CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Conservation's (MDC) Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center will host a Duck Decoy Carving program Feb. 26 at 6 p.m. through Feb. 27 at 2 p.m. MDC Education Consultant Bridget Jackson said participants will make beautiful duck decoys to use for waterfowl hunting or as unique art for their home or business.
"People make decoys for several reasons," Jackson said. "In the past, they were made solely to hunt over. Today, it may be more cost and time efficient to purchase decoys, but people enjoy learning an old traditional skill and art. It's also a fun activity to enjoy as a family."
Participants will learn how to shave down a cork block to form the decoy body, how to attach the pre-formed head, and how to paint it to resemble a duck that might be seen at any Missouri wetland. Additionally, they'll learn about the different types of ducks, such as dabblers and divers, and a bit about waterfowl biology. Jackson said duck identification, duck ecology and decoy history will also be taught throughout the program.
"We discuss the importance of waterfowl identification as a hunting skill in the class, with pictures and diagrams of the ducks to help with the painting process," Jackson said. "Most people try to make their ducks look realistic, but others take a more artistic approach and that's ok."
Jackson said the program is perfect for anyone interested in ducks, those who may like different or old fashioned projects, and those looking for a hands-on activity to enjoy with family members.
"It is not a difficult project and no special skills are required," she said.
Anyone over the age of eight can take the class, but children under age 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Though the program is facilitated for free as part of the 1/8 of 1% Conservation State Sales Tax, each participant must cover the $15 required to pay for their decoy materials. Class size is limited, so reservations are required beginning Feb. 2 by calling 573-290-5218.
The Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center is located inside Cape Girardeau's North County Park, just east of Interstate 55 (Exit 99) and Kingshighway (State Highway 61). For more information on this and other programs at the Cape Girardeau Conservation Nature Center, go online to mdc.mo.gov/CapeNatureCenter.