In 1972, the ducks picked late
November to arrive, and raft
after raft migrated into the New
River basin during the week of
Thanksgiving. In the midst of the
migration, on Saturday, November 26,
two days after Thanksgiving Day,
Giovinetti made his final hunt.
The day broke cold, pale and heart-less
as gusting winds pushed heavy gray
clouds over the choppy waters — ironi-cally
just the kind of day a duck hunter
longs for. The conditions would indeed
make for an excellent hunt, one that
should have been remembered and dis-cussed
with pride and respect for years
to come among his many waterfowling
friends. Only this one turned tragic
when the afternoon grew dark and the
While his many companions, friends
and family will never know exactly
what happened that fateful night, we
know simply and finally that he per-ished
as he made his way back to the
distant landing after dark when his boat
swamped and capsized in rough water.
Nicholas Carmon Giovinetti III was 29.
In the short few years that he
carved, it is estimated that Giovinetti
produced fewer than 100 decoys,
primarily bluebills and canvasbacks.
He carved only six black duck and six
goldeneye decoys of which only two
goldeneyes are known to exist today.
Many Giovinetti decoys were lost as a
result of the accident and few remain
of any kind today. The last known
pair was purchased from an Outer
Banks dealer by a Wilmington hunter
and investor for an undisclosed sum.
While Giovinetti designed each
decoy as a working model, each is
also a work of art and lends perspec-tive
to a waterfowling culture that
was once a social and economic driver
along the North Carolina coast.
Giovinetti’s decoys transcend an ordi-nary
sportsman’s experience and serve
as a venerable and graceful reminder
of our coastal heritage.