Saturday, April 20, 2024

The Hunt Caller, a Canadian work to discover

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Alan Binder
Alan Binder
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This box contains traditional tools for carving wooden traps.

Photo: Radio Canada / Genevieve Murchison

A tradition dating back a long time

From afar, one can err. They look like real ducks! It must be said that these wood carvings are actually bait that hunters use to lure their prey. First Nations decoys were made from branches or livestock. 2000-year-old coins were discovered in Arkansas.

These things became very popular when hunters abandoned the game of ducks and geese. Increased industrialization for commercial fishing.

You can see lakes with thousands of traps to lure ducks. Now it is mostly for recreational hunting or for sports, explains Oak Hammock Marsh Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Jacques Bourgeois.

A guide points to a set of wooden duck traps.

Jacques Bourgeois describes the set of resumes from the Oak Hammock Marsh.

Photo: Radio Canada / Genevieve Murchison


The appellant has a body, a head and a pin. Older models had fewer details, but over time sculptors perfected their technique to create more realistic ducks. It is rare to find pieces that symbolize ducks in flight.

Given the craze for these items, Oak Hammock Marsh offers a three-day workshop each year for hobbyists who want to make their own decoy. All materials are provided.

An orange carved wooden duck is displayed in a set.

Piece by artist Ray Menodier on display in Collection of Appellants.

Photo: Radio Canada

Object of utility or work of art?

The Oak Hammock Marsh Gallery features over 250 hand-sculpted decoys by Canadian artists, including some Saint-Claude sculptor Ray Minaudier, dating back to the 1990s, as well as Duncan Ducharme, a Saint-Ambroise sculptor, made circa 1950.

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Some of the coins are famous for their use by the Prince of Wales to hunt down “VIPs” in Delta Marsh, Manitoba, over a century ago.As Jacques Bourgeois says.

The fishing related is a desirable item today. British Columbian Peter Brown recently donated a portion of his collection to Ducks Unlimited, and some of the work is on display at the Oak Hammock Marsh. Among the appellants disclosed, some may be worth thousands of dollars.

Four little wooden ducks carved in width.

The Oak Hammock Marsh Decoy set also includes miniature mini traps.

Photo: Radio Canada / ge

Each year, Manitoba collectors organize a competition and award prizes to the best winners. The criteria are how it floats, details, knife line, shape, and paint.

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