Louisiana’s fabled waterfowl hunting history stretches back centuries to the first French inhabitants, that thrived among its Spanish moss adorned swamplands like fish in water. Their tools of the trade were by necessity hand-crafted from locally abundant materials as a practical way of feeding families, but became in that sense a true art form. For Dale Bordelon, collecting natural materials from the Avoyelles Parish landscape near home then making his traditional cane calls, cypress dugouts and paddles, moss pirogue seats, and cypress root decoys completely by hand and without power tools is more about “connections to the old ways” than anything else. What were Dale’s earliest influences and how did he become interested in practicing this lost art? What’s the distinction between creole, cajun, and coonass? How is cane selected and made into duck calls? And why is it important to him that everything be made completely by hand? Dale is a gifted storyteller. He answers these questions and much more in the first of this 2-part series.