We employed the term Waterfowl
in a broad sense, to include not only duck, goose and coot decoys,
but also decoys of various shorebirds, which were commonly hunted
commercially and recreationally along ocean coastlines and salt
flats in the 1800s and first part of the 20th century,
as well as so called confidence decoys in the form
of birds such as herons, swans, gulls and loons. Also included
are some decorative waterfowl carvings.
Fish decoys are
carvings of various smaller species of fish and some other small
creatures used to attract larger fish, mostly northern pike,
by ice spearing fishermen on northern lakes. The ice spearing
fisherman tied the decoy to a short line connected to a jigging
stick and sat moving the decoy around below a hole cut in the
ice, while watching carefully, until the quarry came close enough.
Then he (or she) thrust a multiple tined spear down to
impale it and pulled it back up through the hole. The decoys
were sometimes quite realistically carved and painted, closely
mimicking the subject involved, but often were stylized or whimsical
and/or painted flamboyant colors. They all worked.