Garden & Gun


Situated as he is, several back roads removed from the main drag through rural Accomack County on the famed waterfowling peninsula of Virginia’s Eastern Shore, and more specifically, on 180 acres of brackish marsh and oft-flooded farmland between the Pocomoke River and Bullbegger Creek, he might randomly fire a shotgun out his bathroom window in season with a reasonable chance of success.

Yes, that would be peculiar for several reasons, not least because there is perhaps no more accomplished carver of traditional wooden decoys plying the craft today than McIntyre, using only his calloused hands and a limited arsenal of antique edge tools, as it was done a century and longer ago. Granted, there aren’t legions pursuing that particular calling—and that’s kind of the point.

“Just a handful of guys are doing it like this, and some of them have jobs and carve on the side,” says the fifty-one-year-old as he pencils a few guiding marks onto a knotless block of white cedar inside his garage-sized backyard studio, surrounded by smudged sketchbooks, painting supplies, and dried duck wings of myriad feather patterns. “I basically didn’t have any other options. I wasn’t going to work in a cubicle somewhere. If I am good at what I do, a big part of it

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