few seasons of wear. Keels are leaded and balanced to ensure a self-righting decoy in all conditions short of a hurricane and icebergs.
Renegade Decoys are built tough to withstand the rigors of serious waterfowl hunting and will serve in your rig for years. If you feel there is more to duck hunting than simply killing ducks and you want more from waterfowling than plastic decoys can deliver, it's time to hunt with a Renegade.
Thanks for stopping by and feel free to contact me with any questions,
Awards from the 2011 Northeast Waterfowl Festival in East Hartford, CT