Decoy artist Bryon Bodt carving out a career

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Bryon Bodt, 49, of Churchville became interested in decoys when he was a youngster and his father was an avid hunter. Later, while in college, he worked for Jim Pierce, a well-known decoy carver and founder of the Havre de Grace Decoy Festival. Today, he makes working decoys for a living.

“I call them ‘gunning’ decoys, because traditionally they were designed to be used by hunters,” he says. “But only about 1 percent of working decoys are ever used. Most go into collections.”

The flat-painted working decoys are simple in design and have no wing detail carved into them. That makes them more affordable than decorative decoys and extremely popular, says Bodt.

Canvasback geese and mallard ducks are big sellers, he says, because they’re plentiful in this area. “People recognize them, especially the ducks, because they’re so widely seen in parks and even in people’s back yards.”