Delbert Daisey

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Cigar Daisey
Cigar Daisey in his paint room 002.jpg
Born(1928-03-06)March 6, 1928
DiedApril 19, 2017(2017-04-19) (aged 89)
Chincoteague, Virginia, U.S.
NationalityU. S.
Known forWood carver, Decoy maker
Black duck by Cigar Daisey

Delbert Lee "Cigar" Daisey (March 6, 1928,[1] in Chincoteague, Virginia – April 19, 2017),[2] known as "Cigar" Daisey, was an American waterfowl wood carver and decoy maker. He was the son of Herbert Lee Daisey and Emma Jane Daisey.[3] He lived and worked in Chincoteague, Virginia, and was the resident carver at the Refuge Waterfowl Museum.[4] His decoy carvings are recognized for both their artistic value and functionality as working pieces for waterfowl hunting. His works include black ducks, mallards, redheads, ruddys and red-breasted mergansers and often crafted in drake (male) and hen (female) pairs. He had carved about 1900 ducks in total and he generally used cork or wood as his medium. He carved his first duck out of balsa wood in 1940 at his father's wood shop. The Smithsonian has his works in their collection. He was given his nickname in 1945 by John Buckalew, Federal Game Warden and first manager of the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge because Daisy would leave cigar butts to taunt game wardens while poaching ducks on Assateague Island.[5] Later in life, Daisey was an avid conservationist.[5]

One of the most valuable pieces he ever made was a pintail in 1973, as a present for his wife. That was the only fully decorative decoy he had ever made, and was featured in National Geographic magazine, June 1980, page 826. The decoy was estimated to be worth $150,000.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "[1]", U.S. Public Records, Chincoteague Island, Virginia, residence date 1 September 1998 - 1 October 1998, Delbert Daisey
  2. ^ "[2]", Delmarva now obituary notice for Delbert Lee "Cigar" Daisey, 21 April 2017
  3. ^ "[3]", U.S. Census, 1940, Chincoteague Magisterial District, Accomack, Virginia
  4. ^ Collins, Dennis. "Former Outlaw Hunters Carving Out New Lives", The Washington Post, April 13, 1982, p. C3.
  5. ^ a b Harden, Blaine. "Killer of 30,000 Ducks", The Washington Post, August 11, 1979, p. D2.
  6. ^ "[4]", The Ward Museum of Wildfowl Art, Salisbury, Maryland, Delbert "Cigar" Daisey, accessed April 21, 2017