THE ORIGIN OF DECOYS.
| All writers agree-and there is no question-that the word Decoy came from Holland, where Decoys originated. It is an abbreviation of "ende-kooy," i.e., in Dutch, "the Duck Cage," and not merely of the word "Kooy," as stated by our lexicographers.|
Some old writers speak of the Duck-Coy, a word which would also soon be shortened into Decoy; others allude to the Duck traps, i.e., Duck cages, the latter being a truthful rendering of the Dutch word.
There is no doubt that at first the word " kooy," otherwise " coy " (the cage), was used to represent the cage of net into which the fowl were driven in the early years of fowling, and in the later enticed.
I have no hesitation in saying that the first Decoys made, at all resembling in principle those at present in use, were ponds or lakes furnished with tunnels or cages of network into which latter the fowl were enticed by food and, when in, secured by a dropping framework of netting that was lowered by a cord, and closed the entrance.
One of our most ancient Decoys is precisely on this principle-that at Haughton, Notts. It is essentially a kooy or cage for catching ducks. Though doubtless such a cage was highly successful with hordes of wild-fowl on all sides as in days of yore, still the more perfected pipe Decoy as at present in use is an immense improvement on it, though maybe suggested by its forerunner the cage Decoy. The cage Decoy was, I consider, a simple device (driving the Ducks having gone out of fashion or being prohibited) in use by the Fenmen before they took lessons from the Dutch in the formation of a better contrivance. (See plans of a Cage Decoy, pages 71, 72. )
THE ORIGIN AND AGE OF DECOYS.
|The first and most reliable description of a Decoy in England for catching ducks by enticing them, is, in my opinion, that referred to by Evelyn which Charles II made in St. James's Park. Evelyn writes in his Memoirs, March 29th, 1665, "His Majesty is now finishing 'the Decoy in the Park." It is highly probable that this was one of the first real Decoys made in England, and that "Sydrach Hilcus," who constructed it, was a Dutchman imported from Holland for the purpose.|