Ernie Mills (decoy maker)

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Ernie Mills is a third generation Decoy maker, who was born in 1934 near Bangor, Pennsylvania. He makes Lower Chesapeake style decoys.[1] Nationally recognized as a folk artist, his traditional working decoys can be found in private collections and museums, including the Smithsonian Institution.[2]


In 1980, Ernie Mills was commissioned by Ducks Unlimited to make decoys for their fund raising events and auctions. His reputation as a decoy maker grew, and he was awarded with a Ducks Unlimited Life Sponsor award in 1985.

Ernie Mills makes traditional working decoys,[3] using techniques that he had been taught by his father and grandfather.[4] He is recognized as one of the few extant decoy makers that still use a hatchet.[5]

The May/June 2010 issue of Decoy Magazine has a feature story that states "Ernie Mills is one of the most collectible working decoy makers on the East Coast".


1993: A selection of Ernie Mills's decoys and tools are placed on permanent exhibit at the Atlanta History Center's "Shaping Traditions: Folk Arts in a Changing South".

1996: One of twelve traditional folk artists selected by the Smithsonian Institution to demonstrate decoy making at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. Two of Ernie Mills's decoys are now in the Smithsonian Institution.

2010: Nominated for 2011 National Endowment for the Arts "National Heritage Fellowship", which is the Nation's Highest Honor in the Folk and Traditional Arts.


  1. ^ "[1]", Digital Library of Georgia - Ernie Mills: decoy maker. Retrieved 2013-05-22.
  2. ^ "[2]", Cultivating Life: Duck Decoy Maker. Retrieved 2013-05-22.
  3. ^ "[3]", The Individual and Tradition: Folkloristic Perspectives - Edited by Ray Cashman, Tom Mould, Pravina Shukla. Retrieved 2013-05-22.
  4. ^ "[4]", Shaping Traditions: Folk Arts in a Changing South - By Goizueta Folklife Gallery (Atlanta History Museum), John A. Burrison. Retrieved 2013-05-22.
  5. ^ "[5]", Ernie Mills Video: New Georgia Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2013-05-22.

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