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.
2023 TIDCA Events:
The 2023 spring meeting, and the TIDCA display and contest at the 2023 Clayton Decoy Show, were all held as scheduled. Materials presented at the spring meeting and Clayton Show, and photos from the Clayton Show, have been added to their respective archive pages, and can be accessed using the links on this page.
The 2023 spring meeting was held 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.
In contrast to the spring meeting, the weather was beautiful for both days of the 55th Annual Decoy & Sporting Collectibles Show held July 14-15, 2023, at the Cerow Recreation Park in Clayton. Attendance was good, up noticeably from 2022. The TIDCA decoy exhibit featured broadbills/bluebills from the Thousand Islands area with choice examples by some of the best-known area carvers from both New York and Canada. The vintage decoy contest held on Friday, July 14, included three categories; vintage Ontario decoy, Chauncey Wheeler hunting decoy, and vintage factory decoy. The contest categories selected were quite broad, and were intentionally chosen that way to encourage participation.
2024 TIDCA schedule:
Spring Meeting: March 2, 2024, at the Thousand Island Museum, 312 James St., Clayton:
Similar to previous years, the meeting will start with decoy displays and an informal gathering, followed by a slide presentation. The meeting is open to the general public, free of charge, and refreshments will be served. Please feel free to spread the word and invite anyone you feel may have an interest in the decoys and history of our area. A power-point slide show will begin at 2 PM. The 2024 slide show will feature a review of the decoys of Chet Schutte, Rochester, NY, presented by Mark Malys and Roger Petrie. If you have information about Chet Schutte that you think would be relevant to the presentation, please contact Mark, 315-246-1815 or Roger, 585-491-3371, or call Tom Eckert at 315-408-8835.
Uncovering new information about the vintage decoys and their makers takes a lot of work, some luck, and is greatly facilitated by the right contacts. Beginning a discussion of a carver often encourages those with information to come forward. Help is needed. Anyone is welcome to add to our presentations, either as a new presenter or as a source for new information. Audience participation is encouraged, and anyone with information or photographs of any of the area decoy carvers is asked to bring them along. Pictures of recently discovered decoys are always welcome. If you have some news or information that you would like included as part of the meeting, please contact Tom Eckert prior to the meeting at 315-408-8835.
Decoy displays are a traditional part of the TIDCA meetings. The intent of these displays is to provide people an opportunity to examine decoys by various makers, and to better understand the variations in style and construction that exist. The public is invited to bring decoys from their own collections for everyone else to examine and enjoy. This includes decoys that they feel fit with the topics of the slide presentation, as well as decoys they would like to have identified and appraised, or possibly discussed at a future TIDCA meeting.
Clayton Decoy Show: July 19-20, 2024, Gordon Cerow Recreation Park Arena, Clayton
The 56th Annual Clayton Decoy Show has been scheduled for July 19&20, 2024. TIDCA involvement in the 2024 show will include a decoy exhibit to be displayed all day Friday and Saturday, and a decoy contest to be held on Friday. Unfortunately, the theme for the display and categories for the contest have not yet been chosen. Please check back later this winter for an update on the TIDCA involvement in the 2024 Clayton Show.