The Thousand Islands Decoy Collectors Association (TIDCA) was organized in summer 1992, largely through the efforts of Larry Lunman and Bob Rayfield, to bring together individuals who share a common interest in the history of decoy carving and waterfowl hunting along the St. Lawrence River. In addition to the Clayton Decoy Show held each year in July, TIDCA members have met once or twice a year to attend decoy presentations, share information, and participate in displays and contests. Vintage decoy displays and contests have been a feature of most meetings, with the intent of encouraging members to bring choice examples from their personal collections to be studied and enjoyed by all.
In spring 2009, TIDCA was reorganized under the mantle of the TI museum, and individuals who wish to become or remain members of TIDCA can do so by joining the museum. The goals of the association have remained the same, and are focused on discovering and sharing information on the decoys and decoy carvers of the Thousand Islands area. In recent years, two events have been held annually, both open to the public. The first event is a meeting held the first Saturday of March, the second includes displays presented at the Clayton Decoy Show held the third weekend in July. Displays of decoys by TIDCA have been presented at the Clayton Show each year since 1994. In 2013, TIDCA’s involvement in the Clayton Decoy Show was expanded to include a vintage decoy contest.
Archives of information presented at previous spring meetings, and pictures and information from previous July Clayton Shows, can be accessed using the colored links on this page or from the drop-down menu located at the word ‘DECOYS’ in the darker blue banner near the top of the museum’s home page. The Previous Spring Meetings page provides an outline of the topics covered in all the spring TIDCA meetings since 2001. By clicking on the colored links associated with each of the yearly spring meetings, PDF versions of the presentations and handouts can be accessed. The Previous Clayton Shows page shows the themes of the TIDCA displays since 2001, and the categories in the TIDCA contests since 2013. Pictures of the displays and contest winners shown on the page can be enlarged by clicking on them. Pictures and information used as part of the TIDCA displays since 2010 can be accessed by clicking on the colored links associated with the respective yearly headers.
2022 TIDCA Events:
Declines in corona virus cases and concerns in summer and early fall 2021 lead to hopes that 2022 events could be held without major problems or concerns. Unfortunately, Delta strain cases increased later in fall 2021, followed by the Omicron strain surge in December 2021 and early January 2022. Although it had been speculated that the Omicron strain surge should substantially decline by late winter 2022, it was decided that the spring meeting scheduled for early March was just too risky. Accordingly, the spring TIDCA meeting scheduled for March 5, 2022, was cancelled.
Fortunately, speculation about a decline in the Omicron strain proved correct. New cases declined steadily through late winter and spring, allowing the 2022 Clayton Decoy Show to be held as scheduled on July 15&16. TIDCA involvement in the 2022 Clayton Show included a 2-day display of decoys and carvings by Ed Sweet, and a vintage decoy contest on Friday, July 15. Materials used in the Ed Sweet display, and photos of the display and decoys contest have been added to the page of “Previous Clayton Shows” and can be accessed using the previously described links.
2023 TIDCA schedule:
Spring Meeting: March 4, 2023, at the Thousand Island Museum, 312 James St., Clayton:
The 2023 spring meeting was held as scheduled on March 4. Similar to previous years, the meeting started at noon with decoy displays and an informal gathering, followed by a slide presentation beginning about 2 PM. Attendance was unfortunately down to about a dozen people, due largely to an area-wide storm that dropped 8-10 inches of wet heavy snow. We had reports from a number of people that had planned on attending but canceled that morning due to the weather.
The 2023 presentation included new information on Donald C. Davis and Kenneth I. Harris, presented information on five different decoy gunning rigs with identifying marks applied by their owners, and described a group of distinctive decoys carved by another unidentified area carver. The presentation ended with a brief review of upcoming decoy and carving shows. A slightly modified and expanded version of the 2023 presentation is now available and can be accessed using the Previous Spring Meetings page.
Plans for next year’s spring meeting are still very incomplete, other than to schedule the event for March 2, 2024. If someone has information on an area carver that they would like to have included, please contact Tom Eckert (315-654-2902) or the Thousand Islands Museum. Photographs of the various individuals and their carvings are especially welcome. This could include new information on individuals and families that have already been covered in previous years, or entirely new individuals.
Clayton Decoy Show: July 14-15, 2023, Gordon Cerow Recreation Park Arena.
TIDCA involvement in the 2023 Clayton Show will include a decoy exhibit to be displayed all day Friday and Saturday, and a decoy contest to be held on Friday. Help with setting up the displays, registering the contest decoys, and supervising the exhibits and explaining them to the public, is always appreciated. If you can help, please contact Tom Eckert (315-408-8835) or the Thousand Islands Museum.
The 2023 TIDCA decoy exhibit will feature vintage broadbill decoys from the Thousand Islands area. The exhibit will focus on some of the better examples of broadbill decoys by the various area carvers. Museum members and show participants with one or more choice decoys they would like to be considered for display are asked to contact Tom Eckert (315-408-8835).
The 2023 TIDCA decoy contest will be held on Friday, July 14. The contest is open everyone, and each person may make two entries in each of the three categories. A matched pair (hen and drake) count as one entry. The entries may be brought in person to the TIDCA tables and registered from 9-11 AM, or may be mailed to the TI Museum according to the same procedures established for the Hunting Decoy Contests.
Entries in the contest will be judged by a panel of three experts beginning at 11 AM. Ribbons will be awarded to the entries judged to be 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, in each category, and the winning entries must remain on display until 5 PM Friday. The contest categories selected for 2023 are quite broad, and were intentional chosen that way to encourage more participation.
The three 2023 contest categories are:
1. Chauncey Wheeler hunting decoy: any style or species designed for hunting use.
2. Vintage Ontario decoy: any maker or species, pre-1975.
3. Vintage factory decoy: pre-1975; any factory, style, or species.