Face of Bean: George Soule


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's Original Decoy and its Modern-day Counterpart

 

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!




  1. John Storm | June 20, 2012 | 2:33 pm

    Hello,

    Do you know where I could acquire a George Soule Caostal Call?

    Thanx
    John

  2. John | July 7, 2012 | 8:43 am

    Thank you but I am looking for an original Soule Coastal Call.
    John

    • Sara | L.L.Bean | July 10, 2012 | 9:40 am

      Hi, John. While we no longer sell the original, you may be able to find vintage L.L.Bean items on eBay, Etsy or similar websites.

  3. HOWARD GEORGE | October 31, 2013 | 3:02 pm

    I HAVE 6 OF THE ORIGINAL George SOUL BLACK DUCK COASTAL DECOYS. THEY ARE IN ABSOLUTE EXELLENT CONDITION. I’ve HAD THEM FOR OVER 40 YEARS.
    THEY ARE IN AN LL BEAN BROWN CANVAS CARRYING BAG MADE TO TRANSPORT THEM SAFELY.VERRY LITTLE USE. I WOULD BE INTERESTED IN SELLING THEM.
    SHOULD ANYONE HAVE INTEREST I WILL LISTEN TO SENSIBLE OFFERS.
    I HAVE HUNTED WITH GEORGE AND HIS VERRY GOOD FRIEND RANSOM KELLY IN RANSOMS BLIND ON THE KENNEBECE RIVER IN WOOLICH, MAINE. IN ADDITION
    GEORGE BUCKNAM THE FORMER INLAND FISH AND GAME COMMISSIONER FOR
    THE STATE OF MAINE WAS THERE SEVERAL TIMES.THEY WERE ALL SUPER GREAT PEOPLE AND THE BEST SHOOTERS I EVER SAW. RANSOM WOULD WAIT TILL 2 DUCKS
    CROSSED AND HE WOULD KILL BOTH WITH 1 SHOT FROM A 20 GAUGE.
    SEND ME AN E- MAIL IF INTERESTED.

  4. brian gurlin | December 9, 2013 | 10:55 am

    i have a original soule coastal duck call , black duck..with the paperwork, and box all in unused shape on ebay for sale….thank you, brian…


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