: Duck Decoys
Pair of Mallard Decoys, circa 1930-40.
Made by John (Newt) Rule.
White pine, 6 1/2 inches high by 13 3/4 inches long.
Illinois State Museum Collection (1964.4, 798979-drake, 798980-hen).
John (Newt) Rule (1870-1949) was a professional market hunter and hunting guide, decoy and duck call maker, originally from Petersburg, Illinois, who moved west to Beardstown and leased 540 acres on Muscooten Bay and marsh to run a duck hunting club he called Tree Top Lodge. The club house consisted of a decrepit paddlewheeler. In addition to hunting duck in the spring and fall, Rule ran a traveling shooting gallery in the summer, and, in Florida every winter, hunted alligators, bass and saltwater fish.
He produced more than 75 dozen decoys in forty years of carving. Most of his birds were mallards and pintails made of white pine, with glass eyes. His style featured cheeky heads, which were of questionable success, after baiting of ducks was made illegal.
Photograph by Gary Andrashko, Illinois State Museum.