by Larry Chowning
When Logan Kellum of Weems was in the fourth grade he decided he would try carving duck decoys. He is 15 years old now and one of the outstanding young decoy carvers in the region.
In January, he won first place and best in show in his age group (12 to 15 year olds) at the East Coast Commercial Fishing Show decoy contest in Ocean City, Maryland, for a decoy he carved of a canvasback.
“When I was in fourth grade I saw the decoys at the White Stone (Rappahannock River Waterfowl) show and they caught my attention,” said Logan. “I bought a block of wood, sat down in a corner and started carving. When I finished, it looked somewhat like a duck.”
Since then Logan’s decoys for certain look like ducks. Logan attributes Herb Lewis of Fleeton as his mentor who encouraged him and provided him with the knowledge to improve and expand on his decoy carving.
“Mr. Lewis took me under his wing and worked with me until I began to get better” he said. “I’m not the best around but carving decoys is my third best thing I like to do.”
Logan said his favorite thing to do is go out each morning to commercially work crab pots; second, he loves to duck hunt; and making decoys is third.
Logan’s father, Tommy Kellum, took him duck hunting at an early age and that too led to his love of making decoys. “I love to hunt and my favorite ducks to hunt are buffleheads,” he said. “Daddy and I both like to hunt buffleheads and you cannot find a (bufflehead) hen decoy made of plastic.”
This led to Tommy and Logan to start carving wooden hens and using them in the hunt. “They make plastic drake (male bufflehead) decoys and we use some plastic ones; but a drake wants to be around hens. So, we started making our hen decoys out of wood and we now have 34 wooden hen decoys that we use,” said Logan.
When entering a waterfowl show, Logan usually enters duck decoys in the diving class (ducks that feed off the bottom). That includes canvasbacks, buffleheads, ruddys, bluebills and scoters. “The reason I like the diving class is because they do not involve as much painting. I hate to paint. I love to see the wood moving (carving part).”
Wood ducks and mallards are not his preference because they require a lot of paint and Logan seldom makes a goose decoy because it requires a big block of wood. “I made one wood duck and that was enough painting for me,” he said.
He enjoys the waterfowl competition. “I love the atmosphere of the shows and listening to the judges comments,” he said. “Every judge is different but their comments help me improve my work.”
Logan is very much a part of Chesapeake Bay coastal culture as the Kellum family has been generationally involved in the seafood business on the Chesapeake Bay. At 15 years of age, Logan gets up every morning and fishes crab pots commercially in his 19-foot Carolina Skiff that he bought with money he made working gill nets.