Monday, May 14, 2012

Duck Hunting on the Illinois River

My father, Charlie Droll, hunted and fished on the Illinois River around Rome probably all of his life except for the later years. This is how I remember my dad and his hunting.  This picture was taken probably sometime while I was in high school in the 1940's.   He had a duck blind in front of the Lynch cottages that were through the orchard behind our house.  They owned our house, and Dad took care of the cottages and worked off the rent which was $10.00 a month, which doesn't sound like anything - but, believe me, it was.  My parents had gone into debt during the depression since Dad was without work for sometime.  So every little bit helped - and so did the ducks he brought down and the fish he caught which provided some of our meals along with the food from an enormous garden in the summer.  Mom canned and canned - a big job in the hot summertime.  Life was not easy for our parents. 

Back to the hunting - Dad carved his decoys that he used in his duck blind.  I can remember them so well, but I don't have one.  How I wish I did but they were all sold.  This book came out sometime after
1969 with articles about the decoy carvers of Illinois - and my dad is included in this book. I think if you click (just click once) on the page you should be able to read the article if you are interested. 
This tells about the decoys my dad made and how he went about making them.  I remember my brother or sister saying that in Dad's later years when he was in the nursing home  he could tell which decoys were his, if he were shown one,  by the lead weight he used.
This is one of his decoys as pictured in the book.  I can so remember the mallard ones - and I know there were canvasbacks, also.  I always though of them as much prettier than this little decoy shown here.   He was an artist in his own way.  I can remember watching him make big nets for fishing - it had to be a macrame of some sort--he used the two items in the following picture.  I don't know what the method was called.
And now a final picture - Dad's duck call.   I can still hear him as he used it.  There is an art to calling ducks to get them to fly toward your decoys around your blind.
I think I have posted some of this before, but it has been a long time ago and I wanted to include these pictures with the pictures of the book.   Very nice Pieces of the Past for me to think about.

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