Mike Braun learned both duck hunting and decoy carving the old-fashioned way. He was taught by his dad at a very young age. A self-described contemporary artist, he competes at the highest levels but also builds one-of-a-kind traditional gunners that distinctly reflect his New Jersey heritage. How old was Braun when his dad starting taking him duck hunting and what was his first duck? What unique bird species at the World Show inspired him start carving, when did it become a full-time vocation, and how long does it take him to carve each decoy? What does hunting over his own decoys mean to him personally? Today's episode takes place among saw dust piles, where wooden blocks and nail-scratched feathering become gunning rigs, meaningfully connecting people to past generations and to waterfowl.
Michael Braun learned to carve decoys from his father, and he carved his first one at the age of nine. Now that creating these one-of-a-kind, functional pieces of art is his full-time career, it’s still the tradition behind the artform that he finds most appealing.
Whether you prefer watching birds wiz through the air or waking up to the crisp, colorful mornings of fall, we can all agree that beauty can be found in nature every day. For accomplished artist Michael Braun, he recreates the beauty he finds in nature through his talent of carving. Though he is an award-winning and talented painter, duck decoys are Mike’s specialty, and a gift that’s been shared with him from his father since he was nine years old. The pair bonded over the beauty of waterfowl, the art of carving, and the family tradition of hunting.