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 links on this page. Click on the Previous Spring Meetings link shown here or at the bottom of the page to see topics covered at 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. Click on the Previous Clayton Shows link shown here or the one at the bottom of the page to see 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.
2020 and 2021 TIDCA Events:
The corona virus pandemic cancelled most of the activities involving TIDCA in 2020 and 2021. This included the 2020 Clayton Decoy Show, the 2021 Spring Meeting, and the 2021 Clayton Decoy Show.
The 2020 Spring TIDCA Meeting was held as scheduled on March7, 2020, just ahead of the rapid advance of the corona virus across upstate New York. Similar to previous years, the 2020 meeting started at noon with decoy displays and an informal gathering, followed by a slide presentation beginning about 2 PM. Attendance was again excellent with around 30 individuals staying through the entire meeting.
The 2020 presentation included detailed reviews of the lives and works of four different individuals and one family involved in decoy and waterfowl carving in the upstate area. These included Lou Britton, Alexandria Bay, Ross Russell, Fishers Landing, Hiram Wiswell, Clayton, Norm Jones, Watertown, and the DoVille family, Sodus Bay. A slightly modified and expanded version of the 2020 presentation is now available and can be accessed using the links on this page.
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 has been speculated that the Omicron strain surge should substantially decline by late winter 2022, it has been decided that the spring meeting scheduled for early March was just too risky. Accordingly, the decision has been made to officially cancel the spring TIDCA meeting scheduled for March 5, 2022, at the Thousand Islands Museum.
Whether or not corona virus concerns will decline to the extent that the July decoy show can be held as scheduled will depend on events and decisions that will occur later in 2022, some of which are beyond the control of the staff and board members of the Thousand Islands Museum. Hopefully, if a decision to cancel or modify the show is necessary, it will be made in enough time to enable potential visitors and exhibitors to easily adjust their schedules. Everyone is encouraged to check back to the website on a regular basis and stay informed. The website will be promptly updated if there are decisions to modify or cancel the July Clayton Decoy Show.
2022 Spring Meeting: Cancelled
Although the 2022 spring TIDCA meeting has been cancelled, we are confident that spring meetings will be resumed in the future. With that in mind, we would like to ask for help. Uncovering new information about the decoys and decoy carvers from the Thousand Islands and upstate areas takes a lot of work, some luck, and is greatly facilitated by the right contacts. Beginning a discussion about a certain carver or style of decoy often encourages those with information to come forward. Help is needed! Everyone is welcome to add to our presentations, either as a new presenter or as a source for new information.
Information that had been collected in preparation for the 2022 presentation will likely be used in the future. More information and better photographs would of course be welcome, and we would like everyone to keep their eyes and ears open. Topics that had been selected for the 2022 presentation included updates on Ken Harris, and Donald C. Davis and William O. Massey, both of whom were reviewed in the 2018 spring presentation. In addition, a review of some selected decoys by unknown carvers and some decoys from marked or branded hunting rigs had been planned. Photos and brief notes about each of the Selected Decoy Styles and Rigs that were being considered can be accessed by clicking on the highlighted link in this sentence. If you have information about any of topics, decoy styles, or decoy rigs, please contact Tom Eckert at 315-654-2902.
Clayton Decoy Show: July 15-16, 2022, Gordon Cerow Recreation Park Arena.
TIDCA involvement in the 2022 Clayton Show will include a decoy exhibit to be displayed all day Friday and Saturday, and a decoy contest to be held on Friday. The display and contest theme and categories will utilize those originally chosen for the cancelled 2020 and 2021 shows. 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 (315-654-2902) or the Thousand Islands Museum.
The 2022 TIDCA decoy exhibit will feature decoys and decorative carvings by Edward J. Sweet, Alexandria Bay. The exhibit will focus on some of the better examples of his work, and museum members and decoy show participants with a choice example they would like to be considered for display, are asked to contact Tom Eckert (315-654-2902).
The 2022 TIDCA decoy contest will be held on Friday, July 15. 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 Contest.
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 2022 are quite broad, and were intentional chosen that way to encourage more participation.
The three 2022 contest categories are:
1. Ken Harris vintage diving duck decoy: pre 1970; any style or species of diving duck.
2. Decoy by Gananoque, ON, maker: any area maker, species, or vintage.
3. Vintage broadbill or bluebill decoy: pre 1970; any maker, style, or area.