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Marcel Dufour
A maker of sturdy yet elegant decoys

by Francois St-Onge

  Marcel Dufour

The oldest child in a family of eight, Marcel Dufour was born on April 8, 1939 in La Malbaie, a little town on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River, east of Quebec City. A the age of 17 he left his family home to work in Montreal for the Canada Steamship Lines as a deckhand and sailed the Great Lakes for six years. In 1963 he bought a house in Lasalle, Quebec and took a job with Air Canada until he retired in 1999.

His good friend Paul Daoust introduced him to duck hunting near Windmill Point, Ile Perrot, on Lake St-Louis. Dufour bought his first hunting decoys through ads in the local newspaper in 1965, but not satisfied with the results he started carving his own.

Bluebill, 1974.

Dufour purchased pre-cut white cedar blocks from Jean Paul Pilon, another Quebec carver, for a dollar apiece and made a rig of 27 whistler drakes. These decoys had detailed wing carving, emphasis in the shoulders, painted tack eyes and basic paint patterns. His carving tools consisted of a Rodgers pocketknife, a one-inch carpenters chisel and sandpaper.

Later on Dufour made larger decoys with even more elaborate wing carving. The heads were made from three pieces of one-inch pine or mahogany laminated together for additional strength. These models had glass eyes, and keels were added for more stability on the water. He finished them in Herter’s paint. Most of the decoys are stamped under the tail with his initials and the year he made them.

  Bluebill hen, 1973.

Dufour carved a total of 150 decoys for his personal use. He made drake canvasbacks, mallards, black ducks, pintails, common and Barrows goldeneyes and bluebills. The only hens in the rig were bluebills.

In 1974 Dufour entered a carving competition at Place Bonaventure in Montreal and won many ribbons for both decoratives and working decoys, including Best of Show. He also won awards at contests in Toronto, Ontario and Pointe Mouillee, Michigan.


Early goldeneye, 1965.



In 1982 Dufour began to teach decoy carving for the Laval carvers association and in 1990 he was co-founder of the St-Eustache carver’s club. He still teaches carving from his home in St-Eustache.

Hunters and collectors can still special-order decoys from him, although most of his production is now concentrated on miniatures that sell in stores in nearby Quebec and as far away as France.

For the complete story, please see the March/April 2003 issue of Decoy Magazine.

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