National Geographic : 1983 Nov
New Jersey hunted in pairs or by themselves in small sailing boats, called sneak boxes, while Long Island hunters often went out in parties of eight or ten, riding in a "ferry" and towing their individualized "punties" be hind. The ferries were designed to accom modate hundreds of large decoys, while the sneak boxes could only take a few dozen smaller and lighter-weight birds. Over on the Delaware River near Borden town, birds were carved and painted with particular attention to heads, wings, and tails because local wildfowlers hid some distance from their decoy spreads until the counterfeits had attracted several passing birds. Then the hunters would drift or scull down on the birds and shoot them when they Modest master of the craft, Lem Ward (above) carved decoys with his late brother, Steve, for more than 50 years at their workshop in Crisfield, Maryland. Experimentingwith jumped into the air. Delaware River gun ners felt that the more realistic they could make their decoys, the longer the wild and wary birds would stay among the decoys. Farther west and through the upper Mis sissippi flyway, some river hunters carved birds with narrow breasts to cut through drifting skim ice and high heads that not only increased visibility but also kept the decoys' bills from dipping in the water, icing up, and sinking the birds under coatings of frozen water. On the Eastern Shore of Virginia, two neighbors in Chincoteague carved distinctly different birds because of their distinctly dif ferent orientation to coastal waters. Ira Hudson built boats for open-water work, new styles, they helped lead the artaway from the simple lines of this 1930s goldeneye drake (right)to the more intricate realismof a 1965 Canadagoose (above). Beginning as fulltime barbersand part-time carvers, the Ward brothersmade their signature a valuable addition to any decoy collection. They also gave theirname to the Ward Foundationof Salisbury, Maryland,repositoryof artifacts from market-gunnerdays and sponsorof an annual carving competition and art exhibit.