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Kawonu Crafts Ltd.

Kawonu Crafts Ltd. was formed in 1984 to serve as a vehicle to market William A (Bill) Dealy’s handcrafted decoys, nature photography, and related items. When trying to come up with a name for the enterprise we wanted to find one that reflected the paramount focus of our company---the decoy duck. Also, since the decoy originated with the native peoples of North America who lured wildfowl with decoys made of reeds and feathers, it seemed appropriate to use a name that incorporated that origin. Since moving to Georgia we had become familiar with the Cherokee Indian culture that is very much in evidence in our state and the North Georgia Mountains where we live, but is also alive and well in the Cherokee Reservation in North Carolina. Also since the Cherokee had developed a written language our research quickly found the Cherokee word for duck—kawonu...Kawonu Crafts Ltd. was born.

We hope that the decoys we craft are respectful to the original decoyers—the Native American peoples—whose way of life honored nature and her abundance. We also hope that we show a respect for the early decoy makers who made a purely utilitarian object into a work of art.

The market hunting in the 1800’s, which was devastating to North American waterfowl, was inseparable from the decoy. That tremendous need for decoys gave rise to cottage industries for the decoy makers and even caused the advent of decoy factories such as Stevens and Mason. The killing of thousands of waterfowl through battery shooting and uncontrolled hunting resulted in the near extinction of many species. Through the voices of people like Audubon and Forbush the alarm was sounded and long over-due Federal migratory bird laws and state hunting regulations were enacted in the early 1900’s. The decoy, no longer needed in the numbers to supply market hunters, again became the tool of the occasional gunner shooting ducks for food and the sportsman.

Today’s waterfowl hunter may employ decoys made of various lightweight materials but often cherishes the old, wooden lures as works of art. These same hunters share the concerns for waterfowl and wetlands conservation initiated in the early 20th century and fostered through such organizations as Ducks Unlimited. Through such efforts our ponds, lakes, and seashores should always be teeming with waterfowl.

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