Great Lakes

Just as there are political boundaries that run between the Great Lakes there are also differences between the decoys produced on either side of the international line. The Canadian carvers were established in the Smith’s Falls, Ontario area by the two Nichol brothers, Adam and Davey, who ordered a rig from the States and, thinking the birds were unsuitable for their use, began to make their own at the turn of the last century. Young Davey, a nephew, working under his uncles tutelage went on to mentor the likes of John Garton, Bob Kerr and Clearance Miller. South of that border, the necessity to put food on the table generated numerous hunters who likewise began making their own decoys, resulting in several generations of carvers that went on to distinguish themselves in the contests and shows.

One of the most preeminent, appreciated and recognized artist of his time and this region was William L. Schultz (1925 - 1983). Born in Milwaukee, WI, he joined the staff of the Milwaukee Public Museum in 1946 and worked there for 25 years as a painter of diorama backgrounds, writing publications, building exhibits and collecting specimens for the ornithology division. He won his first blue ribbon for a decoy he thought was “too fancy” in 1948 and during the intervening years until his death he was awarded over 140 first places, 31 Best of Show and/or Best in Class, including Best in the World at the Ward Foundation’s World Championship Carving Competition in 1977 with the Bittern and Marsh Wren sculpture.

The Harpy Eagle with Macaw is considered one of the best ever produced in the history of the art form and it was his last, taking more than a year to complete while under contract with the Wildlife World Museum in Monument, CO.