New Jersey

Along a direct line for the Atlantic flyway, the New Jersey coast is home to more species of waterfowl than many other areas of the country. As a result, the prolific carvers from this region crafted decoys for more than thirty different species.

During the late 1800s and early 1900s, market gunning flourished in the region and locals profited from guiding gunners and sportsmen to teeming hunting grounds like Sandy Hook south of Manasquan Inlet, Barnegat Bay, Manahawkin Bay, Great Bay, the Mullica River, Great Egg Harbor Bay, Corson Inlet, Townsend Inlet, and Cape May Point. Each of these areas had its own unique decoy makers, including John Dorset, Henry Grant, Jesse Birdsall, and Taylor Johnson for Barnegat Bay; Henry Shourds, Bradford Salmons, and Roland Horner for Tuckerton; Joseph King, Lloyd Parker, and Liberty Price for Manahawkin; and, Gideon Lippincott, John McAnney, John Updike and Benjamin Maxwell for Mullica River.

Decoys from this school are characterized by two-piece hollow wood construction from white cedar with carved cedar heads; bodies slightly smaller than those of other schools, with heads slightly over-sized and normally attached to a shelf using a screw, nail or dowel. Because the decoys were very light, makers used pads cut from sheet lead for ballast. Bodies were sanded smooth and nicely painted. In addition to the usual black ducks, brants, mallards, bluebills, and mergansers, many stick-ups for curlew, yellowlegs, dowitchers, plovers, sanderling, and other shorebirds were constructed.