Rick Johannsen was born in Ohio in 1958. Like most carvers, Rick Johannsen started carving at a young age, learning from his father. He first started carving so he would have decoys to hunt with. He first became fascinated with the idea of carving and painting decorative decoys in the early 1970’s at a Ohio Decoy Carvers and Collectors Association carving exhibition. He started carving with his friend Dick Gordy and together, in 1980, they both took a class taught by bird carver Robert Franta. After the class, Johannsen entered his carving into the Ward Foundation’s World Championship Wildfowl Carving Competition and took first place. He has won three first place prizes in total, all canvasbacks, two hens and a drake.
When Johannsen was not carving he was farming with his father and brother, but soon gave that up because of the price of farming and switched jobs to the manager of a private hunting club. He still continued to carve on his time off and during the slow winter months. He still loves to hunt and guides other hunters on how to use his decoys.