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 includes displays presented at the Clayton Decoy Show held the third weekend in July. Displays of decoys by TIDCA have been presented at the Clayton Show each year since 1994. In 2013, TIDCA’s involvement in 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 on this page. Click on the Previous Spring Meetings link shown here or 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 Shows link shown here or the one 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.

2018 TIDCA Events:

The 2018 spring meeting (March 3), and the TIDCA display and contest at the 2018 Clayton Decoy Show (July 20 and 21), were held as scheduled.  We had an above average turnout at the 2018 spring meeting, although not quite as large as 2017. We hope this higher level of involvement seen the last two years will continue in the future.  Materials presented at the spring meeting and Clayton Show, and photos from the Clayton Show, have been added to their respective archive pages, and can be accessed using the links on this page.

2019 TIDCA schedule

Spring Meeting: March 2, 2019 at the Thousand Island Museum, 312 James St., Clayton.

Similar to previous years, the 2019 meeting started at noon with decoy displays and an informal gathering, followed by a slide presentation beginning about 2 PM.  Attendance was again excellent, somewhat better than 2018 and approaching that achieved in 2017.

The 2019 presentation included detailed reviews of the lives and works of three different individuals and families.  These included Robert J. (Bob) Belyea, Potsdam; L. Robert Hunter, Hammond, and his son, Robert G. Hunter, Brownville and Chaumont; and the Gove families of Alexandria Bay and Chippewa Bay with emphasis on Robert W. (Bob) Gove, Chippewa Bay.  The presentation ended with a brief introduction to Theodore M. (Ted) Denny, Watertown, and a review of upcoming decoy and carving shows.  A slightly modified and expanded version of the 2019 presentation is now available, and can be accessed using the links on this page.

Plans for next year’s spring meeting are still very incomplete, other than to schedule the event for March 7, 2020.  If someone has information on an area carver that they would like to have included, please contact Tom Eckert (315-654-2902) or the Thousand Islands Museum.  Photographs of the various individuals and their carvings are especially welcome.  This could include new information on individuals and families that have already been covered in previous years, or entirely new individuals.


Clayton Decoy Show:  July 19-20, 2019, Gordon Cerow Recreation Park Arena.

TIDCA involvement in the 2019 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 contact the Thousand Islands Museum.

The 2019 TIDCA decoy exhibit will feature vintage black duck and mallard decoys by carvers from the Thousand Islands area.  Black ducks and mallards are the two largest species of marsh ducks, and both are favorite quarry of duck hunters.  Mallards are currently the more abundant of the two species in the Thousand Islands area, but that was not always the case.  Black duck were far more abundant than mallards through the 1940s, and many of earlier decoy carvers produced relatively few hunting decoys for mallards.  The 2019 exhibit will focus are better examples of black duck and mallard decoys by any of the areas carvers.  Museum members and decoy show participants with a choice example of a vintage black duck or mallard they would like to be considered for display are asked to contact Tom Eckert (315-654-2902).

The 2019 TIDCA decoy contest will be held on Friday, July 19.  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 2018 are quite broad, and were intentional chosen that way to encourage more participation.

The three 2019 contest categories are:
1.   Decoys from Kingston and Wolfe Island, Ontario, made before 1980, any species or maker.
2.   Goose or brant made before 1980, any species, maker or style.
3.   Favorite vintage decoy made before 1960, any species, maker or style.



2019 Clayton TIDCA poster

Previous Spring Meetings

Previous Clayton Shows