A resident of Absecon, NJ, David Rhodes was born in Ontario, Canada to English parents who immigrated to the Atlantic City area. Rhodes grew up around the fishing docks of Gardiners Basin and the jetties of Absecon Inlet, where he fished for black bass, tuag, and bluefish. He first went hunting at age fourteen, and since that trip he has hunted waterfowl from Cape May to Raritan Bay in New Jersey, along the Houston Ship Canal in Texas, and among the rice fields and flooded timbers of Arkansas.
Rhodes began carving decoys after returning from service in the U.S. Air Force in Korea to find his store-bought decoys missing. With no local artists to buy from and no money to buy a new rig, Rhodes carved his own wooden duck decoys. He taught himself to carve, first a few crude ducks, then later shorebird carvings, which became his specialty. His first tools and material were an old hunting knife, a coping saw, and pieces of driftwood from the beach. Although Rhodes carves everything from sandpipers to egrets, his favorite is the curlew, which resembles a large sandpiper. Rhodes is a noted carver, featured in Henry Fleckenstein’s book “Shore Bird Decoys.”
David Rhodes is currently retired from Wheaton, Inc. of Millville, NJ where he served as artist-designer-photographer for over thirty years. In 2004 he was named Carver of the Year by the New Jersey Decoy Collectors Association.