Category Archives: decoy carving

Favorite Decoys

pintail decoy

One of my favorite floaters, a pintail drake.

Do you have a ¬†favorite decoy you like to put out when you’re hunting? A decoy that someone gave to you, or maybe one that you carved yourself ? I know I have a couple I love throwing out in my spread, especially when I’m hunting over a floater spread.

Over the years I’ve carved a bunch of decoys: pintails, mallards, teal, bluebills, buffleheads, and ring bills. Some of the first ones really looked like hell, like little listing ships about to go under out on the rough seas. Some turned out OK, and some of them I really liked. They’re made out of all kinds of materials: ¬†black cork, tan cork, blue rigid insulation foam (known as a “foamer”), basswood, and cedar. I’ve come to really like making the foamers. The foam is quick and easy to carve and work with, and you can’t beat the price of the material. Covered in burlap, they are durable and hold their paint well, plus they are light weight. I love how the decoys come to life when you put in the glass eyes and paint them.

A few years ago I carved up a dozen pintails, and I like the way most of them turned out. From that dozen, there is one hen in particular that I really like. She has a great attitude. She is clearly searching for food and has a relaxed and happy look in her eye. The oil paint is starting to show a little patina, which makes her look even better. Admittedly, I am not the best painter, but I like the way this decoy looks out on the water.

pintail decoy

Hen pintail foamer

I can’t wait to get working on my next dozen. I have 6 teal bodies ready to go, I just need to find some time to carve up the heads and paint them. ¬†Hopefully I’ll be able to get to them this summer when things slow down after the spring snow goose hunt. Speaking of spring snow goose hunt, have you ordered your new favorite snow goose decoys yet at softshelldecoys.com (wink-wink)? Good hunting!


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