Duck decoy industry boomed in Pascagoula in 20th century               A colorful part of Pascagoula history has been preserved by outdoorsman Joe Bosco of Moss Point. The younger generation would have no way of knowing that from 1920 to 1971 the Pascagoula area was a major site for wooden duck decoy manufacturing were it not for enthusiasts like Bosco.             A member of Ducks Unlimited, he has enjoyed hunting and fishing since his boyhood, spent years researching and documenting the world of duck decoys, thousands of which were made here and sold throughout the United States and in foreign countries.             He talked to the descendants of the manufacturers and old timers to relate their stories, now included in a 160-page book, “Pascagoula Decoys,” published by Pelican Books. Bosco studied old catalogs and newspapers, interviewed former employees and surviving relatives of the industry.             As he became more interested he found an old decoy while shopping in an antiques store. “The realization that this old decoy was made in my hometown solidified my interest in collecting wooden waterfowl decoys, those exclusively made in Pascagoula,” he said. “This interest has led to many years of collecting enjoyment, browsing through antiques stores and flea markets and participating in cutthroat bidding on ebay. As duck decoys have become popular collection items for enthusiasts, Bosco includes a description of the evolution of the industry, gives a history of each firm, and presents numerous full color photographs of the products. His book includes numerous full-color photographs and a guide with tips for collecting the decoys in person and on online.Two of the most Important decoy makers of many in this area were the Hudson Manufacturing Co., and the Animal Trap Co. of Mississippi, the latter one of the last manufacturers to offer wooden decoys. (Animal Trap was located on Telephone Road just west of Hospital Road.) Dominant personalities of the era were Charles W. Grubbs, founder of Grubbs Manufacturing Co., who made the first commercial duck call, and E. M. Woolworth, of department store fame, who in 1940 bought Poitevin Brothers Inc., makers of Singing River Decoys, raising more awareness of the duck-decoy industry.It is said labor for the companies was plentiful. Many employees came from the shipbuilding industry and were familiar with working with wood.On Tuesday, June 28, 6 p.m., at the Pascagoula Public Library meeting room, Bosco will relate in person some of his stories and discuss the importance of decoy makers’ techniques and innovations during the monthly meeting of the Jackson County Historical and Genealogical Society. The program is open to the public. For those who would like to purchase a copy of his book and/or have one signed, a time has been set aside for that.A native of Pascagoula, Bosco lives in Moss Point. He holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Spring Hill College and a business degree from the University of Southern Mississippi.             

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