Robert Capriola Decoys



About The Artist

Robert L. Capriola was born in 1959 in Stamford Connecticut, the youngest of three children.  His interest in waterfowl and hunting began during fall trips to the Remington Gun Club on Stratford Island Connecticut where he observed hunters heading in from the marsh in boats and camouflage.  Robert made his first decoys in 1974 for hunting the Potomac River bottomlands, and began to explore the rich history and traditions of hunting and decoys he found on Maryland's Eastern Shore. Production during this period was limited to a six pairs of puddle duck decoys made from Styrofoam and a handful of Canada goose silhouettes.

After high school, Robert attended the University of Colorado school of  engineering, but after a year and a half, left school to work for the US Forest Service.  While working for the Forest Service in southeast Alaska in 1979, Capriola had the opportunity to hunt a coastal marsh, and fashioned a dozen solid mallard decoys from Alaska yellow cedar and a couple of dozen plywood Canada goose silhouettes.

Prior to returning to college at Humboldt State University in Arcata California, Robert began working in the shop of full-time carver and hunting guide Bill Pinches.  Bill became Capriola's mentor and introduced him to the world of antique decoy collecting, carving competitions, and boatbuilding.  The year 1980 marks the beginning of the development of Capriola into a nationally recognized carver.  Capriola began to produce a great variety of working decoys for his own use and  began offering decorative and working decoys for sale. He soon became well-known as one of the few full-time professional carvers on the west coast. 

Capriola carved full-time between his graduation in 1985 and his return to Humboldt State in 1993 to pursue a Master's degree in natural resources. During this period he produced a wide variety of carvings in styles ranging from highly detailed decorative life-size pieces for the table top to working decoys in original, but traditional styles.  In addition to carving commissioned work and work for sale at shows and auction, he built his personal rig of several hundred duck, goose, and brant decoys for his own use. Several best-in-show awards and his willingness to teach others led to many invitations to judge, including opportunities to judge at the Ward Foundation World's Carving Competition.

After completing his Master's degree in 1996, Capriola began working for the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge, but in 1997 moved to California's Central Valley to become a waterfowl habitat biologist for the California Waterfowl Association.  Production since 1997 has been limited to several dozen working decoys per year, and early in 2007, Capriola made a decision to begin offering a limited number of carvings from his hunting rig for sale to past patrons and the general public.  

In July of 2008, Capriola left CWA for a job with Westervelt Ecological Services Inc., a private firm specializing in habitat restoration and mitigation.  Rob splits his time between the office in Sacramento and his home in Chico, and still enjoys annual hunting trips to Canada, and fishing coastal waters in his Grady White.



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