Wingshooting South Africa is an amazingly immersive tour encompassing ducks, geese, and upland game birds spanning 3 provinces–from Jo’berg to the Indian Ocean–but what types of hunters does this half-way-across-the-world hunt attract? Are they trophy species collectors? Experience collectors? Are they since-forever seasoned hunters? Relatively new to the sport? Tune in as Ramsey wraps up an epic 11-day South Africa tour by visiting with a collection of hunters that are as unique as the numerous winged and spiral-horned fauna of South Africa itself. Their answer might surprise you. And inspire you.


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Ramsey Russell: Welcome back to Duck Season Somewhere where today I’m in South Africa, way down to South Africa. Concluding the first of 2, 11 day 2 outfitter 3 provinces, 4 stop hunts for ducks and geese and guineafowl and doves and other stuff. It’s everybody that comes to South Africa is collecting. Collecting what you might ask? Collecting how? Collecting why? I’m going to meet with some of these clients I’ve shared the last couple of weeks with and kind of dig into this topic just a little bit. Leading off with my buddy, Garrett Bowman. Garrett, how the hell are you

Garrett Bowman: Doing wonderful. Ramsey, how are you?

Ramsey Russell: What brings you to South Africa?

Garrett Bowman: Coming down here to experience something new, different. See the dark continent.

Ramsey Russell: You’ve been here a while. I’m on day 11. You’re on day what? 17, 18.

Garrett Bowman: 17, 18. Yes, sir.

Ramsey Russell: Going on 33.

Garrett Bowman: Yes, sir.

Ramsey Russell: Tell me how you coming to Africa started and how I ended up as a part of it. And let’s go from there. How did your trip start? What led you here? When did you plan the trip and why?

Garrett Bowman: Yeah, the original conversations on coming to Africa happened, actually, prior to COVID. So my first trip to Africa was supposed to be in 2020 around, I think it was May 2020. I was supposed to come with my wife and a couple friends, got canceled due to COVID. Then I booked a trip to come to Rio Salado and go hunt ducks down there with you and had some conversations with Rich and you all were sitting in Rio Salado and about coming to Africa, going to shoot some game while here. And then also once I saw those pictures of all the experiences you all had in last season, I was ready to go.

Ramsey Russell: When people think of hunting in Africa, that’s what they think of spiral horns, cape buffaloes and all kinds of wildlife and stuff. But we’re doing a bird trip. You started off with your game on. How’d that go?

Garrett Bowman: Yes, sir. I spent 7 days chasing, I think I shot 11 species or 10 species loving animals. Yeah. Shot crocs or shot a croc, shot spiral horns, all the kudu, the Nyala, the sable shot, all kinds of cool stuff.

Ramsey Russell: All kinds of cool stuff. And then we go, I meet you. I come in, we meet, we have dinner there at African sky. We get up and I start a bird tour. When you were hunting the plains game up there in Limpopo, were you kind of just like ready to get it done and going to birds or was it like I’m just going to live every moment and really enjoy everything?

Garrett Bowman: Live every moment. I enjoyed waking up every morning watching that sunrise at 06:00, 05:30 whatever time it was, getting on the truck, going in glass and stuff every morning trying to figure out what we were going to go looking for.

Ramsey Russell: You told me when you booked the bird portion trip, I’m already going to be there a week. Might as well go too.

Garrett Bowman: Exactly right.

Ramsey Russell: Or 3 or 4.

Garrett Bowman: You’re making a 15 hours flight across the Atlantic Ocean. You might as well spend more time and go chase all your dream animals.

Ramsey Russell: What gets me is on these long trips from right now, today, when you look back to that day you landed and it was all brand new, it’s got to seem like a year ago.

Garrett Bowman: It does seem like a year ago.

Ramsey Russell: There’s so many experiences day to day, moment to moment, week to week.

Garrett Bowman: It does. There’s experiences every morning. Waking up, seeing that sunrise every day. Every sunrise in Africa is beautiful. Going down the road, seeing wildebeest, seeing ostrich, seeing duikers, seeing klipspringer, seeing steenbok, seeing every animal is magical. It’s really awesome.

Ramsey Russell: We started our portion of the trip with an afternoon driven guineafowl hunt. Do you remember that? Cause you and I, it’s like drawing pegs. You just jump out. You don’t know where them damn things are going to cross. We hit the hot spot that day. We hit the jackpot right off the gate. What was that like?

Garrett Bowman: I think it was –

Ramsey Russell: What was going through your head? What did you expect? What was it like?

Garrett Bowman: Must say I was kind of nervous on the first shots because I shot a shotgun and shooting a rifle all week. I think I whiffed probably the first 2 or 3 shots. I think I may have connected on the 4th, but seeing the first guineafowl fly below you and then seeing them fly across at 40 miles an hour was kind of crazy. But the first time you pull up, they’re already past you. It’s pretty wild.

Ramsey Russell: And then doing some of the walk up, we have some great. Remember the second morning we did guineafowl? We really just – That may have been the most memorable, was the walk up. As we were driving in, 2 big cubbies kind of got together, blended up, mixed out on this knee high grass and we walked through and I think we picked up over a dozen birds.

Garrett Bowman: Oh, yeah. I love the walk ups. The walk ups are a lot of fun. Kind of like flushing pheasants or flushing quail.

Ramsey Russell: How many upland and waterfowl species did you tuck away for taxidermy?

Garrett Bowman: I think 10 or 12.

Ramsey Russell: 10 or 12.

Garrett Bowman: I think 10 or 12, at this point.

Ramsey Russell: What was the number one species on your list?

Garrett Bowman: I want to say either the pygmy goose or the black duck.

Ramsey Russell: Why?

Garrett Bowman: The pygmy goose I think because of where it takes you to the edge of Zulu land. You’re going off the beaten path into a marsh, getting into a raft that’s made out of sticks, wrapped in a tarp and getting pushed around to try to go see if you can find this little tiny duck. That’s really cool.

Ramsey Russell: That’s a real different. That just that wetland is so much different than everywhere else we traveled in a couple of weeks.

Garrett Bowman: It is. You got those lily pads, you got saw grass, grass marshes and you’re coming around the corner, you have no idea what’s going to be there, hot and tot. It might be a fulvous whistler, it might be a white face or it might be that pygmy goose you’re looking for.

Ramsey Russell: Are you an experienced collector? I mean, you got 10 to a dozen birds sitting in the freezer. You got 10 or 11 game heads sitting in the freezer. Ready to come home, ready to get mounted, ready to hang up on the walls as trophies. Are you experienced collector or an animal collector?

Garrett Bowman: I think experiences are more important for me. I think with that comes the animal collection. But I think the experiences of going somewhere new, doing things that you’ve never done or people that you don’t know have done or haven’t done, because everybody comes to Africa to come shoot big game. You may know somebody in your hometown. You may know 2 or 3 people that have been here shot cape buffalo, shot an elephant, shot who knows what. I don’t know that many people have come here, shoot birds.

Ramsey Russell: It’s all about time and money. There’s very limiting factors on how long I can spend here and what I can do with my budget, what my time, what my schedule. Because life is crazy in the real world, but you get what I’m saying, like, what if you had come here just to shoot a pygmy goose and you’d gone down to that marsh and gotten in that boat? Would you feel like you’ve seen Africa, like we’ve seen Africa?

Garrett Bowman: No. Because I’ve been to 4 provinces, seen the different style roads, different style towns. Each one’s very different. The cultures are completely different in each area. Food’s fairly the same, each little bit different style, I guess, on how they do the food. But terrain’s amazing. You see when Popo’s kind of dry and mountainous gets down to maybe 300 for the coldest, we saw -3, -4 Celsius. We went to the high plains and sitting there at 4000ft, 5000ft, kind of flat, rolling hills.

Ramsey Russell: We got up goose hunting one morning and there was a heavy frost and a little humidity for Africa, because it’ll get down on you until the sun comes up and starts to warm. But you remember that it was heavy frost. We set up for that goose hunt, had a great goose hunt and I think it warmed between the low part. We got up that morning, goose hunted pack, ate lunch and drove 4 and a half, 5 hours down to way down to Zulu land up against the Indian Ocean, where we ended up hunting pygmy geese. I think it was about a 400 or 500 Fahrenheit temperature change.

Garrett Bowman: Yeah, I think the lowest temperature I saw was 260 Fahrenheit. And I think the highest was probably around 80.

Ramsey Russell: 85 today.

Garrett Bowman: Yeah, 85. So big change, 600.

Ramsey Russell: There were some other folks collecting in this group. How do you think that, like, your approach to travel and hunting and experiences differs from a guy that strictly more after the trophies? Not there’s anything wrong with that. I’m just saying. How do you feel like your approach or your what you get out of it is different than a guy that’s just checking off boxes?

Garrett Bowman: I think I try to roll with whatever the opportunity is.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah.

Garrett Bowman: So if I have the opportunity to go chase the pygmy goose and get my pig and goose perfect, that’s what I want to do. If I have the opportunity to go chase a black duck. Hey, I get the opportunity today I missed my opportunity.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah.

Garrett Bowman: Had one fly right at me and I whiffed on him.

Ramsey Russell: You’re black ducks.

Garrett Bowman: My black duck. Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: Did you choke? You’re pretty good shot.

Garrett Bowman: I think I choked on a little bit.

Ramsey Russell: You kind of know what it was when you shot?

Garrett Bowman: Had no clue. I didn’t know till after the fact. While you all are stalking the knob bill –

Ramsey Russell: No pressure.

Garrett Bowman: Yeah, no pressure whatsoever. But yeah, I whiffed on it. But hey, you kind of just go with whatever opportunity you’re giving.

Ramsey Russell: And you duck hunt over where you tell them you got some wood duck hole and you do some duck hunting, you get the whole decoy and the working the ducks and everything else. What was it like going in and spotting, stalking the pygmy goose versus conventional duck hunts?

Garrett Bowman: Yeah. It’s incredibly exciting, actually.

Ramsey Russell: It really is.

Garrett Bowman: Seeing that bird from 80 hundred, 200 yards away, figuring out the game plan of getting there. My cape shell ducks were the same way.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah.

Garrett Bowman: Spot them across the thing. Traditional jump shoot you would do on a pond, a farm pond back at home. You spot them, you kind of figure out the game plan of how you’re going to get out of their site, pop up, figure out where they’re at. You or may not pop up close enough to them. Back out. Figure out how to get there and arrive.

Ramsey Russell: I think of it as, like you say, taking it in stride. It’s like if I go into it and I do check boxes and quote collect species, but it’s where that species takes me on the landscape. It lets me get deep down beneath and immersed into that culture, that country or that stuff like that, that I find most rewarding. And you don’t always get what you want. You know what I’m saying? Number one priority, you got your pygmy goose. You did not get your black duck.

Garrett Bowman: Correct.

Ramsey Russell: You got your cape shell ducks.

Garrett Bowman: I did not get my knob bill yet.

Ramsey Russell: Did not get your knob bill yet. But hadn’t had a shot at him yet.

Garrett Bowman: Hadn’t had a shot.

Ramsey Russell: Got your whistlers, both whistlers –

Garrett Bowman: Got both whistlers. Yeah. So that might be cooler than some of the rest stuff. Didn’t really think that I would find them both as gorgeous as they are, but the full of us have an opportunity for the full of us. And even that hunt, going to sand. And while Michael was out trying to get his pygmy geese, I went and stood in the marsh, knee deep with muck boots on, soaking wet. Water was cold. It was raining that day, so standing in the rain, hoping one would fly by and have an opportunity, I took it.

Ramsey Russell: We did some high volume hunt, did some spot and stalk, did some driven. What was your favorite hunt?

Garrett Bowman: I think it was probably the cape teal. I think the cape teal having the opportunity last minute after –

Ramsey Russell: Now you said the other day it might be your favorite duck.

Garrett Bowman: I think it might be my favorite duck, yeah. It’s absolutely just gorgeous. But the opportunity came super late in the day, far later than we probably should have been able to see. We couldn’t see which bird it was when they were flying because they’re mixed in with the red bills. They look very similar. You look when they’re flying at least low light. You can’t really tell which one’s lighter, which one’s darker. They might be slightly smaller, but we’re able to get both our Michael and ours, but able to get both our cape teal within 3 minutes of each other.

Ramsey Russell: What will you remember the most when you go home? I mean, because, like, when you’re on these long trips and it’s literally bam, bam. I mean, eat, sleep, hunt, repeat.

Garrett Bowman: Yeah, I think –

Ramsey Russell: Every hunt, everything different. It’s hard to absorb it. But what do you think you might remember most when you go home?

Garrett Bowman: I think what I’ll have to do long term with this bam, bam is it’s been. I’ll sit back and look at all the pictures of the places we’ve been, the map out on Google, from Apple iPhone of where we’ve all been. Figure out what we’re doing or figure out where we’ve been. What birds we did, what areas they came from. Sit down and figure out what’s most important. And I think that’s really seeing the culture, seeing the happiness on the people’s faces when we gave them ducks or geese.

Ramsey Russell: Talk about that.

Garrett Bowman: So after, I think it was our second goose hunt, we went and shot, I don’t know, 30 or so birds, which is heck of a day. It was beautiful. We had a lot of fun. On the way out, we dropped some birds off at the farm so they can have some – And right outside the gate, maybe half a mile down, there’s a little shack, group of shacks, maybe concrete.

Ramsey Russell: Rural community, like most folks live out here in South Africa.

Garrett Bowman: Rural community, no running water, most likely. Highly doubt electricity. 3 people came out. 2 women, an older gentleman and a young kid, probably about the same age as my boy. He’s 4. Came out, brought a wheelbarrow. We dumped the birds in there. The older female, she was cheering, clapping. She loved us taking a picture of it.

Ramsey Russell: Had her hands together like prayer. Like –

Garrett Bowman: She did.

Ramsey Russell: Smiling. Yeah. Happy, thankful.

Garrett Bowman: The gentleman shaking her hands thought it was cool. They loved it. We wanted a picture with them, but that’s really awesome. It brings perspective into life at home, where something we take so for granted. Protein is hard to come by, which is hard to think that Africa is the game rich place that it is that many people don’t have protein. But it’s the harsh reality of where we are.

Ramsey Russell: To bring it home is when she told us how they cook it and how to explain how they’re going to cook this thing is, they’re going to skin them, put them in a great big old black cauldron outside over a fire and just cook it down. No seasons. Cause it ain’t about a culinary art. It’s not about a culinary experience. It’s just about protein –

Garrett Bowman: Nutrition.

Ramsey Russell: And they’re going to cook it all down. And then they’re going to take pop, they call it, but it’s grits. They’re going to make little dough balls out of it. And the whole – everybody that lives in them, 5 or 6 houses, men, women, in children, for as long as that pot lasts 3 meals a day, they’re going to come out with them little pot balls and dip it in that gravy just to live.

Garrett Bowman: Yeah. Is that correct?

Ramsey Russell: It’s humbling to me because you think about it, it’s not – We’re all blessed to have and income and time and freedom to come over here and chase, recreationally, chase that experience and enrich our lives and collect species as trophies, as taxidermy that cost a lot of money. And then with the birds, we don’t want give it to a family that is. Communities like that. They’re just eternally thankful. I mean, to me, it just humbles the heck out of me, man. It’s almost disturbing.

Garrett Bowman: Yeah, it really is. And to think I really wish that more people were able to see that from where I live or the United States, to see how the rest of the world lives. And maybe that may change perspectives of people, but it’s very, you said humbling.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah. Favorite meal you got?

Garrett Bowman: I don’t know. I think some of the meals I had up in Limpopo, chasing plains game, I think that was probably some of the best ones. Meat salt or brine salt. Served on fire. It’s fantastic.

Ramsey Russell: Meat over fire.

Garrett Bowman: Meat over fire. And usually it’s inside tenderloin, so it’s hard to beat a good old filet mignon. Whatever you want.

Ramsey Russell: I’m with you on that. And they cook some nice beef fillets, she called it tonight, beef filets. And they were delicious. I love that. I’m a meat over fire kind of guy.

Garrett Bowman: Yeah. And the really cool thing about Africa is pretty much every animal tastes delicious.

Ramsey Russell: Oh, yeah.

Garrett Bowman: Zebra.

Ramsey Russell: We ate zebra.

Garrett Bowman: Yeah. Zebra, we ate Nyala. Kudu, I had. I’ve had buffalo, I’ve had wildebeest, I’ve had springbok, blesbok.

Ramsey Russell: Ostrich.

Garrett Bowman: Ostrich, eland.

Ramsey Russell: Which brings up a point now, why we had zebra and why we had Nyala, is one of the clients here had asked about, hey, I’m in Africa. Is there anything like an animal I can shoot? And I’d asked one of my associates down here and he sent me a price list, as we were driving down. Did the guy still want to shoot something here? And where we were hunting way down south is, like, Nyala native range and you put them in there and they just freaking explode and they look good and they’re big and they’re cheap. And I told you what the price was, you said, I’m going to shoot one. I said, well, heck, if you’re going to shoot one, I’m going to shoot one.

Garrett Bowman: Yeah. That was the first animal shot, on the second day. I was thinking I was animal for my safari and I love that animal. That’s ultimately the main animal I wanted when I came here. That in the sable. And when you said that there was some available, theoretically and the price was just right in their natural habitat.

Ramsey Russell: Cheap. It was less than half the cost. I’ve seen them elsewhere.

Garrett Bowman: Yeah. Less than half the cost.

Ramsey Russell: So by the time we got done asking, well, who wants to do it. Here’s the deal. At supper, 5 out of 6 people were going to go shoot animals. While the other half went to shoot, like, 3 go do this, 2 go do that, whatever, and go shoot, and then we swap off. And man, that was a -how would you describe me? As a serious, studious trophy collector of Nyala.

Garrett Bowman: Ready to go. I think we made it maybe a couple hundred yards from the shoe range. And that was one of the first nice ones. I mean, we saw at least 3 or 4, maybe, on the way into the shoe range on that property that all incredible. All different horn shapes. And Nyalaare gorgeous. They have some that come in, some that go straight up, some that come out. All really depends on what kind of trophy you’re looking for. And we came in to maybe 100, 200 yards outside the truck, outside the shooting range and there was an absolute stud.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah.

Garrett Bowman: Beautiful big bases. Kind of go straight up. An old, a nice old bull.

Ramsey Russell: I could see his border pot through the brush from where I was, but I couldn’t see his headgear. I could see, I could get the frame and Hank said, it’s heavy, but let him turn his head so I can get a look and go, oh, he’s good now. Now we were 30, 45 minutes into the hunt. I’m like, all right, I’m ready to go home.

Garrett Bowman: I think that animal may have made it 25 yards, maybe, if that is the perfect hunt.

Ramsey Russell: And a mile down the road, we were hoofing it for years.

Garrett Bowman: Yeah. Not too much longer. I think we saw maybe two or three more. And there’s the perfect shape. I want, I wanted that bell shape to go up back and then kind of curve out.

Ramsey Russell: There were enough Nyala, you had your choice.

Garrett Bowman: Definitely had your choice.

Ramsey Russell: By the end of the day, we had 4 –

Garrett Bowman: 4, Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: Gold medal or rolling award book. And Nyala absolutely gorgeous. That’s pretty cool, wasn’t it?

Garrett Bowman: Pretty freaking awesome. It’s amazing seeing the difference in them. I think yours probably weighed, I don’t know, maybe 50, 100 pounds more than mine did.

Ramsey Russell: But I think that was one of my favorite days, just because it was spontaneous. And I did not expect to go big game hunting. I expected just to be down here working the birds, shooting birds, hunting the birds. And then this opportunity presented itself. I’m like, heck, I’m going.

Garrett Bowman: Might as well go. I mean, we’re here. Came all this way. Might as well go do it. Got to climb a mountain. We got to chase zebra on a mountain. That was pretty cool. I’ve never chased a zebra on a mountain before.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah, we got a zebra, too. The sun was set and I thought, well, I guess I just go home with Nyala, no zebra. And there they were? Quick Draw McGraw.

Garrett Bowman: Yeah. Quick Draw McGraw.

Ramsey Russell: That’s those bird shooting instincts, man. No thinking, no hesitating. Boom.

Garrett Bowman: Can I shoot it? Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: I couldn’t believe how light the meat was. I just never saw myself eating a zebra. But it was good.

Garrett Bowman: It was good.

Ramsey Russell: It was light.

Garrett Bowman: Kind of more like pork, maybe. Maybe like a pinkish pork.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah. Well, look, tomorrow’s our at last day and I just got a message that this place we’re staying is fixing to offload some new white rhinos that they’re bringing onto the place, putting on this magnificent ranch and they’ve asked if we want to go check it out. Talk about an experience. We’re fixing to watch them offload rhinos they just bought from Kruger Park to raise here.

Garrett Bowman: Yeah. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a white rhino. So we can experience and see something new. That’s pretty dang cool.

Ramsey Russell: You want a real experience, I think you need to take a cater prod and prod them on off there. Make it like a yellow stone.

Garrett Bowman: Yeah. Might go poke him a little bit, see what happens.

Ramsey Russell: All right. Thank you, Garrett, much. I’ve enjoyed it. And I know this won’t be your last time to Africa, will it?

Garrett Bowman: No, definitely will be a lifetime to Africa. Definitely won’t be our last time hunting together. I’m looking forward our trip next year down to Argentina again to go experience something new. A new adventure off in the wilderness or wild world.

Ramsey Russell: Thank you, Garrett.

Garrett Bowman: Yes, sir. Thanks, Ramsey.

Ramsey Russell: Mr. Mike Gardner, as we’ve been calling you little Mike, which is kind of funny because you’re the big guy, but he’s taller, you’re shorter. And you all are both Mike and so you’re little Mike.

Mike Gardner: I’m the little Mike.

Ramsey Russell: This is kind of funny, calling you little.

Mike Gardner: The biggest one here and I’m little Mike.

Ramsey Russell: Which makes it such a great nickname. What brings you to Africa?

Mike Gardner: While following you last couple years and watching you hunt in Africa and seeing the birds you collect made me interested in some of them and the experience looked really cool. And I’ve always wanted to go to Africa, but I’m not a huge big game hunter, so I found the waterfowl part of it and kind of ran with it.

Ramsey Russell: But you are a huge waterfowl hunter. You’re a sea duck captain. You’ve been out a lot of places. Talk about just generally some of the places you’ve been, some of the highlights of your career places you’ve been, things you’ve done.

Mike Gardner: I started guiding when I was 18 years old, started my business about 8, 10 years after that and just kept on doing that. Unfortunately, life has gotten in the way recently.

Ramsey Russell: It does that.

Mike Gardner: Excuse me and 2 kids and work and everything. I don’t do it as much as I would love to. But it do has brought me around the entire United States. Meeting people, hunting with different friends, making friends. I’ve met some of my best friends the last couple years because of hunting all different states. I’ve hunted all the way down south to Arizona, Louisiana, all the way up to the Pacific Northwest to Alaska and just chasing everything, different species, different styles of hunting, different adventures, different people. I’m a bigger guy, I like food. So chase food.

Ramsey Russell: How many of the North American, 41 or 58 did I caught to include subspecies have you bagged?

Mike Gardner: I have 53 out of the 58.

Ramsey Russell: There you go.

Mike Gardner: So I finished the so called 41 few years back with a couple subspecies and I only have a few more to go to finish that full 58.

Ramsey Russell: Is this your first international trip?

Mike Gardner: Besides Canada, yes.

Ramsey Russell: Okay. That’s a big jump. What do you think about that freaking plane ride?

Mike Gardner: Oh, it was. Well, I actually fell asleep for about 9 hours of it, so it was pretty nice.

Ramsey Russell: Wow, lucky you.

Mike Gardner: But it was definitely an experience. It was a trip.

Ramsey Russell: The long haul.

Mike Gardner: Unfortunately, I got a window seat too, so I got trapped a couple times when I needed to get up, move around.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah. Mike, are you a species collector or an experienced collector?

A Hunter’s Odyssey: Seeking Adventure in Wetlands Near and Far

Traveling around the world, I realize there’s a lot of places your dry as can be hunting all day. There’s some places where you’re warm, some places it rains on you all day.

Mike Gardner: Both. I don’t mount many birds. Up until recently, I’ve killed some very beautiful species and specimens of the species. So I’ve been starting to mount more lately. I have chased more of hunting styles, which has brought me into species as well. And I’m a big water hunter, I like being on the water, I like layout boats, I like rough water, I like all of that, I like being wet, I like being cold, I like the things that most people don’t like. Traveling around the world, I realize there’s a lot of places your dry as can be hunting all day. There’s some places where you’re warm, some places it rains on you all day. I don’t like that kind of wet. I’d rather get salt spray. But, Pacific Northwest, you might hunt a whole day where you’re just getting down poured on and you just suck it up and keep going because it’s a new experience, new style of hunting. Chasing divers out there is very similar to what we do here, but very different.

Ramsey Russell: And you’re kind of a diver hunter, aren’t you?

Mike Gardner: I love my divers.

Ramsey Russell: On a lot of your travels to get to 53 or the 58, have you ever gone on a trip and come up scratch?

Mike Gardner: Never, actually.

Ramsey Russell: I did. I went, one stands out in the United States going, getting a coveted draw for the Pacific Flyway, Montana and not getting my bird that I wanted. And it just to broke my own rule. I had sat there and fiddled around for 3 days and 20 minutes I went and sat in the truck with the guy. He was cold. And when I got back, those birds were right over my blind.

Mike Gardner: Can’t kill them on the catch.

Ramsey Russell: I go home with tag soup. Tag soup don’t taste as good.

Mike Gardner: It does not.

Ramsey Russell: But it happens. And so give me a rundown of your top 2 or 3, which you, 15 waterfowl species maximum, plus upland birds. What was on your priority list?

Mike Gardner: The pygmy goose was definitely very high. It’s just such a pretty little bird. I mean, it’s the size of my hand.

Ramsey Russell: So unique.

Mike Gardner: It’s very tiny. It’s very pretty. The style of hunting it is completely different than anything else. It’s all spot and stalk.

Ramsey Russell: They ain’t sea duck hunting.

Mike Gardner: No, it’s all spot and stalk with a boat. I was fortunate enough to get all the ones that didn’t give me a chance to collect them on the water like everybody else did. And as many people will say, that’s not sporting. That’s what you have to do with these birds.

Ramsey Russell: Well, it’s spot and stalk and it’s like a lot of the species over here and around the world don’t play by decoy rules. That little bird’s never going to decoy, nor is a white backed duck, nor some of these others. It’s just, you get the bird and that’s just part of it. I’ve done it. I’ve been to Peru and done it. And that’s how you hunt.

Mike Gardner: Yeah. And that was a learning experience for me because I come from the United States. United States is everything decoys, shoot everything at 15 yards back flapping or landing or getting close.

Ramsey Russell: Just due to logistics, we normally start with a duck hunt. Duck and geese then move over to guineafowl and upland bird and jump back around down here. But this time we started with the upland birds. That was kind of a warm up, show up, shoot guineafowl, which, for a shotgunner, boy, that’s it. And I love it. I would come down here just to shoot driven guineafowl. When they’re dropping you off 6, 7, 8 guys cover this field. You might be in a good spot, a bad spot. You might fire a shot. You might fire a bunch of shots. You may not fire a shot. But it’s like if you’re playing card and you get that good hand, it don’t matter what kind of hand the next 50 are. You keep wanting to feel that dopamine rush for that good hand. So he’s ready to jump and go, go and shoot those guineafowl. But we finally got back off into the ducks and got up, did a goose hunt that afternoon, right after lunch, he said, let’s roll and was going to take you all to jump shoot ponds and trophy hunt. And you got incredibly fortunate. I mean, you had a great afternoon. What’d you shoot that first afternoon that was on your bucket list?

Mike Gardner: Oh, man, I shot shell ducks. Well, I shot a pair of shell ducks, plus an extra drake. I shot 2 black ducks, which we’ll get to that story, I’m sure, later.

Ramsey Russell: Tell me about it. Now is a good time.

Mike Gardner: The 2 black ducks were – They were a bird that I’ve always wanted, but talking to you on the phone before the trip, it was kind of said that probably not going to happen without dedicating a full day or 2 days of just jump shooting creeks. So we were out, 3 of us were out collecting species and jump shooting ponds and finding which species each of us wanted. And Mike, the ph. here said. He called me big Mike at the time, so he said, big Mike, let’s go. I walked about 100 yards down a riverbank, creek bank and I see ripples. And I told Mike that I see the ripples and there’s something right around the bend. Popped up over the little hill and there she or he was. There was a black duck sitting right in the water.

Ramsey Russell: Did you recognize it? Minute you laid eyes on it?

Mike Gardner: Instantly. As soon as I saw it, I knew what it was. I didn’t even let it get a chance to even know I was there. And I took her or him or whatever male, female.

Ramsey Russell: They look identical.

Mike Gardner: They do. They look absolutely identical. Same size, everything. They brought the dog. The creek bank was about 6ft below our feet. Mike walked up and looked over the creek to make sure there was no more. Dog came up and picked up the black duck, the ph. and the bird guide. The tracker was super excited and the dog, the other dog was going nuts. Couldn’t figure out why. We just thought he was excited about the bird being killed. And he ran down the riverbank and this is about 5 minutes later, after killing the first one and it pushed out another black duck from where I shot the first one. And it flew down the riverbank low, right on the water. And I shot it, too. And I came back with a pair of black ducks, which, as you well know, you’ve told me that getting one for one of us to get one on this entire trip was a feat. To come back with a pair myself was, probably the highlight, one of the highlights of the trip.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah.

Mike Gardner: And it was just an experience. And it came back and was a high on my list, but it wasn’t.

Ramsey Russell: I know you texted we had gone out to shoot a pond that evening and you texted. It was just epic. This afternoon was epic. You’d never be at a topic.

Mike Gardner: No. And I don’t believe so, because it was – being under the impression that I’d have to walk miles and miles down a creek bank and I walk a 100 yards and kill the black.

Ramsey Russell: You’ve been willing to. I’ve been around you long enough, know that you’d have walked from here to kingdom, come back out what it took.

Mike Gardner: And I walked 100 yards and killed it and walked 100 yards back and it took all of about 10 minutes to shoot a pair of black ducks.

Ramsey Russell: What – How many hours did you spend in that cat lily pad pond, marsh hunting those. How many hours did you spend that little Robinson Crusoe boat? 2 days.

Mike Gardner: First day I spent about 6 hours. Second day, I spent probably just under 2. So I spent 8 hours on a 2 by 4 piece of wood across some sticks –

Ramsey Russell: 2 by 4 bench.

Mike Gardner: 2 by 4 bench across some sticks that made up a canoe that had a tarp stretched tight. And I asked the young man how he stretched a tight and he said, pliers. And he stapled it from there. So I sat almost 8 hours in that boat trying to chase that pygmy goose.

Ramsey Russell: What happened?

Mike Gardner: Never got a good shot. First day was rainy and cloudy, which I personally think, knowing waterfowls with – How I know it, rainy and cloudy causes UV light to show really well. So that boat, myself and him just stood out. We were a bright orange bobber in the middle of open water. I think these birds were jumping and flushing before we could even see them, back in the marsh, before we even got an idea what they look like. Sun didn’t help them stand out. And it was tough. I got 2 shots on him and missed one and the other one was a crippled. And I thought I just completely folded them and went down and I’m sure just like a diver, hung on reeds and never came back up. And we stayed there for probably a half hour looking for him.

Ramsey Russell: Are you? I know you’re disappointed. You did get one.

Mike Gardner: I am disappointed.

Ramsey Russell: You can check the list and say I got one because you got a hen and from a pair. But at the same time, you’re going home without that little prize you came from. And there’s a long way to come for that one, top of the food chain species you wanted to get. I know you look disappointed, but how does that inspire you to be a better hunter? I know it does.

Mike Gardner: Being disappointed, I can tell you now I am not, even though it was just yesterday, but it’s disappointing not being able to take it home and put it in the house. But it’s. That experience was incredible. I hunted harder than all other 5 guys here for that one specific bird.

Ramsey Russell: You hunted harder than anybody I’ve ever known to go hunt that bird.

Mike Gardner: Yeah. That was the important board bird to me. And I did get to do the check mark. It won’t be on the wall, but maybe that’ll give me a reason to come back.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah. What else did you get that stood out that you had to work hard for the whistling duck, white face, because you told me one of the first days you were really wanting a white face whistler.

Mike Gardner: I love whistling ducks in general. I love the tree duck species. I love all of them. So that was a high on my list. And I watched. When I was chasing that pygmy goose, I watched 100s of them fly around me, but I knew I couldn’t shoot them because I was chasing another bird. And they’re very skittish. So coming to the next stop, which we are at now, that whistling duck was number one for me. And we set up this morning and I knocked 2 down and we found them. Not good shots, but fortunately, those not good shots left for a very good mountable specimen.

Ramsey Russell: You make your own look on tall. I’m telling you. I’ve been watching. You’re pretty damn good shot now, Mike. Way better than average, son.

Mike Gardner: I try to be.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah. You make it happen.

Mike Gardner: I do. I have to.

Ramsey Russell: How’d it feel putting your hands on that whistling duck?

Mike Gardner: Oh, man, I, that duck is just cool. It’s same size as about a fulvous. It’s probably a little smaller than a black belly, but it’s just the color variations on it. The white on the face is stained from it feeding just like a snow goose would be or a swan would be. And like, Carolina area, it’s just a cool bird.

Ramsey Russell: Did you – when you came down here to get your birds, did you imagine you’d go shoot Nyala?

Mike Gardner: Not at all.

Ramsey Russell: I know it was digging.

Mike Gardner: I’m not a big game hunter, so it wasn’t even –

Ramsey Russell: Yeah.

Mike Gardner: Wasn’t even something that I thought about. And I know we had asked about it if opportunity arose and we had extra time to shoot maybe an impala or something little. And you got the text that said, hey, we have this. And Nyalawas the first thing on the list and I had no idea what it was. I can blatantly admit that. And having Garrett here, coming off of a weak safari of hunting big game and he showed me what it was and I was like, it’s a pretty cool animal.

Ramsey Russell: It is.

Mike Gardner: And then, fortunately, the cost to shoot one was incredible.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah, below market.

Mike Gardner: Way below market. So I told you I was in and I think that made 5 of us and 4 of us killed it on the same day.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah. All very high score. Nice trophies. Not that I’m a trophy hunter, but, hey, I’ll take it.

Mike Gardner: And I hunted all damn day for that thing, too.

Ramsey Russell: Well, because and it goes back to who you are as a hunter. It’s like you’re – I realized in that day, you’re a very selective hunter.

Mike Gardner: Try to be.

Ramsey Russell: You could have shot one 30 minutes an hour. I mean, but you didn’t. You let somebody else go first or you wanted that. You wanted that flair. You want a certain shape to it and you were willing to hunt harder than we all did to get what you wanted or go for broke. I mean and that says a lot to who you are as a hunter and a human being, as far as that goes.

Mike Gardner: I watched about 50 Nyala over a waterhole. Probably about 8 or 10 of them were shootable males and they just weren’t the size or the shape or whatever I wanted. So just kept waiting and kept waiting. And later on in the afternoon after lunch, saw an absolute monster that outsmarted us on the stalk. And then the one I killed came up and that was another gorgeous bull.

Ramsey Russell: Did you know, when you saw him, that’s the one?

Mike Gardner: Yeah. But you could tell he didn’t have the points that got close. He did the bell shape and that’s, I really liked that bell shape once I saw it, I really liked the close points and everybody kept yelling at me that, that’s not what you want to shoot. I thought it looked neat and then I actually saw a good bell shape and then that was the one that I was like, oh, that’s the shape I like.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah. You said something about a field go, you all won’t shot a field go, because it was humongous. You like him, but it just wasn’t what you want.

Mike Gardner: Had no twist to it, had no curve to the antlers, but it was massive and it was pretty cool just to see him messing with all the females around that water hole that, for about an hour.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah. What was your favorite meal? What do you tend to remember meal wise?

Mike Gardner: Oh, man, the meal we had tonight was really good.

Ramsey Russell: Oh, yeah.

Mike Gardner: That was just beef tenderloin and that was amazing. But I think the one that we had the other day, it was 2 nights ago, we had the Nyalaand the zebra. That was really good. Trying new meat. What did we pull out? We pulled the heart out and ate the heart, pulled the liver out and ate the liver. That was a very good. I like the Nyalabetter than the zebra. I think the zebra was maybe just slightly overcooked because it still had a good flavor, just a little tough. But both very good meats here. We ate some guineafowl one night, which was very cool to eat. We’ve eaten some duck. I like all that stuff, so that’s always intriguing to me.

Ramsey Russell: We came out from a goose hunt, pretty good goose hunt and you brought out one heck of a spur winged goose. You knocked down on that hunt. I think you were the one that got it and we stopped to give the rest of those birds away. What do you think about that experience, how those people live and how appreciative they were for those spur wings and Egyptian geese?

Mike Gardner: I love that everything went to use and I’ve learned in Africa that every single thing goes to use.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah.

Mike Gardner: If it’s not the property owner, it’s the help. If it’s not the help, it’s the locals. Watching them live is – It really gives another perspective on how you live, to be grateful for what you have and seeing that, no one running water, no electricity, no form of waste disposal, whether it’s trash or human waste. And –

Ramsey Russell: They’ve got a roof and 4 walls. But in a lot of senses, they live maybe like their ancestors did 200 years ago, 300 years ago, 400 years ago. I mean, without power, without water, just without air conditioning, when it gets 1150, without heat, except for fire, where it gets pretty dead gum cold over there.

Mike Gardner: Absolutely.

Ramsey Russell: It was freezing that morning at daylight.

Mike Gardner: It was probably below 300.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah. And I mean, it’s humbling to me to see how that is. But I think it’s a great part of the experience to be able to go and see and experience that stuff in contrast with how I’m living, what I’m doing and just make me aware that with 8 billion people on earth, not everybody’s as forced as we are.

Mike Gardner: And just to see how grateful they were not only just to have the food, but even just to meet us, just to chat with us a little bit or through our ph., which was basically our interpreter at the time. They loved having conversations with us and they loved us being there, just interacting with them.

Ramsey Russell: Were there any surprises in terms of what you kind of expected coming to Africa versus reality, just different or better than what you’d expected?

Mike Gardner: I didn’t really have many expectations. I came over here because every country over here is different. So you can’t compare the central African countries to the coastal countries, to South Africa. They’re all so different. So I didn’t know what to really think in South Africa. South Africa is a pretty amazing place in general. There’s a lot of the culture, the food, the way everybody does things. Very similarities. And we’re all human. We all do the same things. We all do the same. We interact the same ways with everybody. Watching a bunch of kids leave school one day and watching them pick on each other and jump on each other, nudge each other and it’s the same thing worldwide. Kids are kids, humans are humans. We all do and interact the same way. It’s just a different culture, different way of life.

Ramsey Russell: People are people worldwide.

Mike Gardner: Absolutely.

Ramsey Russell: Is there any tip you would give to anybody? Anything you would tell anybody that’s considering coming here, like, how they might better prepare, how they might get their mind right, how they might better pack or just how they might be a better, more successful hunter?

Mike Gardner: I would say pack light. You don’t really –

Ramsey Russell: Yeah. They do laundry every night.

Mike Gardner: Yeah. You don’t need a lot of extras. There’s no, I don’t have waders. I don’t have big boots. I have a light pair of Gore-Tex hiking boots, a couple pairs of pants, couple shirts and –

Ramsey Russell: Layers.

Mike Gardner: Yeah, they do laundry and a good light base layer with another layer and an insulation layer on top for those cold mornings. But after about an hour of hunting, you’re ripping layers off because you’re sweating.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah. The sun comes up, buddy, get warm.

Mike Gardner: Going from 30 to 60 in a matter of about an hour.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah.

Mike Gardner: And just be light, be comfortable –

Ramsey Russell: Have fun.

Mike Gardner: Don’t overthink.

Ramsey Russell: And be willing to go the distance to get what you want, to get the top priority species you want or not. But you got, I mean, you’re here. You got to go in for it, man. You got to go sit in that boat for 8 hours if that’s what it takes.

Mike Gardner: And I also think people need to understand, especially back home, because I didn’t understand it until I got here and experienced it firsthand and made the mistakes. And you have to be open to doing, to hunt in ways that you are not used to hunting back home.

Ramsey Russell: Make that truth.

Mike Gardner: People we don’t jump shoot a lot at home. We don’t pass you. We don’t drive birds. It’s very English.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah, I do.

Mike Gardner: But that’s how they hunt here. That’s how they hunt a lot of places around the world. The driven guineafowl was probably one of my favorites.

Ramsey Russell: Mine, too.

A Mixed Bag: From Perfect Decoys to High-Flying Targets

And being down here, we had a little mixture of everything. We had yellow bills come decoy perfectly tonight.

Mike Gardner: And sometimes you burn through a box of shells and sometimes you don’t fire a shot. It’s the luck of the draw of what part of the line you’re on. But it was, I love driven style shooting. I’ve always have high over your head and we don’t do that back home. It’s frowned upon where the English look at us and think decoying birds are frowned upon. So to each their own and culturally. And what is sporting is different to everybody. And being down here, we had a little mixture of everything. We had yellow bills come decoy perfectly tonight. Absolutely perfectly at 10 yards. But then we’ve also shot yellow bill straight over our head at 30.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah or 40.

Mike Gardner: 40.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah or 50. Yeah. They do it differently, but I think that variety of hunting conditions makes me overall, a better and more successful hunter, better shot, better human being. I think it builds character. If you’re the guy that’s on the – For that drive on a guineafowl or that post on a duck pass you. It’s just where you have to shoot further or not shoot at all. I think it’s a character builder. It doesn’t hurt my feelings. I’m just saying. It’s just what it is, man. Because they’re going to be another hunt, another drive, another day to go after it.

Mike Gardner: And I was on some stakes for driven and some spots for walk up that I probably had the best spots of the day. I’ve also had, didn’t even pull trigger.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah, I know.

Mike Gardner: Didn’t have a bird within 150 yards of me. So it’s all luck of the draw. And when you have that good draw, you just make it count. Have fun doing it.

Ramsey Russell: We just got back from a pretty unique experience. What was that we did after dinner? Had to get up on top of that truck.

Mike Gardner: Oh, man, that was exciting. That was –

Ramsey Russell: I wouldn’t expect them to be that big.

Mike Gardner: No, not at all. So we got back and we’re told that they are releasing a rhino on the property. I don’t really remember what for. I didn’t ask.

Ramsey Russell: Big white rhino. They’re kind of raising them here.

Mike Gardner: They are.

Ramsey Russell: They are hunting them. But they’re also just – It’s a hunting is conservation model, you know I’m saying, to create more rhinos.

Mike Gardner: So, there was a big tractor trailer, flatbed trailer with 2 big cargo containers on the back. And when we pulled up, I said it looked like Jurassic Park. When they released the dinosaurs of Jurassic Park.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah, but all those light. Yeah.

Mike Gardner: All the light shining on it. The container was on the ground. The other one was on the truck. They were releasing the other one in a different piece of property. And they took us out there and they got us on the truck. Safety reasons, for one, instead of being on the ground. And we got to. We all filmed it. We all watched it. Of course it was drugged up to transport it and then they give it another drug to get the drugs out of the system and let them walk off. And when he decided to walk out of that container, I bet you his front horn was 22 inches.

Ramsey Russell: They dropped down that side panel to – he was sedated. So he wasn’t too stressed out. And they went and gave him a little, I don’t know what to shave him a shot with. It kind of woke him up a little bit and he opened the door and then you could start seeing more light inside there. And I saw that big old horn. I’m like, wow.

Mike Gardner: It was a massive.

Ramsey Russell: And then he eases, I thought he might just come blowing out, running, disappearing the dogs. He didn’t. He just eased on out and he kept coming. It’s like a school bus coming out of a little container.

Mike Gardner: He was absolutely just and there’s no other word for it. He was a massive animal. And he probably stood 5 foot tall, 5 and a half foot tall –

Ramsey Russell: Head high.

Mike Gardner: Probably 2500 to 3000 pounds. Just a massive animal. I can’t really say anything else.

Ramsey Russell: Right before they open the gate, we’re standing on back of that flatbed because he said that was the safest place to be. And he came up and he told us, he said, now look, he probably won’t, but if he does come at you, sit. Because the last thing you want to do is fall off on the ground with a ride of old grass.

Mike Gardner: Sit on the flatbed truck.

Ramsey Russell: I’m like, Lord God, don’t let me fall off in these crocs.

Mike Gardner: The flatbed was probably 5, 5 and a half foot off the ground. He said that rhino could come up and shake the truck and knock you off. So if he comes over, just sit down. So that was something else. That was cool to watch him leave and slowly get a queen to his new home.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah. What other birds were on your list you might be going home without? We got one more day.

Mike Gardner: The cape shoveler, not –

Ramsey Russell: You want to talk about that. We stood down on 4 birds flying, coming in high, coming right over your position today to let all the mother red bill teal come in. And as they were passing over you, I go, that shoveler.

Mike Gardner: I called the shot off on 4 shoveler to allow –

Ramsey Russell: In all fairness, now you’re looking into the sun with these birds coming in. And I just happened to have a little side glass. I said, was it, you didn’t need a shoveler?

Mike Gardner: But I did. I’m the one that yelled out to pass on the 4 and get the 8 or 10 teal that were behind it because, 8 or 10 allowed everybody to shoot and everybody to shoot at a bird instead of just 4 birds. And after they passed, I was like. And I’ve passed on a couple shovelers, now, just bad timing and just is what it is.

Ramsey Russell: This ain’t meant to be. What’s the favorite bird you’re taking home? The black ducks or the cape shell ducks?

Mike Gardner: I don’t know.

Ramsey Russell: Tomorrow you got a shot at a white backed duck.

Mike Gardner: Yeah. The white faced whistler is beautiful.

Ramsey Russell: Yes.

Mike Gardner: The shell ducks are beautiful. Shell ducks are kind of dumb. But they were fun to stalk. They’re smart, but they’re dumb.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah. The poacher.

Mike Gardner: The hottentot teal is beautiful little bird. The poacher, just because it’s the only diver in Africa. That was pretty cool.

Ramsey Russell: Well, I think you get kind of a little spark go off in your eyes when that night we hunted the poacher.

Mike Gardner: Oh, yeah. I love my divers. And you can tell they’re divers from 10 miles away, the way they fly.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah, they’re divers, aren’t they? They’re poachers.

Mike Gardner: And all these birds are really cool. They’re all very simple at the same time. There a lot of the ducks, kind of the teal all look the same in the body, but the wings are different and the heads are different.

Ramsey Russell: Take them to different. Yeah, their habitats are a lot different. Anyway, Mike, I appreciate you. I’ve really enjoyed, I’ve known you and talked to you for a long time off the interwebs and known of you through your travels. And I’m just really proud to share camp with you this week.

Mike Gardner: Thank you for having me.

Ramsey Russell: Where we going next?

Mike Gardner: You tell me.

Ramsey Russell: Might have to come back down here and get that damn pygmy goose.

Mike Gardner: One of them red crested poachers would be fun, too.

Ramsey Russell: You all be good.

Mike Gardner: Thanks.

Ramsey Russell: Mr. Roy Ricardo, what brings you to South Africa? What brought you to South Africa?

Roy Ricardo: Well, I started doing a little research. All of my hunting experience has been in Louisiana and I started doing a little research about trying to get outside of Louisiana. One of the big websites that came up was getducks. And when I started digging into it, it took me about 2 years of researching it to start figuring out, that I probably wanted to get outside the country and shoot something different.

Ramsey Russell: And South Africa wasn’t your first trip, but you went to Peru.

Roy Ricardo: I went to Peru.

Ramsey Russell: Up 16,000 foot in Andes mountains, Peru.

Roy Ricardo: Yeah. We went to Peru. A friend of mine and myself went to Peru and had a fantastic experience. I mean, it was really right after the COVID was starting to come to an end, so they had a few hiccups in there, but we had a fantastic experience in Peru. Shot a few different species that we hadn’t seen before. Went up to the top of the mountains and shot a few more species that were really cool. And then, as the trip came to a conclusion, I started realizing I got educated on Peru while I was there. And I found that really interesting and made a commitment that I was going to bring my wife the next time I left the country, because she’s into that, too. So that’s how we came up with Africa. We thought Africa would be our next trip. Same thing, we’ve been here, what now, 10, 11 days, maybe 12 days.

Ramsey Russell: 11 days.

Roy Ricardo: Hunted every day. It was fantastic. My goal is species. I’m not really concerned about shooting a lot of ducks, but I like the species.

Ramsey Russell: Now say, I’m asking you a question, because you just – you were talking about the cultural aspects. And that’s what I like to chase the species down the trail, but get that cultural reward. But I’m going to ask you if – we had a real electric group here. We had a novice. We had a guy like me, a guy like Garrett and we had 2 serious guys. And you said the other day at lunch, I don’t care if I shoot another duck, I want to be a new species. So I’m going to ask you, are you an experienced collector or a trophy collector?

Roy Ricardo: I’m a trophy collector.

Ramsey Russell: A trophy collector.

Roy Ricardo: I’m not real experienced with it just because I’ve only been doing it for a few years. Of course, in south of Louisiana, we got to collect a lot of trophies over there and I guess I’m just really kind of getting into it.

Ramsey Russell: What do you think it is about that, though?

Roy Ricardo: About the trophy collection?

Ramsey Russell: What is it that attracts you to a pygmy goose?

Roy Ricardo: Okay. So for me, I’ve always had a lot of respect for the ducks, okay and the geese, but the ducks more than anything. And when I shoot a duck in Louisiana, even as a young kid, we pick up that duck with respect, we lay it out in a boat. I want to take a nice picture before we finish with it. And then when it comes time to eating it or giving it to a friend to eat, I want the duck respected the whole way. We don’t let ducks get away. We use dogs to get them. And I just, I feel really, I guess, strong about making sure that every duck that hits that marsh gets in my boat.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah.

Roy Ricardo: And so I just have always had a lot –

Ramsey Russell: I saw that on these hunts.

Roy Ricardo: Yeah. So I always had a lot of respect for them. And it doesn’t even matter if it’s a duck I’m going to mount or a duck I’m going to eat. When that duck gets picked up, it gets combed off, cleaned up, it’s going to look really nice for the picture. And the whole time, it’s going to be handled respectfully.

Ramsey Russell: I hate a wet duck. And that sounds absurd.

Roy Ricardo: I don’t either.

Ramsey Russell: Because we’re hunting waterfowl. But I hate a wet duck.

Roy Ricardo: I hate it. I like to dry them all out. Actually. We bring towels with us, we dry them off, lay them in the sun. If we hunt none of my nephew’s little flat boat, then we lay them on the front deck while we hunting and we let them dry out. We get really nice pictures out of them.

A Journey Across Africa: From Joburg to Sunset Hunts

We’ve hit every pothole between here and Johannesburg twice, at least 3 provinces, 4 stops did it.

Ramsey Russell: What seems like 25 years ago, we showed up in Joburg made at African sky, it’s only been 11 days, we’ve seen a lot of countries since then. I was telling somebody tonight, after the hunt, during the little sundown, when we were laying out ducks and drinking the cold beer before we left, if you were to come down here as a trophy hunter, now I’m asking if you were to come down here and go to – I could send you to one stop. That stop, we went down a couple days ago and you could literally go check, and get 15. I brought you down here for 11 days, you’ve hunted upland birds by walking. You’ve hunted upland birds with dogs, you’ve hunted upland birds by driven, you’ve hunted geese, you’ve hunted ducks. We’ve passed shot. We’ve decoyed, we spot and stalked. We’ve hit every pothole between here and Johannesburg twice, at least 3 provinces, 4 stops did it. Would you rather have gone check, check or would you rather do this whole immersive experience?

Roy Ricardo: I want to check the boxes, don’t get me wrong. Okay. But I got to do the whole experience because I want to see what the culture like is here in Africa. And I got a chance to see that. I got a chance to see every side of it. Some of these places we hunted in, we seen some people that really were struggling. Some of the places we hunted in, we seen people that weren’t struggling. And it really felt good at the end of the hunts to be able to give these ducks away and these geese away to people who were going to do something with them right away.

Ramsey Russell: How did you feel when we stopped by that little village up one day, that little community, that little 5, 6 house community, didn’t apparently have power, didn’t apparently have plumbing. They come out, they were smiling, they were thankful, they were happy and they took all our geese.

Roy Ricardo: Yeah. Do you think you could have had a better feeling in that? I mean, shooting the ducks now, you start realizing, hey, look how good I got it. And these people are really appreciating it. And then, like you said today, these kids are up on a hill watching this hunt and then they come running down the hill. They come thank us –

Ramsey Russell: Did they got cable tv or an iPhone to play with.

Roy Ricardo: Exactly.

Ramsey Russell: That’s their entertainment. They sat there on the hill and watched us. And the minute we saw we were wrapping up. Here they come.

Roy Ricardo: Yeah, they came on in there. And of course, they were all excited and happy to see us. And then when we were heading out, you were in a different truck than us. Clayton stopped and talked to the little kids and Austin was sitting there shaking hands with all the little kids there. They were really excited to see us.

Ramsey Russell: That’s amazing.

Roy Ricardo: And I was excited to see them, too, to be honest with you.

Ramsey Russell: And they’re out there just walking around their sandals and flip flops, picking up ducks, doing what they can do. And Clayton said, that spot right there, none of the ducks leave. They’re all going back up on the hill to them houses.

Roy Ricardo: Isn’t that something?

Ramsey Russell: And maybe a little tip money or something like that.

Roy Ricardo: That’s fantastic. But you started asking me about checking the boxes and this is really important for me to say because I’m sure somewhere out there there’s somebody else, like I am, checking the boxes is really important. But I’m here in Africa for the first time and I want to be able to see how these people live and I want to see who they really are. And these are some really appreciative people. They are very, very friendly people. I agree. I had a fantastic time. So I’m closing out my hunt today, but tomorrow I’m meeting my wife here in Africa and we’re going to spend another 7 to 8 days on a safari and go visit the animals and learn what that’s all about.

Ramsey Russell: Just purely observation and get to see more places.

Roy Ricardo: That’s right. So my next stop, I started mentioning it to you, but I think our next stop is we’re going to be going to New Zealand and Australia. We’ll do the hunting thing and we’re going to do the vacationing thing. I’m going to check some boxes off and at the same time we’re going to get a chance to visit another country.

Ramsey Russell: How do you think that hunting here in Africa is similar to duck hunting in Louisiana and yet different? What are some of the differences? Obvious differences and similarities?

Roy Ricardo: Well, I don’t see it being as difficult as it is in Louisiana. I mean, in Louisiana, we’re dealing with the swamps and marshes and that’s where I grew up. Over here, you’re dealing with hard ground and you’re just not dealing with the same entire –

Ramsey Russell: Did you feel like a fish out of water hunting with 2 and 3 quarter inch shells and hiking boots instead of 3 and a half inch magnums and waders.

Roy Ricardo: I’m telling you. And that’s me, too. I’m the 3 and a half inch guy all the time. So, yeah, it was completely different. But he puts the ducks in your face. The ducks were right there. If you want to shoot them, you can shoot them. You’ve seen what happened today. I probably shot a box of shells. I killed 4, 5, 6 ducks and I was satisfied with that. And if you’re someone like me that wants to go get a trophy, wants to appreciate duck hunting and not kill a whole lot, then just do what you do.

Ramsey Russell: That’s right.

Roy Ricardo: You don’t have to –

Ramsey Russell: I tried to get you come down there to blind, we were in and you didn’t want to come, so I swapped out with somebody else.

Roy Ricardo: No. I mean part of the enjoyment of duck hunting, to me, is watching these ducks cup their wings and land or cup their wings and start twisting in the wind and stuff. I mean, that’s part of the enjoyment.

Ramsey Russell: Did it surprise you that the yellow billed ducks are like so much like our mallards?

Roy Ricardo: It is a mallard. I mean, it’s just a mallard in a different disguise. That’s all that is. I mean, we have to – What I’ve seen today and you told me last week when I killed that first yellow bill and I was so infatuated with it that just wait and see because they’re going to be a little bit bigger as we get further south. And here we are.

Ramsey Russell: That’s right.

Roy Ricardo: And they were. I mean, it was unbelievable, the difference in size.

Ramsey Russell: How many boxes did you check? How many species or ducks are you going home with?

Roy Ricardo: All right, so I’m going home with 11 species, 10 waterfowl. I got 10 waterfowl and one of those guineafowl and then I got 2 of the white face whistling duck. Cause I want to mount them in 2 different directions.

Ramsey Russell: Is that your favorite duck?

Roy Ricardo: Oh, yeah.

Ramsey Russell: Now, wait a minute, because, I was thinking something else might be. But, man, you were like a kid in a candy store on his first date after his first kiss when you picked up your whistling duck of the day. Talk about not leaving something. You didn’t walk. You ran out to the field to that whistling duck.

Roy Ricardo: I mean, think about it. We in South Africa, okay. And I’m shooting a white faced whistling duck. Now, I got black bellied whistling ducks by my house. I mean, they land by my house all the time. A white face whistling duck in South Africa. You got to pinch yourself. I mean, it’s unbelievable. That was one of the most exciting things.

Ramsey Russell: Had to work for it.

Roy Ricardo: And we had to work for it. Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: Mike finally got his a day and we all applauded and cheered.

Roy Ricardo: Yeah, that’s right. That was a lot of fun. I got a pygmy goose, which was fantastic. And that was probably my ultimate goal. But the pygmy goose was a little bit more of a stalk. The duck hunt was the white face whistling duck. And that was just unbelievable feeling to be able to kill that duck and be able to bring it home as a trophy.

Ramsey Russell: What species did you really want that you did not go home with? You got 11 of the 15 species yeah.

Roy Ricardo: So you got the knob bill. And you told me before I came, Roy, it’s probably going to take you 2 or 3 trips before you get that duck. You don’t always get them all. And you told me the same thing about the black duck. That’s another one. I have my sight set on it, but I was prepared before I came to. Hey, I’m probably not going to get it on my first try, but I didn’t think I was going to get the pygmy goose on my first try. And I did get it and I didn’t think I was going to get the cape shell duck and I got that –

Ramsey Russell: And a cape teal and hottentot –

Roy Ricardo: And a cape teal. Well, just think about the cape teal. You told us when we saw that first, we might not see another one the whole trip. And we did see one and we actually got it.

Ramsey Russell: The knob bill is one of the only truly nomadic type species down here. All the other birds we shot are pretty much local. That knob bill will move. And he had a 150, 200 birds in some of the areas we hunted. And they just shifted. They just went somewhere else.

Roy Ricardo: So for me, I’m going to tell you how I feel about it. For the black duck, I hunted it. I walked a mile and a half along a ditch looking for one. Sorry, so I didn’t get it. I didn’t win that battle. I didn’t get it, but I hunted it, so I’m satisfied right now. And the same thing for the knob bill. We stalked for it yesterday, looked all over the place, didn’t find one. That’s all right. I hunted it. I got the opportunity to be here. I had a lot of fun. I’m going home with 13 birds to put on my dead mount. I’m excited.

Ramsey Russell: Speaking of which, you told me the other day that all your birds that you collect, whether Louisiana, I know you’ve been to, you’ve got a trip scheduled Alaska, a lot of different places you go. Peru, you’ve been to, here you’ve been to. And they all go into your office. And I just imagined a wall full of flying and sitting, standing and swimming ducks. You got a very unique stance. You put them in groupings. Talk about your taxidermy.

Roy Ricardo: That’s right. So when I went to Peru, I took everything I got in Peru, all my trophies and I put them on one dead mount. And I put a few little things on that dead mount that I collected from Peru. And then when I went to Alaska, I did the same thing. I got a few little shells and things from the beach and I got that on one dead mount. So when I go from place to place, that’s a dead mount for me.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah. And my favorite one was your Florida. I have never seen a mounted iguana lizard and I got to have one.

Roy Ricardo: Yeah. Let me tell you that story. It’s a fantastic story. So I killed a black bellied duck, a fulvous duck and 2 mottled ducks, male and female mottled duck, Florida. They’re beautiful too. So while I was at it, the guide, kind of similar to what you were experiencing and the guide asked me what you want to do? We got another day. I said, I don’t want to kill no more ducks. I don’t have no reason to. And he said, well, he says, we got iguanas down here, you want to go iguana hunting? So that’s what we did. So it turned into a big deal. And this Christmas day after Christmas, we going back and I got both of my grandsons coming with me and we all 3 going to get an iguana.

Ramsey Russell: To shoot iguana?

Roy Ricardo: To shoot iguana. Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: Roy, thank you so much. I have so – you’re always a pleasure to talk to on the phone. I love visiting with you, but I have really enjoyed this last couple of weeks. You’ve been just a – every time I see you smiling.

Roy Ricardo: Well that’s great. I appreciate you taking us with you and hoping to do another trip with you.

Ramsey Russell: See you next time. Mike Pesca here in South Africa. Finally, we talked about it forever. You’ve been on some other trips. You’ve been to Peru and we got a trip to Azerbaijan plan. But you’ve been around. How many North American species have you killed?

Mike Pesca: 56.

Ramsey Russell: 50, you count sub like I do.

Mike Pesca: I got a list.

Ramsey Russell: Serious guy. You’re an accountant by trade.

Mike Pesca: Correct.

Ramsey Russell: Do you have like a spreadsheet with species on it? I mean do you have like a spreadsheet, a real technical list?

Mike Pesca: Yes, I got a spreadsheet.

Ramsey Russell: What got you into the collecting game?

Mike Pesca: My mom’s side of the family, they were big waterfowlers, big hunters. And I can remember as a kid walking that to my grandpa’s place and he had a collection in his bedroom.

Ramsey Russell: Really?

Mike Pesca: And so ever since that I always wanted to collect.

Ramsey Russell: Just taxidermy ducks, he killed in Minnesota, I guess.

Mike Pesca: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: What was your first expedition outside the United States?

Mike Pesca: Canada.

Ramsey Russell: Very typical.

Mike Pesca: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: Not much mountain value up there though.

Mike Pesca: No.

Ramsey Russell: Pin feather birds.

Mike Pesca: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: When was the first time you traveled outside and got your hands on some real purge because like, you’ve been to Ireland before even. What all did you kill over there?

Mike Pesca: I killed common poachers, Eurasian wigeon, topped the docks. I think that’s about it. There’s like 4 species there.

Ramsey Russell: Well, that’s good. Those are all good species to kill. Do you have like a species reference, go to reference? Like a bird book or something that you – like, I look at Burns and Madge, which is kind of dated with the scientific names, but it’s waterfowl of the world. And it’s got good descriptions and distribution maps and all the species. And that’s just, I’ve had it for 20 something years and I find myself going through it. I forgot it on this trip. I usually carry it with me. I might want to review the white back duck or something.

Mike Pesca: I think you actually have a list that I actually gone off of.

Ramsey Russell: I do.

Mike Pesca: Yeah. That’s what I’m going off of.

Ramsey Russell: We keep a North American list, which is the 58. And then I’ve got a world waterfowl list, which is variable because it varies on, those are all the species that are possible with all our hunts. You’re a species collector, not an experience collector. I’m kind of an experience collector, but chasing those experiences puts me in, intercepts me with different duck species. That’s my difference. Let’s talk about Africa. We got here a long time ago, it feels like. And we started off different. We went pick guineafowl hunting first. And did you get frustrated in the first couple days? We just shot guineafowl and you hadn’t got your hands on them Perdix you were looking for.

Mike Pesca: I must say that I just think that a day and a half of that was probably enough. And yes, I’d rather shoot ducks, but, it’s an experience. I mean, I’m glad we did it.

Ramsey Russell: Oh, yeah. And we went goose hunting. Wonder when the geese could have been more cooperative. Okay, so you got an Egyptian goose. I don’t even think we killed a stud spur wing. But then that afternoon, the wind turned. Instead of going out right after lunch or breakfast, I say brunch. Mike said, alright, let’s go. And while I was out there shooting ducks, at twilight, you went did something else. How did the wind change that time? Did you feel a little bit better coming in that evening after you all went out and you got all kinds of species? That time you all went on your first little trophy collection, you and Roy and like, Mike. Little Mike, we call him.

Mike Pesca: It was awesome.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah.

Mike Pesca: I mean, we’ve checked off all kinds of birds off our list on that one. That was awesome.

Ramsey Russell: You told me you had a list because there’s 15 possible waterfowl species, but you had priorities. What was your top priority and what were your top 3 priorities for coming down here?

Mike Pesca: Well, I’d say pygmy goose, number one.

Ramsey Russell: Absolutely. Why? I got to ask that question. Why?

Mike Pesca: It’s a beautiful bird

Ramsey Russell: And a very unique habitat.

Mike Pesca: Number two, probably a shell duck.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah.

Mike Pesca: They’re beautiful. Maybe, number three, probably a hottentot.

Ramsey Russell: Hottentot. That’s a cool. How small is a hottentot by size you all are from –

Mike Pesca: By the size of a small dove.

Ramsey Russell: People marvel at house, a green wing is a small bird, but that hottentot, I’d say –

Mike Pesca: Is smaller.

Ramsey Russell: Maybe two thirds the size of that. You got a bonus bird. I was just about to swing through and a pair of birds came in. We were hunting. Remember we were hunting that drain. It was getting dark. They hunt 30 minutes past sunset here. And I would have said, even though they’re going, coming all the way in, sound like a mallard, but it wasn’t, because only one duck does that when they fly it. The whole every wing beat is quacking. And what I saw in the dark is a pair of mallard. Sitting in wasn’t a mallard. You clobbered that one and what’d you end up with?

Mike Pesca: Got a – It was a black duck. African black duck.

Ramsey Russell: African black duck. That was, to me, that’s the big daddy.

Mike Pesca: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: Were there any species you shot here, Mike, that maybe they weren’t high on your priority list, but once you got them in your hands, you go, wow. I mean, was that black duck like, man. Cause that was an immaculate black duck.

Mike Pesca: No. Probably the cape shoveler. Probably. I wasn’t planning on bringing back a shoveler, but I looked at it, it’s like, it’s nice.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah. Which 2 species? Cause you got to go with a bare wire on these things. Which 2 species most eluded you? We scratched them off today.

Mike Pesca: Probably the white backed duck.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah. You and Roy put some miles in yesterday.

Mike Pesca: Yes, we did.

Ramsey Russell: Came back, didn’t have one.

Mike Pesca: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: And we went back out there with some folks today and somebody – there was a levee separating just like this system of ponds. And a couple of folks went over yonder to try to spot and stop. He said, well, I’m going to sit here and jump in case anything comes. And one of the guys was out in a boat and every. I mean, bam. Mike got his. Garrett got his. Mike, come over here. Well, I’m like, come over here. You just sat down for 32 seconds when you had your white backed duck, dude. How’d that feel?

Mike Pesca: It was unexpected in that way.

Ramsey Russell: Was it a relief?

Mike Pesca: Well, yeah. It’s like, I didn’t think I was going to get a white back. They seem like, bam, I got a white back.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah. There he is. What about the white faced whistling duck?

Mike Pesca: It’s a beautiful bird.

The Perfect Shot: A Hunter’s Satisfaction

6 people lined up and this thing turns like the needle on a compass right towards you, comes right at you. How did it feel? One shot, bam.

Ramsey Russell: There’s more of them around this year than I’ve seen here. I’ve killed them here. But there’s a bunch around. And this morning they had a plan. We hunted this lake this big, what they call a dam, yesterday. And a lot of ducks on it. There was a pair of black ducks, saw them yesterday. Somebody missed them. Saw them a day as we were walking in. Couldn’t get a shot at them. Pair of cape shelducks. Nobody needed that. A lot of red billed teal, a lot of yellow bills and there was a flock of whistlers. And so we all got situated kind of to drain on the levee. That’s where they like to fly through. And the 2 trucks drove on further back, got the birds flying. And you were on one side of drain, I was on the other. There was 3 and 3 of us kind of just formed a little shooting line. And first flock come over us and stuff started coming down. You didn’t get the fire shot. Second flock came over and I said, shoot. And you’re like, they’re 150 yards, shut up. Everybody was just praying to God, you get it? And there ain’t been a duck fly. I could look through my binoculars and see them over there and see just a few red billed, all the whistlers were gone. And about this time, here comes a bird off a lake heading towards us. And several of us were thinking, what looks like a cormorant, kind of long and goofy looking. I put my binocular, I go, holy cow, that’s a whistling duck, the last one on the lake. 6 people lined up and this thing turns like the needle on a compass right towards you, comes right at you. How did it feel? One shot, bam. How did it feel when he landed?

Mike Pesca: Finally, I could check out my list. I got my white face.

Ramsey Russell: What will you take away from this trip. Let me ask you another question. I want to ask you what you’ll take away from it. But I asked you tonight when we were drinking a cold beer at sundown, looking at all those beautiful birds we shot and taking a good picture and having a good time and visiting and kind of closing out this hunt. And we could have gone on a hunt where you go check and get them all. But instead I said, Mike, come on, do this big 11 day 2 outfitter, 4 stop, 3 province tour with me. And you went with it. If you had to do again, would you go just strictly on a species checklist or might you just say, no, I want to do the whole. I mean, you have, let’s face it, you’ve hit at least 500 potholes in the backseat of that truck. You’ve seen a lot of food, a lot of lodges, a lot of country. And just beyond the birds, you’ve gotten immersed into this whole thing. You’ve seen a lot of country in the last 11 days. If you had to do it again, would you go for the scenic route? Would you go straight to the shortcut and just check boxes?

Mike Pesca: I would do exactly what we did. I was the whole experience.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah, we really – you spot and stalk some of the species. You push poles, we pass shot, we decoyed. I mean, it was just some high volume. One day you might get one species or no species. It was just the full thing, man. And I just think it’s just – I think it’s the way you do it.

Mike Pesca: It was a great trip.

Ramsey Russell: But you’re not a big game hunter.

Mike Pesca: Well, I was on this trip.

Ramsey Russell: Well, that wasn’t your first big game? No.

Mike Pesca: I’ve killed a lot of white tailed deer over the years.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah. But you went out and got you Nyala.

Mike Pesca: Yes.

Ramsey Russell: That was a complete and utter spur of the moment opportunity we had. And you had asked about shooting, maybe shooting a big game animal while you were down here, an antelope or something. And I had asked and when he sent the price list back, I told Garrett, I said, man, look at price on these freaking and yelling. They’re beautiful. He goes, I’m going to kill one. He just got back from the forest. I’m going to kill another one. I said, hell, I’m going to go weed. I’m going to shoot one, too. And then the whole, everybody’s up, like, raise their hands, all set, rolls. And we’re going to shoot one. That was kind of a good little something to do, wasn’t it?

Mike Pesca: Absolutely.

Ramsey Russell: I mean, you’re in Africa.

Mike Pesca: Yes.

Ramsey Russell: Why not go shoot something with spiral horns?

Mike Pesca: Correct.

Ramsey Russell: What will you take most away from this trip? I mean, you’ve been a lot of different places, but what will most define this experience? The South Africa experience.

Mike Pesca: It’s just awesome being here. I mean, how many different moves did we make? 5 moves.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah.

Mike Pesca: Different lodges, different scenery. Going to see a lot of different wildlife.

Ramsey Russell: Different food, different temperatures. I’ve worn every single layer I brought and hardly any.

Mike Pesca: Yes. Correct. Yeah. This is an awesome trip.

Ramsey Russell: What’s next for you, Azerbaijan?

Mike Pesca: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: I was going to ask you this question. We did not even see it. We saw one knob bill, one hunter had one shot at a knob bill else none. And you picked up most of the other species? I can, I think you picked up more species than anybody else on this trip. But as somebody that’s as serious a collector as yourself, you’ve been on a lot of trips that you’ve been very successful, got most of your priority lists or all of your priority lists. But I talked to a guy one time, Mike. He’s a lion hunter back in the day. You could really go hunt wild lions and bring them back to the states. He was that guy. And he killed his, he killed his full main African lion on the 21st evening, right at sunset of his 3rd consecutive 21 days far. And it was the first time he ever pulled the trigger in 63 days. Hell, I’d have turned a gun on myself before I sat in a blind 63 days shoot anything. But has it ever crossed your mind? I mean and how did it make you feel with this? There ain’t no guarantee, man. These are wild birds. What do you do if you go on a trip like that and you don’t get the pygmy goose or you don’t get the bird? Go back or –

Mike Pesca: Maybe I’ll go back. It doesn’t appreciate it.

Ramsey Russell: Just kind of inspires you to do something. What would you tell anybody, considering this trip to expect or to prepare? What tip would you give somebody that might want to come to South Africa and experience the species and the culture? Something you’d have packed or something you’d have brought or some skill set or just something? What would be the right mindset, one parting tip you’d give somebody?

Mike Pesca: That’s a good question. I don’t really know have an answer for that. I guess you have it pretty well laid out.

Ramsey Russell: This hunt attracts a lot of skilled hunters, mostly. Especially on the species side and I think that being prepared to play the game and shoot play for keep little Big Mike. And he’s the biggest one. But we call him little. That man spent 8 hours in a boat and came up scratch on a drake pygmy goose.

Mike Pesca: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: But he went to bare wire on it.

Mike Pesca: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: And likewise, you went to the bare wire right up to the last moment and you got your white backed up. I think you got to be willing to do that but still sit up, say I played a clean game and I didn’t get him.

Mike Pesca: There’s no guarantees to it. So knocking wood, I’ve been pretty lucky.

Ramsey Russell: I’ve known of you and I’ve talked to you and I’ve engaged with you for quite a while now, Mike. I know you as an ardent waterfowler and serious collector and I’m glad to have finally met and shared camp with you.

Mike Pesca: Yeah, it’s been fun hunting with you.

Ramsey Russell: Thank you very much.

Mike Pesca: You bet.

Ramsey Russell: Mrs. Austin Collins down here in South Africa. I can remember 2 years ago, I was only posting up stories and we were at the driven guineafowl when you sent me a message and said, I’m coming down to South Africa. And here we are. What brings you specifically down to South Africa?

Austin Collins: I just remember seeing you on Instagram and posting on your different podcasts and talking about it and just really was excited about the different variety and I wanted to get out internationally. You say this a lot. Your phrase is probably different, but tomorrow’s never promised.

Ramsey Russell: Oh, yeah. I mean, yeah. Life Short’s GetDucks, what I always say. And it’s a big world. The world’s a lot bigger in a backyard. This you were telling me and you reminded me that you’ve been hunting for 4 years. 4 years ago, thereabouts, you went to a skeet. Why’d you even go to skeet range or whatever for 4 years ago?

Austin Collins: I Had a friend that was a competitive shooter, a little bit of a seasoned gentleman. And he was talking to me about the dove hunts and competitive shooting and I was like, oh, man, I really want to do skeet shooting. That’d be cool and show me how. So he took me out and we showed up one day and he was like, where’s your husband? And I was like, I’m here. Show me how to do this. And a year later, went back and tried to get them to teach me again and kept going weekend after weekend and they would talk about their dove hunts, that they’d go on to the Ford ranch, big ranch down in Texas and it sounded so much fun. I didn’t know what hunting was other than deer hunting coming from Texas, but I had never been interested in hunting, never crossed my path. So they talked about, the friends and the camaraderie and all the food that they make afterwards and it just sounded so much fun. But I would never get an invite. And then finally one day, I got an invite to go on some public land with a friend. And the rest, history. That’s about 5 years ago.

Ramsey Russell: How many duck hunts in 5 years have you been home?

Austin Collins: Oh, gosh.

Ramsey Russell: 50, 100.

Austin Collins: Probably 50. I’d say.

Ramsey Russell: And about 10 times a year.

Austin Collins: Maybe some years. Last year was a lot. I was gone traveling. I did a lot of travel hunts. 7 of 13 weekends I was gone.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah.

Austin Collins: Which is a lot.

Ramsey Russell: And then I met you, I don’t know, a couple years ago, season 4 last. We both drew for swan tag. Me and you and 7 or 8 others got together over at Blackland Outfitters and shot our swans. But that’s a big jump from skeet range to duck hunting. Swan hunting now. You’re in Africa. You’re in freaking Africa.

Austin Collins: I know it’s so amazing.

Ramsey Russell: What was, like, on your list? What was your primary objective? What were you collecting when you came here?

Austin Collins: like some of the other guys here, I’m not a huge collector. I’ve gotten really into a few birds this last year. I have a dog now and so some of those new first retrieves I took to my taxidermist. But the one bird I was really interested in was the pygmy goose.

Ramsey Russell: Why?

Austin Collins: Beautiful bird. Oh, my gosh. The green, the white. I mean, I remember that picture. And if you google pygmy goose, you’ll see your picture right up there from your page and it’s just like, wow, what an amazing bird. And one thing I love about waterfowl is just all the information. And that’s why I love your podcast, is because you’re just a source of information. And all the things that you can learn. And so coming to South Africa to harvest birds that you’re not going to ever get in the States, it’s a different experience, for sure.

Ramsey Russell: What was it like when you shot your pygmy goose? How did that feel? Because that wasn’t your first –

Austin Collins: Oh, man.

Ramsey Russell: That wasn’t the first bird you salted away in the freezer for taxidermy. But that was a pretty big one. What did it feel like picking it up?

Austin Collins: Oh, I was shaking. I was shaking like a leaf, because just like the tundra swan, when you and I went hunting together. It was like one shot, there’s a lot of pressure, because these pygmy geese, a couple of the guys had already got theirs here, but another guy was struggling that day. And it’s like that one shot kind of thing, right? And so I was out with Sebastian, who’s our guide here and we’re scoping and glassing and there’s about 6 there. And I’m trying to pick out which ones and I’m not the best with binos and so I’m trying to pick out which one to go after. And so finally he was like, all right, take them. And so took that shot. And man, I was just – I had a feeling we had and we’ll probably talk about this, but hunted began this week and there’s a different feeling. It’s a rush of adrenaline that came over and I was shaking like a leaf right after. And I don’t know, it was joy and excitement, but at the same time, like, it’s a bit of a sense of accomplishment. You came this far. And that was one of my goals, was to get a pygmy goose and got it done.

Ramsey Russell: You made it look easy. Poor Mike. Little Mike spent 8 hours in a boat seat. He’s still complaining about sitting on a 2 by 4 for 8 hours. And we drove down through the sugar cane, through the corn, through the swamps, through mud, 4 wheel driving and missed a turn. Got in there, we shoved the boat off and off you go. And I did not even finish my Diet Coke. I answered 2 texts and finished a Diet Coke when I heard the shot.

Austin Collins: Well –

Ramsey Russell: I’m like, you just went and shot him.

Austin Collins: Well, we came right out, we actually flushed, too. And so we looked around and I mean, they’re hard to spot because they sit on these lily pads. And so we went out and Sebastian’s looking and he’s like, I think they’re going to be over here. And so you had to be real quiet. And we were probably 100 yards away and just try to get a little bit closer. And we were using the reeds, to kind of COVID us up. And although we’re in this bright green canoe, unlike the one that Michael and other guys were on, a little bit different, more modern canoe. So I don’t know. I think there’s a sense of – especially down here in South Africa, with the way we’ve been hunting, there is a little bit of a luck in the sense of, okay, you got into that one spot in that blind and the birds are coming in. And obviously you got to be able to shoot well. I could have missed it, right. I could have shot over the head and totally missed. But I just had a good shot. I kind of, I think, implemented what I learned early in the week was breathing and I just pulled the trigger. So –

Ramsey Russell: Well, pygmy goose was high on your list, but you have got a bunch of birds, I think, frozen. What other species are you bringing home?

Austin Collins: Oh, gosh, I need to look at my list.

Ramsey Russell: Cape shelducks.

Austin Collins: Yeah, cape shelducks. So those were yours, I think, thank you.

Ramsey Russell: Cape shell today?

Austin Collins: Yeah. Cape shoveler, hottentot teal –

Ramsey Russell: White back duck.

Austin Collins: White back duck.

Ramsey Russell: Some of the guys are going home without a white back duck. And 4 guys went out to shoot one today. And you led the charge.

Austin Collins: Well, I also led the charge on the white face whistling.

Ramsey Russell: The white face whistling, that’s right.

Austin Collins: I was the first one to get it down in free state.

Ramsey Russell: That’s right.

Austin Collins: Yeah. Man, that was a shot. And that hunt was amazing. Oh, my gosh. That was something I like it.

Ramsey Russell: What was it like?

Austin Collins: Well, I was in my own blind with Paul and you and Garrett were in the other one. And what was cool about that one was it was. I honestly had texted Michael, one of the guys here. He wasn’t on the hunt with us. And I was like, yeah, the teal just didn’t do it. We were going to be hunting a little bit later and here in South Africa in that area, we could hunt a little bit later than, we’re used to back in the States, so we expected to be hunting into the nighttime and they just didn’t do it. And I thought I texted him and then all of a sudden, right when I put my phone down, they’re just bombing in like, oh, my gosh, it was so fast and furious shooting. And at one point, it got so dark to where you really had to, like, either take the bird, over the horizon into the sky or if it dropped down, you weren’t going to be able to see it on the water until it picked back up.

Ramsey Russell: Could you shoot 30 minutes past sunset?

Austin Collins: Yes.

Ramsey Russell: Pitch black dark.

Austin Collins: Yeah. It was awesome to see, like, your fire and that bright, orange light going off. And in particular, that white faced duck, he came around my right and he was taken off. And I just leaned in and kept at him and I saw him go down and I’m like, I got him. So then I was worried that we were going to lose him because he sailed. He sailed a bit.

Ramsey Russell: And I couldn’t believe when Paul came back.

Austin Collins: Yeah, Paul came back. I was like, oh, my Gosh.

Ramsey Russell: He took scout out in the pitch black dark without a light, 150 yards and came back with that whistler.

Austin Collins: Yeah. So, man, that was a highlight of that one. And I felt good because I had been shooting a little rough or I think it’s a little bit intimidating, only girl here with this, with all these guys and man, all these guys and you obviously are great shot. So I’ve only been doing it 5 years, so I’m still not at that level, but started off a little rough. And then finally that hunt kind of turned around and felt like I finally got in my groove.

Ramsey Russell: You’ve been on 5 years, about 50 hunts.

Austin Collins: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: Honestly, how many ducks had you killed before you came to South Africa?

Austin Collins: Oh, gosh, I don’t know. I mean, I’ve had some big hunts.

Ramsey Russell: I mean, just ballpark, 50, 100.

Austin Collins: I mean, I don’t know Ramsey. I don’t tally them.

Ramsey Russell: But not 1000s.

Austin Collins: No. I mean, no, for sure. I’ve had some pretty big ones.

Ramsey Russell: I’m bringing up a good point here because I saw you shoot the swan, I’ve seen you shoot this week and you haven’t shot the 100s or 1000s that a lot of the men in camp have, but you hold you on.

Austin Collins: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: And here’s what I’m leading up to. So you got your pygmy goose one day and then the next day you go back down there with a guy that spent 8 hours in the blind and you shot it hottentot.

Austin Collins: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: There’s over 8 billion people on earth you’ve shot. Let’s just say you shot a 100 ducks in your entire life before you came to Africa. 8 billion people on earth and your very first leg band is a hottentot teal. And I’m going to say you’re the only human being that can say that –

Austin Collins: Yeah, maybe.

Ramsey Russell: Because they don’t band here to speak of.

Austin Collins: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: What in the world? I mean and you picked up the bird and you posed for a picture and you see something on his leg. What then? Tell me what ran through your head? Did you scream? Did you run in place?

Austin Collins: Yeah. So, I mean, first, I’ve never. Like I said, I never shot a band. I’ve always wanted a band. There’s been times when we’ve had group shots and I never got that lucky feather in the empty shell. And so we had – okay, we finally spotted the 2 and I had missed a pair. And so again, you’re like, oh, man. It’s a lot of pressure. You don’t have many chances in some of these birds, especially at the spot and stalk. So I missed my first pair and the second pair we were coming up on and our bird guy that was with us, that was local, he knew the land. He was like, encouraging Sebastian. Sorry, we weren’t with Sebastian. Clayton. He was like, Clayton, let’s go. Clayton was like, I don’t know if we need to be able to get close enough. So we pull up and he’s like, okay, right one, there’s a hen. And the drake. Drake’s on the right. So I pull up and I’m on the truck and I’ve got my shotgun down range.

Ramsey Russell: Because that’s a spot stock.

Austin Collins: Yeah. So we came up on the truck and he stopped and he was like, okay, take him. And again, same thing. I just pulled the trigger and I’ve got the footage on the shot cam and hit 2 with one. I got the hen too. So we’re taking pictures. I’m just stoked that I got both of them because of course you just wanted the drake, but to have the pair. And it was a beautiful hen, hottentot teal. And I’m there and I’m standing there and all of a sudden I look down and there’s metal on her foot. On her little foot right there. And I was like, oh, my god, it’s banded. And Mike grabs the teal out of my hand and he’s holding it up. He’s like and we’re a couple of farms[00:01:44:15] there, but we’re like, what the. And I think we were all in shock, especially Clayton, because he said his dad’s been doing this for since I think, 78.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah.

Austin Collins: And he’s never seen a band.

Ramsey Russell: Never seen a band.

Austin Collins: So hey, my luck paid that day and just blessed to have that experience. I mean, that’s one of my highlights, for sure, because it’s like, oh, my gosh, once in a lifetime. So to have your first band in South Africa, it’s just pretty special, walking away with that.

Ramsey Russell: I should say so. I know it won’t be once in my lifetime ever, except to see yours. And then we ended up going big game hunting because we were way further south and we were – And some of the guys, everybody wants to shoot a pygmy goose, so we’re going to say some guys shoot pygmy goose. And hey, we got this idea if you all want to go shoot some plains game nearby. And we did. And that morning we showed up at, I don’t know, 08:00 just maybe not even that early. I maybe didn’t that late. And we go to shooting range, make sure the guns are zeroed. And that was the first time you ever pulled a trigger on a rifle. You shot the target twice and then we went to hunt Nyala. Tell me about that hunt.

Austin Collins: Oh, man. I mean, again, you said it. I’ve never shot big game. I’ve never been even thought really about deer, it’s been something. I’ve gotten to waterfowl and I’ve wanted to focus on the one passion I have before, spreading myself out too much. So when we talked about it, I was like, yeah, actually, let’s give it a shot. Let’s see if I can do this. And so we went out and I was borrowing one of the guides, 308s and he had a scope and we came up on 2 big ones. I was going first and I was with Michael in the vehicle and both of them, I had trouble with the scope, getting on it that fast to see full glass.

Ramsey Russell: Could you drive around, step off and go and stalk them?

Austin Collins: So we stepped off and we finally got it on the and I get in. The length of pool was too long for me, so I was having a hard time getting full glass. And by the time I would get in, the Nyala would turn and walk off and a couple of them we tried to track and we just lost them. So thankfully, you and Garrett have already got yours. And I texted you and we switched vehicles. I was excited that you were excited to come with me. And so you and I and off we went.

Ramsey Russell: I raised 3 kids shooting a rifle. I knew I could get what we did we got a shorter gun.

Austin Collins: Which was needed.

Ramsey Russell: And we practiced there at headquarters. You’re like, bam, you throw it up like you throw up a shotgun, look right through the scope and see glass right away. Okay, let’s go kill one.

Austin Collins: Yeah. So we’re out and I think you and I went out for about an hour. I think we were again. And what’s amazing about these game drives is, I really wanted to do a safari tour afterwards, but I just time resources, all that, afterwards, after a 10 day, 11 day hunt, didn’t make it happen, but you got to see so much game, so much wildlife. Like the wildebeests and oh, my gosh, the giraffes were just gorgeous. I mean, we were so close to so many game animals. And so while it wasn’t a safari tour, it was pretty much a safari tour on the game drive, as we’re going out and searching for the Nyala, but warthogs and blesbok and impalas and I mean, you name it, we saw so many game animals and so it was just so rewarding, even just to be out there. I think even if I hadn’t shot Nyala, it would have been so rewarding just to experience that side of South Africa. But we were turning, we were going around and we were talking about the fever trees and the history there. We were turning a corner and I pointed at a couple of Nyala and I was like, hey and the guide was like, no, we already saw those, those were the smaller ones. I was like, okay. So then I pointed out one of the trees that I love here. It’s an acacia umbrella thorn tree. And I pointed out, I said, man, I love those trees. And they’re so picturesque, South Africa to me, that’s what I think about when I see South Africa in my mind. And sure enough, we turn, we come up around the corner and right there, as if, like God’s light had just shined his light down in the sun, which this was about 11:00 our time, which is really around getting a little warm.

Ramsey Russell: All the animals starting to lay up in the shade, not really moving.

Austin Collins: Yeah. And sure enough, right there is this monster Nyala. Just big horns and you and I rush and we’re on the truck and so we had the bag and set the rifle and I’m trying to calm my breath and not get too anxious and there wasn’t enough time to really even think about that. And I lined it up right where you all told me. And right as I turned, right as I went to pull the trigger, the Nyalaturns. He turned. And so my shot, I was really worried when it hit. I was like, did I get him? And I didn’t know if I had a bad shot. I was so worried about that, because that’s the worst thing, being a new hunter again, you want to have an ethical, clean shot kill. And so I think I hit the lung shot there and we went and he had went and laid down under that acacia tree.

Ramsey Russell: He didn’t run 20 yards. We could tell. I could tell it was a great hit.

Austin Collins: Yeah, he kicked.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah. And it turned out to be a fantastic Nyala.

Austin Collins: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: Fantastic Nyala. What was it like sharing camp with a bunch of old men?

Austin Collins: Well, I think they’re all old. There’s a couple of guys a little bit more my age, but I think one of the things I have loved, even when I first started hunting super new 1st year, 2nd year, I was going out solo. I’d call up outfitters who would be willing to take a female solo hunter onto their trips and I’d always show up and there’d always be. I call them seasoned men there and I like learning and listening to their stories. I’ve got friends back home and girls and a younger crowd that I’m trying to hunt more with more frequently, but they don’t have the history to tell. And so I think that’s part of what I’ve personally loved of being around folks older than me, is that I can learn from them and listen to their stories. And Roy talking about the experiences he’s had and encouraging me, like, just tonight, he was encouraging me about Peru and the light in his eyes about what he’s experienced. And I guess kind of just following in those footsteps and having your own experience.

Ramsey Russell: Do you have any advice for other young women or women that hunt their husband doesn’t or just women in general that want to get out beyond their backyards and see the world? Do you have any advice that you would point them in?

Austin Collins: My first piece of advice –

Ramsey Russell: Like a guy going off around the country doing this versus a woman, like, I had this conversation with a lady named Mama Duck one time. She’s talking about how difficult it is for women to develop a sense of agency and confidence and just go do this stuff. So that’s what I’m kind of leading into.

Austin Collins: Well, that’s where I was going to go. I don’t know if I’ve probably said this phrase to you before, but you’ve got to have confidence in yourself and believe you can. I think that’s the biggest thing that I’ve kind of instilled in my life. I’ve had a number of different triumphs and also challenges and hurdles. And I’ve always said, if you believe it and you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything. So I think I instilled that into just, starting to learn in waterfowl as I was a younger, obviously still am. But even in my first couple years, I just had a desire and a passion to, you want to learn about this sport? And said, not letting anything kind of get in my way to be able to do it. So I would encourage women to believe in themselves, not let stereotypes, get in the way and find a mentor. Even if it’s somebody who’s walked in the shoes right before you. What I mean by that is a couple of women have reached out, as I’ve been posting on Instagram and things like that and really applauding me for sharing and inspiring them. And one lady said, man, you give me hope that I can do this, too. And I’m like, you totally can. So we were talking about where should she should start. So it’s important in anything in life to reach up and also reach down. No matter where you are. Because while I’m not 20, 30 years into hunting, I’m 5 years in, but I can give somebody who’s not there yet a glimpse of what it’s been like in this day and age in the last 5 years and give them that experience and help guide them through that. I’m not what you’d call an expert, but I’m an expert at being new. If that makes sense.

Ramsey Russell: We’re all learning.

Austin Collins: Yeah. And you have to have a desire to learn. That’s the other thing I think I would want to implore your listeners is learning about the games, the game animals that you are harvesting, spending time to understand them. One thing that we were talking about that was so beautiful about South Africa is they use the birds, they use the game meat. Back home, some people just will breast it out and I get it. But when I first started, I really wanted to try to learn how to use the heart, how to use the liver, how to take the duck feet. I had guys laughing at me one time for cutting off duck feet from a hunt. And I was like, they were like, what are you going to do with that? And I’m like, well, you can put it in stock and you can make them into dog treats, just really using the resource. So either using the resources, learning about what you are harvesting, you’re taking lives out of the nature. You want to do that animal justice. And if you don’t know the next thing about the species that you’re killing and harvesting, is that really doing that resource justice. So that’s what I would also implore in someone new is to do some research. There’s so many great knowledgeable resources out there and that’s one thing I’ve really enjoyed about learning about waterfowl and educating myself.

Ramsey Russell: You shot a lot of new species. You shot a lot of new country. We must have hit 5000 potholes between here and Joburg in the last 2 months. It’s only 11 days, but it feels like it. You met a lot of people, eating a lot of food, stayed in a lot of lodges, put your hands on a lot of species and been inducted. We blooded your face in the big game hunting. How will this experience, a major time? You’re not just going to North Carolina, shoot a swan or going up to Wisconsin to train dogs. South Africa a long flight away. How will it change? How are you going home differently? Who are you now versus who you were and how will that project itself into your future?

Austin Collins: Man, I had emotional moment there with a game animal and harvesting a big game animal is different than a duck. Touching them, feeling them, praying, thanking them for it. The blood tradition was, I was proud. I wore that all day and night.

Ramsey Russell: You wore it to supper that night.

Austin Collins: I wore it to supper. I didn’t want to take it off because I felt like, man, I’m doing this animal justice, this is my badge of honor. Seeing South Africa, it’s the experience of it all. It’s watching those that don’t have. This isn’t the United States. It’s hard to see all the today the kids came up to us, smiles on their faces. But you see families that don’t have running water. I mean, they’re walking miles to go get water, they don’t have a commode. They might be just going in the bush, they don’t have the meal or like I said, when we donated geese to them after a shoot, they talked about how they’re using the entire bird. And I think we take it for granted, sometimes. And so for me, it’s the simple things that I think that South Africa has just reminded me of to be grateful. You just sometimes take those things for granted. Even running water, okay, I’m not going to take as long with water and washing my hands. I know that sounds so just simple, but when you think about what they don’t have here, that definitely is something that will change me. But then I also, this trip I’ve really thought about, a question I’ve been kind of toiling with myself is like, why do you love to hunt? It’s not the trigger pull, it’s not the piles. It’s the experience. It really is all of that. And so what was cool to see is not anti hunters, but maybe non hunters getting a glimpse into how hunting does affect nature and help conservation and kind of showing that through the South Africa experience. For me, I want to go back and better understand and be able to super well articulate conservation hunting, really get involved and better understand that side of it because it’s really important. Otherwise we won’t have hunting for future generations or future species. And again, that goes back to doing it right as a hunter. You should know ethical game and you should understand the game and understand it all, because otherwise, to me, that’s just hunting for sport and that’s not who we should be. So I think it’s just kind of opened my eyes and helped me question, why do I love hunting so much? That was a question I’ve been kind of thinking about the last couple days even. Why do others love hunting so much? What are they getting out of it? Is there something that I’m not seeing or something I’m missing out, as well? It’s just kind of really helped me start to think about hunting a little bit differently. It’s really fun, don’t get me wrong, but it’s definitely a way of life. And there’s so many people out there that love it and it’s a passion. But I, sit there and ask yourself, why do I love hunting?

Ramsey Russell: That’s a lot more than just a bunch of dead animals coming home, to be mounted, isn’t it?

Austin Collins: They’re going to be pretty on the wall, don’t get me wrong. But like you said, it’s not about that trigger pull. It’s about that experience, that came with that moment, that memory, everything that surrounded it.

Ramsey Russell: There were 6 of us. There’s a lot of different personalities, a lot of different skill sets, a lot of different individuality, trophy or species or adventure or experience and a combination of all of it. And we mix and match shared blinds and shared dinner every night, shared a lot of ideas and rode with different people and mixed it up. I mean, there’s a lot of conversations along those lines. I mean, just a lot of conversations you find in just 11 days riding with a diverse collection of hunters, isn’t it?

Austin Collins: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think it’s super different not being with, like, your friends. As an example, hey, these trips would be great with friends, but I do think that, going with people that you don’t know is also the experience. You would never meet and be exposed to their life and their side of hunting if it was just here you and your friends. So there’s pros and cons to doing a trip like this with people that you know and then, thinking about it with those that you maybe, don’t know. I tried to just go with the flow. I enjoyed the varied amount of hunts that we did, the spot and stalk, the driven guineafowl, all of it, the upland and the volume shoots as well. Try to just go with the flow. I know some of the guys here, they’re looking for certain species to knock off and for me that’s great, too. I’m taking a lot of birds home, luckily, but it wasn’t about that for me, but I also think I didn’t know everything that it was going to be about. You come here for pygmy goose and knowing there’s variety and I’m walking away with, like, completely different memories and changing, who I really am, really feeling differently and walking away from South Africa, it’s been beautiful.

Ramsey Russell: So just final question. Having been through all these experiences and all this range of emotions and everything else, do you leave here a trophy hunter or an experience? A trophy collector or an experienced hunter?

Austin Collins: Oh, God, no. No, not a trophy hunter. It’s experiences.

Ramsey Russell: Absolutely.

Austin Collins: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: Thank you very much. I’ve enjoyed sharing the weeks with you, Austin.

Austin Collins: Thank you Ramsey.

Ramsey Russell: Folks, thank you all for listening to this episode of Duck Season Somewhere, see you next time.

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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 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