Ramsey scratches Oregon off the duck hunting list, leaving on Virginia and West Virginia remaining. He recounts his visit with host Brandon Potter, who describes waterfowl opportunities, waterfowl species, hunting styles, and what it’s like living and raising family in close proximity to Portland, the most left-leaning, woke-assed city in America.


Correction: In Oregon, dusky geese can only legally be hunted farther east than described in this episode. The dusky goose line is east of Benton, Clackamas, Clasp, Columbia, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Tillamoook, Washington and Yamhill counties. Simply put, east of the Cascades.


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Ramsey Russell: Welcome back to MOJO’s Duck Season Somewhere podcast from Oregon, state number 47 on my bucket list, back during COVID I got this idea, I’d hunted about 34 or 35 states, had killed ducks in 34 or 35 states and I decided I wanted to kill one in every state I could kill one in and which is 49 because you can’t duck hunt in Hawaii. And I decided, man, I’m going to do this. And it took a little doing and Oregon has been a tough one because it’s kind of out of the way, so to speak. Joining me today is Mr. Brandon Potter from Oregon, who was generous enough to invite me to come and join them. I got a lot of invites to come out here, but this one fit the schedule. It was a crazy fall schedule, but I’m glad to be here. Glad to have a good time. I wanted you all to hear about what it’s like hunting in Oregon. Brandon, how the heck are you, man?

Brandon Potter: Pretty good, Ramsey. How are you?

Ramsey Russell: Had a good morning. We had a good morning, yesterday was a tough day, I know the birds threw you a curveball. It wasn’t what Brad said the scout report would be. I was exhausted, to be honest with you and for obvious reasons, but, dad gum, I tell you what that one bird he did it, that’s all I needed. And of course, Brad killed one, too. But that one bird was all I needed and I said, hey, high five.

Brandon Potter: That one bird did it, right? That was the goal, get you your one bird.

Ramsey Russell: At least one.

Brandon Potter: Yeah. At least one.

Ramsey Russell: This morning was a lot better. We went out and hunted public. We hunted a big body of water. We tried those coastal wigeons and that was more duck it’s like I said, though, it’s like I’m not out there to watch the sunrise. Although this morning was pretty freaking spectacular with all them clouds and the way the sun was just beaming down on the bay out there, that was about as spectacular sunrise as I’ve ever seen and it kept rising the whole morning, it just, it was amazing. But I wasn’t there to shoot, just to watch sunrise. I’ve never shoot ducks. We’re duck hunting, but the thing about it is, Brandon, is it never ceases to amaze me how chasing ducks pulls people into your orbit. Real interesting people and that’s what I’ve come to enjoy the most about it. Just the stories I hear in the duck blinds, the things I see yesterday, who’d ever thought you’d shoot ducks in the middle of a mint field? I didn’t know there wasn’t such thing as a mint field, let alone a 50 acre spearmint field. Never gave it another thought and I think it’s real interesting and I appreciate you having me out here, had a good time so far and tomorrow we got something else lined up, don’t we?

Brandon Potter: Yeah. I got another one lined up for tomorrow. Hopefully that one’s the best one of them all yet.

Ramsey Russell: Are you, you’re from Oregon?

Brandon Potter: Yep. Born and raised here in Oregon.

Ramsey Russell: What was it like growing up in Oregon?

Brandon Potter: I grew up in a small login town about hour from where we’re at now and it was quiet out there, wasn’t too much out of the normal, wasn’t near as crazy as it is now. And not the Oregon you see on the news, that’s for sure.

Ramsey Russell: The Oregon you see on the news, we’re going to talk about this later. The Oregon you see on the news is Portland. That’s and man, we’re going to get into that later, because it’s been an eye opener for me. I just thought parts of California were crazy. And, man, if I got an eye feel, an eyeful out here in Oregon, but only drove through it where we’ve been 30 to an hour, 30 minutes to an hour away from it, man, this country is stovewood, I mean, it’s just country. It’s just folks living organically, living close to land, loggers and fishermen and farmers. Totally relatable to a guy like me an amazing landscape, that, man just, you see all the – we were driving through today coming back and it’s like all the trees just were covered with moss and ferns just growing down these rock faces and waterfalls and streams and a whole lot different than Mississippi, I’m going to tell you, you know what I’m saying? But beautiful, it’s almost like a fairy tale going through parts of this country. I can see why people want to move here and I guess there’s a lot of industry importantly, too. You were telling me, what are some of the major companies, you told me that Nike was founded here.

Brandon Potter: Yeah, right here in Beaverton where we’re at.

Ramsey Russell: I don’t know why, I didn’t know that or never thought. I really thought they were from China or somewhere.

Brandon Potter: Well, I’m sure that’s where most of its made nowadays. It was all started right here in Oregon, right in Beaverton, where we –

Ramsey Russell: Its Intel, which is a big computer type company and –

Brandon Potter: They’re based right up the road here.

Ramsey Russell: Of course, that draws some different types, folks. But you grew up out in the sticks, you grew up just with regular folks out in the country.

Brandon Potter: Yeah, I mean, the town I grew up in, Vernonia was what it was called. And I think my graduating class had 36 kids in it.

Ramsey Russell: And when did you graduate?

Brandon Potter: 2011.

Ramsey Russell: See, I graduated a long time ago and a long time ago and I was in a small school and had 60 graduates. In high school, I mean, you knew everybody, but 30 is half that.

Brandon Potter: Yeah. Definitely knew everybody.

Ramsey Russell: And what, you did not grow up hunting waterfowl. Your people didn’t hunt waterfowl but they did hunt. What did they hunt?

Brandon Potter: Yeah, nobody hunted waterfowl in my family. My grandpa, he was a big game hunter. He primarily chased the deer, that was what I remember him hunting as a kid. I know he did elk hunt, but I don’t remember more than maybe a couple cows filling damage control tags on local landowners properties, when I was a young kid, anyway.

Ramsey Russell: How do you, blacktail deer we’re talking about.

Brandon Potter: Yep.

Ramsey Russell: And Roosevelt elk.

Brandon Potter: Yep.

Ramsey Russell: And does a non resident have to be drawn to hunt elk?

Brandon Potter: Only on the east side of the state. I believe a non resident can just come over here on the west side. And it’s mostly general season, besides from a few select units.

Ramsey Russell: What about blacktail?

Brandon Potter: Blacktail, it’s a general, western Oregon tag.

Ramsey Russell: Over the counter.

Brandon Potter: Over the counter tag. I believe there’s still a couple units on the west side that are drawn.

Ramsey Russell: It ought to be some good hunt, with all the forest industry and the forest management.

Brandon Potter: There is some good hunting. It’s tough, like you said, there’s a lot of undergrowth all through our forests around here you get into that vine maple, the ferns, the BlackBerry briars that come up in some areas.

Ramsey Russell: How do you hunt them?

Brandon Potter: Lots of walking and –

Ramsey Russell: Spot and stalking.

Brandon Potter: Spot and stalk for the most part there’s, everybody’s run into a fair share of road hunters that just drive the roads. I like to get in a lot of the locked logging gates and walk back in there and sit on clearcuts where they’ve recently logged and get in the reproductive timber that’s been replanted and sit in there and watch over those young trees. And you’ll see them in there and they like eating the new growth that comes up after they log it. They’ll do their burning and stuff on their slash piles and lots of good food coming up for them.

Ramsey Russell: A lot of city folks, especially, don’t like clearcuts, but that’s how evergreens are oftentimes harvested, finally. And it is ugly, but boom cut stumps and a lot of limbs and stuff out there. But the following growing season you get a lot of vegetation, a lot of browse.

Brandon Potter: Yep.

Ramsey Russell: So, I mean, I would, I could see myself maybe coming out there sitting on the edge of clearcuts and just watching lanes and looking for deer to come out and eat.

Brandon Potter: Yeah. If you’re looking for any kind of distance out here, that’s your best bet. I mean, most of the time, if you’re not in a clearcut, you can only see maybe 50 yards.

The Physical Demands of Elk Hunting in the Cascade Mountains.

I don’t see walking 12 miles through mountains, through the Cascade mountains looking for elk. I just don’t see that as, that don’t appeal to me.

Ramsey Russell: I know, we hunted with Brad yesterday, who was going elk hunting. Yesterday was the opener, so everybody was going elk hunting, nearly everybody and Brad said he puts on 12 miles walking which, even if he’s half wrong, I mean, but 12 miles, man, I just don’t see that in my future. I don’t see walking 12 miles through mountains, through the Cascade mountains looking for elk. I just don’t see that as, that don’t appeal to me. It might have it one day, but I ain’t Cameron Hanes. I don’t train for that stuff. You know what I’m saying? I’m a flat lander that spends a lot of time in waders and crocs and just don’t see myself that mad at a deer and elk. But if I could go out and walk a few miles, and glass and spot and look at them openings, I might be tempted to do it.

Brandon Potter: Yeah, you don’t always have to walk that far the elk do cover some rugged territory and sometimes you got to walk always to be able to bump into them and the first season that’s opened yesterday, that only goes for, I believe, 4 days. So if you’re going to find them in 4 days, sometimes you got to cover some ground and get it done quick.

Ramsey Russell: We ate that big old breakfast at his Mama’s restaurant, which was pretty dang amazing. I mean, I’d never seen berry mustard, berry everything. The berry patch was named that restaurant had these great breakfasts and cheeseburgers and everything else, but had, I think I counted 15 or 16 flavors of berry pie.

Brandon Potter: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: And that’s their big deal. And then I saw berry mustard and berry meatloaf sauce and everything else they had selling up there, which I thought was pretty cool. But after he ate that big old lunch he said, well, time to go take a nap. I said, I thought you’d go on elk hunting. He said well and he explained to me what he does. He go out in the woods and when he gets there, take a nap and then wake up and everything’s quiet. I’m thinking, man, after walking 12 miles, I guess you do need a nap.

Brandon Potter: Oh, I bet you do.

Ramsey Russell: So you grew up deer hunting and what is it like deer hunting out here? You grow up deer hunting in the state of Mississippi, for example, I mean, for over half my life under DMAP Deer Management Assistance Program on private land, I mean, my camp gets 100 deer doe tags if we want it, call bucks and stuff like that. It could be a volume game for a guy that want to. A guy that wants a couple deer for the freezer. Shoot, man, you can do that in the afternoon with doe tags. But what’s it like out here? What is you all deer limit and what was it like growing up a deer hunter in Oregon?

Brandon Potter: Over here, we get one deer, unless we put in for other tags. Sometimes you can apply for like an additional doe tag or additional buck or doe tag that has an extended season in some units, but they’re usually unit specific so that restricts you to certain area. But for the most part general season hunting, you’re just $1.

Ramsey Russell: Okay.

Brandon Potter: And that’s spiker better. So they’ve reduced the requirements, I think. I believe it’s 2 years ago, it used to be a forked horn.

Ramsey Russell: Now it can be a spike.

Brandon Potter: Now it can be a spike.

Ramsey Russell: That’s must be a lot more deer than it was.

Brandon Potter: I’m not sure what their reasoning was behind it. I heard at one point they thought if people were taking them the more of the immature deer, that that would leave more of the adult deer to continue to reproduce.

Ramsey Russell: Okay.

Brandon Potter: Kind of take some cull bucks.

Ramsey Russell: Interesting. Very interesting. So how did you get into duck hunting?

Brandon Potter: A friend of mine that I worked with, he would tell me about this piece of property he was renting and the pasture would flood up and there’d be a bunch of ducks out there. And it was just 60 or so acres of just unmanaged land, a bunch of briars all over it, tall, just native grasses, like a wild millet, kind of. And it just had this little pothole in it that when it would flood, it would kill all the grass and the ducks would get in there and feed on them, invertebrates. And we’d go down there and we’d just sit in the ditch and wait for them to fly by, we didn’t know how to blow a call and didn’t have any decoys or anything. And we started killing ducks down there every once in a while. Lots of shells, not too many ducks those first couple years. Just trial and error kind of deal. Neither one of us had duck hunted before and we both got into it together.

Ramsey Russell: He’s got it figured out.

Brandon Potter: Yep.

Ramsey Russell: And what was your first duck?

Brandon Potter: My first duck was a drake shoveler.

Ramsey Russell: Really?

Brandon Potter: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: I hadn’t seen a drake shoveler here.

Brandon Potter: Yep, that was my first one.

Ramsey Russell: Are there a bunch of them out here?

Brandon Potter: There’s a good number of them.

Ramsey Russell: Do you target them?

Brandon Potter: I don’t ever specifically chase them. That’s usually during our slow times in the season they’ll kind of pile up and you take what you can get. I like to pick on the drakes, if I can nowadays.

Ramsey Russell: I was surprised to shoot a ringed neck this morning, I don’t know why. It just wasn’t on my radar. And you’ve said, we must have brought them with you from Mississippi, because we do shoot a lot of ring necks at times where I hunt and I won’t pass them up if I can help it, but I had not seen a shoveler.

Brandon Potter: Yeah, I want to say it’s usually later in the season we start seeing more and more shovelers. The pintails start piling up big time up here.

Ramsey Russell: Lots of pintails and wigeons out here.

Brandon Potter: Yep.

Ramsey Russell: Talk about what your primary species are like. You all got a lot of species.

Brandon Potter: Yeah. There’s a, I believe there’s 27 that come through the state, 27, 28. And then we have just about every species of goose comes through at some point that’s huntable. Well, of the Canada goose anyhow and then we do get some snows and we’ll get some specs early in the season, we’ll get the specs and then they start trickling back later in the season, come March or so, we’ll see.

Ramsey Russell: Not many snows.

Brandon Potter: Not too many snows –

Ramsey Russell: On the eastern side.

Brandon Potter: On the east side of the state, we do get into them.

Ramsey Russell: That was, might as well talk about this now because I left Australia and I’m going to say a lifetime later, probably about 30 hours, I landed in SeaTac airport, had to go north of Seattle, pick up my dog and then 3 hours is what it said to get down here. 3 hours from Seattle. Well, that don’t take into account the snarling stop and go traffic on i5 the whole freaking way. And, man, I would not have liked to do that fully rested like, get up one morning on cheerful after an 8 hour sleep, come home, let alone after all that travel, all that flight.

Brandon Potter: Oh, I could imagine.

Ramsey Russell: It was brutal and you came over here and met me and got me set up with my license online. But because we may shoot some geese tomorrow, I had to take a test. Oregon requires a goose test and I had looked at it a couple years ago online and it was, seemed fairly complicated, I’ll be honest with you, seemed complicated reading all those materials. But I didn’t take, like, a practice test. I didn’t take nothing and I was a little, like, I don’t know, dude. I might soared right through it. It wasn’t that terribly hard but you had to know a little bit about you all’s Canada geese and cacklers. And there’s 7 of them, I think.

Brandon Potter: Yep.

Ramsey Russell: And what are they? The western, the taverner.

Brandon Potter: Yep.

Ramsey Russell: The Aleutian, the true cackler. What am I missing? The lesser.

Brandon Potter: The lesser. The Vancouver.

Ramsey Russell: Vancouver.

Brandon Potter: And the dusky. I don’t know if you –

Ramsey Russell: The dusky.

Brandon Potter: The dusky.

Ramsey Russell: And that the dusky is why you have to take a test. Because in a lot of state, you can’t shoot them.

Brandon Potter: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: Where they like to hang out on this side of the interstate, you can’t shoot them at all. And you can shoot them on the other side of the interstate where they really don’t like to go.

Brandon Potter: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: It’d be a hard chance getting a chance, a shot at them. And I wish I had come back in the day that they were, you could kill one. It used to be the limit was one dusky Canada goose. And that’s one of the subspecies I’ve not killed. I’ve not killed a Vancouver subspecies, I’ve not killed a dusky. And I wish I had come a long time ago when you could, but they say something happened up in Alaska. It’s like an earthquake and it settled some wetlands and kind of messed up or limited their breeding ground. Their population imploded, hopefully temporarily. And so really did I know of, in the lower 48, duskies are strictly prohibited.

Brandon Potter: Yeah, I believe you can only shoot them in Alaska.

Ramsey Russell: Except on that side I5 in Alaska. In Alaska, they just call them Canada geese. But where you got to go hunt them, there’s very few people wanting to go there.

Brandon Potter: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: It’s a very remote road area that they are and I may have to make that trip one day if I want to shoot a dusky. But mostly what you all chase here, it sounds like, are the – I mean, do you kill taverners? Do you kill lessers? Do you shoot a lot of those other geese?

Brandon Potter: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: Because all I’ve seen, I’ve seen some big ones.

Brandon Potter: Yep.

Ramsey Russell: Which I assume were the –

Brandon Potter: Those westerns, yeah.

Ramsey Russell: And I’ve seen some tiny ones, which I and they peep and I know that’s the cacklers.

Brandon Potter: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: You all really shoot the other ones.

Brandon Potter: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: You shot some Aleutians.

Brandon Potter: Yeah, I’ve shot a couple Aleutians, then we do get some lessers from time to time. They’ll mix in with the cackler flocks. So you’ll get a little bit of everything. I’ve shot some taverners. I don’t know that I’ve shot a Vancouver, for sure, but there’s definitely a lot of lessers and stuff mixed in and then the main thing I target, though, is the cackling geese. I like the ones that peep. Yep. And if you’re chasing those, it’s pretty hard to screw up and end up shooting a dusky, they’re –

Ramsey Russell: I’ve shot them up in Alaska along with taverners. Cause I think most of them kind of originate from that party arctic and they’re tiny, some of the cacklers you shoot will be the size of a mallard. They’re tiny –

Brandon Potter: I’ve shot mallards bigger than –

Ramsey Russell: Stubby Little Bill and you shot them bigger.

Brandon Potter: Yeah, bigger mallards side by side. I’ve had mallards bigger than the cacklers.

Ramsey Russell: That’s pretty dang cool. How do you normally go out and target? I mean, what’s the strategy for targeting cacklers?

Brandon Potter: It takes a lot of scouting. You got to be on the x. They got something made up of their mind when they leave the roost.

Ramsey Russell: We saw that yesterday.

Brandon Potter: Unless something happens when they get to their preferred field, then they’ll switch it up there’s always those days where they get a new idea, but it’s hard to stray them away from what they want.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah.

Brandon Potter: It’s tough to traffic them.

Ramsey Russell: Is it a lot of decoys because they fly some pretty big fly.

Brandon Potter: I’ve ran up to 150 decoys, probably on certain hunts and I’ve ran 6 and I’ve limited on both got our birds.

Ramsey Russell: What is limit?

Brandon Potter: It’s 3.

Ramsey Russell: Okay.

Brandon Potter: They reduced it 2020 or 2021, I believe.

Ramsey Russell: 3 dark geese in aggregate.

Brandon Potter: Yep. 3 dark geese on this side of the state, anyhow. The other side of the state, you can get 4 still.

Ramsey Russell: That’s crazy. And what about the ducks? Like, talk about the different duck hunting opportunities you’ve got here, because, like, yesterday we went mallard, tomorrow we’re going mallards and possibly some cacklers that are using that same little wetland. But mallard, I think mallards are the big deal. Like, we were talking on the phone a while back and you were talking about the wigeons and something. I’m like, hey, I’ll do whatever, but don’t throw me in a Briar Patch going mallard hunting. I’ve heard a lot about the mallard hunting out here. You all still got an abundance of mallards in Oregon? Yeah, maybe way more than some parts of the Deep South. You all have got an abundance of mallards and that’s, who can argue with mallard hunt.

Brandon Potter: Yeah, it’s tough to beat, that’s for sure. That’s always my preferred duck hunt is chasing them, the greenheads. There’s a lot of mallards around, that’s for sure. We get a lot of pintail, a lot of wigeon. Early season the teal species usually come in blue wings and cinnamon. They’ll usually come in before most of it’s opened up, they’ve already made their flight past us. There is some cinnamon’s get shot. Very few blue wing I’ve heard of.

Ramsey Russell: Blue wings don’t really come through the Pacific Flyway until the spring.

Brandon Potter: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: I think a lot of them track back from, it’s interesting to me that the blue wings primarily come down the Central Flyway, Mississippi Flyway, but then they all go through a certain area into Mexico. When they get to Mexico, they may go, they may fly across the gulf from Florida or Louisiana, but most of them track down around through Texas and once they get down around Laguna Madre, they’ll spread all the way out towards the Pacific Ocean. And then those birds might mix up with some cinnamon or something, but for whatever reason, come back through the Pacific Flyway. And so I would bet the time of year they’d be coming through Oregon. Those sentiments are going to probably look like blue wings in the fall.

Brandon Potter: Yep, in the fall, a lot of people think they shoot blue wings and they’re most likely cinnamons juvenile.

Ramsey Russell: Most likely cinnamon, you can look at the bill I guess and they’re supposed to be a little longer, a little more spatulate. But the diagnostic to me is a red eye is an adult Drake. If they got a red eye, that’s an adult drake cinnamon, no matter what they look like.

Brandon Potter: Yeah.

Understanding Flyways: The Pacific, Central, and Mississippi.

He said, well, we mostly see them in the spring, cause they just shortcut back up to Canada through iron neck of the woods from Mexico. So I just thought that was real interesting.

Ramsey Russell: And I’m just saying I don’t know. But I know the blue wings come back through here. I’ve got something my dad made, like a high school shop at my camp. And it’s like, I swear, it’s like the top of an old calendar with blue wings in it and what’s always been interesting to me is that it, there’s mountains in the background. Well, there ain’t no mountains outside the Pacific Flyway. Ain’t no mountains in Mississippi or Louisiana and it just don’t look like any part of the world that, like the Central Flyway that they primarily come down. And so I just, I kind of started, but there’s bright moon face blue wings and it’s drawing. And I’ve always just chalked it up like, well, some artists painted that and gave it his artistic flair. And then one day I was in Utah at this camp, this old camp, like formed back in 1900 or something. And there on the wall was the original of that drawing of that painting. I stopped to look at it, one of the members goes, where you looking? And I go, I told him at the counter, I said, I always wonder where this came from. He said, son, if that paints on this wall, it came from right here on this property. And I said, really? I didn’t know blue wings come through here. He said, well, we mostly see them in the spring, cause they just shortcut back up to Canada through iron neck of the woods from Mexico. So I just thought that was real interesting. But the wigeons are a big deal like, where we hunted a day out in that saltwater, those bays. That’s where those widgeons like to go for that eelgrass.

Brandon Potter: Yeah, they run, they get it here in the valley also. We do shoot a fair number of them in the valley, but most of the time, if I’m trying to target wigeon, I end up over there on the coast.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah. On the coast.

Brandon Potter: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: And pintails.

Brandon Potter: Pintail there.

Ramsey Russell: Divers, buffleheads.

Brandon Potter: Yep. We get wood ducks.

Ramsey Russell: Ring necks, apparently.

Brandon Potter: Ring necks, yep. I’ve shot. I used to have a wood duck pond that I’d hunt and all you’d ever see in there was wood ducks and ring necks.

Ramsey Russell: That may be one of the biggest surprise to me. Seeing wood ducks out in the Pacific Flyway. I know they’re in Nevada, I know they’re over here, I know they’re in California, they’re in Washington. But I don’t know, I’m just always surprised you got a wood duck mounted. There’s your house. It just always seems. I don’t know, hate to take ownership, but it seems out of place to see one of the Pacific Flyway.

Brandon Potter: Yeah. They’re not the most common birds, that’s for sure. The pond we were going to tomorrow I’ve seen them in there before. I think the key is just get on those creeks that I got the oak trees around them. And right here, where I’m at in the north end of the valley, there seems to be a lot of oak you kind of run the edge of the valley and you stay in these oak trees. And I think they follow the oak around kind of how it seems.

Ramsey Russell: I know you grew up deer hunt. You said you and a buddy just decided to go duck hunting. Why?

Brandon Potter: Deer hunting is only a month and a half long or so. A month, month and a half. And just love hunting, you got to find something else to do to keep on doing it.

Ramsey Russell: I think I do deer hunt some. I do that kind of stuff. But I’m a duck hunter and one thing I like about it is the social aspects. Deer hunting, it’s just solitary, man against beast and that’s fine. But I like the social aspect, I like the duck camp, I like the atmosphere, I like the blind. I’m into that right there. That’s what I like more about it. I’m just curious how, because you got started a little bit later, probably in mid 20s.

Brandon Potter: I started big game hunting when I was 17.

Ramsey Russell: Okay.

Brandon Potter: I was in high school and some friends of mine did it. My dad didn’t really big game hunt at all.

Ramsey Russell: Mine didn’t either.

Brandon Potter: I got just, we were running around the woods. That’s how we spent our time in high school, wasn’t much to do. We’d get in trouble in town or we could stay out of trouble and still cause trouble at the same time up in the woods and hunting season would roll around and we’d keep doing the same thing we was doing, but we’d have a gun in the truck and try to take advantage of the opportunity when it came and after chasing the deer around enough and elk hunting, I’ve always elk hunted since high school as well. But after chasing them around long enough, I kind of fell in love with it.

Ramsey Russell: What, why did you reach out to me? You were telling me the other day, I think, how did we meet? That led to me coming out here.

Brandon Potter: So there’s a local refuge and I was sitting in the line one day in the non reservation line. So you have to wait for all the people with reservations to go through and do their thing, pick their blinds and just waiting and you first come, first serve. So I got there plenty early and I just had your podcast on and I listened to it. And you said you wanted to check Oregon off the list.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah.

Brandon Potter: So I sat there and I started typing a message up. I remember they came on the radio and all right, non reservation hunters pull up to the check station and I put my phone down and did my thing. I went out and did our hunt. I actually just looked at it last night. My wife was asking me the same thing. I finally sent the message about 10:00 in the morning and I remember I was sitting in the blind. I pulled my phone out, went to open Instagram and the message was still pulled up and went through, kind of double checked what I’d wrote and said, hell, I’m just going to send the message and see what he’s got to say. And he responded right back the next day, your cell phone number. Let’s make it happen.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah, I’m glad you did, man, because I spend a lot of time in commercial hunting camps, what we do but I still like to get off in the bushes and hunt with just folks. I feel like you get a different experience coming to Oregon and hunting with somebody than you do hunting with a guide or hunting with an outfit. And I’m all about that, both of them. But I just, I really do like, man, I’ve hunted with a lot of different people around North America, really around the world that just one on one like that, you just get a whole different experience of it, because I think it’s interesting how I notice you all have a slightly different cadence with the mallard calls than I do and anywhere you go, you see a different cadence or a different call style and I like to see that. And putting out decoys is all kind of the same little general game plan. I mean it’s like throwing a baseball or something. I mean, first base is played anywhere you play it in the world. But it’s just, I just like to see it. I like to see how people hunt, how they eat and how they do their thing. I just really appreciate that kind of, that part of the duck hunting culture and all the little nuances appeal to me now. And so thank you for having me come out, I’m glad you heard that. And Oregon so far is one of them states I’d come back to, just a matter of time and money just getting back out here and it’s like Forrest Gump running into the driveway. Well, you might as well keep on going. And so this year, I was coming to Canada like I do in the fall and then I was going to pick up BC something happened. I had to fly back home and that kind of interrupted it. But I was still on schedule to go to Washington and fly out of Washington to Australia, come back, go to Oregon. And I just decided to stick to that plan and I’m glad I did. Who knows when I’ll be back over on this side of the world, but I want to see more of it because I’ve enjoyed it and because there’s a lot of mallards and a lot of wigeons and pintails and geese it’s a fantastic resource out here. We funded so far, we hunted public and private.

Brandon Potter: Yep.

Ramsey Russell: Let’s talk a little bit about each of them. Talk about public access and competition and what it’s like to hunt public land in Oregon without giving away any specific place. I don’t like talking about that.

Brandon Potter: I’m the same as you on that one. I try to keep that in my pocket.

Ramsey Russell: You better.

Brandon Potter: There’s a lot of public land around. Most of it, you need a boat to get onto the better stuff but there is plenty of opportunity from shore. It always helps to have a good dog for a lot of those spots. There’s some refuges around it.

Ramsey Russell: For example, that was a Sunday, it was a weekend.

Brandon Potter: Yep.

Ramsey Russell: There wasn’t a lot of competition. We got there way early.

Brandon Potter: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: Hour and 20 minutes early. Park didn’t have to walk but 50 yards where you all wanted to go and but you all want to go that specific spot. If anybody beat us, one guy come in while we were getting suited up to go out and he passed us up, went to another spot.

Brandon Potter: Yep. He went to our plan b. And that’s, I’ve had a successful hunts there as well. It’s a little farther out into the bay. It’s just a little farther walk it’s 350 yards or so out to there instead of a 50 yard walk. Last time I went out there, actually, I ended up out there on plan b and we were there 2 hours early and somebody had already beat us to our original spot.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah.

Brandon Potter: So, yeah, if you want to get somewhere and you want to make sure you got it, you better be there early.

Ramsey Russell: But still, for all that water and all those places out there, somebody could hunt. There were only 2 places, 2 people.

Brandon Potter: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: And I guess I and then, like, after we got set up, like, right around legal shooting time, here come the cars. 4, 5, 3 and none of them were duck hunting. They were just bird watching or goofing off or taking pictures or walking their dog.

Brandon Potter: Yep.

Ramsey Russell: It’s just not many duck hunters. So I’m asking, are there time that there’s a lot more duck hunters?

Brandon Potter: Yeah, I feel like it’s kind of slow right now and with the weather we’ve been having, it’s been pretty dry. And then elk hunting is a big thing on the coast. So with that coastal season opening up, that’s going to take a lot of your hunters, I think. I think a lot of us are big game hunters as well and like I say, that’s a 3 day season, it’s tough to skip any days of that.

Ramsey Russell: How hard is it? Well, I’ll keep on with the public land first is, first off, I will say this. That’s the first time I’ve ever hunted over, I don’t know, I picked them up 7 or 9 or 9 dozen wigeon decoys.

Brandon Potter: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: Profiles. I’ve never hunted over that many wigeon decoys.

Brandon Potter: Yeah, I think there was, I want to say there was 7 dozen.

Ramsey Russell: 7. It was a bunch.

Brandon Potter: Yeah, there was 2 dozen pintail, I believe and then 5 dozen in the wigeon.

Ramsey Russell: It was a bunch.

Brandon Potter: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: I’ve never hunted over that many. Whispers kind of set out right on the water’s edge. Then the water moves out because it’s the tides. We move the decoys out and then we got floaters out there.

Brandon Potter: Yep.

Ramsey Russell: And you got the most interesting mojo. You got a wigeon spinner, but it ain’t a mojo. It’s a pull string.

Brandon Potter: Yep. We’re not allowed to have battery power, so there’s a couple different companies around that make pull string spinners so we can keep up with everybody.

Ramsey Russell: And it works.

Brandon Potter: Yeah, they work.

Ramsey Russell: Your arm ever get tired?

Brandon Potter: Yeah, I mean, it does get tired, but like I told you, my teenage years, I trained up. Got used to yanking on that thing.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah. God dog, I do see you swapping hands every day and again, swapping arms.

Brandon Potter: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: I guess you use a pull string too. Like if we need motion decoy from the water.

Brandon Potter: Yeah. We’ll use jerk rig from time to time. And then they have, that company has a feeder butt that has feed that spin on it on a pull cord also really imitates a feeding mallard kicking up water as they’re dabbling around.

Ramsey Russell: What a duck hunter won’t do to improvise.

Brandon Potter: Yeah. We find a way, it doesn’t matter what it is. It just goes to show that.

Ramsey Russell: Now, see, I’m just asking. I’m just purely asking. Oregon and Washington DNR, because they’re the 2 states abandoned. Why?

Brandon Potter: They say, give us an unfair advantage against the battery.

Ramsey Russell: What does a battery or a spinning wing.

Brandon Potter: A battery. They don’t seem to have an issue with a pull cord.

Ramsey Russell: I respect, as somebody that uses a mojo religiously, I respect that it does. But that’s the whole point of a decoy period, is to draw ducks in. Well, it’s a decoy and it draws ducks in real good, but it’s the flash of them wings.

Brandon Potter: Yeah, I don’t see –

Ramsey Russell: Just doing it and I was looking, it’s a fast, it’s a good fast spin when you pull that string. And so, is it spinning wing decoys or is it batteries?

Brandon Potter: I’m not sure. I don’t see the difference myself between the two of them.

Ramsey Russell: I met with a Washington biologist recently and I wish I’d asked him.

Brandon Potter: I’ve never used a battery one because I haven’t been allowed to and I haven’t hunted outside the state.

Ramsey Russell: I got a new mojo mountain, I promise you, you all would appreciate it, having sat out there and flashed.

Brandon Potter: I’m sure it would.

Ramsey Russell: And it pulls them in and I travel with it, but I ain’t been able to use it in Washington or Oregon and I hated that. I’d like to have had it yesterday.

Brandon Potter: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: But that’s a typical rig. And you all use spinning wing decoys, but it’s manually powered instead of batteries.

Brandon Potter: Yeah. Either air powered or pull cord. The wind powered ones I’ve just found to be unreliable.

Ramsey Russell: But I wonder when yesterday, when would’ve sat there.

Brandon Potter: Yeah. Our variable wins, we get sometimes it’s, some days it’ll work, some days it won’t, I guess.

Ramsey Russell: What about public land? Private land? How tough is private land out here?

Brandon Potter: I’ve had a real hard time getting on private land for ducks. You do find some landowners that just don’t care. Go ahead, tear it up have Adam don’t tear up the land, take care of things that –

Ramsey Russell: Is it because they duck hunt themselves?

Brandon Potter: Some of them I feel do. Others I’ve heard say no you can shoot the geese, but I like looking at the ducks. They’re pretty. The geese, they’re doing damage, so you’re a lot more likely, I feel, to get on goose hunting trying to help keep them out of the crops.

Ramsey Russell: Do you ever have people, you all have people just say no, period, altogether. I don’t want to counter, don’t want hunters, whatever.

Brandon Potter: Oh, sure. Yeah. There’s several people to tell you no. I’ve had days where I’ve knocked on 15, 20 doors in a day and you might get 2 yeses out of the whole bunch. You might not get any.

Ramsey Russell: Do you ever circle back to them in case they change your mind?

Brandon Potter: Yeah. There’s a few places that I stopped by every year, check on the landowner, see how they’re doing be nice and friendly those are the ones that are friendly with me when I show up. They don’t just tell me no and slam the door in my face.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah.

Brandon Potter: Pull out a shotgun like I had one time.

Ramsey Russell: Somebody pulled out a shotgun.

Brandon Potter: Yeah. They said, who the hell are you? And pulled out a shotgun. I said, I’m nobody. I’m out of here. You have yourself a great day and –

Ramsey Russell: Wow.

Brandon Potter: Right back to the pickup I went and I heard that going down the road.

Ramsey Russell: Well, this close to Oregon. I mean, it’s close to Portland I might would be akin to that too, if a stranger come up.

Brandon Potter: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: How bad is crime around here? I’ve seen some pretty crazy stuff on TV.

Brandon Potter: Yeah, you get out of Portland.

Ramsey Russell: Was it Portland that Antifa took over downtown or was that Seattle?

Brandon Potter: That was Seattle where they had that was in Seattle, but Antifa, they tore up downtown Portland.

Ramsey Russell: Really?

Brandon Potter: We didn’t see much of that out here and definitely not out where I’m living at there’s the small towns, you got you get some crime. I think that goes with anywhere

Ramsey Russell: Crime’s everywhere but in the cities is where you see more crime Portland is definitely, I’d say, the key city for that.

The Evolution of Hunting Permissions in America.

You freaking lease land or buy land or better yet, know somebody that leases or buys land. It just ain’t no free for all like it.

Ramsey Russell: It’s amazing to me, coming from the Deep South, when you go somewhere and I guess there’s still a lot of the United States, you can do this. But it ain’t Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, that you can knock on doors and get permission to hunt anything. I hear stories about the 60s and 70s. You could still knock on doors and ask farmers. I’ve had people say back in the 60s and 70s, there was water out in the field and they just go hunting, nobody cared. But you don’t do that no more in the Deep South, I mean, that’s a foregone day. You freaking lease land or buy land or better yet, know somebody that leases or buys land. It just ain’t no free for all like it. So, I mean, so there is opportunity to access private land out here.

Brandon Potter: Yeah, there’s a lot of folks that do charge for it. I myself, I don’t pay for anything. I just find the right folks, I guess I got plenty of friends that have paid for leases but yeah, I just knock on doors and keep driving around, keep binoculars and spotting scope handy and just keep on looking for the next one.

Ramsey Russell: For geese and ducks.

Brandon Potter: Yep.

Ramsey Russell: That’s very interesting. You were telling me, I’m going to take this subject first, talking about crime. We started in on Portland’s crime. I’m just telling you, Portland’s crazy.

Brandon Potter: Oh, yeah.

Ramsey Russell: Driving down here and stopping a couple times. I’ve just seen things I can’t unsee, like I’m telling everybody listening right here. I believe somewhere between Portland and Seattle is where pronouns was invented. And, I mean the he, she, that kind of pronoun. It was not in my part of the world. It was out here somewhere.

Brandon Potter: Oh, I’m sure.

Ramsey Russell: And I’ve just seen things I can’t unsee and everywhere I go, I’m not trying to be like my granddad, knocking the younger generation, but most folks listening ain’t these folks I’m talking about that got candy cotton pink hair and our fairy blue hair or purple, pink. I mean, that just weaks me out, man.

Brandon Potter: Yeah, you see all sorts of colors of the rainbow.

Ramsey Russell: I saw a pronoun the other day and I was telling my wife about it and it goes, she goes, was it like, in our part of the world, would it be a he or she? And I go, I have no idea. I very truly have no idea. It looked like a big girl, but she had pork chop sideburns and a beard.

Brandon Potter: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: I don’t know. It’s just, I couldn’t get away from –

Brandon Potter: It’s not uncommon to see, that’s for sure.

Ramsey Russell: No, it’s crazy.

Brandon Potter: You get in the city and all the crazy starts coming out.

Ramsey Russell: And we know they ain’t duck hunting.

Brandon Potter: No.

Ramsey Russell: But are there a lot of duck hunters?

Brandon Potter: There is. There’s a good number of duck hunters, I’d say like the local waterfowl pages. They got a few thousand people on there.

Ramsey Russell: How about you say? Do you have any idea how many duck stamps are sold in the state of Oregon?

Brandon Potter: I’m not sure on that one.

Ramsey Russell: I know it’s about 27 or 30,000 in the state of Mississippi.

Brandon Potter: Yeah. I’ve never looked into it.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah, I’d be, I’m going to have to look at up make a note self. And I’m just wondering how many duck hunters you all got. There’s a lot of crazy out here and homeless folks.

Brandon Potter: Yep, there’s a lot of homeless folks.

Ramsey Russell: Was that way you lived about an hour, let’s say, from Portland growing up, you’re bound to come into Portland. Your folks were in roofing, so they bound to come to Portland to work. I mean, was it always like it?

Brandon Potter: When I was a kid, I don’t remember seeing too many homeless folks. Definitely not out where I was at they’d have a hard time out there.

Ramsey Russell: What started? What do you think sent it through the roof?

Brandon Potter: Drugs. The problem with drugs that we got, that’s definitely, like, liberate on that little bit.

Ramsey Russell: What about drugs?

Brandon Potter: The meth in the area seems to have got a lot worse in the last 10 years, I would say.

Ramsey Russell: Did they decriminalize it?

Brandon Potter: They did a couple years ago. 2 years ago, I believe.

Ramsey Russell: Then that brought them in.

Brandon Potter: They decriminalized under a certain amount of it, I don’t know what it is. I’m not looking to stay under the law.

Ramsey Russell: Right.

Brandon Potter: But yeah, under a local police officer, we were working on a project and had some theft going on. And local police officer said that if they had less than 2 grams, I believe that it was just $150 ticket. And most of these folks don’t even show up to court and don’t care. They just a slap on the wrist, wad the paper up, throw it on the ground. Because they don’t even clean up after themselves most of the time, it seems.

Ramsey Russell: Seems like homelessness a lot of times has to do with mental health and drug.

Brandon Potter: Yeah, that’s the truth.

Ramsey Russell: People say, well. Cause they ain’t got money. Well, a lot of times can’t get money, cause they’re mental health or drugs.

Brandon Potter: Yeah, I think a lot of it’s the drugs I’m sure there is some mental health stuff. There was actually, a family member of ours growing up and she chose to be homeless. She had it offered to her to have a house.

Ramsey Russell: Really?

Brandon Potter: And she said –

Ramsey Russell: Can you talk about that? I’ve never known anybody that chose to be homeless.

Brandon Potter: Yeah, she preferred to be homeless and she actually didn’t like being called homeless, she was houseless. Her home was –

Ramsey Russell: Houseless.

Brandon Potter: Her home was up, back home underneath the bridge with all her friends. And our family had offered to buy her a home rent her home, put her up they, we bring her home for Thanksgiving, Christmas every year.

Ramsey Russell: Well, you don’t have to mow grass or vacuum. To vacuum the house or clean the house or nothing you know.

Brandon Potter: Yep, She –

Ramsey Russell: Wow.

Brandon Potter: She, homes back under the bridge.

Ramsey Russell: I mean, did she ever come around for Thanksgiving?

Brandon Potter: Yeah, she’d come up every year for Thanksgiving.

Ramsey Russell: Really?

Brandon Potter: She has since I was a kid.

Ramsey Russell: Take the leftovers back under the bridge?

Brandon Potter: Yep. Send her home with everything that we had. We’d snack on leftovers for a few days until whatever day she wanted to.

Ramsey Russell: What was her mental health like, other than the fact she lived under bridge? I mean, some people, not me, might say that’s crazy. Yes, but was she otherwise normal?

Brandon Potter: Well, we called her aunt crazy. She was definitely far from normal. Okay. She had some mental health issues, needed to address for sure.

Ramsey Russell: But she just chose to live that way.

Brandon Potter: Yep.

Ramsey Russell: Okay, so it can be a choice.

Brandon Potter: Yeah, it can be a choice.

Ramsey Russell: But a lot of it, I think, from what I’ve seen out here the last couple of weeks, is not a choice. Yeah, I’ve just seen folks I’ve seen. Ain’t no way.

Brandon Potter: Yeah. I mean, I’m sure there is those folks that fall on hard times. Everybody had a hard time with COVID and whatnot.

Ramsey Russell: We ain’t lying, yeah.

Brandon Potter: I feel for the people in, like, the restaurant industry especially a lot of those folks, their whole world got turned upside down and a lot of those businesses didn’t come back.

Ramsey Russell: I know that to be true. What? You sit around coffee shops, you’re in construction, you talk, why would the politicians choose to decriminalize something like that? They just don’t have the resources to jail everybody that’s doing it or like, hey, it’s all right. What would you guess their thought process were?

Brandon Potter: I’m not sure they actually put it up. It wasn’t just the politicians deciding it. They put it up to vote and the state voted in, apparently.

Ramsey Russell: Kind of like legalizing marijuana on special ballot.

Brandon Potter: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: Methamphetamine.

Brandon Potter: Yeah. It wasn’t just meth, I mean, it’s everything pretty much, I believe.

Ramsey Russell: Everything.

Brandon Potter: Yeah, it’s just hard drugs are now decriminalized up to a certain –

Ramsey Russell: Well, that’ll pull a man from the woods works on.

Brandon Potter: Yeah. I feel like that brings them in from a long ways out.

Ramsey Russell: I don’t understand it.

Brandon Potter: I see it creeping more and more away from Portland in these last couple years and it’s getting kind of getting concerning.

Ramsey Russell: They may be running out of spots under the bridge to sleep at night.

Brandon Potter: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: I see them and I see them in storefronts. I see them like the little, like, where the doors are, it kind of cuts in little, like, I see people laying under blankets there, sleeping there. I mean, I see that in like, big cities, like thinking of Buenos Aires, you go walk around at night you see folks sleeping on the side of the road and I’ve been under big cities like Dallas or Houston. I’ve seen folks doing that, but I’ve never seen it as much as I see out here.

Brandon Potter: Yeah, I mean, it’s definitely all over, even in the smaller towns. It’s getting to be worse. My kids, a couple months ago, we’re going to the local sandwich shop and watch somebody get hauled out in an ambulance that was overdosing right in front of the Safeway sandwich shop, dollar store all that. He fell over and knocked open the doors to the sandwich shop while they’re sitting in there trying to eat lunch.

Ramsey Russell: Speaking of your kids, you got a beautiful family.

Brandon Potter: Thank you.

Ramsey Russell: And last night, having dinner, just a good home cooked dinner with all your kids, it was just, it was amazing. Your wife cooked chicken and blacktail tenderloin. Your daughter made an amazing salad. 10 year old daughter and it was her recipe, and it was that gum. It was amazing salad I like to eat salads. Some people don’t eat green stuff, but I do, and it was good. And I know that you showed me you had a few little taxidermy in there, but you showed me the biggest mount, there was a big old goose. That was one of your daughter’s?

Brandon Potter: Yeah. Big old western goose, it was her first one last year. She was 9 when she shot that. She needed some help holding the shotgun up. But I told her, put that bead right on that thing where you feel like it’s good and let one rip and she torched off.

Ramsey Russell: Did she want to go or did you just kind of encourage her to go?

Brandon Potter: A little both but she wanted to go that day. I don’t ever push them to go.

Ramsey Russell: Right.

Brandon Potter: If they want to stay home, that’s their choice. And I don’t want to force them to do anything and burn that fire out.

Ramsey Russell: And your wife duck hunts. I’ve seen pictures in your social media and hers of duck hunt. And I asked her last night, I said, did you duck hunt when you all were dating in high school? And all she said, no, I just started.

Brandon Potter: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: How did that come about?

Brandon Potter: She just –

Ramsey Russell: Like, what’s it like getting up, getting a young wife into duck hunting?

Brandon Potter: I think she just, I think she tags along to stick with me I go and I like, summertime, I work sometimes, like, this summer, I was working 612 hour days.

Ramsey Russell: Golly.

Brandon Potter: I’m gone a lot now. I’m about 40 hours a week and if I can, from sunrise to sunset, if that’s what it takes, I want to go out and I want to go hunt and enjoy the outdoors. And instead of her being stuck at home with kids another couple days of the week, she started tagging along more and more and spending quality time together with me.

Ramsey Russell: And she likes it.

Brandon Potter: Yeah, she seems to. I think she does.

Ramsey Russell: What are some of the ways you all cook duck?

Brandon Potter: A lot of times, we will cook the duck breast, depending on what ducks they are, if the legs are worth taking, we’ll take legs and make tacos or whatnot with that. But I think one of our favorites is, like, with the cackling geese. She’ll hammer them out and make, like, a chicken fried steak with them.

Ramsey Russell: Heck, yeah. Now you talking my business and –

Brandon Potter: I really like that one. And then sometimes we’ll just season it up, pan fry it just like we did that deer back strap last night, pretty much.

Ramsey Russell: That’s great. Have all the other kids want to go with you, too? Well what are you going to do when you got 4 kids under the age of 15 want to go duck hunt the same time?

Brandon Potter: Well, that this duck blind we’re going to tomorrow. It’ll hold all of us will make her work. I got a lot of layout blinds for when goose season comes. I might have to buy a couple more. A couple a frame blinds if we need them.

Ramsey Russell: Be a whole family thing, won’t it?

Brandon Potter: Yeah. Have to buy some more shotguns.

Ramsey Russell: And we were talking about crazies when you brought up your kids and the whole city life and you all decided to homeschool your kids.

Brandon Potter: Yep.

Ramsey Russell: And bring them out of all that craziness.

Brandon Potter: Yep. They started talking pronouns in school and.

Ramsey Russell: Like, your kids were in school and they were, they heard, they got the lectures on that stuff.

Brandon Potter: Yeah. I don’t know how much they were lecturing, but there was definitely mention of it.

Ramsey Russell: And they’d come home and say, daddy, they talked about this today.

Brandon Potter: Yeah, my oldest.

Ramsey Russell: Like, what you learned today? And the second grader come home and say, oh, they talked about this.

Brandon Potter: Yeah, we started seeing a little bit more of it and we decided it was just time to take them out. And I’ve pushed my wife to be a stay at home mom because I don’t see, personally, I don’t see the use in sending her to work. She didn’t go to college or anything like that, send her to work for, say, $20, $25 an hour maybe and give 15 of it to a babysitter. You’re paying somebody else to raise your kid. I’d rather her stick at home and raise them up the way we want them. Have that –

Ramsey Russell: I’ve always felt you can tell a lot about people by their kids.

Brandon Potter: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: And your kids are happy. Yeah, they are happy and they’re tight you got kids ages 2 to 10 and they’re just happy. That’s their own little, they got their own little tribe.

Brandon Potter: That’s the goal.

Ramsey Russell: And they’re happy as can be. And I think that’s admirable, man, Anita and I decided to do the same thing after we had Forrest. She was teaching and we just ran the numbers just like you said, we ran the numbers, like, why would? It don’t make sense. Because if we do that, you’re just working for the daycare. That makes no sense at all. For us, it didn’t.

Brandon Potter: Daycare fuel.

Balancing Family Life and Hunting Traditions

And I think it’s a great opportunity to be able to do that and it takes, it ain’t easy, but it worked for us.

Ramsey Russell: I ain’t knocking nobody doing it. I’m just saying for us, it just. It didn’t make sense. And I think it’s a great opportunity to be able to do that and it takes, it ain’t easy, but it worked for us. We didn’t homeschool, but mom was there you know what I’m saying? And that really made a huge difference. And I see it in your kids, too. Who’ll be the next one of them? One of your daughters showed me her BB gun last night. She had a red rider BB gun. She’s mighty proud of some.

Brandon Potter: Yeah, that was Miss Josie. She’s 5 years old. I think she’ll be the next hunter in line.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah.

Brandon Potter: My 7 year old daughter, Faith, she don’t like the cold very much she doesn’t show as much interest as Josie does.

Ramsey Russell: Well, kids are different.

Brandon Potter: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: I got my 2 sons, both hunters, both duck hunters. But I think if Duncan had a choice, my middle, my youngest son, I think he would choose to go squirrel hunting. That’s his thing, man. He likes to be in the woods and he likes to move and he’s always been that way. We’d be duck hunting and during long pauses in between the flights, he’d get bored and say, I’m going to go walk around. He leaves the blind with a shotgun and we hear he come back with freaking squirrels. And that’s just kind of his thing he likes to duck hunt, but that, he likes to do that, too.

Brandon Potter: Yeah, the girls definitely like jump shooting, I think, better than anything else.

Ramsey Russell: I guarantee you.

Brandon Potter: Walking around, we have a little loop that we’ve ran before with a good friend of mine and he’s got several different small ponds. They never hold enough birds that we feel like it’s worth setting up on. But there’s lots of cover and we can sneak up right up on them. Usually we can damn near come out with a mallard limit just walking up on 5, 6 different ponds for shooting straight. And my oldest daughter, Halo, that’s what she loves doing. She said, dad, I want to go jump shoot.

Ramsey Russell: Well, you showed me a farm today that you hunt that had that creek going through the middle of it. And, yeah, you dang sure could jump shoot it. The bank were high enough.

Brandon Potter: Oh, yeah.

Ramsey Russell: You say, all right, there’s mallards right over there. So I’m going to go around that, walk in right there. Boom.

Brandon Potter: Yep.

Ramsey Russell: And then cross the road and go down there and hit some more. I mean, you can jump shoot effectively in some of this country.

Brandon Potter: Yeah, there’s a lot of opportunity for it, you go out in the area where Brad took us all those sloughs and everything running around that big river, there’s lots of opportunities.

Ramsey Russell: I like jump shooting sometimes, myself, I’ve done it. I did it out in Montana one time and man, it was a lot of fun.

Brandon Potter: I’ve had some good days doing, it can be a lot of fun. I myself, I like back winging birds. That’s my thing. I like to see them. I like to work them and that’s what I enjoy.

Ramsey Russell: I do, too. Tell me about your season. When does Oregon season open and how long does it run and what kind of splits you got?

Brandon Potter: So we have a goose season for early September honkers opens up.

Ramsey Russell: Resident birds.

Brandon Potter: Resident birds, big westerns. And that goes for, I believe it’s 9 days. We get 2 weekends and after that, it takes a break for a couple weeks. And then early October, I believe it was the 16th this year, duck opens up. They reformatted things this year and it used to be that the east side of the state would open up and then the west side would open the following weekend. This year, the whole state opened up the same time. So I ran to the east side of the state opening day and had a good hunt over there. And we turned around, we ran back over, come home and went and hunted where we’re going to be at tomorrow. And we had another good hunt hit, I think it’s 6 hours apart between the hunting spots. We have a few splits. We’ve had one split so far in our duck season and one in our goose besides our early September split that we had after that. So we’re on our 2nd period goose now and that’ll pretty much keep us going. I think we stay open on ducks, I’d have to look to be sure. Have it all saved on my calendar on my phone and sends me an alert 2 days before and then again the day before. So I make sure I don’t forget.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah.

Brandon Potter: But I believe we stay open all the way through January 31st for ducks now.

Ramsey Russell: Golly. That’s a long season.

Brandon Potter: It closes –

Ramsey Russell: Is it goose season that the goose – Some of the goose season goes into February?

Brandon Potter: Yeah, it goes to March 10th.

Ramsey Russell: March 10th.

Brandon Potter: We close one more time for a short stamp, few weeks and then it’ll open back up into February. Mid February, sometime in there. I’d have to look to give you exact dates.

Ramsey Russell: That’s a lot of opportunity.

Brandon Potter: We always end on March 10th.

Ramsey Russell: God, that is a long season.

Brandon Potter: Yeah. I believe it’s 107 days, we get total. And that has to do with –

Ramsey Russell: That’s 7 months of goose hunt.

Brandon Potter: Yeah, that has to do with our short split that we had in our duck season, that’s so it can work itself out to land on January 31st and keep within our 107 days. They play around with it and that’s what our splits are all.

Ramsey Russell: Split it up a little bit.

Brandon Potter: Yeah. Give us good opportunity later in the season.

Ramsey Russell: Too bad they don’t split it on, like, the opening week elk season. That way you could have your cake and eat it, too. You wouldn’t have to choose.

Brandon Potter: Yeah, well, if they did that, you wouldn’t have been able to make it to Oregon to hunt with us.

Ramsey Russell: That’s true.

Brandon Potter: It’s a good thing they didn’t.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah like, I’ve been trying, Virginia and West Virginia are the 2 states I lack now and they got a weird between Thanksgiving and Christmas, they got a big old stretch of split. And it’s real hard to manage a schedule through there, you know what I’m saying? It’s just real hard because I’ve got so much time, I got to be home for the holidays, plus I got convention season and it’s just real tough to get through there, like, the big window time, I’m like, oh, I’m going to leave Thanksgiving and go up through there. It’s closed for 2 weeks and that’s awkward, man. So, yeah, I’m glad they weren’t this year.

Brandon Potter: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: Too bad for you as an elk hunter that they are.

Brandon Potter: I bow hunted elk this year and that’s what I’ve done the last several years now. Something about calling in critters I like a lot better instead of chasing them around with a gun, it’s more personal, I feel. It’s like duck hunting and goose hunting for big game almost getting within 40 yards or so of a screaming bull elk is quite the feeling.

Ramsey Russell: I bet it is. What time of year is that?

Brandon Potter: That’s like September is when that’s really happening. So it works out good in September and then I’ll usually take that week, one of them weekends off for that early goose season. I like getting on the geese. That’s probably my favorite thing, honestly, is goose hunting and I’ll take one weekend off for that, go back, finish out my elk season. Elk season ends, I think everything stops for about a week and then our deer season opens up and duck season, deer season, that’s right around the same time when our duck and deer both open.

Ramsey Russell: That’s good.

Brandon Potter: So you got opportunity for either one of those right around the same time, early October.

Ramsey Russell: I forgot to ask you, there’s a lot of wigeons out here in Oregon. We were talking about wigeons.

Brandon Potter: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: How often is – I know, you all got Eurasian wigeons. I know, if a guy wants, you can go to parts of Alaska and you can come here and get a pretty good crack at your raising wigeons.

Brandon Potter: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: Have you shot any?

Brandon Potter: We shot one in the place we hunted today. I believe it was 2 years ago.

Ramsey Russell: Did you know it Eurasian, when it come in.

Brandon Potter: Yeah, we saw the redhead on it in flight. It was in a small group. I think there was 4 or 5 birds. He was young and I saw that it had a small wing patch coming in and I could tell it was a drake and I looked at his head, I saw that red and me and a friend both pulled up on that bird. He ended up just smoking that thing.

Ramsey Russell: Oh, shoot.

Brandon Potter: And I sat back down and that was definitely his bird. I didn’t even pull the trigger.

Ramsey Russell: But you probably get another chance.

Brandon Potter: Oh, I’m sure.

Ramsey Russell: Anytime there’s a lot of wigeons like it. Like you showed me a picture the other day, shall seen some.

Brandon Potter: Yeah, I’ve seen lots of them I’ve glassed a lot of wigeon feeds and them loafing on ponds and I’ve seen them sometimes it’s where I can get to them, sometimes it’s not. There’s a lot of ground around here that’s off limits. But I like checking the refuges out and seeing what’s in the area and trying to scout and watch where everything’s headed and try to get an opportunity.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah. Well, Brandon, I appreciate it. I have had a good time and I’m looking forward to tomorrow morning and I’m really be honest with you, I’m kind of looking forward to sleeping in another hour or 2.

Brandon Potter: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: Because we’re hunting close to the house and private land and don’t have to be out there so early. And then I start the long ride back to Mississippi and I’m starting to wonder if I bit off more than 2, but it’s just going to be southbound and down, son. I got to be home for thanksgiving. See, our season does not open until the Friday after Thanksgiving. And we think it’s Friday, Saturday, Sunday, then it starts again Friday, Saturday, Sunday and then the following, whatever Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. It runs until January 31st. They kind of split us like that to get 60 days.

Brandon Potter: Okay.

Ramsey Russell: But I just can’t stand and miss the opener no matter what. So no matter where in the world I’m going home for the open day of ducks, it’s festive. Both my kids will be there and it’ll really be the first opener we’ve all 3 had together. Shoot, I don’t know, 5 years, you know I’m saying. And because Duncan’s been gone, now he’s back. So we’re all going to hunt together and I just ain’t going to miss it.

Brandon Potter: Yeah, I wouldn’t miss that one either.

Ramsey Russell: But I appreciate you. And thank you for sharing Oregon’s. Thank you for helping me scratch that off the bucket list.

Brandon Potter: Yeah, hopefully we can get you on some peeping cacklers tomorrow, true BC Minimas.

Ramsey Russell: I can’t wait.

Brandon Potter: Get you a few more mallards, maybe we’ll get you a nice drake spoonie.

Ramsey Russell: Maybe, I’m going to shoot him if he comes in.

Brandon Potter: I’m sure you will.

Ramsey Russell: Folks, thank you all for listening this episode of MOJO’s Duck Season Somewhere from Oregon, see you next time.

[End of Audio]

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