THE DECOY ARTIST
America’s Last Hunter-Carver
NOMINATED FOR NJCH BOOK OF THE YEAR
Like hunters themselves, waterfowl decoys reflect the history, the passion, and the pursuit of a way of life. True decoys are tools first, only transcending to artwork with the effectiveness of their form. As the hunter carves, pieces of him are inevitably ingrained in the wood, emanating his spirit and connecting the man to nature as no other act can.
In a story of true Americana, world-class decoy carver Vincent Giannetto III comes of age at a critical time in the history of the Delaware region. Vincent’s boyhood dream is to become a river rat, living off the land, pursuing waterfowl and surviving by his own skills. Skipping school to spend time on the river, he watches the hunter-carvers, learning the role of waterfowl decoys while struggling to make his own without guidance from these secretive men, and realizing the relationship that exists between man, wildlife, and the environment. As Vincent matures from boy to man, he yearns for a life on the river and the freedom that it brings, but living outside the norms of society has its costs. Recognized as one of the country’s most skilled artisans, Vincent has been a guest of the White House, where his work was displayed on the White House Christmas tree and subsequently placed in the Smithsonian Institute. His story is that of a man who lived his dream despite the odds. An elegy for a time now forgotten, it captures the true