MIKE SMYSER DECOYS
50 Mt. Hebron.
Mt Wolf, PA. 17347
Cell (717) 870-7878
Subsidiary of RUNAMUCK DECOY CARVERS INTERGALACTIC
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As I was growing up in York County, Pennsylvania, upland hunting was a tradition in my family. Weekends were spent at field trials or hunting. With the continual reduction of farmland so went the habitat for the birds. I saw waterfowl hunting to be an obvious replacement. Time was now spent hunting on the Susquehanna River or leases in Maryland.
In 1980 I thought it would be cheaper and more authentic to make my own decoys then it would be to hunt over plastic. My first attempts were big, square, flat, and very, very ugly. From the start I went through many changes. Using old decoys I tried to imitate them with very little success. I then purchased some patterns that were of life sized birds. These patterns gave me a feel for the duck but not something that would be useful as a decoy. After many changes I developed patterns that became my own-oversized heads and bodies. By enlarging the bodies the decoys rode the water better, they didn't pitch and bob the way plastic does.
Just as my carving went through changes so did my painting and the materials I was using. My first birds were made from one inch pine boards glued together. Quickly I found other types of material. I used two inch sugar pine that was hollowed and laminated together. A few cork birds were made from black refrigeration cork. Eventually I came upon a better product, tan cork and white cedar from Maine. I have gone through many brands of paint and I find Golden to be the best. Golden paint wears like iron and doesn't have a glare on those bright days. I have seen birds in competition tanks for a short time start to lose their paint. I have never had this problem with any of my blocks with years of use.
Though hunters have found my decoys to be very successful, I am always looking for ways to improve.
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