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Duck Punt

Curated Submission
Delta, British Columbia
DIMENSIONS in centimetres
506 x 93 x 32
Materials & techniques
Wood, canvas, marine lacquer, paint; Woodworking
Patricia Skrimshire
Delta Museum and Archives Society DE1990.42
The Lower Fraser Delta in British Columbia is a major migratory stopping point for a number of bird species, which allowed for a rich diet for early residents of the region. The capture of waterfowl, however, requires a stealthy approach. The design of these watercraft allowed for a nearly silent way to creep up on unsuspecting prey. The wide body and shallow draft also provided sufficient stability for the user to stand up when required. The use of reeds in the sides provided some camouflage when approaching flocks.
Duck punts like this are of British inspiration and are still used in the shallow marshes of the Lower Fraser Delta. In this case the maker, Percy Bicknell, reinforced the punt with a canvas shell to increase watertightness. The wood frame had to be carefully shaped to ensure a smooth surface that would move soundlessly over the water, requiring considerable skill on the part of the maker. 
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