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The Decoy Artist

Karl Yankey follows a Pennsylvania tradition

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Updated May 20, 2016
Photography by Peter Durantine

Early March snow crunches underfoot. Pennsylvania’s duck-hunting season is many months away, but Karl Yankey, a stocky 64-year-old in sweatshirt and jeans, is thinking about it nonetheless as he follows a narrow path across his snow-and-ice-covered yard in Hummelstown to his small workshop, essentially a 10' x 10' shed.
Inside, an electric heater keeps things warm around the work bench where Yankey carves duck decoys for hunting and decorative display. “I actually started carving before I started really duck hunting,” he says. “I had done just a little bit of duck hunting, but not much.”
Born in Harrisburg but raised in Hummelstown, Yankey grew up near Swatara Creek, where he fished and canoed. He always had a general interest in art. He took courses in high school, but wasn’t sure exactly what field of art he wanted to pursue. “I always looked for something to do with my hands, some kind of woodworking, but I wasn’t sure what that potentially could be,” he says.
Read the rest of this article in Wildfowl Carving Magazine's Winter 2016 issue.

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