Just prior to Canadian Thanksgiving in 1962, Gordon Johnston, the author’s father, was hunting “the sandbars” on the North East corner of Whitewater Lake, Manitoba when he discovered adrift towards him a pair of Mason Standard (Detroit) hand-carved wooden decoys.

Wading into Whitewater Lake is a legendary adventure by the way but that is another story. It simply is, let me say, a most treacherous flat!

Anyway, back to the decoys.

Dad recovered the decoys, obviously lost and abandoned, from the water and mud. After several years of further “field “use, the old decoys were retired and now form part of the Scuttlebuck Lodge Collection.

Although a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing, here is what I know about antique wooden decoys.

Major Groups

First, wooden decoys are grouped as to Commercial or Non-Commercial.
One type was to be sold, the other type for personal use only.

The Commercial Group is then categorized as to either Hand Carved or Factory Produced. I’m thinking this is self-explanatory.

Geographic Schools

Secondly, there are about thirty specific geographic areas of North America where a certain and distinctive type of wooden decoy was produced and/or hunted over. These are called “schools.”

You can identify what school or area a decoy is from by the construction technique and painting styles once you know what to look for.

Price / Value

Auction Catalogs, Dealer’s Sales Lists, and Listings on e Bay can give you some idea of a wooden decoys price or value. The collectibles market generally is flourishing but you must show some restraint and caution. Some people will actually try to sell things for more than they are worth. Would you believe it?