Marc Gottlieb of Raleigh crafts duck decoys so detailed they look like they might fly or paddle away.
Yet, despite a collection of awards from shows such as the East Carolina Wildlife Arts Festival and N.C. Decoy Carving Championships in Washington, he doesn’t consider himself an artist.
“A lot of people ask if I’ve been an artist all my life. … I consider myself a fabricator and a duplicator,” Gottlieb said. “Mother Nature is the artist, and she is the artist to duplicate.”
His duplications excelled at this year’s festival. His lesser scaup hen took best-in-show honors in the novice/intermediate Pamlico Gunning Style Division and he won the diving ducks and species categories.
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His lesser scaup drake took second place, and his American oriole, canvasback drake, blue wing teal drake, lesser scaup drake, goldeneye drake, ruddy duck drake and scoter drake also placed in their divisions.
Gottlieb classifies himself as “a craftsman.” As a chiropractor who studies the human form, he said, he enjoys the challenge of carving “to get technically correct what’s underneath the feathers as well as what’s on top in terms of feathers.”
He does that well.
“He does really, really good work,” said Jay Sulllivan, the competition chairman for the East Carolina Wildfowl Guild. “He had some impressive carvings and took home some big wins this year.”
Raleigh professionals Vic Kirkman and Mark Strucko also took best-in-show awards among 236 entries by 66 carvers from 11 states as far away as New York, Ohio and California competing for prizes of up to $1,000, Sullivan said. The Guild has posted results and photographs from the Feb. 6-8 competition at www.ecwguild.com.
Honor the elk: The Triangle’s Wayne B. Lewter Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation will hold its 21st annual banquet March 28. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. at the Raleigh Elks Lodge, 5538 Lead Mine Road.
“Ninety percent of every dollar collected is used for buying land for preservation of habitat,” Mike Stainback, one of the organizers, said.
North Carolina is one of 28 states with wild elk herds. The western N.C. herd in and around Great Smoky Mountains National Park began with 27 elk released in 2001 and now numbers about 150.
For banquet tickets, call or go to www.ncelk.org.
Wilmington expo: The Cape Fear Wildlife Expo takes place 9 a.m.-7 p.m. March 20, 9-7 March 21 and 10-5 March 22 at the Wilmington Convention Center along the Cape Fear River in Wilmington. Go to www.capefearwildlifeexpo.com.
Mark your calendar: The new Cabela’s store in Garner will hold a weeklong grand-opening celebration starting April 16 with a 9:45 a.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony. The 105,000-square-foot store, the state’s first, is located near the intersection of Interstate 40 and U.S. 70. Schedule updates will be posted at www.cabelas.com/garner.
Paddling: Paddle Creek, 9525 Capital Blvd. in Wake Forest, will resume its Neuse River canoe and kayak trips this weekend. Go to www.paddlecreeknc.com.
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