Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Mysterious Decoy from Lake Koshkonong, Wisconsin: Can you help?

This derelict canvasback decoy walked into the Edgerton (WI) Decoy Show two or three years ago, and no one who has seen it knows where it was made. Do you have any idea?

Click on the pic for a bigger version.

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The body is thin -about 1 3/4 inches- and flat bottomed, like a wing duck. However, it has an early Koshkonong style ballast weight: a wrought iron bar, hammered into a point at one end and driven into the wood, while the other end is flattened and pierced for a screw.

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There are distinct eye grooves, strongly defined jowls, and neck grooves. The eyes are metal tacks. The head is fastened on with a large screw driven in from the bottom, and two small nails in the front of the neck, driven in from the top.

There are no brands or other marks, and as you can see, precious little paint.

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Everyone I have shown it to thinks it is from somewhere else, largely because "it is too nice to be early Wisconsin." They may be correct, but knowledgable people from elsewhere all deny that it was made in their area: Illinois, Ohio, Susquehanna Flats, Delaware River. Early members of the 19th century hunting clubs on Lake Koshkonong came from or hunted all of those places and more, so it could have come from anywhere.

None of the Wisconsin collectors who have seen it recognize it, but it could be a sole survivor. It is pretty fragile for the heavy use Koshkonong hunters gave their decoys, but that doesn't mean it wasn't made in the area. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated

UPDATE 25 September 2014: There is now a FaceBook page for people interested in Koshkonong decoys.

Click here.

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Anonymous linda said...

Is it for sale?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011 at 3:24:00 AM HST  
Blogger TTB said...

No. Derelict though it is, I like it. I'm still curious about it's origin, though.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011 at 6:52:00 AM HST  
Blogger Unknown said...

How can I contact you? I have some info to share on your decoy.

Saturday, February 23, 2013 at 8:03:00 AM HST  
Blogger TTB said...

Hi Bill, I can't email you direct until you email me directly, so please reply to Thanks! Any light you can shed on this old decoy would be greatly appreciated.

Monday, February 25, 2013 at 6:17:00 PM HST  

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