My name is Mike Burt. I live in Grinnell, Iowa with an
understanding wife and 4 wonderful kids- 2 girls, 2 boys ages 7 to 17. I am
employed by Grinnell College in Facilities Management as a grounds, sports
field, and landscape manager. I began hunting pheasants with my
father and uncles at an early age in the late '60's. However, I soon was
not satisfied with a few weekends of hunting per year and wanted more
opportunities to hunt. I got hooked up with a friend and his dad and
another gentleman who quail hunted every weekend of the season. They
adopted me into their weekend hunting family, and we shared many memorable hunts
in south central Iowa.
My friend and I soon wanted to further our hunting
opportunities and we took up duck hunting. We were self taught and avid
waterfowlers. If I only knew then what I know now, or at least now had
some of the enthusiasm (and time) that I had then. Anyway, I have enjoyed
many great years of waterfowling. I currently field hunt geese and hunt
ducks in water controlled marsh complexes and reservoirs. I also hunt
pheasant and spring hunt turkeys. I developed an interest in carving while
an undergraduate in college. The library at Iowa State University had
some great old publications on early duck hunting and decoy carving. I
bought some basswood and carved a couple of crude working decoys and a couple of
crude decorative ducks.
After a decade hiatus, I got interested again in carving in the
early '90's. I bought a Foredom and a Dremel power carving tools and began
carving decorative wildfowl. I met a fellow carver from town, Clark
Weaver, and we have become good friends and hunting partners through our mutual
love of hunting and wildlife. My carving was really on and off again-
the time it took to carve the full sized decorative decoys was really hard
to come by, until I recently got interested in carving working decoys
from cork. I have just completed a rig of 15 decoys: 12 mallard, including
8 drakes and 4 hens; and a drake black duck, a drake pintail, and a drake green
My decoys are made from high density tan cork with basswood
heads and wood tail inserts. I painted these with exterior latex house
paints that I pigmented to obtain the desired colors, and then airbrushed with
Jo sonya acrylics paints for some softening, highlighting, and detail.
This was my first experience with airbrushing and I am hooked. I am
anxious to paint a decorative with airbrush techniques.
I have been influenced by many carvers. Local carvers
Clark Weaver and Bob Kroese have been great resources and influences and
inspirations for me. I love the historic work of Charles Perdew, Shang
Wheeler, and the Ward Brothers. Contemporary carvers are so many and so
good. I marvel at Jett Brunet's and Pat Godin's decoratives. I love
Tom Christie's and Paul Foytack's working decoys. I study my Wildfowl
Competition magazine and enjoy all the great work being done out there. I
found the high density cork really easy to carve and work with. I obtained
it from Willy McDonald at theduckblind. Thanks to Willy and Ronnie Ladd
for answering my many questions regarding working with the cork. I
have enjoyed this websites and the stories of all the carvers listed here.
Thanks and good carvin'.