Norm Lawler’s Swamp Tales

The De­coy Man.

Field and Game - - NORM LAWLER’S TALES FROM THE SWAMP -

Whilst work­ing at Fred Burns’ gun shop in the mid-1950s, ev­ery Sat­ur­day morn­ing a young chap would come in and talk of the huge num­bers of duck he and his party were shoot­ing at Cressy on the Creep­ing Lakes.

I re­marked to Fred: “This bloke is either a brag­ger or one hell of a duck hunter.”

One day he in­vited me to come down to Co­lac to see for my­self. This I did, and upon ar­riv­ing at Martins Lake, I was most im­pressed with their set-up.

The lake was large, open wa­ter with lit­tle or no cover, but each one of the group had dug a pit and cov­ered it with fat hen and na­tive grasses.

In front of each blind was a huge num­ber of de­coys and sil­hou­ettes; it sure was a sight.

Most hunters ar­riv­ing laughed at all these funny ducks set out, as de­coys were un­known to most hunters in those days.

But, when the shoot­ing started they soon changed their minds, and this was my in­tro­duc­tion to the De­coy Man and his hunt­ing abil­ity.

Over the next 40 years I hunted with Kevin Bond and al­ways ad­mired his abil­ity with a gun and de­coys, and even into his 70th year, he was still the keen­est duck hunter I knew.

Ev­ery day dur­ing the sea­son he would be out do­ing what he knew and did best: duck hunt­ing at Lake Co­lac.

He would not only hunt daily in sea­son but would spend closed sea­son look­ing around and study­ing what lived on the lake and along the banks, the grasses and other veg­e­ta­tion. He was al­ways a great stu­dent of the out­doors.

His de­coys were used by many duck hunters and he even made them to be sent over­seas to hunters who had vis­ited him and en­joyed watch­ing his de­coys at work.

The qual­ity of their size and colour had to be seen to be ap­pre­ci­ated. One only had to ask him the colours of any of our wa­ter­fowl and he would rat­tle them off down to the last de­tail.

Kevin was not only a qual­ity de­coy maker, but also a tal­ented artist. Many of his paint­ings are owned and dis­played on the walls of gun clubs, sports stores and in many duck hunters’ homes, where there is an ap­pre­ci­a­tion of our wa­ter­fowl and wet­lands.

Of all the duck hunters I have met and shot with, Kevin would rank with the best.

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