A big front was underway and this part of Kansas would be locked up solid up tight by sunrise the following morning. Before hunting fat greenheads in one of the last remaining holes, Cory Niccum and I met in front of a roaring fire, talking about his life’s trajectory pursuant to duck calling. Having called competitively since childhood, he mostly calls to live ducks from Canada to Kansas and beyond. But this ain’t a how-to episode. It’s mostly about real life. And really living it.

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Ramsey Russell: Welcome back to Duck Season Somewhere. We’re recording this today up in Kansas. And a cold front is hitting, and it is a bone chilling cold. But not as cold as it’s going to be tomorrow, son. It’s cold. Cold, but not as cold as it’s going to be tomorrow. By the time you all hear this recorded, that big cold front will be history. Joining us today is my buddy Cory Niccum from Kansas. Some of you all may have heard of him. Corey, how are you, man?

Cory Niccum: I’m good, sir. Yourself?

Ramsey Russell: Man, I’m fine. I’m glad you got it. Get turned on the air conditioning before I got up here.

Cory Niccum: Exactly. It’s definitely going to hit us tomorrow, like you said.

Ramsey Russell: But this ain’t no big deal for you. You’re used to hunting this kind of cold weather, aren’t you? I mean, you’re up here in this area. You grew up duck hunting in this part of the world. You all get cold up here, man.

Cory Niccum: We get cold, we just don’t get the snow like the northern states above us get. We fight ice every year and we lock up and then we’ll thaw back out after the split and the ducks will show back up. And we’re pretty fortunate to where we live to hunt the areas that we hunt close to the house. And they produce pretty well, and even where we’re at today, and hopefully this afternoon we’ll shoot some.

Ramsey Russell: Well, we’ve done everything we can. What is it about this area? Like, we went out today, here at Patterson Duck Club there’s some empowerment, some nice habitat. And the ice heaters have been running, we put some ice heaters out. But what is it about, you were telling me a little something last night about why this area holds so many ducks up.

Cory Niccum: There’s a lot of duck clubs where we are even sitting. I mean, there’s some to the north of us and a few to the south, and then there’s even a couple of them on state line, which is just east of here. But it’s, for whatever reason, these ducks funnel through this area forever. And my old man took me and my brother here in 93, and we’ve been hunting this area ever since. And there’s a lot of other good areas in this state, but this area here is just special, and it produces a lot of ducks and the habitat and everything involved with it. And it’s just a good duck factory area, and it always has been. And hopefully it continues to be like that.

Ramsey Russell: Last night over dinner, and we’re here with a bunch of your longtime friends, I want to ask about. We’re here with Ryan. We’re here with Thomas Chase. You’ve known these boys, and I’ve heard some stories about you all hunting this area growing up, last night at dinner. But it’s like the flyway, there’s the flight line, there’s some kind of lake that they use to cool off so it never freezes. There’s a national wildlife refuge. A lot of habitat right here.

Cory Niccum: Yeah, we have everything of best of both worlds, and the river runs between it. And like I said, all these other duck clubs and all the work that they do also holds a lot of ducks throughout the year. And with them pumping and the moist soil and the flooded corn, and now these guys are running Eyes Eiders to keep these holes open. And it just helps it throughout the whole season to steadily hold ducks the whole 60 days. And I feel like this area consistently does. And it’s been good since we started hunting it, like I said in 1993.

Ramsey Russell: Your dad is a big duck hunter.

Cory Niccum: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: Big water fowler. You told me a story last night about how historically there was a shooting line out on a federal property. But talk about how you and your dad, you told me a really nice memory last night about goose hunting with your dad.

Cory Niccum: So a long time ago, the goose population of this place, the residence was a lot for this side of the state of Kansas. And the road that travels through it all there used to be a firing line, and these guys would sit in the beds of their trucks and wait for the Canada’s to leave the refuge. And they’d fly over the trees and the guys would basically pass shoot them.

Ramsey Russell: Sure.

Cory Niccum: And I remember my dad, he bought two dozen carry light shells, and at that time, there wasn’t a whole lot of goose floaters available. And my old man bought shells and he bought those foam tubing, and he cut it down the middle and he hot glued the foam around the shells. And we would park in the parking lots, and all these guys, they’d be lined up from shoulder to shoulder with their guns. And my dad said, we’d always just hunt them and we’d never sit on the firing line and pass shoot them. And dad would take me out in that flat bottom boat and we’d put out them goosehells. And you can only shoot geese until 01:00. And at that time you can only shoot four a year per person.

Ramsey Russell: Like turkey tags, you were saying?

Cory Niccum: Yeah, turkey tags. I think it was like $5.50 is what my dad paid for each set of tags. And if you shot one, you put the tag around the foot. And even like my buddies Ryan and Thomas, my dad used to take them at guys out when we were kids and shoot those geese in junior high and everything else. And then it progressively got to where the tags were eliminated. And then they got rid of the firing line and they made everyone have to put waiters on and go out into the marsh and hunt.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah, no more firing lines. How old were you when you all moved here to Kansas and started doing that? Junior High school?

Cory Niccum: I was 6th grade. Yeah, when we moved out. I left California when I was in 5th grade. And then my first year here was in 6th grade at the elementary school.

Ramsey Russell: Tell me about growing up in California. You told me some stories last night about your origins, your first duck and all that stuff. What was it like hunting in California? Where were you hunting?

Cory Niccum: We hunted the Mendota Wildlife Refuge. And you could only hunt Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, and I believe it’s still the same right now. My dad would take me and my cousin out of school with my uncle, and we’d go there and camp out Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and stay in the reservation line. And there was a river right there, and we’d fish that on first two days. And then California Waterfowl association would have a banquet, and that would be the night before opener. And at 04:00 AM we’d be sleeping in the tents and the trucks and a guy would drive down and honk the horn and wake everybody up and let them know that the gates are fixing to open. And then it was all like, cattail slews, pothole kind of deal. And I remember shooting my very first duck on Lot-13, and it was a Drake Widgeon with my single shot, 20 gauge. And I had the single shot for a few years, and then I upgraded to 870 pump 20.

Ramsey Russell: That’s a hell of a memory growing up as a child with your dad camping out and fishing and camping. I mean, what a heck of a childhood Cory.

Cory Niccum: Yeah. I would not be here talking to you and this duck club if it wasn’t for my dad. My dad took us all over the country and took us to Canada, freelancing, and he’d drag us out in little flat bottom boats.

Ramsey Russell: You all were his best hunting buddies, it sound like. You and your brother?

Cory Niccum: Yep. Me and my brother. He did the same stuff for Thomas and Tig back in the day, too. I mean, my dad was the duck guide og around us. He would take us every weekend. And it’d be 15 degrees outside, and he’d be smoking cigarettes with his windows down, freezing our asses off, and not a care in the world driving down the highway, and he’d take us. If we wanted to go, he would take us, me and my brother.

Ramsey Russell: Every time?

Cory Niccum: Every time. It didn’t matter what weather conditions it was.

Ramsey Russell: Did he teach you to call?

Cory Niccum: You know, he kind of did. My dad was never, like, a contest caller. He was just a duck hunter and a fisherman.

Ramsey Russell: Most of us are.

Bonds Beyond Calling: Lifelong Memories with Keller’s Group

And then I think I upgraded to a Winch P2 primos. And then in 1999 or 2000 is when I met Mike Keller.

Cory Niccum: Pretty much. And for the duck calling side of things, I remember the first one he bought me. I had an all green duck commander, the plastic one. And I had that for a few years. And then I think I upgraded to a Winch P2 primos. And then in 1999 or 2000 is when I met Mike Keller, and I bought acrylic duck hall that I borrowed money from Thomas at a sporting goods store called Galleons. And I bought a single reed all clear acrylic for $125. I blew it in front of Mike. And he had won the worlds in 85. And I blew it in front of him, and he was like, I want you to start coming to my house on Tuesdays. And he lived up in Smithville, Missouri, which was 65 miles-70 miles north of us. And I drove a black GMC Sonoma with a license plate said dead duck on it. And I’d drive that some bitch up there to Mike’s. And I’d sit in his kitchen, leaning against his sink, and I’d blow duck halls, and he’d sit in his wheelchair at the table, tuning duck calls for Cabela’s and Bass pro and Mack’s prairie wings and all these other orders. And then one thing led to another. It was like Tuesdays and Thursdays. And then he built a swimming pool, and then we’d have, like, volleyball games in the summertime. And then there was a small group of us that would practice at his house. And every single one of us, including my brother and the others, we continue to do it. And there’s a few of them that still contest call that were part of that group. And then some of them kind of fizzled away, and they still hunt, but they kind of just got out of the contest scene. But, yeah, it was him. He took the time, and he would drive us to contest.

Ramsey Russell: How old would you have been back then? High school, you had a driver’s license. Obviously, sound like the first truck you were driving.

Cory Niccum: I was probably a junior in high school when I first started. That was like my very first expensive high end duck call. And then, yeah, one thing led to another. And I wanted to compete in contest. And my brother started doing it, and when he was a junior and intermediate, and then one thing led to another, and he introduced us to Butch Richenback.

Ramsey Russell: Mike did.

Cory Niccum: Mike did, yeah. And then Mike passed away. I think Mike passed away in 2005.

Ramsey Russell: Been a while.

Cory Niccum: Yeah. And my old man and Mike and a couple of other gentlemen bought into a lease up in Mount City, Missouri, north of Squaw Creek, Wildlife Refuge. And we had that for a couple of years. And it was a flooded corn impoundment pond or field. Put a pit in it and had a house, and we’d drive up there on the weekends. My old man would take us up there and hunt with Keller. We did a lot of stuff with Mike before he passed away. Then we met Butch.

Ramsey Russell: And just how far is Stuttgart from here, from where you grew up?

Cory Niccum: 8 hours. My dad would drive us down here on the weekends.

Ramsey Russell: Really? You and your brother?

Cory Niccum: Yeah. He told us if we were going to travel, then go to these contests in the summertime, and we better get something out of it. And so he didn’t want us to just basically lose. We’d go down there and stay in the hotel and then go to the shop and practice with Butch. And I remember one year he took me down. It was during dove season. That was the very first year I met Butch when we went down to the shop in September. This is in 2006. We stayed down there in Stuttgart for three days. And he was like, I want you to call me every other day and I want you to do this and practice this. Butch pretty much took us under his wing and went on from there.

Ramsey Russell: Talk about practicing there in bushy shop. You show up for 8 hours. I mean, what was that like? You drive 8 hours to get there, you spend a weekend. What did you all do when you were there?

Cory Niccum: Sit in his call shop and look at a board. And he had everything written down. And he had this acrylic rod.

Ramsey Russell: Like he had the routine written down. What kind of a routine he’d write down?

Cory Niccum: It’s like Butch would go off of the segments of the routine. You know, three blind mice, which would be your hens or 123-1234 and then your feed would be like, back then it was like a tikka-tikka or a dugga-dugga. And we just blow long continuous sequences of that and then run out of air and then take a break and then do it again and do it again and do it again to build your air up. And if you messed up, Butch would thump you on the back of your calf.

Ramsey Russell: You said he had like rod or something. Out of acrylic?

Cory Niccum: Yeah, acrylic rod that he would pretty much use. And I wish looking back now, I got a lot of good buddies that were contest callers in the 1990s. And I wish I was able to start then and be around Butch at that time because he had a group called Butch’s Kids. And it was a solid strong group of contest callers. And those guys tell me stories about what Butch used to do and how he was then. And it’d been pretty cool to be a contest caller back then and be around him for longer than know my brother and I were around him for.

Ramsey Russell: Well, what a legacy to leave that he was. I mean, he was a very successful rich and tone founder, mayor of Stuttgart and everything else. But to hear folks like yourself say it, I mean, he really took a lot of kids under his wing and set them on the course for success. And if you showed interest, he coached you along. That took a lot of time and commitment.

Cory Niccum: Yeah. If you showed effort, like you just said, if you showed effort to Butch, Butch would give you the effort back.

Ramsey Russell: Wow.

Cory Niccum: And the amount of world champion callers that he helped throughout the way and taught is unbelievable. My brother being one of them. I mean, my brother won it in 2007 and that year he won. The highlight of it was him and I and one of our good budies, John David Stanley, we were back there in the final round together and then it was them two at the end first. And, you know, one of my closest buddies, Brent Easley, he won the worlds with Butch’s call and being taught by him and being helped by him. You look at guys like John, obviously, Treboau, you could sit down and Logan Hancock. I mean, all these other great duck callers that were taught by Butch and helped by him is just unbelievable. I mean, Butch was the coolest –

Ramsey Russell: Lots and lots and lots of people –

Cory Niccum: Michael Stein Meyer, I mean, the list goes on and on. I mean, he’s helped a lot of guys throughout the years. You know, some guys switched different calls throughout the time with Butch. Butch didn’t really have a whole lot of enemies in my opinion as far as the duck caller side. You know, call makers, I stayed out of that. But the duck caller side, like Butch, Butch loved it. I mean, he truly enjoyed it and he loved the kids and he loved teaching kids and everything about it. I mean, Butch was unbelievable.

Ramsey Russell: He come out of nowhere in the duck calling world himself. The first time I ever saw or heard of him, I was a child about as tall as this table, and he beat a neighbor on the banks of Lake Ferguson in Greenville, Mississippi back in the 1970s. Back then he’d blowing a Chick Major’s caller. And back then the contests were dominated by folks that blew double Reed Jensens and put a little piece of tin foil in between to give it that high end buzz. And then he comes out of shadow. I think he brought single reed into the modern era. I think he was that guy, from Chick Major’s he started and everything else.

Cory Niccum: Yeah, I wish I knew more about the duck calling history back in the day. I just never caught up to it and paid a whole lot of attention besides talking to people and hearing stories and stuff like that. But it’s pretty interesting to see where Duck hauls came from and how they started till now and who developed them and everything else.

Ramsey Russell: Cory, when you’re not in the duck hunting world, when you’re not calling, when you’re not guiding, what do you do? What’s your real career?

Cory Niccum: A father and a husband.

Ramsey Russell: But you call and you guide full time. Where all do you guide? Where all have you guided since those days you were in a shop with Butch Richenbach?

Cory Niccum: Let’s see. I mean, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Texas.

Ramsey Russell: You’ve seen a lot of country. You’ve haunted a lot of country.

Cory Niccum: Yeah, I’ve been fortunate to where, I mean, nothing along the lines of what you’ve seen and killed, but as far as states, yeah, I mean, I’ve been pretty fortunate to hunt a lot of different states and went to Alaska with my brother last year on a hunt package that we won at the Dive-bomb too, man. That was unbelievable. And being able to guide in Canada for two months is beyond special.

Ramsey Russell: When did you decide you wanted that to be your vocation? Because there’s a lot of folks listening, a lot of young folks in social media that hit me up. I’ll get resumes. And I’m not a guide, I’m not an outfitter. I’m in a book, a broker, but I’ll get a resume from somebody that’s graduating college with a real degree. But they don’t want to do that. They want to do what you do, Cory. That’s the field they want to be. Yeah. Go make a lot of money and hunt on vacation.

Cory Niccum: Exactly.

Ramsey Russell: Two questions. When did you decide you weren’t going to do the standard career and guide and call contest kind of as a hobby, you were going to do this full time? And how did you manage to do that?

Cory Niccum: I remember in Burlington, Iowa, one year, I rode with Mike Keller to a contest and we were sitting at a diner and Fred Zinc was there. And that’s the very first time I ever met him. And he just started zinc outdoors. And I remember watching him on the whistling wings, you know, VHS tapes. And I always told Keller that I wanted to guide. And I remember Fred was sitting behind us and Keller got Fred’s attention. And Fred turned around and he basically said what you just said earlier, like, stick to a career and then hunt for fun.

Ramsey Russell: That’s right.

Inspirations from the West Coast: Bill Saunders, Chad Edison, and the Allure of Guiding

Back then you’d see guys like the West Coast guys, the Bill Saunders and Chad Edison and all these other dudes that would guide in West Texas.

Cory Niccum: He’s like, because you will get burn out. Back then you’d see guys like the West Coast guys, the Bill Saunders and Chad Edison and all these other dudes that would guide in West Texas. And I thought it was just the coolest shit in the world, like to get paid to hunt and to call and bring the birds in for the people to shoot them. And in 2002, I started spring snow goose guiding. And once I started doing that, then it led me going to Arkansas and I worked for a gentleman down there for a couple of years and then came back and then went back down to Arkansas and then worked at a duck club just south of here for several years. And one thing led to another. It was 60 days and then go to spring snows, and then it went from spring snows to turkeys and then started traveling in the summertime contest calling. And back then you’d be gone every weekend for two and a half, three months from the contests. And then one thing led to another and I started guiding South Dakota and got the job through Jeff foils, and then it went from South Dakota to Canada, and then it was pretty much nine and a half months from start to finish.

Ramsey Russell: Did you get burned out?

Cory Niccum: This year. Yeah, this year I’ve had more fun in the days, you know, just hunting with my brother. And one of our good buddies just south of here and coming here and hanging out the few times I’ve been here. I mean, I love it.

Ramsey Russell: What else would you rather do? That’s what I always ask myself when I’m getting tired of it. There’s nothing else I’d rather do.

Cory Niccum: Yeah, it’s not like I have a retirement plan and a 401k for being a damn duck guide, but I look at it and I’m just like, I don’t know what I would be doing. I don’t know if it would be in the hunting industry or if it would be something that it was just summertime work and then I get laid off in the winter. I’ve never thought about it because it’s always just been hunting ever since I started.

Ramsey Russell: Well, are you a hunting guide or a duck caller? If you had a business card, what would it say? Competition Duck Caller or Hunting Guide?

Ramsey Russell: That’s what you are. I’m going to call back to the calling parts of it, because I knew you and, you know, a lot of folks, dude, you know, so many people, and so many people know you. And I love this matrix, this algorithm matrix called social media because it really does kind of put people in your orbit, birds of a feather flocking together. It’s something about that social media. So we made contact years ago, but I got to meet you up in Easton. I didn’t know Teddy, but he called me and said, hey, I want you to come up here and judge this duck calling contest. And when somebody says duck calling contest, I think Stuttgart. And it’s a very technical routine.

Cory Niccum: It is.

Ramsey Russell: It’s hitting the notes just right. But it’s not like a duck hunting routine. It’s a call mastery, right? And is that how you describe that?

Cory Niccum: Pretty much.

Ramsey Russell: So I’m like, no, I don’t really feel qualified to do that. Man, that boy would not take no for an answer. So I find myself coming through Easton, I meet you. You know every single person in that bar and everybody walking in the door. So, of course, you knew the boys I was sitting with at ball shot shell. But I got to tell you, I just got to share this. Going and bumbling along and getting in that little holding blind. When the first callers came out, it started off as a team, a two man team. When they came out, it was like, what they created on stage that I couldn’t see I could only hear. It’s like I was sitting in flooded timber or a break, and this flock of ducks swam in, chattering, it got right in front of that blind and found food and got all hyper excited and was calling, telling all their buddies, and then they swam off stage, and I’m like, oh, my gosh. And that was a pretty amazing experience. It changed my life. And I told Ted, I said, I ain’t never coming back because I’m not qualified to judge these guys. I’m telling you, I’m not nearby qualified to judge people like yourself. And I met a PBS crew, Cory, and had been meeting with them, and they came out and filmed, I think, just some of the goose parts that evening for the championship. But some of the conversation we’d had, I just reiterated to them. I said, every single person you see on that stage started as a little boy going with his daddy, hunting, and they’ve just picked this calling segment. I don’t know why I didn’t get the bug. Probably because I didn’t have the talent or skill or the ear. Everybody talked about carrying. I couldn’t carry a note to five gallon bucket, man, all I got of a five gallon bucket music wise is just the handle. I ain’t got the bucket attached to it, but I can kill a duck. But I’m just saying it was elevated to rock stardom. I mean, it’s like if I’m out there sitting on a college bunk playing a ukulele, you guys on stage are Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page with those duck calls. And it’s pretty.

Cory Niccum: You know, the contest calling side of things, like, I truly enjoy competing. I’ve been doing it for a very long time.

Ramsey Russell: You’re in your element up there. I can tell you that.

Cory Niccum: And yeah, I have my own deal. Every contest I go to from start to finish is pretty much exactly the same. But what I enjoy the most is just a small group of guys that I’m very close with that I only see four to six times a season or not even a season during the summertime at these contests, because majority of my buddies, they have a regular nine to five job. And they hunt on the weekends. And guys have clubs and stuff like that. So I very seldom see them during the hunting seasons. And so, yeah, I try to go to as many contests as I can and we were always all together and stayed same hotels and hang out in the parking lots and drink and go eat and go to the bars and stuff like that. So I enjoy that. Now at this time than the competing side, I mean, I still don’t like to lose and I want to win every time I go, just like everyone else. But my small group of guys that I hang out with, I truly enjoy being around them more than the contest calling side now, just to see them.

Ramsey Russell: The World Championship in Easton was the live duck.

Cory Niccum: Yes, sir.

Ramsey Russell: Stuttgart, what is Stuttgart?

Cory Niccum: Just the world championship duck.

Ramsey Russell: Okay. And then also you got contest called the Meat Contest. A guy like me that don’t know? Nothing. But what is the difference? Live duck to me, that is the absolute penultimate test of a duck hunter’s contest. I mean, just the sounds of it, I was absolutely enthralled. I mean, I’m telling you, I really, truly enjoyed seeing you guys do that. But what are the differences in the live duck, the meat contest and the Stuttgart style, Main street style?

Cory Niccum: So the live duck is just 60 seconds. In my opinion it’s not even a structured style or routine. It’s just kind of like what everyone wants to do. I mean, you got guys like Mike Benjamin that starts off with him whistling like wings with his mouth, and then he gets to his duck call.

Ramsey Russell: Create the illusion for the judge of a flock of ducks like what I heard.

Cory Niccum: Yeah, some people start off with just a hen on the water. Some people start off with just soft settle feeds that you hear at nighttime, swimming in a refuge or flooded corn or anything like that. But, yeah, it’s your own style of blowing a duck hole and trying to sound like several Mallards, or one Mallard, for that matter. And it is 60 seconds. And then if you transition over to the meat style routines, it’s 90 seconds, and it’s more structured, kind of like the main street, but you still have your own style. Everyone has their own style of their routine, but you are painting the picture for the judges. As far as you see them off in the distance, you bring them, your dog breaks, and they flare, and you lose them, and you bring them back, and you set them back on the water. That’s meat style, minus the long hails, like a main street. The main street routine is the same thing as far as painting pictures, and it’s 90 seconds, but they do the long, drawn out hails, the 20-32 notes, each hail call, and then they do a big, long drawn comeback call out, and they lose them, and they bring them back, and they finish them, and they close out their routine. So, yeah, I mean, all three styles are in their own way different, obviously, especially from the main street to the meat. And then the live is just a free for all like, more the judges opinions than anything for that style of contest, just because everyone’s different.

Ramsey Russell: What do you blow out in the field? When you’re in Saskatchewan, laid out in a pain field, when you’re out here in a little opening in the ice where we’re hunting today, what style are you blowing more?

Cory Niccum: Just like a live duck. Everything that I do on stage, I do out in the field or in the marsh or wherever.

Ramsey Russell: You mastered the duck call. You’ve mastered the notes, you’ve mastered the language. Now you’re just having a conversation. If flock of five mallards comes in, a flock of fifty mallards come in. Are you looking at one duck or just kind of glancing at one of them reacts, you start calling to him?

Cory Niccum: Yeah, I mean, basically, like the other day, you put me and my brother and one of our good buddies, Zach, on the blind, and all three of us on a call, and we feed off of each other to where if someone’s doing aggressive ducks or high ducks, then a couple of guys will do the soft stuff and the feed, and then you see a couple of them start slowing their wing beats down, and you start getting their attention, and they start leaning towards you pretty much I’ll just repeat what I’m doing along with everyone else and just work together. And hopefully you break three out of ten, and then the other ones will look back and see those three, and then maybe you’ll get all ten.

Ramsey Russell: That’s Right.

Cory Niccum: Or you just stick to the three and get what you get.

Ramsey Russell: If one of them will break over, a lot of times, all rest of them will follow.

Cory Niccum: Typically. I mean, I would like to feel like once they see one break over, then the rest of them will come in whether they finish, right. But you should be able to get the rest if you can break a couple of them out.

Ramsey Russell: One thing I did learn at a one-time only contest judge was you do not want to be the guy drawn first because the first guy to come out, the first team that came out every session or every heat, I don’t know what you call it, but they were good. They were good, but you got to start somewhere. And I stayed within about a 2.5 point range for everybody, the whole contest, because I made just little half point intervals. But that was my baseline. That first team was my baseline. And I wished, nearly every heat, I wished I could go back and get that card back and change it, change it over.

Nostalgia and Adaptation: Memories of Old Traditions in Modern Competitions

And so they’d score them just like it’d be a regular caller, but it would kind of break the ice as far as the rest of the guys that were competing.

Cory Niccum: They used to do dummy callers like we were talking about last night. Back then in the early 2000s there’d be 50, 60 guys in a contest for a duck. And they would have a random guy blow number one, and the judges obviously didn’t know. And so they’d score them just like it’d be a regular caller, but it would kind of break the ice as far as the rest of the guys that were competing. And they fizzled away with it just because of the number of contestants. Now, I mean, there’s ten to 15 guys, maybe 20 in some contests, but definitely different from back then till now. But, yeah, drawing number one is always something that you never want in the bullpen to see in your hand when you grab a poker chip or shotgun show, whatever numbered, and you look down in your hand and it’s one. And you’re like shit to bed, I got to start off out of the gate and hope for the best.

Ramsey Russell: Hope for the best.

Cory Niccum: I like to draw middle or the end, preferably last is what I like to draw.

Ramsey Russell: That’s the hot draw, isn’t it? Do you compete just ducks or do you compete also for geese?

Cory Niccum: No, just ducks. I blew in a few goose calling contests back in the day, but it’s always just been ducks.

Ramsey Russell: Did you blow the hell out of goose calls? I heard last night.

Cory Niccum: The speckle belly call, I feel I’m getting better, but I’m nowhere near some of those guys. But I love blowing a speck haul.

Ramsey Russell: I learned yesterday because Kansas is a great turkey state. You all’s got a lot of turkey hunting, too. If you had to pick one, is it waterfowl or turkeys?

Cory Niccum: Turkeys.

Ramsey Russell: Really? That’s pretty quick, man.

Cory Niccum: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: What is it about a turkey versus a duck?

Cory Niccum: It’s one on one.

Ramsey Russell: Like a chess match.

Cory Niccum: And just listening to those woods wake up in the morning and listen to those toms go off, off in the distance, I could talk about turkeys till dark. I truly love it, and I’m eating up by it. And, yeah, we’re pretty fortunate to where our turkey hunting around here is not as good as it used to be, but we still have them.

Ramsey Russell: Do you turkey guide also?

Cory Niccum: Yes, for two months. We have an extremely long turkey season here in this state. Too damn long, in my opinion. But, yeah, we’ll run four days a week for the guy that I work at just right down the road from the house. Four to maybe some weeks, we’ll have five days of clients. But I love taking clients turkey hunting. It’s more complicated, but it’s easier to control because they can’t say a damn thing. There’s no socializing, except when you’re in the truck and walking back to the truck. But, yeah, you can control those guys a lot easier than you can duck clients.

Ramsey Russell: Really?

Cory Niccum: Yeah. Duck guidance like daycare with shotguns. You just got to watch yourself and them and my dog. So turkey hunting. Just one and one, and that’s it. But it’s the experience. And watching them come through those woods and spitting and drumming and goblin.

Ramsey Russell: I’m glad I don’t have the turkey bug, my son, to eat up with it. But on the one hand, whether you’re an expert competition caller or just a practice caller, duck hunting and goose hunting is a negotiation. It’s a direct interaction. I’m having a conversation with a wild bird that’s got the entire world sky to fly into, but I’m having a conversation with him, trying to get him to within 30 or 40 yards or closer and turkey hunting the same way. It is an interaction and a negotiation with a wild bird. But on the other hand, it couldn’t be more opposite. I mean, here we are sitting at breaking ice, and it’s cold versus the springwoods coming alive. Totally different year, totally different life behavior that those birds are in at the time, so it couldn’t be more different to be so similar. When did you start turkey hunting?

Cory Niccum: Junior high. Dad never turkey hunted Thomas and Tig took me or Thomas. He had some ground south of here about an hour, him and his dad, and they asked me if I wanted to go turkey hunting, and I said, sure. Never been went. Shot a bird. And I was like, this is the coolest shit ever.

Ramsey Russell: Did you ever get into the whole turkey hunting, turkey calling, or Al hooting contest and all that stuff, too?

Cory Niccum: I love watching it.

Ramsey Russell: Kept it to yourself?

Cory Niccum: Yeah. There’s a lot of unbelievable turkey callers, and, I mean, they sound like gosh damn hens. I mean, it’s unbelievable. Listen to those guys on stage.

Ramsey Russell: You’ve been competition duck calling for a long time. Can you even remember or even hit the highlights of the awards you’ve won over the years? It’s been more than a couple.

Cory Niccum: I mean, there’s few of them that I don’t think I’ll ever forget.

Ramsey Russell: Just hit the highlight, because it’s more than just. You’ve got a lot of recognition in the duck cow world, hadn’t you?

Cory Niccum: I’ve been pretty fortunate. Pretty lucky over the years.

Ramsey Russell: The harder you work, the luckier you.

Cory Niccum: I mean, it took three and a half years till I won my first one after getting my ass beat over and over and over again. And then I won my first one in Nebraska at the Cornhusker Regional. And that same year was my first two man contest, I believe. And me and a guy named Nick Brkachek, we won that together, and he still competes, and so it was cool. We both signed each other’s plaque, and the two man, and he wrote his name on mine, and I signed his, and my parents drove me down to Stuckart in 2004, 2003. That was the first year I went. And then winning that two man, my brother, to go to Alaska, that was a pretty cool one. And then, obviously, the World live Duck and the World Live Team Goose or the World Live team ducks out in eastern Maryland. Those were two of that I really wanted. And I ended up getting those as. Yeah, I mean, there’s several of them that I have downstairs in my basement, plaques.

Ramsey Russell: Which one are you most proud of, your first or your last?

Cory Niccum: I would probably say my live Duck trophy in 2019. That was, at the time, the only. I wanted the two man live duck, and I wanted the live Duck. And I’ve taken top five in that team Duck forever and won the live Duck in 2019 and then been lucky enough with my good budy Mike Benjamin to win the team duck back to back years out there.

Ramsey Russell: What advice would you tell any young listeners or any dads? I wish I had pushed my kids just a little harder, a little more encouraging to get them to compete in Duck hunt. They’re both good duck callers. They can call ducks, but I wish I just pushed them or encouraged them or been more involved to get them down that line. What would you tell any dad listening about the benefits of getting a kid involved doing something like that or how to get them involved now?

Cory Niccum: Now it’s hard. I say it’s hard. They’re not like they used to be. Every weekend there used to be contests. And when we first started, we’d get the flyers in the mail a month before and my dad would tape record just the routines of guys and just on a tape cassette. And you couldn’t even see who was calling. You just listened to them. You know, you get a flyer in the mail and my dad would be like, all right, we’ll go to this one. And it’d be in Ohio or it would be in Illinois. Now with social media, you know, Facebook and all these duck and Goose calling pages, it’s pretty easy to get on there and say, hey, I live in Sacramento, California, where’s the closest contest and when? You’re going to have an answer quicker than normal. And as far as getting your kids involved, whether the dad is not a duck haul operator, he’s just a duck killer. There’s so many of us that have social media pages that the group of guys that I hang out with, including my brother and whoever else, they all are willing to help anyone. I help people that I compete against just to help them because they’re sending me routines. I got guys sending me routines right now. Yeah. And I’m like, the next damn contest isn’t for five months. I mean they’re fired up. And I truly hope, you know a lot of us were talking about it in Maryland, I truly hope that this next generation, whoever it is coming up in the calling world, sticks with it and travels and gets the numbers back up, because like I said, I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you if it wasn’t for contest calling. Yeah, I mean, I truly wouldn’t. I wouldn’t be a full time duck guide.

Ramsey Russell: Just to hear you describe it, as a daddy myself, grown kids, it gives the kids something to do. It makes them better. It gets them more involved with the hunting. But there’s also a lot of time you’re spending with your kids going to these contests, traveling around, driving them down to Butch rich and box or some shop. I mean, it’s a good family experience. Dad didn’t compete, but he got to spend a lot of time with his boys doing that. That’s something to be said for that.

Cory Niccum: Our dad, like I said, he drove us to Ohio, flew me to Maryland to blow in a regional out there one year, drove us to Nebraska, Oklahoma, drove us to Katy, Texas, which was 14 and a half hours. And I couldn’t tell you how many blind bags and gun cases and decoys that my brother and I have taken home that we’ve given my dad over the years. And my dad, there’s more people that go to these contests and see my dad and talk to my dad more than they talk to me and my brother, because my dad’s been around it just as long as us, and he knows everybody. So it’s cool to see guys go up and talk to dad and bullshit with him. And like Ryan and Thomas, we got stories of my dad and hunting that we could write a goddamn Book about. And he’s one of a kind, and he busted his ass and took us all over. And like I said, if it wasn’t for him, we wouldn’t have any. I mean, we wouldn’t be contest callers or anything.

Ramsey Russell: There’s got to be some live skill come out of it beyond the call because I stayed around and watched the junior division, the kids blowing goose calls. And on the one hand, unbelievable, the worst one up there was an unbelievable caller. On the other hand, they were kids and they were in front of God and everybody sitting on the stage by themselves and you know they were nervous because they were kids. The way to put your hands in the pockets, the way they slash a little bit, they’re just kids putting themselves out there, and that’s going to serve them well down the road, wouldn’t you think, Cory?

Beyond Wins: Treasuring Relationships Over Competition Victories

And it’s just guys, like, know that you watched on VHS back in the day and called him friends throughout the years of doing this.

Cory Niccum: Oh, absolutely. I mean, I didn’t compete in junior and intermediates like my brother did when he started. And just looking at those kids on stage and seeing their parents out there taking pictures of the finalists on stage and stuff like that, looking at them and then realizing that was my dad and my mom doing the same thing to me and my brother. And the amount of hours of driving and the miles just to take us to compete, because we love to compete, and it’s something that I’ll never forget. I’m very thankful for what my dad has done for me and my brother and the people that we’ve met over the years in this industry, and the friendships is just, you can’t touch it. I mean, it’s worth more than any win that I’ve ever taken home just to have the friendships and call Fred Zinc and talk to him for an hour, just about random shit. And he’ll pick up the phone. And guys like Tim grounds before he passed away. You know he loved my dad and my brother and I. And it’s just guys, like, know that you watched on VHS back in the day and called him friends throughout the years of doing this. And I’m pretty fortunate and privileged to do what I do and know the people that I know, and I’m thankful for it. I mean, I truly am.

Ramsey Russell: You told me last night you’ve been blowing a layers duck call since 2000.

Cory Niccum: Yeah, 2001.

Ramsey Russell: 2001. That’s over 20 years. How did you fall in with those guys of all the calls out there in this world? I mean, there’s a lot of call. There are dime a dozen.

Cory Niccum: There are a dime a dozen.

Ramsey Russell: But how did you fall in with layers? And why? Because you were showing me last night, same guts, different calls for different meat contests, live duck, whatever. That’s very interesting.

Cory Niccum: My brother and I, we started with Mike Keller’s call for competition and at a black and white hybrid that Bret Crow gave me in Arkansas at a duck camp. And that was the very first time I ever met him. And we were at Brent Easley’s good buddies camp down there in northeast Arkansas, and I blew it one time, and I was like, son of a bitch, like, this is a different animal. And he was like, man, you sound pretty good on that. You know, used MVPs on stage and blew short barrels and two mans and stuff like that and Daisy cutters, and one thing led to another. I just stuck with Laris Duck hole. And then Bret Crow’s and I’s friendship grew stronger and stronger. And then I was going out to his know for a week for their contest and putting calls together in his call shop, and meeting Joe Lairs. And then Bret bought the company from Joe, I want to say, five or six years ago, he took it over. And I’ve been, I guess you can say, Lair’s fanatic for a very long. There’s a lot of good duck haul companies out there, and they all kill ducks, but I’m stuck to them, and I won’t ever switch to anything else as far as using another duck call, I mean, my boys have them on their lanyards. And you can’t beat them in my opinion, but I’m biased.

Ramsey Russell: I understand. I asked you earlier what you do for work. What do you do for a living? And the first thing out of your mouth, because you just mentioned your boys having those calls, you said, I’m a daddy. I’m a dad. Are you the same kind of dad to your kids that your dad was to you?

Cory Niccum: Unfortunately, hopefully it’ll change next year with the guiding and me not doing it full time and not being around them during the hunting seasons. I take them turkey hunting, and they’ve been duck hunting, but I think that was the main reason I hit a wall a week and a half ago was because the fact that it fucking hit me, and I realized that my oldest son’s 13, and at 13 years old, I was duck hunting every weekend with my dad. And 13 years old for my son, he’s been hunting five times in his life.

Ramsey Russell: A lot of folks that see you in social media, that see me in social media, that see any of us, all they see is us grinning and holding ducks or whatever like that. But really think about it. Getducks.com going into its 20th year in business, and I spent all the time I could with my kids, but now looking back, it wasn’t enough. It involves travel. A lot of travel, travel to shows, travel to travel to go hunting, travel to go do this, travel to go meet an outfitter, travel away from home, and it’ll catch up with you, man. Because at the end of the day, family is what’s so important.

Cory Niccum: Yeah, my dad, he’s not perfect, but no one is. But my dad, like I said earlier, if we wanted to go on a Tuesday, he’d load me and Thomas and take my brother up in a flat bottom boat and push us out 200 yards out into a marsh. And me as a dad, being gone for so long, for so many years and so many months that I have failed on that side of being a dad and getting them out every day and hunting more and even fishing. I mean, I don’t fish, but even that in the summertime. But it definitely kicked me in the nuts. And like I said, a week and a half ago, a light switch kicked on, and I’m more mad at myself that it took fucking 13 years.

Ramsey Russell: You go up to Canada for two months. You go turkey hunt for two months. You go do this for a month here, weeks there, and it’s up every day. And taking care of clients, taking care of the details, energy wise, it takes a lot. It really does. Somebody asked me, man, how the world do you hunt that much. I go to bed real early, and I take lots of naps. Coming over here, yesterday, I pulled over at a love truck stop, pulled in the parking lot, and just slept for 30 minutes.

Cory Niccum: You got to get them.

Ramsey Russell: If I have to, I’ll pull over on the side of Interstate, just crawl up and take a nap just to keep going. But I want to ask you. I’m leading up to something, Cory. I want to ask you about the only turkey season you ever missed. Because we’re talking about family. We’re talking about being gone and the demands, the physical and mental demands of traveling and doing what you do. Can you talk about the only turkey season you ever missed?

Cory Niccum: Yeah, I checked in in the detox end of March.

Ramsey Russell: How did that end up happening? Tell me what happened that this led to that.

Cory Niccum: Pills. I got addicted to pills.

Ramsey Russell: Just to keep going?

Cory Niccum: Just to function. And I did a lot of stupid shit during that duck season. And, yeah, I’d wake up at 04:30 in the morning and start my day with 60, 80 milligrams Adderall crushed up.

Ramsey Russell: Just to give you that bump to keep going.

Cory Niccum: I’d go from there, and I’d mix the uppers and the downers and then get into the vodka pretty heavy when I got done hunting. And it was to the point where I wouldn’t even remember what the hell I killed the day before, but that’s just how I functioned.

Ramsey Russell: Obviously, you needed that energy, that bump, because you’re just getting ground down doing this day in, day out, taking care of clients, taking care of details. I mean, all the details that goes in, all the energy that goes in. So you need that little bit right there, but you think it has something to do maybe with just not being around your wife and kids. You kind of trying to fill that void a little bit.

Cory Niccum: That and just the way of the duck guiding life. Clients show up every three days, and all they want to do is rage. Like they’re getting away from their work, they’re getting away from their wife and kids. And I’m on day 50, and they’re on day one.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah, right. They go home and detox back at the office.

Cory Niccum: And so I tell people, they’re like, oh, you live the dream. I’m like, man, I’ve seen a lot of cool shit, but it’s not a dream life. It’s truly not. I love doing it, and it took me down a very bad, dark road. And, yeah, I went to detox for a week.

Ramsey Russell: What was the pivotal moment when you said, I’m going to check into detox?

Cory Niccum: When I got kicked out of my house.

Ramsey Russell: How’d that go down?

Cory Niccum: Like anyone expected. I mean, not a very shining moment.

Ramsey Russell: You’d been married a while, you had kids. Between the absence and chemical dependency.

Cory Niccum: No more. I can’t take anymore. And, yeah, I was in rehab three and a half hours south in Wichita, Kansas, for 60 days or some shit like that. And then detox before, and I wasn’t even going to go anywhere after detox. I was in there, and that wasn’t enjoyable. But I relapsed fairly quick that evening when I walked outside and there was my truck parked in the parking lot and pretty much everything I owned was inside it. And I realized, basically, pardon my language, fuck my life. And drove to my mom’s house and took a dark path that night and woke up next morning and called this rehab facility. And the guy that I guide for, for turkeys, one of my close buddies, John Column, he drove me down there. And the only turkey I saw that entire season was one strutting in the middle of a bean field on the way down I35 in the rain, drying off. That was the only turkey I saw that year. I checked out, drove home, and since then I’ve been pill free, clean, and working my way back to normal life.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah, you were saying that you didn’t move right back into home with your wife. That took some growing in.

Cory Niccum: Yeah, that took a few months. Lived in my mom’s apartment and go over the house and eat with the kids. And July 4 is when I moved back in that year.

Ramsey Russell: That would have been 2019-2020.

Cory Niccum: Yeah, it was during the whole COVID shit. It was 2019 is when I think, that March of 2019.

Ramsey Russell: And you were in rehab facility during COVID times.

Cory Niccum: Yeah, because we couldn’t leave. We had to wear masks and shit all in the hallways and the counseling classrooms and shit like that. And you couldn’t get hall passes to leave because that whole thing was locked down. And the only thing that we could do was get shit delivered by Uber Eats or whatever else. So order food and they’d come and deliver it to us. But, yeah, we couldn’t get hall passes to go to town and eat like they can do now just because of the whole COVID deal. So that made it worse. You were in there every day. But, yeah, it was definitely not my shining moment.

Ramsey Russell: That was then and this is now. You’re back with your family. You’ve got a newfound energy for your kids and for your family. I think that’s just unbelievable. And a lot of us don’t get that second chance, Cory.

Cory Niccum: Some don’t. I mean, it’s definitely an eye opener for me to get back in the house. And like I said, I just wish the whole guiding light switch would have kicked on sooner as my kids got older. I’m going to continue to do the Canada deal and then be home during the holidays in the fall and the winter.

Ramsey Russell: Heck yeah. And out of this story you were telling me last night, there’s a new book coming out by Yeti. Yeti put together like this waterfowler personality book. And you’ve got a chapter. Chapter dedicated to you.

Cory Niccum: Yeah, they called it Ducks and Field Hudnel. He’s pretty much the ringleader behind it all. He got everyone situated and set up on a. I did a chapter with a pretty cool dude by the name of Elliot. I can’t remember his last name, but yeah, I talked to him a few times over the phone and a couple of times he was in Amsterdam doing something. But I would pretty much cliff note version of what I said just now is what I told him from start to finish and my background and the rehab deal and everything else. And Sloan Brown, he thought it was one of the coolest stories because of his situation in the past and everything else. And so we kind of hit it off and the book came out and supposed to get the copy this week, which with the snowstorm, I don’t know, just in time for Christmas. And hopefully the delivery guys can make it to the house after tomorrow.

Ramsey Russell: Well, probably by the time this episode comes out, people will be able to find that book.

Cory Niccum: Yeah. Yeah, I know. Field told me the other know, I talked to him that I guess they were waiting on a few large shipments of them coming from Italy. And so, yeah, it’s pretty cool. I saw it down there in Stuttgart, the pictures of everyone and anybody you can possibly think of involved in the Duck world is in it. And it’s an interesting book. I mean, it’s just a tabletop book and a lot of cool stuff inside it, so. Yeti he did an unbelievable job on it.

Ramsey Russell: Duck hunters are people and people are fallible. But ducks and duck hunting and duck calling that you are interested at, that is somewhat of a religion. I mean, it’s a salvation. It’s a way out. You know what saying. I think it is. What next for Cory Nickham? Where now, man? I mean, are you going to get your kids, your older boys, you’re going to get them into calling? You’re going to teach them how to call and get up there on stage and be the guide. You’re going to have time.

Cory Niccum: I’m going to have time if they want to. I’m not going to force them. And like I said earlier about the generation coming up in the contest world, I hope it continues. I know there’s a lot of juniors out there right now that their parents are doing the same thing like I said our dad did. And I hope they stick with it as the older they get. And then the more people below them get involved. And if my boys want to get into the calling contest world, then, yeah, I’ll take them everywhere and have them blowing the Juniors and Intermediates and stuff like that. I know they call me, my wife says, call me when you win. That’s her thing. Every contest that I go to, and I’m like, well, we’ll see. And I get lucky enough to call them a lot and tell them that I won. And my middle son, he’s like, how much did you win? And then my daughters and my oldest are like, what kind of plaque and trophy did you get? But Tonka is always the one that’s asking about the money and how much did I win, and this, that, and the other. And the other ones are more intrigued about the plaque and the Trophies and if I brought a happy Gilmore check home and stuff like that. But yeah, if they want to get in it, I will 1000% get them involved. And if they don’t, then they don’t. But yeah, as far as me, I’m going to do spring snows for my good buddy Travis Snyder down there in Stuttgart for a few weeks this coming February after I get back from Salt Lake City. And do the turkeys and just turn around and get ready for Canada in August.

Ramsey Russell: What haven’t you done in duck hunting or duck calling that you’d like to do?

Cory Niccum: The duck hunting side I would truly love to shoot a King Eider.

Ramsey Russell: Okay. Totally different than puddle duck hunting. No call required.

Cory Niccum: No calls required and a lot of rain gear. Yeah. After doing Alaska with my brother, and that was the coolest experience. And it’s not a numbers game. You’re not going to fill a truck bed up in nine minutes like everyone wants to nowadays. But just the experience and to see how they hunt and what they hunt. It was the coolest shit I’ve ever witnessed in the waterfowl world. But talking to him, the lodge, and watching his videos, the king Eider hunting is what I want to do very badly. And as far as the duck calling, I just want people to get involved in it. I help a lot of guys and I don’t want the calling side to fizzle out and die and just end. I want these contests to start back up again. Obviously COVID screwed a lot of them up, which I get it. But I wouldn’t know any of these guys if it wasn’t for calling. And I want the guys that are coming up and even the guys that I compete against now that have been doing it 5,10,12 years. I wanted to keep going for those guys. And whether I hang her up and just sit back and judge or if I still compete. Like I said, I still travel and I’ve been doing this a long damn time for the calling side of things. And I truly enjoy it and I just don’t want it to die.

Ramsey Russell: Sound like you may have to spearhead, get some leadership, take a leadership role out in some of these contests or doing some of this stuff.

Cory Niccum: Yeah, we started –

Ramsey Russell: Be a Butch Richenback.

Cory Niccum: I will say I probably don’t have near as the liking followers as Butch had. But I do help a lot of people and I respect a lot of guys in the calling world. And I’ve been called a lot of not so nice things in the calling world. But believe it or not, I truly love helping people get to where they need to be. And they go to someone else, which is fine, but it’s cool to see people that we help succeed on stage. You set a goal where you want to be out of the first, make second round. Then you go to another contest and say your goal wants to be to make third round. So seeing that progress with guys that I help is always a reward in self. And hopefully they continue to stick with it.

Ramsey Russell: I appreciate you, Cory. I appreciate the invite up here and I appreciate you taking the time. I enjoy your company. I enjoy seeing you up on stage. You tuned my call last night and I realized it really wasn’t a call. It was me blowing that call.

Cory Niccum: That was a late one.

Ramsey Russell: It’s the Indian, not the era.

Cory Niccum: It’s the Indian, not the era.

Ramsey Russell: This call still ain’t working, you go yet it

Cory Niccum: Yeah, couple of licks on it. Well, hopefully we’ll shoot some ducks this afternoon.

Ramsey Russell: Hopefully. Hopefully. I appreciate you and folks, I appreciate you all for listening this episode of Ducks Season Somewhere. You’ve been listening to my buddy, Mr. Cory Niccum. Cory, how can they get in touch with you on social media if you want them to?

Cory Niccum: Yeah, I don’t have a whole lot of pages. If anyone out there that wants know with their duck calling whether you just want to improve on duck calling and not even contest routines, just send me a message on Facebook, I’ll get back and then swap numbers and send you sound files and stuff like that and go from there. But yeah, anyone that wants to do it, don’t hesitate, just send it over and all listen and hopefully I can help you improve.

Ramsey Russell: There you go folks. See you next time.


[End of Audio]

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BOSS Shotshells copper-plated bismuth-tin alloy is the good ol’ days again. Steel shot’s come a long way in the past 30 years, but we’ll never, ever perform like good old fashioned lead. Say goodbye to all that gimmicky high recoil compensation science hype, and hello to superior performance. Know your pattern, take ethical shots, make clean kills. That is the BOSS Way. The good old days are now.

Tom Beckbe The Tom Beckbe lifestyle is timeless, harkening an American era that hunting gear lasted generations. Classic design and rugged materials withstand the elements. The Tensas Jacket is like the one my grandfather wore. Like the one I still wear. Because high-quality Tom Beckbe gear lasts. Forever. For the hunt.

Flashback Decoy by Duck Creek Decoy Works. It almost pains me to tell y’all about Duck Creek Decoy Work’s new Flashback Decoy because in  the words of Flashback Decoy inventor Tyler Baskfield, duck hunting gear really is “an arms race.” At my Mississippi camp, his flashback decoy has been a top-secret weapon among my personal bag of tricks. It behaves exactly like a feeding mallard, making slick-as-glass water roil to life. And now that my secret’s out I’ll tell y’all something else: I’ve got 3 of them.

Ducks Unlimited takes a continental, landscape approach to wetland conservation. Since 1937, DU has conserved almost 15 million acres of waterfowl habitat across North America. While DU works in all 50 states, the organization focuses its efforts and resources on the habitats most beneficial to waterfowl.

It really is Duck Season Somewhere for 365 days. Ramsey Russell’s Duck Season Somewhere podcast is available anywhere you listen to podcasts. Please subscribe, rate and review Duck Season Somewhere podcast. Share your favorite episodes with friends. Business inquiries or comments contact Ramsey Russell at ramsey@getducks.com. And be sure to check out our new GetDucks Shop.  Connect with Ramsey Russell as he chases waterfowl hunting experiences worldwide year-round: Insta @ramseyrussellgetducks, YouTube @DuckSeasonSomewherePodcast,  Facebook @GetDucks