National Fish Decoy Association


1958 - 2008
The NFDA will miss Doug and all his
contributions to the the organization.


Doug Davis

"My largest pike is a 34 inch fish taken in
 Michigan. Still hoping for
"The Big One"
each time out."


Doug was born November 18, 1958, in a Southeastern Wisconsin town called Lake Geneva.
He was settled in Williams Bay, Wisconsin with his wife until a courageous battle
with cancer took his life in the spring of 2008.

The interest in collecting fish began in 1987 and by the mid 90's he decided it was time
to try and make one on his own. Doug says, "My first examples weren't that great
and some didn't even sink. So, I gave up on carving for awhile."
(See... even some of
the greatest carvers have floaters!) He attempted to start carving again in 1998. It must
have been turning 40 that gave him a new outlook as he began to develop his own style
of fish and painting. With the help of other carvers he was able to improve the swim
and the performance of his decoys.

His decoys were moderately priced at $12.50 per inch for working fish and plaques.
Jig sticks and other folk art items usually started at $50 and went up from there based
 on size and how complicated the design is.


First, Second, and Third Best in Show, Service Working Class, GLFDA Show, Monroe, MI. 2004.

Best in Show, Service Working Class, The Gathering, Perham, MN. 2005 & 2007.

Best in Show, Service Working Class, ASC Show, Maplewood, MN. 2007

Being selected to appear on the Fish Decoy Calendar in 2006 was a special honor.

Doug had many favorite carvers, "Some because of their work, some because of their personality, and some because of the help and support they have given me over the years".

"Lawrence Bethel is one of my favorite carvers. He made a great fish at a fair price and had a great outlook on life. Harley Ragan and Mike Holmes of Michigan are 2 more of my favorite carvers. These guys took me spearing for my first time and I was hooked from the beginning. They both make great working decoys, and some pretty awesome decorative fish, plus they have also been very supportive of my work. Another favorite is Tom Richards from Cadillac, Michigan. Hes the real deal, hes out there spearing every chance he gets. He makes a super working decoy at a working mans price, plus he turns out some awesome spears. Tom is not only a decoy maker and part time collector, but hes a historian with a wealth of information about Cadillac area carvers. One more I need to mention is Dennis Bertram of Minnesota. He spears everyday of the season, makes a darn good spearing decoy, and like Tom Richards, he collects decoys/spears and has a bunch of good information about spearing history in his area."

As far as just collecting fish decoys, Doug liked the work of Jim Pullen of Cadillac, MI., Henry Max of Fergus Falls, MN., plus the work of many other carvers in the northern states. His collection contained some great folky examples of old fish by unknown carvers, a nice mix of Wisconsin made fish decoys with some Lac du Flambeau Native American style decoys.

When it comes to Doug's favorite memories, here is what he said...
 "Over the years of attending shows and competitions I
ve met so many great people. Most are fellow carvers, some are collectors, but ALL of them are enthusiastic about fish decoys. Meeting Lawrence Bethel for the first time at my first Perham show was a kick, and something Ill never forget. Being with Harley Ragan when he speared his first big musky was a thrill. Spending time with all my "fish head" friends is one big special memory, and its hard to pick out one event or memory. The Perham Minnesota Gathering show has always been a favorite, and the socializing aspect of that show is super. Its the best collection of good carvers and people I
ve experienced in my few years of carving


Doug will be remembered as a warm hearted, energetic, and high spirited man.

Home Up John Jensen Otis Lael Doug Davis

 Copyright 2007-2014 National Fish Decoy Association
 Last modified: 11/16/14
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