WWA Decoy Carving Competition Divisions

General Information on the Classes and Divisions Available:

The 2024 Competition shall have five opportunities to compete; three being International Waterfowl Carvers Association (IWCA) classes that follow IWCA rules, and two that are non-IWCA classes. By the IWCA rules, to compete in an IWCA sanctioned class, competitors must be IWCA members.  The WWA urges carvers to support IWCA, become members, and compete in one or more of the IWCA classes.  If you are not yet an IWCA member, you can apply for membership, pay the membership fee at the contest, and compete in IWCA classes.

For competitors who are not and do not want to become an IWCA member, but want to compete, we have two non-IWCA classes available:

  • A gunning decoy class, dubbed “Sconnie Gunners” that allows non-IWCA members to compete their working decoys.  Although called “Sconnie”, this class is open to carvers residing anywhere and is also open to carvers with IWCA membership. Please note that Sconnie Gunner decoys must be completed with a simple paint pattern. Decorative painting on a Sconnie entry will not be accepted. Please refer to the IWCA Style Division as an alternative; and
  • A replica, or antique decoy class, where carvers can compete decoys of the old style, antiqued and distressed to imply age, although they were produced recently. These decoys will be judged “on the shelf” meaning they will not be floated.

All classes have the applicable rules for that class listed under that class in the Appendix.  Carvers are urged to not just be familiar with the rules, but also the type of decoys being produced in each IWCA class, and how judges actually evaluate your decoy against others.  The IWCA website does show examples of decoys in each class.  Familiarize yourself with judging criteria, and make it easy for the judges to keep your decoy in the tank, not eliminate it as one of the first decoys out.

In the IWCA Divisions, competitors can compete at the

  • Amateur, or
  • Open (highest) level.

Competitors are urged to read the IWCA rules regarding designation of Amateur, and Open. There are specific rules relating to levels.  Carvers may declare themselves at a higher level, but once they declare themselves at that level, they cannot go back to a lesser level without a hearing or appeal to the IWCA.  New carvers who declare themselves Open carvers and discover they want to compete at the Amateur level must go through an appeals process at the IWCA.  New carvers are best advised to compete as Amateur.  If you win two Best of Shows at that level you will be forced to move up and are ready to compete at the Open level.

IWCA Style Decoy Division:   (must be an IWCA member to enter)

The Style Decoy Division is typified by well carved, properly proportioned decoys that from a distance are convincingly real.  Carvings must be of wood, cork or stretched canvas and texturing, stoning and bill detail is allowed .  Some great artists compete in this division, and to earn blue ribbons you will need to know anatomy, proportion, attitude, location of feather groups, and how to make a stylized yet realistic paint rendition.  Again, this division will have two levels: Open and Amateur, aiming to have carvers of similar experience and capability compete against each other.  These decoys are judged in the tank. These decoys generally are highly stylized; it takes an artist’s touch to place well in this division. Ribbons per IWCA rules in Open and Amateur classes. Cash awards will be given for Best of Show in Open class and Amateur class. Please carefully review the rules in the Appendix.

IWCA Decorative Non-Floating Decoys:

The Decorative class is painted with extra detail and precision.  All decoys in this division must be made of wood; full body decoys are allowed. They should have life-like attitude.  Feet and legs must be hand carved or constructed by the carver in open level only. This division includes all duck categories (puddle, diving, sea) along with geese and swans, confidence and shorebirds and wading birds. These decoys will be judged on the shelf.  Again, this division will have two carver levels, Open and Amateur.  Ribbons will be awarded per IWCA rules in Open and Amateur classes.  Cash award will be given for Best of Show in each carver class.  Please carefully review the rules in the Appendix.

IWCA Canvas Decoy Division:

Must be IWCA registered carver to compete. This Division is typified by being a working decoy, durable in construction and practical. The body must be entirely covered and constructed of canvas over a wire frame or canvas over a wood slat frame. No styrofoam bodies! Workmanship is a major judging point, e.g. tight material covering with as few seams as possible. The decoys are final judged in the tank and must self right upside down (exception is geese and swans must self right from the side). The decoys are judged in hand for workmanship and durability. Final judging is in the tank at 20 feet. Texturing by paint or paste is allowed, eyes are optional, no fragile parts are allowed and no restrictions on the bill. There must be a facility for an anchor line. This Division will have “one” carver class (open), this Division is the 2024 IWCA Working Championships. Ribbons are provided per IWCA rule and cash awards for Best Of Show 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Please review the IWCA Canvas decoy rules in Appendix G.

“Sconnie” Gunning Decoys:

This non-IWCA class is offered to allow carvers who are not IWCA members, to have an opportunity to get their decoys in the tank.  The rules are similar to IWCA Working Decoy Division, with the addition of allowing rasping for texture and also allowing sturdy bill detail such as carved nails and nostrils.  Open bills and carved feathers will not be allowed, and the intent is much like the IWCA Working Decoy Division: to produce authentic working decoys that are anatomically accurate, ride the water properly, and have simple yet effective paint job. Decorative paint schemes will NOT be accepted in this division.  This is an “open” and “amateur” competition with a “junior” class for Carvers 17 and under. (Amateur is defined in IWCA as Intermediate and Novice classes.) Awards in all classes.   Ribbons to first through third place decoys when specie classes are opened, ribbons for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd best decoy in each category, and ribbons and cash awards for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Best of Show.  Under the separate category for Juniors ribbons will be awarded for specie (when needed),  and 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Best of Show.  Best of Show Junior decoy will receive a cash award.   Juniors may choose to compete as an Open carver, but they do not qualify for separate Junior ribbons or cash award.  Juniors may not enter both Open and Junior Division with different decoys, Juniors must choose one class or the other.   IWCA Style Decoys entered in the IWCA Style or Decorative Decoy Divisions cannot be also entered into the “Sconnie” Gunning Decoy class and compete in two different classes.   Please carefully review the rules in the Appendix.

Antique Style Decoy Division:

This non-IWCA class is designed to offer those who carve antique replica decoys and traditional decoys an opportunity to compete and display their art.  All decoys will compete in the Open Carver class. Please review the rules in the Appendix.

Foam Decoys:

Decoys may, in the “Sconnie” Division, be made of foam. It is the intent for the foam to be carved by the entrant, not a manufactured body or manufactured head or both, put together and merely painted by the entrant.  Like working decoys made of cork, wood, or other materials, the judges will consider durability and the ability to endure actual gunning use.  Fragile or easily dented/damaged components of any working decoy will be detrimental to its competitiveness or may in certain instances lead to disqualification.  Foam decoy carvers have a number of methods used to make the foam durable and dent resistant.  If you plan on competing a foam decoy, research those methods and consider their use.