I grew up in northen Vermont near Lake Champlain and have hunted ducks on the open lake since I was twelve (thirty years this October). My dad was a hardcore duck hunter and had been known to drive his boat blind out in the frozen lake just to open up a spot in the ice to shoot divers. I have continued to hunt the lake, as well as Quebec, Mass., and Ct., and still prefer to hunt for divers.
I started carving about seven to eight years ago for myself and currently carve about 150 blocks a year for sale. With the exception of a horned owl all of my blocks have been something to gun over, even though folks choose to put them on the shelf instead. The decoys pictured are all ether cork (Wiley's) with cedar heads and keels or hollow cedar. They are all painted with Golden acrylic paints.
I prefer to carve six to ten birds (same species) at a time and turn them into a little animated family group. This works for me and it is what I like to see on the water.
I have taken my birds to different contest (Ohio, New York, Mass., Vermont, and Maryland) and have done quite well on some occasions, with my rigs and gunning pairs, and sometimes NOT. As well as placing first, second and third I have enough green ribbons to be part of the RUN-A-MUCK crew.
But the ducks don't seem to care what you have for ribbons and I will continue to try and not stray from the light. Heck the ducks don't even care if the decoys have eyes.
I am sorry to say I learned the hard way when I started, I did not have access to the group of carvers that I now know and have made friends with over the last 5 to 6 years.
With this in mind I am always willing to help those interested in carving and carrying on the tradition of making gunning decoys. This includes making my patterns and material sources available to anyone who asks for them. For folks closer by I have and will continue to open my shop and home for a little hands on assistance. To include putting in my two cents worth on occasion, always just as suggestions not to criticize.
For those who want to contact me regarding assistance or to purchase decoys the best way is to call.
Tim ( Bomber) Bombardier
Lake Champlain Decoys
160 Lemroy Court
Phone: (802) 434-5253
Favorite bird to gun and carve: Goldeneye
Favorite bird to paint: Pintail drake
Favorite way to hunt: It's a toss up layout boat or sink box (only in Quebec)
Favorite carvers: Too many talented peoples just to name a few so I will leave this alone
Tip: Remember to carve for yourself. As long as you are happy with it, it's a good thing.