Duck Decoys

Frank L Sprader



Frank Sprader was a life long resident of Milwaukee. He carved a rig of approximately 12 decoys in the 1940's for his own use. At the same time, the Milwaukee Public Museum hired Owen Gromme and friends Walter Pelzer and Warren Dettman to teach classes to interested carvers who wanted to make their own decoy rigs. Their designs became what we call the Milwaukee School style. Sprader was not known to have taken classes but the style of his decoys resemble the Milwaukee School. It is most notable that Sprader was born deaf and would have had trouble in a classroom setting. Sprader learned metalwork from his father and worked for dairy equipment makers in the MIlwaukee area. Another interesting note, is that his mother tied flies for the Weber Tackle Company in her early years. Sprader's wife Esther confirmed that Frank was an avid hunter who hunted with both Gromme and Pelzer. Sprader always hunted with his dog and depended on the dogs reaction to ducks flying in the area. An inspiring history of a hunter who overcame obstacles in life to become a good hunter and accomplished carver. A more detailed presentation is provided by Dain Calvin in Decoy Magazines' January/February 2020 issue. Thanks to Dain and Joe Engers for sharing this great story.