Percy Carawan, an active 92 year-old eastern North Carolinian, has been carving Canada Goose and Whistling Swan decoys for over seventy years. Percy, the fifth of eighteen children, acquired his knowledge and skills from his father, Alvin Rufus Carawan (1877-1968), who also carved decoys during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
During the 1930's Percy worked as a guide for the government blinds on picturesque Lake Mattamuskeet earning only $7.50 per day for four hunters. Today, he still has fond memories of those days on the lake: the men he guided for; the men he guided with; and, his faithful dogs, Sam and Tucker.
Nearly seventy years later, Percy still journeys into the heart of the dense swamp in search of wood that is suitable for the construction of his decoys. He skillfully shapes the body out of juniper and the neck from a cypress or black gum root.
Percy Carawan is a remarkable and humorous man who not only loves and respects nature and humankind, but is also dearly loved by his family and friends.
Percy Carawan is featured in the March/April 1991 issue of Decoy Magazine as well as Jack Dudley's book Mattamuskeet & Ocracoke Waterfowl Heritage.