June Guild Meeting — Duck Hunting Tools

Mallard Decoys by Ralph Yaeger

There is a certain mystique associated with wildfowling, or waterfowl hunting. We hope to shed a little light on the tools of the trade, so to speak, on Monday evening, June 2nd at our next Helena Woodworkers Guild meeting (scroll down for details on the meeting.)

We have a fascinating program lined up for the June meeting. Ralph Yaeger will show us examples of his hand carved duck decoys and duck calls and will lead a discussion about the rewards of designing and carving these tools of his avocation.  He’ll also bring his hunting outfit and his tool kit, which he claims fits in a shoe box.

Duck Call by Ralph Yaeger

Here, Ralph talks about what got him started carving these small works of functional art:

I could have purchased the decoys, but most of what’s available for duck hunters is plastic and that really saddened me. In the old days, so many guys made as much of their own equipment as they could and to me, that was just so much more beautiful.

So he decided after a couple of years of hunting birds with plastic stuff, that he wanted to make his own. It took several years to make a full rig for himself. He also collects hand made duck calls.

Most guys use a drill press to bore a blank and a lathe to turn it down. I make mine with hand tools. It turned into something much more than just making my own decoys and calls. I only make about 6 calls a year because it takes a long time and my hands get sore from carving.

For Ralph, the main value in making his own duck hunting gear hasn’t been monetary (saving money by making his own.) It has been the reward of making and designing something he never dreamed he was capable of … thinking of the next design, the next carving, is very relaxing and satisfying for Ralph when he’s lying awake at night. I guess you could say Ralph counts ducks instead of sheep. Quack!

“It is a gift to create something that you never dreamed you would be capable of making. I never dreamed I would do something quite this good, and it makes me very happy.”

Duck Calls by Ralph Yaeger

The Helena Woodworkers Guild meeting for June, 2014 will be Monday, June 2nd at 6:00 pm. Lance Seaman will host our meeting in his woodworking shop at 21 Jackson Creek Road in Montana City. 

Here’s what’s on the agenda for the evening:

  • 6:00 pm: Potluck dinner with your fellow woodworkers. Lance will provide the main dish, some kind of hot sandwich like pulled pork or sloppy joes. Please bring a salad, dessert or side dish to share, and a beverage of your choice. If you are super busy — or if you are new to the guild and just checking us out — don’t worry about bringing a dish. There is always enough food!
  • The evening’s program will be presented by Ralph Yaeger.

Meeting Details:

  • Date: Monday, June 2nd
  • Time: 6:00 pm to around 8:00 ish
  • Where: Lance Seaman’s shop in Montana City — 21 Jackson Creek Road  (See the detailed google map below. Zoom out to see Helena on the map.)
  • Please Bring: side dish (anything that goes with hot sandwiches) Also a beverage to share
  • Also bring: a friend who might be interested in joining, or who just wants to check us out!
  • Lance Seaman’s phone number: 442-8459

See you at the meeting on Monday! 

Map to Lance’s shop at 21 Jackson Creek Road, Helena, Montana:

Directions to Lance’s shop: drive south on I-15 or Colonial Drive (Frontage Road) to Montana City roundabout. Head west on Jackson Creek Road about 2/10 of a mile. His shop is on the south side of the road (left) directly across from Guardian Kennels. Lance will put a sign out on the road, but says you really can’t miss his brown shop building. See you there!