Autumn Wings has served North American waterfowlers since 1996 and has gained the reputation for outstanding service and commitment to customer satisfaction in the waterfowler community.
Autumn Wings Master Carver
Stan Balgaard, Dave Taylor, Dennis Finden and other carvers worked with the then owner Jim Burkett in the original designs for Autumn Wings. In 2018 with the new ownership, painters such as William Gumbold and Steven J. Sanford were utilized to develop the new product designs that were/are being developed.
Autumn Wings now is in business to provides gunnin’ decoys for waterfowlers who are willing to
step up from plastic and spend a bit more money to purchase a rig of
quality decoys unlike the copy-cat models found in catalogs and sporting
goods stores that can be hunted for generations and in addition, produce mantel quality wooden display decoys.
In the Beginning
A Ringneck Pair made from furniture grade
urethane started the company. Autumn Wings no longer uses this method, however, the hunter
or collector may still find one of these style decoys in service or on a
Balgaard and Burkett, with initial assistance from other makers, designed the
ringneck decoys for Autumn Wings, the first species offered by the
company through the then Minnesota Waterfowl Association. “The reason we
started with ringbills is that Stan and I hunt in Minnesota and we both
hunt a lot ringbills,” Burkett said of their marketing decision. “When
we hunt divers, ringbills are our bread and butter duck. Since I hadn’t
run across any ringbill decoys, I was taking bluebill decoys and
re-painting them, but that really isn’t accurate for a ringneck.
Autumn Wings - Today
Today Autumn Wings no longer makes decoys from the urethane used in
early production decoys. The process, while highly successful, became
too labor and cost intensive to be marketable on a commercial basis.
The search for a material which equaled the urethane or surpassed it led Autumn
Wings to materials long known to old-time decoy makers for
durability and functionality – basswood, high density cork and burlapped EPS foam. Combined
with quality touches such as carved bodies with hand- brushed
paints, these decoys are a nod to the traditional practices of the
master craftsmen of yesteryear.
In 2023 after a few years of development and thousands of decoys through our custom decoy shop Autumn Wings is bringing to market the Autumn Wings Coated (AW Coat) Fat Boy Diver Decoy. The decoy was developed to mimic the legendary Restle Diver decoy, with a great lakes style design/shape, and a coating the surpasses what was achieved with the legendary Restle with a modern day product and materials.
Heads and replacement heads have become a large part of our business. Originally the idea of wood replacement heads developed as a
result of requests from hunters for upgrades to their Herter’s Model 63,72,81,92 decoys and Restle foam decoy rigs. These heads have also proved useful to
do-it-yourself carvers and a growing number of hunting grade cork and foam decoy
shops around the country as a cost effective (yet high quality) wood head. At
this time Autumn Wings offers 165+ styles of wood duck decoy heads, all
hand carved and set with glass eyes. Both painted and unpainted versions
Autumn Wings also offers unique antique wooded decoys, decoy parts and accessories, AW Coat, and a line of Autumn Wings apparel.