Ray Hein was born on April 12, 1909 and died on March 6, 1988 in Saint Louis, Minnesota. It is reported that he was from Hibbing, Minnesota. He was an electric installer and married to Grace at the age of 23.
He was an obscure Minnesota carver and his decoys are quite folksy in style, but his decoys had a high quality about them with very nice and sturdy construction and good heavy paint jobs with clean lines.
Like so many Minnesota decoy carvers, Ray Hein was an obscure carver and his decoys are rare to find. The distances and the remoteness of the many Northern areas of Minnesota created the opportunity for many unique styles and constructions methods of fish decoys. The Red/White Ray Hein’s decoy shown below is one decoy that portrays the carver’s talent and diversity of decoy makers of the far North.
The last decoy that I saw was a red/white with black dot accents and it had large white painted metal fins and two slot head screws driven in from both sides holding the tail and back vertical fins together, an eye screw for a line tie. The overall length of the fish was 8 1/4″ long and was estimated to be from the 1960s.
Photos courtesy of Tim Spreck of Stillwater, Minnesota
www.fishdecoy.net eBay ID: fishdecoy
Statistics provided by Gary Miller of Michigan