Not an artist by trade, but a hunter by sport, A. Elmer Crowell learned the trade of waterfowler at a young age. He worked full time at it from 1908 until 1944, at which time he was forced to retire due to rheumatism. At first, he carved decoys to be used while hunting, though as laws became stricter, his decoys became more ornamental. Beginning in 1915, Crowell branded his work A. ELMER CROWELL DECOYS EAST HARWICH, MASS, words which are repeated in this portrait over his right shoulder. Considered one of the foremost decoy makers of his time, Crowell was best known for the details and life-like nature of his work. As one author described, "in its combination of quality, quantity, and variety his work is unequaled by an other maker." For more information see, Jeff Waingrow, American Wildfowl Decoys (New York, 1985), Gene and Linda Kangas, Decoys: A North American Survey (Utah, 1983), and Shirley and John Delph, New England Decoys (Pennsylvania).