Guest Curator

Guest Curator - Duck and Fish Decoys

This collection of duck and fish decoys belongs to Brett Grinwis of Kalamazoo. While he believes that restoration is a good thing, he prefers to collect items like these decoys that are in their original state and still have their original finish. If you look closely, you can even see the holes in the duck decoys where they were shot by a hunter.

Duck Decoys
c. 1910-1930
Duck decoys are lifelike lures that float in the water to attract other ducks. Hunters use them to lure in ducks and water fowl. They’re hand carved from buoyant, durable wood such as white pine or white cedar. The decoys seen here were all made in Michigan and still have their original finish.

While these decoys are about 100 years old, Native Americans have been using duck decoys for centuries. They made their decoys from grasses, cattail plants and duck skins from previous hunts.

Fish Decoys
c. 1910-1930
Fish decoys are used for spearing fish through the ice.  The decoys are suspended from jigging sticks and dangled in the water. They lure fish close enough to the surface that the fisherman can spear the fish.