Janice Macomber of Westport, Massachusetts painted this exquisite canada goose which was carved by Thomas Wilson (1865-1958) of Ipswich, Massachusetts. Only twelve decoys carved by Mr. Wilson are known to exist as of today. An exciting discovery was made in 1951 when the noted folk-art scholar Nina Fletcher LIttle came upon thirteen unused shorebirds, ducks and a Canada Goode crafted by Tom Wilson between (1863-1940).
Many decoy makers north of Boston followed in the tradition of the ship captains Fabens and Osgood, but three of them rise above the rest due to the high quality of their decoys: Fred Nichols, Charles Hart and Thomas Wilson whose decoys are as fine as they are rare! Thomas Wilson is said to be the subject of Frank Benson's etching 'OLD TOM'.
Thomas Wilson worked as a market gunner and guide, operating two gunning camps and a blind in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
The Massachusetts Waterfowl stamp provided funding for the acquisition and protection of wetland areas essential to migratory waterfowl for breeding, resting and feeding. The Massachusetts Waterfowl Stamp was the only waterfowl stamp series in the U.S. that required decoys for the annual stamp design. The designs had to be of working decoys made by known or unknown deceased Massachusetts carvers. Thus, the stamps celebrated the art of decoy carving, which was an integral part of Massachusetts' migratory bird hunting heritage, as well as the artwork of the contestant. This compettition was open to all US citizens.
After a 51 year tradition the Division of Fish and Wildlife has gone to electronic printing of hunting permits, thus retiring it's program of having wilidlife artists design the stamps and sell limited edition prints of the winning designs.