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About Bryon Bodt and his Handmade Decoys

bryonBryon grew up in Harford County, Maryland and currently lives in Churchville. He is a 1981 graduate of Bel Air High School and graduated in 1985 from Washington College with a degree in biology. Bryon is presently making decoys as a full time occupation.

Bryon’s enthusiasm was sparked by his father’s interest in antique decoys and hunting in the Havre de Grace area. Bryon’s style is patterned after the classic working decoys produced by carvers such as R. Madison Mitchell, Paul Gibson, Charlie Bryan, and Bob McGaw. Traditional working birds (gunning decoys) are characterized by their flat paint, absence of raised feathers, and presence of ballast weights and anchor rings.

Bryon began carving a few duck heads in 1977. In the early 1980’s he spent three years in apprenticeship under Jim Pierce, a renowned Havre de Grace decoy maker. Now Bryon produces in his own style, birds native to the Atlantic flyway. He carves the hen and drake of about 20 species of ducks. The Canada goose, snow goose, blue goose, heron and swan are the larger decoys that he makes.

Bryon is featured in the book “Upper Chesapeake Bay Decoys And Their Makers” by Dave and Joan Hagan. Bryon’s decoys have been shown in the Havre de Grace Decoy Festival, The Chestertown Wildlife Show, The Upper Shore Decoy Show, The Easton Waterfowl Show and other shows in Maryland, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. In 2008, Bryon was very proud to named the honorary chairman of the 27th Havre de Grace Decoy and Wildlife Art Festival. Bryon selected his drake hooded merganser as the feature decoy of that show.

Bryon has been involved with Ducks Unlimited, Izaak Walton League of America, Steppingstone Museum and The Havre de Grace Decoy Museum. His decoys have been selected as part of the Maryland Ducks Unlimited state art package several times. As a member of Harford County Chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America, he spends a great deal of time at the Chapter’s, Melvin G. Bosely Wildlife Conservancy, especially working with the wood duck nesting program. IMG_3178_2Bosely Conservancy is also part of the Chesapeake Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve in Maryland—where he is a volunteer. Twice, the Havre de Grace Decoy Museum named Bryon the Volunteer Carver of the Year for his work with school groups.

Bryon is a life member of the Izaak Walton League of America, the Havre de Grace Decoy Museum and the Upper Bay Museum. In addition to making decoys, Bryon enjoys hunting, crabbing and working on his family’s Christmas tree farm.