The Thousand Islands Decoy Collectors Association (TIDCA) was organized in summer 1992, largely through the efforts of Larry Lunman and Bob Rayfield, to bring together individuals who share a common interest in the history of decoy carving and waterfowl hunting along the St. Lawrence River. In addition to the Clayton Decoy Show held each year in July, TIDCA members have met once or twice a year to attend decoy presentations, share information, and participate in displays and contests. Vintage decoy displays and contests have been a feature of most meetings, with the intent of encouraging members to bring choice examples from their personal collections to be studied and enjoyed by all.

In spring 2009, TIDCA was reorganized under the mantle of the TI museum, and individuals who wished to become or remain members of TIDCA could do so by joining the museum. The goals of the association have remained the same, and are focused on discovering and sharing information on the decoys and decoy carvers of the Thousand Islands area. In recent years, two events have been held annually, both open to the public. The first event is a meeting held the first Saturday of March, the second is a display presented at the Clayton Decoy Show. In 2013, the TIDCA presentation at the Clayton Decoy Show was expanded to include a vintage decoy contest.

Archives of information presented at previous spring meetings, and pictures and information from previous July Clayton Shows, can be accessed using the links at the bottom of this page. Click on the Previous Spring Meetings link at the bottom of the page to see topics covered at all the spring TIDCA meetings since 2001. By clicking on the colored links associated with each of the yearly spring meetings, PDF versions of the presentations and handouts can be accessed. Click on the Previous Clayton Displays at the bottom of the page to see the themes of the TIDCA displays since 2001, and the categories in the TIDCA contests since 2013. Pictures of the displays and contest winners shown on the page can be enlarged by clicking on them. Pictures and information used as part of the TIDCA displays since 2010 can be accessed by clicking on the colored links associated with the respective yearly headers.

2017 TIDCA schedule

Spring Meeting: March 4, 2017 at the Thousand Island Museum, 312 James St., Clayton, beginning at 12 noon.

Similar to previous years, the meeting will start with decoy displays and an informal gathering, followed by a slide presentation. The meeting is open to the general public, free of charge, and refreshments will be served. Please feel free to spread the word, and invite anyone you feel may have an interest in the decoys and history of our area.

A power-point slide show will begin at 2 PM.  Topics to be covered in the 2017 presentation have not yet been finalized, but are scheduled to include two main areas.  One will cover the life and art work of Gareth Service, Alexandria Bay; while the second will continue coverage of the Patterson families, with emphasis on those from Alexandria Bay.  People who were present at the 2013 spring meeting might recall that presentation included a review of Wellesley Island carvers including Charles and Chancy Patterson.  Additional topics to be covered during the spring 2017 meeting may be announced, and it is suggested that you check back in February for a more complete listing.  The slide presentation will finish with a mix of news and information concerning decoys and decoy collecting in the Thousand Islands area.  Audience participation is encouraged, and anyone with information or photographs of any of the area decoys carvers is asked to bring them along.  Pictures of recently discovered decoys are always welcome.  If you have some news or information that you would like included as part of the meeting, please contact Tom Eckert prior to the meeting at 315-654-2902 or teckert@twcny.rr.com.

Decoy displays are a traditional part of the TIDCA meetings.  The intent of these displays are to provide people an opportunity to examine decoys by various makers, and to better understand the variations in style and construction that exist.  The public is invited to bring decoys from their own collections for everyone else to examine and enjoy.  This includes decoys that they feel fits with the topics of the slide presentation, as well as decoys they would like to have identified and appraised.

Decoys and carvings specifically wanted for the 2017 spring meeting display:

  • Hunting decoys and carvings by the Patterson family.
  • Any decoys or carvings from Thousand Islands area makers that you would like to see discussed at a future TIDCA meeting.
  • Other decoys and carvings desired for display may be announced depending on additional topics to be covered in the presentation.


Clayton Decoy Show: July 14-15, 2017, Gordon Cerow Recreation Park Area.

TIDCA involvement in the 2017 Clayton Show will include a decoy exhibit to be displayed all day Friday and Saturday, and a decoy contest to be held on Friday.  Help with setting up the displays, registering the contest decoys, and supervising the exhibits and explaining them to the public, is always appreciated.  If you can help, please contact Tom Eckert at 315-654-2902 or teckert@twcny.rr.com, or contact the Thousand Islands Museum.

Previous TIDCA displays at the Clayton Decoy Show have focused on decoys carved by a single individual or a group of individuals from a specific area, or on different examples of an individual species.  The 2017 exhibit will try something new, displaying favorite examples from the collection of one of our members.  We thought this would be a good opportunity to better explain our hobby to the general public.  Decoy collecting involves far more than just the acquisition of some choice examples.  It also involves the friendships made, the journeys taken, and an appreciation of the history of the decoys and their makers.  Not every trip results in a new decoy, and some of the examples in our collections have come to us through long convoluted paths or from unexpected opportunities.  Decoys selected for the 2017 display will come from the collection of Preston Lowe, and will focus on his favorite examples.  To the extent possible with this sort of display, the stories associated with each decoy and the reasons for their selection will be included.

The 2017 TIDCA decoy contest will be held on Friday, July 14.  The contest is open everyone, and each person may make two entries in each of three categories.  A matched pair (hen and drake) count as one entry.  The entries may be brought in person to the TIDCA tables and registered from 9-11 AM, or may be mailed to the TI Museum according to the same procedures established for the Hunting Decoy Contest.

Entries in the contest will be judged by a panel of three experts beginning at 11 AM.  Ribbons will be awarded to the entries judged to be 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, in each category, and the winning entries must remain on display until 5 PM Friday.  The contest categories selected for 2017 are quite broad and were intentional chosen that way to encourage more participation.

The three 2017 contest categories are:
1.   Goldeneye decoy made before 1960, any maker or style.
2.   Redhead decoy made before 1960, any maker or style.
3.   Merganser decoy made before 1960, any species of merganser and any maker or style.


2017 Clayton TIDCA poster

Previous Spring Meetings

Previous Clayton Displays