Ramsey Russell introduces Duck Season Somewhere co-host Bigwater, aka Mark Wilson. They catch up over the phone during COVID-19 quarantine. Back in the dark ages, before social media platforms, there were chat rooms. MSDucks was like a virtual coffee shop. Hundreds of local hunters connected off-site, lifelong friendships were formed. Remembering Ohio anti-hunters, swamp wood duck hunting, and discussing how the ongoing pandemic affects them personally.
Ramsey Russell: I’m your host Ramsey Russell, join me here to listen to those conversations. Ramsey Russell, GetDucks.com. It’s Duck Season Somewhere and today is, I don’t know what day it is, March 21st, 22nd?
Mark Wilson: Yeah, I’d like to say every day is Saturday but it doesn’t feel like that anymore.
How “Bigwater” Came To Be
“See, back in the day, before Duck South was a group on Facebook, it was a chat room back in the old Dark Age days of the internet.”
Ramsey Russell: It don’t feel like it anymore, but it kind does because I don’t look at my calendar anymore. I’ve got a different work schedule right now. Guys, it is Duck Season Somewhere. With all that’s going on in the world right now, you can’t hardly get there. In fact, you can’t get nowhere. I’m on the phone today with Mark Wilson, or as all of his many, many friends know him, Big Water. See, back in the day, before Duck South was a group on Facebook, it was a chat room back in the old Dark Age days of the internet. And Duck South, unlike many other chat rooms, Duck South, formerly MS Ducks, I still call it MS Ducks, was like a virtual coffee shop. During the season we catch people from out of state, but it must have been every single duck hunter in the state of Mississippi would chime in and we all had handles back in the day. I was RR, Mark was Big Water, and I’ve forgotten a lot of other names, but it was more than just a place that we gathered on the internet, we actually participated in events together. It’s kind of crazy. We’d go drink 5 pitchers of beer and pizzas and meet up at a pizza joint and make a night of it, or we’d go out on dove hunts and one of the members would have a MS Ducks duck hunt with 50 members and you get to meet everybody. We’d have crawfish boils and teal hunts and it became a really big social gathering. It wasn’t just this online thing of people all over the world speaking their mind and acting like fools like some of these kids do on social media these days, it was real folks. Most of the folks I know from back in those days, we’d just login in the morning and weigh in and see what was what, and join in on the thread and talk, and then we’d get to know each other on the weekends. And this must have been…how long ago was that Mark? 15 years ago? 20 years ago?
Mark Wilson: Yeah. Ramsey, it used to be every time I told a story it was five or ten years ago, now I know I’m getting old because now it’s starting to get like it was 20 years ago. Nearly 20 years ago.
Ramsey Russell: I’m going to tell a story on you, Mark. I’m going to ask you this in a minute, how did you take the name Big Water? I don’t think I’ve ever known that, but I would then have to ask both of my children, both my boys, Forrest and Duncan, if they even knew your real name, Mark Wilson. Because any time I’ve ever heard them mention you, for practically their entire lives, they talk about Mr. Big Water. I do remember Duncan was five, maybe six years old, let’s say, so that would have been 14 years ago when we all, 3-4 of us, waded off in the Nissan Swamp and one minute before legal shooting time ended, a wood duck came and landed and gave it up. Duncan killed his first duck with you.
Mark Wilson: Just the way we drew it up on the chalkboard, too.
Ramsey Russell: Just like we drew it up on the chalkboard. If we’d been outlaws, we could’ve stayed and shot a whole lot more than we did, but we got on out of there and it wasn’t long after I met you, I realized if Big Water called and invited you to come Canada goose hunt for the early season of Mississippi, which is a big deal, you’d better clear your calendar and go. I remember the several years that you always came up with dove fields, plural. My kids cut their teeth and learned a shotgun on Big Water dove fields back in the day.
Mark Wilson: Let me give you a shout out, first, Ramsey. Hold on one second. Let me give a shout out to a couple of old school names. I’ll just go with you and the good days of dove hunt. Iron Grip was a contact that had made us a good contact in the Belzoni area. Here’s the story of what they own. The guy had a farm up there and I don’t know exactly the language of what all happened, but he wanted $100 to hunt for the all-day shoot your limit. You quickly told him, “Sir, we’re just going to hunt half today.” I think this was his first time to do a deal over dove hunting. You put out a reasonable deal and said, “Let’s do $50,” and he’s like, “All right, $50 is fine.” And lo and behold to this day, and I’ve hunted a lot of doves over the years, that was some of the best dove hunting I’ve ever seen at times. When you could scan the field in a 360 direction and birds were coming and attacking from every direction, for $50, Ramsey.
Ramsey Russell: But he may have taken your $50, but he didn’t take mine. I showed up with two little boys, and Forrest shot his first limit on that field. Duncan shot his first doves on that field.
Mark Wilson: Shot them before I shot mine.
Ramsey Russell: We all shot our limits before it got too terribly hot out there on the morning hunt. I remember trying to offer one of the brothers my money. He wouldn’t take it.
Mark Wilson: I remember I couldn’t hit my last bird and Forrest came over there and shot it. I’ve always been a streaky shooter, Ramsey, and I’m talking about, I went into a funky cold medina, miss after miss. Forest is over there and like, “You got to get your cheek down a little bit closer here, Big Water.” I had been hunting for 40 years. He had been hunting 10. And he’s showing me how to do it?
Ramsey Russell: Oh yeah, those boys will do it. How did you come up with the handle, Big Water, in the first place?
Mark Wilson: It’s no sexy story to it. I’m just 6.4 ft., 320 pounds and live near the water, so I’m big and I’m down by the water. So why not Big Water? Plus, I had a little hole up here on the reservoir, I’d like to hunt down on the big water. It’s always a conversation. You used to hunt out on the reservoir a lot out here. There was always talk to divide it up into a couple of areas. Are you going to hunt the big water or are you going to hunt up the river. I live right there near it, so it was no sexy story, just Big Water. I’ll go to the big water.
It All Began with a T-Shirt: The Creation of a Lifelong Friendship
“Folks, I remember kidding that the T-shirt was the size of a boat sail.”
Ramsey Russell: My first memory of having met the infamous Big Water, my very first memory was at the first annual, I think we had about 10 of them, crawfish boil at Willow Break. The first year we had that crawfish boil there, there must have been 200 people that showed up. It wasn’t just chat room members, it was them and their wives and their kids and I mean it was a pile of folks and before we had a bunch of fish out there in the lake that needed catching and there were ice chests getting filled up. But I’ll never forget, we decided back in the day, our dear friend, the late Hardy Philip, was around, old Webfoot, and he was good at coaching me along on how to prepare it. “Well you need a T-shirt, you need a logo, you need this, you need that.” We ordered T-shirts, and I found it kind of interesting that the bell shaped curved extra-large, was kind of the MS Duck size. There were a lot of larges and just as many XXLs as there were larges, but most people were extra-large. That’s back in the day. We all wore them old beefy T 100% cotton. And then I had a guy I never met before inbox me, and he wanted a five X.
Mark Wilson: 5XLT! Don’t leave off that T. Nobody wants to see no bare, undersized gut hanging out of a short T-shirt. My wife, my kids, nobody, trust me.
Ramsey Russell: I wrote you back and said, “A five X?” and you said “Larger if they make it.”
Mark Wilson: And you thought I was bullshitting, but I wasn’t.
Ramsey Russell: I thought he was bullshitting. And then, I never will forget, all these T-shirts, these boxes of T-shirts, came in and we started unfolding them and putting them off into sizes. And when I held up that 5XLT it was as big as a living room carpet.
Mark Wilson: You could put your whole family in it, y’all could all get in it.
Ramsey Russell: But it fit you like a glove. That’s when I realized: this is Big Water. Folks, I remember kidding that the T-shirt was the size of a boat sail.
Mark Wilson: It was a good t-shirt, Ramsey. I wore that for a long time.
Lessons in Hunting & Life
“Well, not everybody thinks like us, hunting is conservation,”
Ramsey Russell: I cleaned out my closet. I woke up one night or one day or something, and I don’t know how this came about or why I even thought of this, but I started cleaning that closet. You know how it is, you’ve got all these shirts and all this stuff and you don’t throw them away because why? But then you think to yourself, “I ain’t worn this thing in 17 years.” So I started cleaning it out and I found that T-shirt and I did not throw that T-shirt away and I still got a lot of Ducks South and MS Ducks T-shirts still around. But you know, one of my other favorite memories Forrest and I were talking about the other night was years later I had met some buddies that I’m still in touch with on social media. I hadn’t seen them in a while now, Andy Hogle and that bunch up in Ohio. One year, I drove up with the ol’ MS Duck men and were going to Canada goose hunt and we got out there on this just cut cornfield and it was foggy and we did not see a Canada goose, let alone fire a shot. But there’s all these birds that we could see in the fall kind of flying just out of range just buzzing around, flocks and flocks of birds flying around. The fog started clearing up and I realized they were doves. I asked one of the Ohio boys, “Do y’all have a dove season?” “Yeah, but nobody fools with them.” “Y’all don’t shoot them?” “Nah, we don’t fool with those little birds.” And I said, “Well, do you mind if we hunt them?” “Well, no, we were planning on watching football this afternoon but if you want to come out here and hunt them, we’ll come out here and hunt them.” So we all stopped at Walmart, bought a couple of boxes of low brass eights, and went out that afternoon, and it was spectacular. It might have been the best dove hunt I’ve ever seen before or since in the continental United States of America. And they came up after the hunt, we were plucking all the doves, and they said, “Hey, we got a hot field for Canada geese in the morning, right next to a golf course.” We said, “Great. Can we come back here and dove hunt instead?” And we did. We bought more bullets and came back. So the following day or the following years, me and you and Iron Grip, who else was there? Montinesco drove up to Ohio and I think we did have a couple of good Canada goose shoots. Because I remember you and Forrest, who was about eight years old, nine years old, getting in a dispute over who shot a particular Canada goose. And by your own admission it was probably him. But what I’ll never forget, we were sitting up on our telephone pole, Forrest and I were, and I was shooting birds and he was shooting birds and I’m trying to coach him along to get his limit, and you and Iron Grip were sitting over across the field. This field was cut for silage, it’s like if you went to the east, it was all farmland, but if you went to the west, it was just mega mansions, it was civilization. Y’all were sitting out there on a pretty nice spot right across a house and as far enough away that I was, I saw some kids come out and talk to y’all and then go back in the house. About this time some lady came out, hollering and shrieking, jumping up and down, flapping everywhere, just shrieking at y’all. And Forrest said, “What are they saying?” I go, “I don’t know, I can’t hear, I can hear her shouting.” But I couldn’t hear what she was saying. But what struck me with all that shouting going on from just a few yards away, you and Iron Grip never looked back at her. I was just looking out right ahead like y’all was deaf.
Mark Wilson: Yeah, that’s right. I thought this was a domestic squabble to be honest. I was like, “Ryan, somebody’s getting their ass kicked over there.” I heard some words that, well, there may be kids listening to this podcast, so I’m not going to repeat them. But they began with a F and they got other adjectives added on to that, but I would try to glimpse over my shoulder, Ramsey, and it just kept getting louder and louder. She was bad upset, but what really blew her lid was that big fat dove came close to that right to left trajectory, which is my favorite way to shoot a bird being a right-handed shooter. I smoked him, he didn’t just fall dead, Ramsey, he helicopter propelled down. Those take an extra 3 or 4 seconds to swirl on down to the ground, and to her heart, she witnessed all that. You might shoot 50-100 more birds that season, one won’t propel down that dead and take that long for gravity to have its effect on it. When she saw that, that’s when she went back to her house and it was time to call 911 and get the sheriff out there because she couldn’t handle that anymore. That was too much for her.
Ramsey Russell: That was, to this day, probably the only conflict or confrontation, and I was clear across the field, Buddy, I didn’t have anything to do with y’all, with the anti-hunter in the United States of America. How old was she?
Mark Wilson: Hell, I don’t know. I never saw her but I heard her screaming. Let me tell you something, if the coronavirus gets everybody it’s going to get, she’ll be the last one because that bitch had a set of lungs on her body. She could cuss.
Ramsey Russell: It became apparent that she was an anti-hunter. I’m sitting there trying to delicately explain to my little boy Forrest, who, like I say, is eight or nine years old from the state of Mississippi, born and raised into this thing. ‘m trying to explain, “Well, not everybody thinks like us, hunting is conservation,” and about that time he clipped a bird. This was after the police were up and I know the police walked out, talked to you and told you you were well within your rights, well within your legal, don’t worry, that he was sorry, whatever. But I’ll never forget while he was sitting there, she was like in the street looking at him, he was over there talking to y’all, her little brother or whoever was sitting there. Forrest shot a dove, and it knocked a few plumes out, and it flew over there and landed in an ashtray in her front yard. While we were sitting there looking at it, it fell dead right in the middle of the driveway. I told Forrest, “Run over there and grab it.” He goes, ”uh uh.” He doesn’t want to go over and get that bird. I think I walked over there after they went inside and got it.
Mark Wilson: Yes. She claimed somebody was raining pellets down on the roof. I think the sheriff told us, “Do you have any evidence of this? Can you show me a BB on the ground or something?”
Ramsey Russell: Well, in all honesty, it was about 200 or 300 yards from where I was and in all honesty, there is a chance I may have taken some shell. I mean, I didn’t do anything but sprinkle it, I’m sure, but there’s a chance that me or Forrest did. I don’t know. I’m going to blame it on Marinesco, who spotted all the doves and did not shoot the limit. I don’t remember how many he shot, but I hunted with him for 30 years and I know he didn’t shoot his limit.
Mark Wilson: You know my favorite part, Ramsey, and this is a tribute to the American Military guy that had done a lot of things for all of us. My favorite part was when after it was all said and done, after the woman after, the after the sheriff deputy, this guy comes pulling up on the road over there, honking his horn. I remember looking at Ryan and saying, “Boy, what the hell does this guy want?” He starts waving me over to the car, and so Ryan and I get up and walk over there and see this old guy and he got out of his car, had his cane at his side, and he obviously he knew that woman was crazy as hell over there, and he said, “Let me tell you boys something, I am so proud to see you out here exercising your 2nd Amendment to the Constitution.” He said, “I didn’t give up what I gave up” and I knew he was military and I knew that he was glad to see people out there practicing our freedoms.
Memories of The Good Ole Days…and How They’ve Changed
“Your hunt will be there when the world regains normalcy.”
Ramsey Russell: Well those were some good days, Mark. We’ve had some good days. We’ve had some bits and pieces here and there, we’ve had some good times out there, I tell you. It’s been a long time. My best friends, yourself, Marinesco for that matter, Chuck over at camp, a lot of them boys over at camp and around the world. Most of my closest and best friends, I just don’t get to see every day any more. But has the world not turned upside down since me and you and Forrest went and ate raw oysters over at Shucker’s a couple of weeks ago?
Mark Wilson: Crazy. Just crazy upside-down.
Ramsey Russell: I had to go look back at my calendar to figure out exactly what date that was, but I know this, here’s my timeline right now. On February 21st,I was in downtown La Crosse, Azerbaijan. We were at a really cool restaurant, a very big restaurant. My host announced, he was reading as we waited on our orders. He was reading on the internet, and he announced, he’s very excited. He said, He said “Holy cow,” whatever his expression was. He said Iran, which was just the next country, just got fully quarantined. Nobody in and nobody out. Their border is sealed because of coronavirus. And I’m like, “Huh, wow!” My wife was like, “Hey, don’t you catch nothing on that plane riding back over.” Now, I will be honest with you, bird flu and SARS and swine flu and all this other stuff we’ve heard about over the years. Heck, Mark, I have not caught the flu. The flu, the common flu. The regular flu. I haven’t caught that flu since ‘91. I sometimes get a little, especially this time of year, a little sniffle. Back in Dallas Safari Club this year, all that handshaking, I might get a little upper respiratory or something knockout. But on the ride home, I went through the hand sanitizer. Planes ain’t some big romantic first class advertising something, airplanes are a mobile home, almost like a Porta-Potty in the air. I’m always careful just to use hygienic practices and whatnot, but can you say, when you and I were sitting there eating oysters and I had oysters, you had something else good, Forrest had a po-boy, I believe, but I ain’t going to go to shuckers and not eat raw oyster, but did you think, did it across our minds that the world would be upside down in a couple of weeks?
Mark Wilson: Let me tell you, Ramsey. We are a mini-Wolf of Wall Street at my office. We have a bunch of degenerates, and when it comes to gambling, there’s always something we’re betting on. We’ll bet on anything. Ballgames. They’ve got a white board and everybody’s always placing wagers on these boards. Around that time, right before we went to eat, I put a wager on the board. This was when the first case was announced in Washington State. I put a wager up there, and I said, “I bet Coronavirus will be here in six months.” We’re talking around the 1st of March when I put this wager on the board. I said, “Coronavirus will be in Mississippi in six months,” and a lot of people were like, “Oh, nah. It won’t be here, it’s not going to get here, it’s going to take longer than that to make its way here,” and, shit, six days later it was here and I was wrong. Bad wrong.
Ramsey Russell: But even if I had bet that it would be here, I’d have shrugged it off. The common cold affects this many people, the common flu affects this many people, bird flu. I never will forget, this is sad, but true. The first year back when we used to have doves filled at Willow Break, I remember the bird flu outbreak. Everybody was like, “Bird flu? What the heck is bird flu?” Well man, the Clarion Ledger and everybody was talking about wearing rubber gloves and plucking gloves and I’m sitting there plucking birds barehanded, and somebody had me as one of the smarter men. I know I look smart, but I ain’t. A smarter man said, “You want a pair of rubber gloves, and I told him, “Richard, the day that I have to wear rubber gloves to pluck a dove, is the day I just might as well go on and pass on to the happy hunting ground. It’s just the world ain’t fit to live in.” I know that sounds young and stupid because it was. But the truth of the matter is, I’m just not going to wear rubber gloves to pluck a dove, and over bird flu. And so with that mindset all these years later still, but this last couple of weeks since me and you and Forrest sat there and ate oysters and had a great day, it was sunshine, it was beautiful, we sat outside, and the 30 minute lunch turned into an hour, and I wanted you to come on and help me co-host at times, because you’re such a great storyteller and such a dear friend, never ever would have dreamed that what I have seen unfold on television and in contact, with the many, many people around the world that I’m in daily contact with, this would have escalated like it did. Honestly, as recently as a week ago today, I began to think, “Well, the way this travel stuff is going, the way that some of these folks are reacting, I may not be flying on April 22nd.” See, I came home, I got home on February 22nd, supposed to be home, eight weeks is a long stretch of time, I’ve been home for four years, no big deal. But we actually sent an email last week to everybody in our email database just explaining it. “Hey, we’re very well aware of what’s going on and if your hunt is interrupted because of quarantine or flight disruption, if your hunt doesn’t take place, please don’t worry. Your hunt will be there when the world regains normalcy. If we have to reschedule you for 21 or 22, don’t worry. There’s a lot of things to worry about right now. If your hunt is not one of them, we’ve worked out contingencies with our outfitters and everything’s going to be fine. Let’s just get through this thing.” After that email, I get up in the morning, drink coffee, watch TV like I guessed everybody else. I’ve had to pull myself away from the TV because it just sucks right watching this news cycle. It’s funny how there ain’t no Democratic primary going on no more. That’s gone. I ain’t seen hide nor hair, neither one of those fools on television no more. I ain’t seen nothing. The entire news cycle is something called COVID-19, something called Coronavirus. And who knew that 4,999 of my Facebook friends were bonafied experts in this subject? Because they are. I’ll say this, when any president interrupts the economic prosperity that’s been going on these last few years to begin orchestrating wartime executive powers, that gets my attention. When every country, every single country on earth, every single continent on earth, that I’ve ever set foot in roped off their borders to exclude foreign nationals to quarantine their own people at the level that I’m seeing right now, that gets my attention.
Worldwide Reactions to the Coronavirus
“I don’t know what this is, but I’m just trying to take care of myself and my family.”
Mark Wilson: Yeah, Ramsey, let me say something, that’s something that’s concerning because those countries, a lot of those countries that you stepped foot in, they’re different from our seasons. I’m hoping that it’s going to get better down here. But yet they’ve been going through warmer climates down there. And yet, the virus still has made its way and worked its way through them, too.
Ramsey Russell: It originated I guess in China. Somehow or another it spread around some different communities, and I think it’s just because of labor and of course international travel and all, but what I’m seeing ,and I’m no expert, I’ll tell you right now, I’m no expert. But what I’m seeing in conversations and I’ve even found myself trying to read news articles in different countries that I work in a lot and it’s like a different length of fuse. America is weeks behind, weeks and months behind, some of the countries in Europe, some of the countries in Asia. The southern hemisphere is weeks again behind us, months behind. I’m trying not to get my news off of social media, but I have listened to some intelligent people recently. Last week Joe Rogan had an epidemiologist on there. I’ve tried to just get some good information and nobody knows for sure that this is going to react like the flu and fully disappear during the warm cycle, that’s not proven now. Is it? I don’t know. Let’s pray it is. I got a team going down to Argentina. Two of them work in China and I spent about an hour on the phone with one of them the other night, he’s still in, even if he wanted to leave right now, he can’t. He kind of gave a little ground sourcing version, like on the site right there and he’s not in Wuhan, but some of his plants are and I wish I’d asked him where he was. He was explaining to me about how it’s the big bubbles kind of over right now at 2.5 months. He said, “But Ramsey, everybody is expecting a resurgence. Everybody knows it’s fixing to come back.” Another wave of it is coming. I’ve been to Beijing on the way to Mongolia a few years ago, very different country. But they are not Americans, they do not share our freedom. They do not have generations of the freedom, the absolute pure freedom that we Americans enjoy, they don’t have that. One emperor after the next for their entire history. They have not been free like us, and so when their government says, “Get in your houses,” guess what they do? They get in their houses. That’s their culture, and it’s like he tried to explain to me: of course you want them to be free like we are and share what we do but it’ll have to be done a little over time. But right now they obey and what he explained to me, he said the reason it was 2.5 months, the reason they got control was because he himself mandated a 60 day quarantine. He said, “Let me explain what I mean. I don’t smoke cigarettes, some of my neighbors do. If you want to smoke, stay inside your home. Do not step outside on your back patio to smoke. The first time you did and a neighbor called, there was a knock on your door and you were politely warned. The second time you broke that quarantine, you’re hauled off to jail, probably forever.”
Mark Wilson: The last place you want to be.
Ramsey Russell: That’s the last place I’d like to be right now. But he said on the flip side, home health care free, whatever that may mean, and he said that the public service was delivering groceries as needed. He said, “Knock, knock’ answer the door and there are groceries.” You’d reach outside and get them and go back into your house. It was astounding, but that’s how they were able to contain it. They’ve been through MERS and SARS and bird flu and all these infectious outbreaks before and they’ve been caught flat footed and unaware. But this time, South Korea reacted [incredibly] because they’ve been there before, and apparently, listening to these podcasts and stuff, a lot of these epidemiology types that study this stuff are kind of expecting the big ones. These germs mutate very, very quickly and they’re expecting a big pandemic, like the Spanish Flu of 1918, the world is just kind of expecting it. It’s been 100 years since something like that broke out and they’re just kind of expecting it. But man, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking everybody was overacting a few weeks ago.
Mark Wilson: Ramsey, what brought the Spanish Flu to an end?
Ramsey Russell: I don’t know. I’ve been meaning to Google it and read up on it. But I do know this, there was a big parade, right after World War I, right on the heels of it. There was a big celebration parade that one of the cities Boston or New York or somebody had, and pursuant to that public event, 4500 troops died. They called off one in Oklahoma City or somewhere out in the Mid-West, like St. Louis. They called a big event off and nobody died. But now, as I understand it, I think I’m going to spend my afternoon after doing a little reading up on this. But I don’t know, Mark, I just know. I don’t know what’s going to make this end, I don’t know what the time frame is, but I know this, I know that with what I’m seeing other federal governments do around the world, what I’m seeing our federal government do and put into play, Carnival cruise lines has now been relegated as mobile hospitals, military ships that our hospitals have been deployed, mass units have been deployed, National Guard units are being deployed, $2 trillion, an open check, to cushion everything is being instituted. Right now, a third of Americans are under, let’s say optional quarantine, look at the news and see all these kids on the beach and going down to different parties and doing things, they’re ignoring it. But I’m not ignoring it. I’m doing everything I can. I feel like I’m at risk because of my age, because of underlying health conditions. I don’t know what this is, but I’m just trying to take care of myself and my family. I’m following the rules. I’m painting within the lines. I want this thing to pass quickly. I want the world to return to normalcy, but now, just in the last couple of days, I’ve seen some pretty conspicuous personalities going around the internet, some people I know asking the question, do you know anybody that has been affected? Do you know anybody that has been tested positive? Do you know anybody that has been exposed to anybody positive? Like it’s some kind internet conspiracy. Folks, when 140 something countries have quarantined themselves from the rest of the world, we’re in a global economy, when the supply chain has come to god dang near a screeching halt globally, that ain’t something NBC can pull off. It’s not. I am not a sky’s falling, Chicken Little type of guy. I’m just not that guy. But I’m concerned. Mark, do you know anybody? What are your thoughts about exposure and knowing anybody?
Mark Wilson: Ramsey, this hit me off awful really hard. Like I said, I thought it would take a while to get here, but it came down like this. One of my fellow coworkers has tested positive for it. I didn’t have any direct exposure to her, but then a guy that I work with in the back of our building. Let me put it to you how scary it is. These two people are high school friends, Ramsey. They have known each other since 1st grade. She goes to him and says, “Hey, Grant, do I feel warm?” And he touched her and said, “Yeah, you do feel warm.” She ends up going home, past fever, ends up going in, they do the test for the flu and knock out everything that they can rule out. Then she administered the COVID-19 task and it came back positive.
Ramsey Russell: Had she been coming to work?
Mark Wilson: Well, she came in on a Monday, that Monday morning, and didn’t really feel all that great, but attributed her symptoms to the allergy and the pollen, which has been tremendous. It’s everywhere and a lot of people are suffering from that. The timing of this is just awful spring break and all this other stuff going on with the sense of your respiratory system already.
Ramsey Russell: It’s pollen season, Mark.
Mark Wilson: Yeah. She ends up waking up the next day and feels better and by lunch time, she’s feeling awful again and realizes that maybe it’s not something that’s just allergy related and that’s when it comes back. She’s had direct contact with that guy that I’ve had direct contact with. I’m self-quarantined at home right now, just kind of hoping and praying that I was able to dance around it. I’m about halfway through my quarantine with no symptoms yet, but yeah, it’s real, it’s out there and I have reason to believe that. Out of my company of 60-70 people, I have reason to believe that two other people have it. I would bet my last dollar that two other people already have it in my company alone, 5% of my company. We’re only halfway through the window of the symptoms being able to show themselves. It wouldn’t surprise me if 10 more of us came down with it. The good news is the girl that originally got it is doing better.
Ramsey Russell: How old is she, Mark?
Mark Wilson: 25, roughly.
Ramsey Russell: How old are you?
Mark Wilson: That’s what I’m worried about. I’m 50 with an underlying condition, so that’s why I’m over here, I’m super anxious. I’m just pent-up nervous.
Ramsey Russell: Are you worried Mark?
Mark Wilson: To say at least, yeah. But we’re just taking one day at a time.
America in Crisis – Let’s Get Through This Thing Together
“Because since this country was founded, you show me a crisis and I’ll show you red-blooded American rolling up their sleeves to get over it.”
Ramsey Russell: My personality is control freak. I don’t mean that in a bad sense, but I think that based on my past life experiences, there are a lot of things I can’t control, but on things I can control I work very hard to do it. The nature of my business, I can’t guarantee that anyone with thousands of clients we have per year going somewhere are going to have the very best hunt of their lives or unless they go to Argentina or something like that. But I mean even then the weather, if you’re going to sea duck, they can get weathered out.
Mark Wilson: It’s still hunting.
Ramsey Russell: It’s still hunting. But I can’t control that airlines are going to run on time or cancel or that maybe life rears its head, somebody breaks a leg or gets a divorce or something. You plan these trips a year out, there’s a lot of things that can interrupt, but you work so hard, I work so hard, my wife works so hard, our partners like Cherie and Laura, we all worked so hard to control the controllable. Now, we’re looking at a situation that we don’t know. Trump doesn’t know, the House and Senate doesn’t know, the government doesn’t know, nobody knows. What I do know is that this perceived two weeks thing going on: this thing ain’t going to be over in two weeks. Now, we may decide to take another course of action rather than institute a mandatory quarantine. We may decide that infectious rate and everything else is an acceptable law versus an economy and everything else. Our government may decide that, but we don’t know. And just because we do doesn’t mean that Argentina isn’t going to open up the floodgates. I heard the other night a very interesting statistic: I read this, or either one of my contact down there told me. Buenos Aires is a city of 14 million people, a very beautiful city. I’ve spent a lot of time there. I love it. 14 million people and their inventory of respirators is about 6000. You want to talk about overwhelming a system? If this thing gets ahold of them and breaks out, that’s scary stuff. I got a text right before I called you and we dialed in. This is in the Netherlands. I got a call from my associate in the Netherlands. I’m going to read it: “Since one hour. New coronavirus rules.” Now, y’all listening, I’m reading it verbatim and he talks kind of funny because of the way they placed the verb in front of the subject, stuff like that. But I’ll read it to you: “Since one hour new coronavirus rules. Until June 1st, no events at all. Not allowed before people to come together with more than two people. Stay at home, only to supermarket, buy stuff to eat. Here in Netherlands, in two Southern States at Belgian border, hospitals full with corona patients, intensive care is too small. Go to other hospitals. In the south, they recently celebrated Carnival. Lots of catholic people there. Ramsey, when you think, oh corona, it’s just a flu, no problem, you are really wrong. It’s very dangerous. Buy soap with alcohol, wash hands, buy mask. In two weeks, also in USA, sold out. We stay in our house, no contact with people, no contact with son, with daughter-in -law, with granddaughter.” And he made a little tearful emoticon. “Only video calling, WhatsApp. It is a big, big drama also before hunting trips, take care of your family. Be alert.” I don’t understand. Maybe misspelling coronavirus is dangerous. They’re weeks ahead of us. They got a little bit of a different social dynamic. It’s a very, very populous European country, but it is also one of the very wealthiest countries in the European Union, very wealthy, and they’re struggling. I’m not a sky is falling kind of guy. Mark, I’ve said this, I’m from the Deep South and down here in the Deep South, hurricanes and big tornadoes and events like that are, it’s a way of life.
Mark Wilson: We just had a big storm.
Ramsey Russell: It’s a way of life. But I’ve said this and I’ll continue to believe this. If you want to see America at its best and if you want to see each and every real American, the kind of American that stormed the beaches of Normandy, and made this country the best. You don’t need a president. We don’t need an elected official to make America great. You know what you need? A crisis. Because since this country was founded, you show me a crisis and I’ll show you red-blooded American rolling up their sleeves to get over it. I know that there’s going to be a tomorrow. I know the stock market’s going to come back. I know that at some point in the future, America is going to be America and we’re going to be a better America. I believe that. I have to believe that. But I believe that.
Mark Wilson: Our Cajun Navy is a good example.
Ramsey Russell: The Cajun Navy. When the government can’t come to the rescue, those duck hunters will put on their white boots and go drive eight hours to launch their boat and get into a Houston suburb to rescue people. They don’t need a president or a federal government making them American to make the world a better place. I know, I’ve got faith in this country, and my fellow Americans. I have got maybe the only kind of faith an American can have that there will be a tomorrow. But Mark, this is a whole different ball of wax, man. Now I find out my friend, Big Water, is going through this.
Mark Wilson: Ramsey, the odds are, somebody else you know is going through this, too.
Ramsey Russell: I believe before it is over with a lot of folks we all know are going to be going through it. Right now, I’m not a sky is falling kind of guy. I know that tomorrow is going to come. I know we’re going to get through this just like every other thing this country’s been through since its founding. I know we’re going to get through this, I know this world is going to get through this. There’s some real smart people working on this thing and I’ve got faith. I do believe what President Donald Trump says, when he says it’s going to get worse before it gets better. I’ve got some other folks coming on. Mark, we just launched our Duck Season Somewhere podcast. The first episode aired today. I’ve got recording for the next 3.5 months once a week. I decided now that I’m quarantined, now that you, now that everybody I practically know [is quarantined.] I’ve got some pretty interesting folks lined up in upcoming weeks and I’m not preaching the sky is falling, but I do believe, truly believe that the quicker that we all buckle up and do the right thing, the quicker we’re going to get past this thing.
Mark Wilson: I’ll tell you what, I’m really looking forward to it. Because me, and I’m sure I’m not alone, but I can only take so much of hearing about it before I’m like, :”Okay, let me get my mind off this for a little while.” Maybe the show will take people’s minds off it, ease their minds off of what’s going on a little bit. That would be a good thing for people.
Ramsey Russell: It is good for people. Faith, Hope, and Love: three most important things, I think. We’ve got to have faith, and we’ve got to have hope, and it’s going to be fine. It’s going to be. No matter what it’s going to be, Mark, you gotta have faith. Have you taken a test?
Mark Wilson: No, I don’t think I will until I show some symptoms and I think the benchmark is a fever with some other symptoms, but mainly in my situation, even the fever needs to go above, 100.4-100.6, maybe somewhere in there. If you’re just running 99 or 99.5, I don’t think that’s enough. It’s got to be a little bit of elevated fever to, in my situation, trigger something.
Ramsey Russell: Mark, I want you to keep me posted on this and I know my buddy Big Water is going to be fine. But it’s a wakeup call to me. And besides that, you’re on the hook, do a whole lot more podcasts with me.
Mark Wilson: Good deal. Yeah.
Ramsey Russell: God willing and the creek don’t rise, we’ll share a dove field or a duck blind not too long from now.
Mark Wilson: Looking forward to it.
Ramsey Russell: Folks, all you guys listening, thank y’all @RamseyRussellGetDucks. Y’all see a prize and situation close between the lines. Let’s get through this thing together. Don’t panic. Go do the right thing. See you next time.