Decoy Carver

Years ago former Chief of Department Larry Kosmalski did a feature in the Detroit Firefighters Magazine. It was called, Personal Glimpse. His articles profiled the interesting activities of many Detroit Firefighters. This selection is about Captain Herbie Hahn, who was a famous duck hunter and decoy carver.

Herbert Hahn was born in 1929. He grew up in Southwest Detroit. He married a pretty lassie from Edenborough, Scotland, named Sandy. They had two children, Steve and Kathy. Herb spent over 35 years with the Detroit Fire department. He has been carving and hunting since 1949. He started carving professionally in 1982. He won numerous awards over the years and in a run of ten shows in a row, he either won first place or best of show in each.

His advice to other would be carvers is number one, it is not a hobby to make money. Number two, do not be afraid to enter your work in shows. Third, and most important, seek out an established carver or join a class that teaches carving.

Herb's prices for his decoys vary but in 1985 they were $250 for a duck and up to $800 for a goose decoy.  He won an award at the Pt. Mouille National Midwest Decoy Contest and has been designated as a judge at the Ottowa Wild fowl Reserve Contest in Ohio.

Herb is a conservationist and believes you can’t take without giving back. He urges everyone to get involved with preserving our great water fowl hunting heritage. The Detroit River is home to tens of thousands of ducks who winter in this area. Canvasebacks, Redheads, and Goldeneyes are probably the most common birds seen, but Herb has also seen an occasional Eider or an Old Squaw when out hunting. These birds are in dire need of safe abundant wintering habitat so they can gather strength and fill out to maximum size for proper reproduction. The reason this is so important is that most birds die in their first year. It is a fact that the older the hen is, the more productive she becomes.

Herb is a real paradox. He is six feet tall and weighs over 200 pounds. He can wield an axe like a woodsman and still craft the delicate feathers on a decoy with am adroit dexterity. Herb is not only a good Firefighter but he is also an accomplished artist.

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