Every now and then a visitor to Ocracoke will notice a cast iron decoy in an islander's outbuilding, yard, or porch. Most people think that is a curiosity. Why would anyone want an iron decoy? they might ask. After all, an iron decoy won't float. Decoys should be made of wood (the old fashioned kind), canvas over a wire frame (another traditional decoy design), or hollow plastic (like more recent decoys).
Cast iron decoys were employed on sinkboxes (weighted, partially submerged, floating hunting blinds). Sinkboxes were camouflaged with reeds and branches. Floating decoys were arranged in the vicinity of the sinkbox. When the hunter entered the sinkbox, and placed his cast iron decoys on the deck of the blind, the box would sink until it floated almost level with the water, affording the hunter with a relatively dry enclosure that kept him hidden from ducks and geese.