As told in our anniversary book, Guaranteed to Last, the story of George Soule and his duck decoys gives us a rare view into the evolution of a sporting tool that many take for granted today. It began when L.L. found a new hunting companion in a man forty years his junior yet wise beyond his years in outsmarting waterfowl. George Soule, a talented wood carver, used his skills for one of his favorite pastimes: handcrafting exquisite, lifelike cork duck decoys.
While out hunting one day in the 1930s, George told L.L. he could whittle better-looking decoys than the ones L.L. used to lure in the ducks.
“L.L. had a ragtag set of round-bottom wooden tollers that skittered, bobbed and pitched like seagoing rocking horses,” Soule once quipped.
L.L. challenged him to do so, and in one swift movement, George had done more to assist the modern-day duck hunter than any man has since.
“The excellence of his decoy has become the standard against which other commercial duck decoys are compared.”
George eventually went on to start his own shop, but L.L. was so impressed, he sold George’s duck and goose decoys in the Bean catalog.
Today, waterfowlers still take great pleasure in using our remarkably lifelike selection of decoys. And while they vary slightly from George’s original design, they continue to resemble and honor the fine craftsmanship and attention to detail he exhibited years ago.
George Soule has become one of many significant people in L.L.Bean’s history and within the pages of Guaranteed to Last. Do you have a memorable duck hunting story the late George Soule would appreciate? Share Your Story with us!