In Texas, it's very common to have a stock tank on your property if you have a bit of acreage. For the rest of you, you probably refer to this small body of water as a pond or small lake. We simply call it the "tank".
We've used to purchase a few ducklings from Tractor Supply around Easter for the kids when they were younger. As the ducklings grew, we would move them from the secure pen (away from the dogs) and down to the tank where they could fend for themselves. Eventually, something would get them.
For Christmas one year, my parents gave my first husband a duck decoy. I have to admit that it was not a gift we would have ever anticipated. After they explained their logic, it actually made a bit of sense. They thought we'd attract a few wild ducks to the tank if we had a decoy floating around on it. We promptly launched it out on to the tank to see what would happen. It actually worked. Over the years we had quite a few ducks drop in and call it home for a bit.
Duck Decoy Fast Facts
The oldest known duck decoys were discovered in Lovelock Cave in Nevada. It had been a shelter for native Americans for over 3000 years until an earthquake closed it off. In 1911, some artifacts were found by some bat guano miners. In 1924, archaeologists found 11 duck decoys that were made from marsh bulrush or tule reed and fancied up with some real duck feathers. It’s estimated that they were constructed around 200 A.D. These decoys are now in the Smithsonian Institute.
- The most prolific and recognized duck decoy carver in the United States is R. Madison Mitchell (1901-1993). He was from Havre de Grace, MD and began making decoys at the age of 23. It is believed that he produced over 100,000 decoys.
- Owen J. Gromme is believed to have made the most complex mechanical decoy and it's now on display at the Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend, WI.
- Joel Barber was an architect from New York who is an early collector of decoys. He also promoted them as folk art. He began collecting them in 1918 and organized decoy carving competitions, produced a few of his own and wrote a book about decoys. When he died in 1952 his collection of 400 decoys was donated to the Shelburne Museum in Vermont.
- The current World Record price for an antique duck decoy sold at a public auction is a Red Breasted Merganser Hen by Lothrop Holmes for $856,000 in New York in January 2007. A pair of decoys sold for $1.12 million dollars in a private sale in September 2007. They had been part of a 31 piece decoy collection that sold for $7.5 million.