Their maker apparently valued his work. The decoys were not found easily. The bottom of what appeared to be a seed storage pit was really a fake. Four feet down, underneath a layer of mats and basketry, was a package carefully wrapped in rushes. The decoys were among the treasured objects. “Some waterfowl hunter had hid his decoys here against another season,” Harrington wrote.
And why not? Lovelock Cave is located in a limestone outcropping on the eastern shore of Humboldt Sink, overlooking ancient Lake Lahontan, which dates to the Pleistocene period. Thousands of years ago, this substantial marshland supported vast numbers of waterfowl and other wildlife. The nearby cave served as a natural closet of sorts, a place where tools and food were stored, and a relatively dry and safe haven from the elements, or marauding enemies.
A trip to northern Nevada would not have been complete without visiting Lovelock Cave. Having attended the Easton Waterfowl Festival and the National Antique and Sporting Collectibles Show, and having visited decoy auctions and displays, the Ward and Havre de Grace museums, and similar venues, I’ve been fortunate to have seen some extraordinary vintage decoys from throughout North America.
Lovelock Cave—where it all began—is at yet another level.