Following an incredible morning duck hunt along a fabled river name he’d never before heard uttered, Ramsey meets with Roy Carter to learn more about this extremely unique and mallard-rich Kansas corner that’s as wooded as Missouri’s Bootheel region. Carter plows full steam ahead, describing why this area overwinters so many darned mallards, how his family’s long history on the island began, why “diesel kills ducks,” why he started Carter’s Big Island Hunting Club decades ago–and much, much more! Carter’s Big Island offers some of the very best mallard hunting over water in the US. After hearing the larger-than-life, tireless ball of energy that is Roy Carter, you’ll better understand why!


Related Links:

Carters Big Island Kansas Duck Hunt

Connect with Roy Carter @roycbi


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The Greatest Mallard Hole You Never Heard Of

I mean, it’s an important river in Kansas, especially if you’re a mallard guy, am I right?


Ramsey Russell: I’m your host Ramsey Russell, join me here to listen to those conversations. Welcome back to Duck Season Somewhere in Kansas. 650 miles to go, I’m sitting on the shores of the South Platte River shooting the mallards. I jumped in the truck, me and Char Dawg are flying down, stopped once to get gas. Got here late at night. I’m asleep before my head hit the pillow and the alarm goes off immediately. And yeah, I wake up at daylight. I’m on the shores of the river bank of the Neosho River, I mean BFE Kansas, son, but some duck history. And at nine o’clock I’m trotting back to the truck. I said no, no, I can see my truck over there. I just walked back, you don’t have to carry me. I leave the clients. I’m walking back with my tail and my mallards. I had a great hunt. Somebody asked me how’s the hunt going? It’s worth every bit of the short night to get here. And today’s guest has been around a little bit. He’s an old timer like myself. Mr. Roy Carter, born and raised right here on Carter’s Big Island, which we’re going to talk about, in St. Paul, Kansas. Roy, you’ve been here an hour and we’ve covered quite a bit of history. Where are we? Where are we right now in Kansas?

Roy Carter: Well, we’re in southeast Kansas. And it doesn’t look like Kansas, you know when you come in here, we —

Ramsey Russell: No. It don’t look like Kansas.

Roy Carter: No. Big trees, lots of water. If you get up in the airplane, everything’s dress, right dress —

Ramsey Russell: It feels like Arkansas and Missouri.

Roy Carter: Yeah, the kind of the bootheels, kind of the bootheels. And you get in an airplane, everything’s pretty organized until you get over the, what we call the Big Island. Neosho River is the largest river that starts in Kansas, and it starts up by Nebraska and it comes down through here, and Neosho stands for muddy water. And when we get down this way it splits and creates an island.

Ramsey Russell: The biggest river I’ve never heard of, Neosho River.

Roy Carter: Neosho River.

Ramsey Russell: But it’s a vital river.

Roy Carter: Yes.

Ramsey Russell: I mean, it’s an important river in Kansas, especially if you’re a mallard guy, am I right? That’s what I learned this morning in the last hour and a half with you.

Roy Carter: That’s for sure. An example, I got to exemplify that as Brother Ed and I took off to Glenn Dive, Montana to pick up one of them 12-inch Chris Foley water pumps, because that’s what we typically use behind our tractors on the PTO shaft. So we crossed the almighty Neosho here and we headed north up through Topeka, and up in Nebraska, and started seeing all these signs about the Platte and some body of water. And when we finally got out there, I mean, shit, it was pretty but you could’ve pissed across it.

Ramsey Russell: They call river and we call deep shit. 

Roy Carter: That’s right. It may not freeze, I get that. And then we went on up in there now as we pulled into Glenn Dive, there was Yellowstone River, and it was flowing north, and then it struck upon me, we had driven like 1200 miles, on the largest body of water. And from southeast Kansas to the northwest, which is our migratory pattern. We’ve driven 1200 miles and the largest body of water we crossed is when we left St. Paul. Hell, one time, years ago, my great Uncle Lloyd, come in and got a cup of coffee, and asked the old lady if he could put some water in it because it has been sitting there burning so long. She said Lloyd, you cross three rivers to get to St. Paul and now you want more damn water. Yeah, yeah, it’s just a mass of water.

Ramsey Russell: The Neosho River runs, like I said, 450 miles. Its terminus, it goes into the Arkansas River.

Roy Carter: Yes.

Ramsey Russell: Or the folks out West called the Arkansas River. It’s kind of funny being in Kansas and y’all calling it the Arkansas instead, Arkansas River. I think it’s because you’re way down here in this bootheel type country instead of west of here. Cause anywhere west of here from here in Colorado, they called the Arkansas River. Did you grow up calling the Arkansas River?

Roy Carter: It’s the Arkansas River. I mean, 

Ramsey Russell: I agree.

Roy Carter: Where does the Arkansas River run to it run to Arkansas. It don’t run to Arkansas.

Ramsey Russell: No. I met a guy in Colorado the other day and asked him where he hunted. He said, he said the Arkansas River. I go, you ain’t from around here, are you? He goes, no, I’m from Arkansas because out there they call it the Arkansas River. I don’t know why they make names up like it. But anyway, I operate. The point is funny here, the way people call stuff like that.

Roy Carter: That’s correct. And now in Kansas, there’s only three navigational rivers and that’s the Arkansas, the Missouri, and the Kansas River. Everything else like the Neosho and Verdigris and other, Marias des Cygnus, those are private waters. You own the land, no trespassing. You don’t own the water in Kansas. Yeah, we have to monitor every drop of water and then as soon as it crosses over into Missouri, they could care less.

Ramsey Russell: Western water law.

Roy Carter: Yes, it sure is. And it really doesn’t stem from down here are average rainfalls, 40 inches. It stems from out West where we’re talking about, you know the Eula Gullah and worry about the water table dropping. See now something about the Neosho here, if you’re coming up from the South and think you’re just going to buy a spot close to St. Paul and drill you a big hole in the ground, go to pumping water, it ain’t happening.

Ramsey Russell: You were talking about that. That’s why y’all went up to Montana to buy some kind of pump.

Roy Carter: Right.

Ramsey Russell: Cause you ain’t drilling a hole in this country. It’s got to have some kind of Water Right to come out of river. How does that work?

Roy Carter: That’s right. So basically, if you’re not on the river, you’re not going to have water access. We have whales around here that will support a two-inch pump enough for a house or a cabin, like down on the Big Island where I grew up, you dig down 18ft and you hit river gravel. And if you go 30 ft, you hit bedrock.

Ramsey Russell: Good luck with a two-inch pipe trying to put 350 some odd 1000 —

Roy Carter: 325,000 —

Ramsey Russell: To cover an acre, for 43,560 square foot an acre, about 350,000 gallons. It takes from here to next summer to get an acre flooded with 2″ pipe, wouldn’t it? So you got to come out of that river.

Roy Carter: You got to come out of the river. Now there is spots, and we have spots where we get some runoff, but then its fingers crossed. I call those things weather dependent. I have some wetlands that are weather dependent, but they don’t hold as much value because in a dry year they’re going to be dry, which as a biologist, droughts have their place in the big cycle, in the big picture.

Ramsey Russell: They do, that don’t mean I have to like them.

Roy Carter: No, I know, I know. But they cause the natural regrowth and things to go on in a natural manner.


Where Do Most Kansas Banded Mallards Originate?

But with all that being said, most of them come from Manitoba and Saskatchewan, they sure do.


Ramsey Russell: They do. I hear a lot of times, sending them on emails, telephone or whatever. Just for the last 20 years I have talked to duck hunters all day, every day, 365 days a year. And I hear this as a recurring dream or ambition that somebody wants to follow the migration south. And I can conjure going to Manitoba and coming down to the Gulf Coast and staying in the Mississippi Flyway. But now, what people might not understand is that’s going to take months, and months, and months. You need to be prepared to stop for two or three weeks right here where the ducks are until it’s freezing, they go a little bit further south. I’m saying you really can’t take a week off and do that or a month, it takes a while. And what I’ve been doing is to go to the headwaters. Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta this year on this road trip. North Dakota on up into Montana, Wyoming, Colorado. Interestingly enough, Colorado is where the Platte River forms. I mean, it starts in Colorado. It goes north. It goes west through home, we understood, boom boom boom boom, it starts thundering down. All that water ends up going by Vicksburg, Mississippi. So there’s this corridor, it still in the Mississippi River, drains because the ocean river goes into the Arkansas River, goes in Mississippi River, but it crosses the Flyway, see it goes a little bit in, kind of nudging the Pacific Flyway in Montana. Now I’m in the Central Flyway and I kind of consider this stone the femoral artery of the Central Flyway as it angles towards, kind of towards my part of world. It’s interesting, you know what I’m saying, how that happens like that. And I’m going to go ask you just as an aside, y’all shoot many leg bands on mallards here or have you in your lifetime? And where did a lot of those birds originate?

Roy Carter: That’s good.

Ramsey Russell: Because that might support my thesis that they’re kind of coming from the northwest to the southeast to this bottom.

Roy Carter: You’re spot on. Yeah, 1 out of 400 hundred ducks is what they used to claim banded. I’ll be quite honest with you, when I ran the club there and was doing 2-3 groups a day, we harvested anywhere from 2 to 2,500, mostly mallards and mostly drakes because we had enough to shoot. That’s what I always thought was impressive. I’m running clients, I get it and I know they’re on the menu, but I also, you know, hell we don’t have to kill to have fun. So I just kind of let them fly sometimes. But then again, there’s boys there to pull the trigger and I like to shoot too. But with all that being said, most of them come from Manitoba and Saskatchewan, they sure do. And it seems like the honkers are the same way. And growing up, I always heard Mississippi Flyway’s moving to the west and the Central Flyway’s moving to the east. And you look in southeast Kansas – and a lot of times on these flyway maps we’re overlooked, but I’ve noticed on some of these birds that they’re banding in Arkansas, they all kind of end up in Devil’s Lake. A lot of them go over there and play around at Sumner, Missouri and everything, and then go down to Mississippi, but you don’t notice a bunch of them come over to this side. And some things that changed – these ducks migration patterns are not really changing – but make them fly where they fly, in my opinion, is that they like to eat and they can’t eat fescue very well and they can’t eat pine trees and —

Ramsey Russell: There has been a lot of changes and I don’t want to turn this into a whole other conversation. We got more important things to talk about. But I tell you this, look, we heard about some genetic research. The Atlantic Flyway is completely polluted. Get up there around Michigan, which is Mississippi Flyway, you shoot 100 ducks, 80 of them probably got Atlantic Flyway old world tammy type genetics. And that doesn’t have a cue for migration. And it tells me that’s really the migration spigot because of that corrupt genetic. Maybe the research doesn’t say this. I’m saying the research implies that that bad genetics are kind of closing the spigot. Whereas in the Central, Pacific Flyway, we’ve still got vibrant North American genetics that continue to migrate. That’s just my humble opinion of what could be going on. But I can see where ducks would go up to Mississippi Flyway. It happens all the time to go to that flyway. They’re following with the wrong crowd and follow the crowd out from wherever they were molting, the drakes, I’m talking about. They might follow a hen wherever she’s going because she’s going to where she was born. Then when she starts sitting good, he’s going to pick up with the boys and go to a molting area, and then now who knows where he’s going to end up from there. So he’s just going to follow the crowd, I think. He may be going into a certain area, but we know a lot more about the hens and the drakes. I don’t know, it gets complicated.


Flyway Patterns of Aviationists

Now, wouldn’t you think if I got 50,000 mallards here and 50,000 mallards here, wouldn’t you think they kind of co-mingle?


Roy Carter: Yeah. Our ducks when they leave here, I learned a lot, or I think I learned a lot, trying to think like a duck from a small aircraft airplane, because the duck is an aviationist. Ducks follow highways at night. If you look out your window when you’re up in an airplane, you can see the lights, it’s plain and simple. North and south. They follow rivers from the northwest. I’ve sat and viewed that all my life. I’ve been out there as a kid hunting public here at St. Paul on a migratory day and goodness, groups of 25 or 30 just dropping out of the heavens, circle once, boom, in the decoys. And you know that them, some new ducks coming out of that. The Cheyenne Bottom ducks are different ducks. Total different birds. And the reason I say that you go out there and you hear the cranes. Once in my life has a group of cranes flown over the north end of the island that I know of because I was greasing the header on the combine. Uncle Ray was standing there. I thought it was pigeons. Looked up, what the hell are those? Well, totally different group of ducks. Now Cheyenne Bottoms is special place. It gets over a million waterfowl.

Ramsey Russell: I’ve hunted there.

Roy Carter: Drake and I, and Jacob was out there earlier this year.

Ramsey Russell: That doesn’t surprise me at all because those are different ducks.

Roy Carter: Different ducks.

Ramsey Russell: Like I listened to a conversation with two biologists. One is the manager of a massive sanctuary up in up near Crowder, Mississippi, the other one the manager of a very exclusive private landholding, mile and a half, two miles apart. All the food, all the sanctuary among these two properties, I’ve personally flown over and seen 50,000-60,000 mallards using that Fish and Wildlife, back when I did count. Now, wouldn’t you think if I got 50,000 mallards here and 50,000 mallards here, wouldn’t you think they kind of co-mingle? But a lot of their banding recoveries and a lot of their geo-tracking type stuff indicate that those are two independent populations of mallards living just two miles apart during the winter. That blows my mind.

Roy Carter: Yes. And that’s almost gist of thinking about the honkers. I told the kids when you call in a pair of honkers, you going to kill them both. I just can’t take it, because I don’t need to hear that other one going off crying and moaning. But yeah, our ducks, you get up at like Pittsburgh Kansas airport, you get 5000 ft, you look to the north, you can see Burlington, you look to the south, you can see John Redmond, you look to the southwest and you can see Eufaula. When our ducks blow out here, they blow to Eufaula. They don’t go over the top of Bentonville Arkansas. They just don’t do it. They like to eat and they like muddy water. So they follow that river valley which goes around those booheels and the washer to mountains and whatnot. And they get down in there and tie into the Arkansas River. And that’s how, if they end up down in Arkansas, I believe that’s how they get there.


Carter’s Big Island Beginnings

But we backed that pump in – this is 180 out-of-the-box thinking – and we started pumping that ever-so-feared water over the levees that my ancestors built in 1905.


Ramsey Russell: Roy, what’s your family history here? Roy Carter, Carter’s Big Island. I’m sitting in St. Paul, which is not Carter’s Big Island. You told me today where I went out there with your son, Drake, and some boys, and we sat in that pit blind. It’s a beautiful, I mean you could have walked in with neat boots. But I knew I’d have to get out there and handle the dog, food around some decoys or something. But it’s like a beautiful impoundment, knee deep, planted a crop full of decoy. God, that were some decoys out there. And then the tree line and right above that tree line Drake told me is a river, the ocean river. And right across that is the Big Island. Now, how long have you been here? How long has your family been here and describe what Carter’s Big Island is to me?

Roy Carter: Right. Yeah, we’re not in Hawaii.

Ramsey Russell: No.

Roy Carter: I’ll tell you that because if you get to packing around Big Island, they’ll have you over in what Honolulu or something. But with that being said, my family came to this area in 1886 to open up a sawmill which you being in the lumber tree —

Ramsey Russell: To feed probably build buildings and do stuff. I mean he was growing.

Roy Carter: Yeah. And these farm fields down on the island was full of trees. We had one field that was full of veneer walnut logs. Hundred years ago, my grandfather told me they piled it up and burned it.

Ramsey Russell: Well, you were telling me the history of why St. Paul in this region was even founded to start with.

Roy Carter: Right. The they wanted to bring Catholicism to the Osage Indians.

Ramsey Russell: In the mid-1800s.

Roy Carter: 1847, yeah. They brought Catholicism to the Osage Indians. This was the largest Osage Indian tribe in the world was five miles south of St. Paul’s church. But now the islands, the Neosho River splits and creates a 3,500-acre inland island. My family came here in 1886, coincidentally enough through trials and tribulations, and good times and bad. Filed Chapter 12 bankruptcy in 1986. I was the youngest of four boys, there was no future there, and the other boys basically had to go make a living. And I thought, you know, I’m 16 years old. I’ve only got one chance at this and if it don’t work out, well then I’ll fall back on education. And so we started getting Water Rights, and getting these pumps, and backing them into the Neosho River, which broke us basically, but yet kind of made us wealthy in a sense, you know, because of the wealth that brought down with the fertilities and the flood waters. But we backed that pump in – this is 180 out-of-the-box thinking – and we started pumping that ever-so-feared water over the levees that my ancestors built in 1905.

Ramsey Russell: To keep the water out.

Roy Carter: To keep the water out. And I’ll tell you the truth, it wasn’t my idea. Now some of your old duck hunters out there might hear railways or recognize this name. Two gentlemen from Joplin, Missouri come over here to the Fish and Game and pointed, pulled out a map, and they talked to the Game Warden, John Sloski, and said, we want to build duck lake right here. He said, well you need to go talk to Mr. Carter. That was Eddie Landreth and Eddie McKay. Eddie Landreth won the Worlds in the Stuttgart, Arkansas either 1969-1970. And so their idea, their placement and time in the books, and position on the earth I guess, call it God, whatever, started all this. And it has literally snowballed. And we struggle. It’s been good hunting, but when I started I was working, who knows how many hours a day, and trying to advertise to sell these hunts in the Kansas City Star, Wichita Legal Beacon —

Ramsey Russell: You were guiding Carter’s Big Island Hunting Club back in those days, in addition to farming and stuff.

Roy Carter: In addition to farming, when I was 17, I went to basic training, joined the Army Reserves to get the GI bill. I’m not much of these, if you deserve welfare, fine, but other than them free handouts, huh? No. I believe in hard work, my family just that way and it makes us feel good but hard work and honesty. The same stories I tell you now is the same stories that was told 20 years ago, and the same stories by my dad and my brother because they’re the truth. I’m not smart enough to remember a lie that long. But with that being said, I’m the sixth generation, my boy Drake Udall Carter, DUC, Is the seventh. And we started pumping this water, and we started shooting these mallards, and my family used to fight these mallards. We’d have a hell of a corn crop back in the forties, and now they were thrashing, and they didn’t have great equipment. Next thing you know, here come the mallards. And so my great uncle Lloyd, and all hail Bert Crouchcheck and some others. They would try to shoot them out of the corn fields. It was like a plague of grasshoppers.

Ramsey Russell: Boy, I wish I could have been them. 

Roy Carter: I know. My uncle Ray said, well now Lloyd, he liked to drink. Now Lloyd, he would pull a cork and he’d pull the cork about six months straight and then he’d sober up for six months.

Ramsey Russell: Got to shoot them ducks.

Roy Carter: What a special character. But my uncle Ray said he was out there, they cut three holes in a burlap sack, and they just wear a burlap out there in that cornfield, them damn corns, like pigs fighting over who could get to the next year, and just staging sitting there, hovering coming closer. About that time here comes Lloyd in like, I don’t know, a 1945-1948 Chevy pickup, standing in the back with three-inch Model 12, just a shooting away, Bert Crouchcheck driving the truck. Uncle Ray had to get the hell out of the way. But that’s just one of them neat old stories.


Recognizing Opportunities: Carter’s Sawmill

It was time to see it work. And from what I could see it was better for us to get rid of that debt and start gaining.


Ramsey Russell: It’s interesting to me, going back a little bit, it was interesting to me that missionaries moved in to educate the Osage Indians and it’s your family origins are way up in Iowa. How in the world? I mean they picked up from the papers that lumber is needed? To me, it’s pretty smart that before the information age where Pony Express was running around, that they recognized an opportunity to come down to this part of the world and buy some land that was wooded, have it be cleared, and opened a sawmill and start providing lumber. To me, that’s just genius. It’s kind of, like, I’ve always wondered, you know you go to hotel, if I went to the local hotel right here, and I walk in, and there an Indian from Bangladesh, how in the world did he know there was a hotel opportunity in BFE Kansas?

Roy Carter: That’s well put. 

Ramsey Russell: I mean it’s always, I’m like god, man, there’s some people that a lot of people smarter than me that can figure that stuff out.

Roy Carter: I look at that and I think why on earth did a man named Hilan come to the lowland from such good fertile farm soil, you know?

Ramsey Russell: But it worked. He saw an opportunity.

Roy Carter: It worked and the Carter sawmill had freaking —

Ramsey Russell: The whole big island got his name Carter’s Big Island.

Roy Carter: Yeah. And there was a sawmill that ran up here in St. Paul, it still sits there today. It closed down maybe five years ago. So the Carter sawmill has ran ever since then. Then I got another cousin, Chris Carter, that runs the pallet factory on the west end of town, still in the lumber industry.

Ramsey Russell: So, we know what your family history is. Now, around that time when you’re saying 100 years later bankruptcy, is that when you sold some of that property to Habitat Flats and that whole story?

Roy Carter: No, no. See I just did a lease with Habitat Flats.

Ramsey Russell: Okay.

Roy Carter: With Tony and Irene, I tell you what great people to —

Ramsey Russell: I know, wonderful people.

Roy Carter: Great people to work with. Never had a problem one. They just had a guide. He’s seen that flight line of mallards, and he went over and squeezed in between two folks that I had developed some property and sold to, and he just shot too many mallards. And Phil Robinson and stuff, if you get on YouTube and you look at Kansas Beards and Limits, and it’s Phil and Chase, and a good buddy of mine that I sold some property to, Barrett Sallee. They’re shooting mallards 10 yards off the barrel. And then other Kansas films were, the Robinsons are down, they are good people too. They really, truly are. Anyway, this old kid got shooting them in there, next thing, here come the checkbooks. And I’ll tell you what, I’ve been struggling all my life, as far as financially. I mean, I was wealthy. I was, what I always tell everybody dirt poor, because I was sitting on a goldmine but didn’t have enough money to start excavating. And I couldn’t predict the weather, and I kept buying and expanding. It was time to see it work. And from what I could see it was better for us to get rid of that debt and start gaining. And that’s what I did. And now when I drive through that island, people say, well Roy, how do you stand to drive through there? I tell you what, I can drive through there. I drive through about every morning and I’m at peace with the world. My son Drake’s not a farmer. He’s a mallard shooter. He’s a mallard hunter. He loves, he’s not a killer. He kills them, but he loves them, man, those kids, they love the sport. And I’ll tell you what, if you notice the way my place is set up, we shoot so many ducks the neighbors across the river think we’re baiting. Okay? My scooter’s never into the water. There’s no food planted in the shooting hole. There’s no clients allowed to walk in and tip over one plant. And I call it a tennis shoe pit. You show up there it is. No, no, we’re not going to risk it, we don’t have to. We get paid the same whether we shoot ducks or not, we just hope that they fly.


The Carters’ Duck Hunting Culture & History


Ramsey Russell: We talked about your family history in this bottom. What is your duck hunting history? You told me earlier there were 19 kids in your high school class and all of you had a cake, y’all had cake party, I guess 19 time a week. But what was the duck hunting culture here back in those days?

Roy Carter: Right. You know, my brother Mike and his good friend Mark Blackburn really liked the duck hunt. And they are the ones that tagged me along, and that’s back when you had, maybe you had red ball waders and we usually was running a trap line at the same time that we was going to set up our duck spread.

Ramsey Russell: Cats or coons?

Roy Carter: Coons and bobcats. And so they would carry me across the river. Now my very first, and it’s funny, I remember my first organized duck hunt. It was on those very oxbows, McCool oxbow, which was quite a deal. My grandfather set that up for Mack McCool to buy in 1946. Mack was from Kansas City and he sold and built grain bins for a living. So as a young lad, I was in a pretty nice setup and didn’t realize that we had the — it was the only duck blind in Southeast Kansas and the refuge was to the north. And then there was one guy seven times State Trap champion, Joe Goodeyon, from Kansas that built the place across the river. It’s now sold to the state/Ducks Unlimited. And so for 20 years when I ran my club, we shut down all timber hunting, which was the largest flooded green tree reservoir in the state of Kansas, 500 continuous acres. We shut down at noon and the DU marched across the river shut down at one. So we kind of had a nice little gig on it. But first time I shot, had an organized hunt, I was drinking hot coco out of a Scooby Doo thermos. Okay, I was born in 69, so it’s probably about ‘74, so Shaggy and the boys. And I remember just playing this day, and Mr. Mack McCool, he had a catwalk out to this metal box that was 150 ft out in the middle of oxbow, was blinded up with O-clamps, and he wore gum boots. And the catwalk was 6″ below the surface of the water and he walked out there, and he got down into the blind with his place for the dog. And I shot a single shot 410 Stevens, was either Savage or Stevens.

Ramsey Russell: Very similar.

Roy Carter: Yes and that’s what all us kids grew up on. And dad preached gun safety. I mean to tell you it’s the empty gun that kills. And I’ll be quite honest with you, here in a Catholic community in Southeast Kansas, I learned how to shoot a shotgun. Down on the South Island River bridge, my dad, like all us Carters, which thank God we all made it, and I’ll be sober five years on January 24th. And that’s another story we’ll save for another day. But with that being said, I learned to shoot by shooting Falstaff beer cans being thrown off the South River bridge. That’s how I learned to shoot.

 Ramsey Russell: You shot a lot of mallards back in those days.

Roy Carter: Oh my God, it was unreal. Biggest violators I ever seen was a federal Game Warden.

Ramsey Russell: State or federal?

Roy Carter: Well, there was both. It was a state guy that took care of the place, but he had friends that was feds.

Ramsey Russell: Times have changed.

Roy Carter: Times have changed and they didn’t quit at 50. I’ll just put it to you that way. But there was nobody – it was different then – nobody cared.


Why Is Kansas So Good for Mallards?

Because it’s not just the river, it’s not just the habitat.


Ramsey Russell: Why is this area so good historically for mallards? Today we saw a few wood ducks because where we were, mallards and green wing, but mallards, it was a good, good mallard hunt this morning.

Roy Carter: Mallards, if you go out, especially as we have, what’s the date today, the 21st of November? So when we get into mallard killing here from the middle of December and you go out in a day’s time or whenever – because we only hunt two groups a day now so we don’t shoot that many – but you kill 100 ducks and I promise you that 97 of them is going to be mallards.

Ramsey Russell: Why? What is so good? Describe the Neosho River bottom. It’s agriculture or flooded hardwoods?

Roy Carter: Yep.

Ramsey Russell: I think of flooded hardwoods in Kansas but y’all got flooded Green Oak and Pin Oaks.

Roy Carter: You know we’re right up here to where all the Northern Red Oak and the Pin Oak.

Ramsey Russell: Pin Oak is kin to the Nutall, even in my part of the world.

Roy Carter: And you get north of Kansas City, you won’t see it right? You get up Squirrel Creek and won’t see it. You go over to Four Rivers, it’s full of them.

Ramsey Russell: It get down around the bootheel, it starts transitioning into Nutall.

Roy Carter: You won’t find a Willow Oak here, although I’ve planted Willow Oaks and they’ll stand about a negative 20 I believe. But they’re not indigenous to this environment. But this is a mallard hole because I think you know the mallards or the grain. And it’s interesting they’re imprinted. A lot of people say, well, Carter, the only reason you’re duck hunting so good because that refuge is just built there.

Ramsey Russell: Well, talk about that. Because it’s not just the river, it’s not just the habitat. I mean for example, we could say way into the blind we hunted today, that as I understood it, you hunt every day because it’s a flyway, a big flyway. And you were talking earlier somebody recognized that big flyway. So put it together for me and turn the landscape habitat. Something is attracting these birds down here. I bet a lot of them aren’t flying too much further south. And I mean y’all kill them all they way through the season?

Roy Carter: No, we winter them here and when they do blow out, they come right back with the next South wind. And what’s funny is back when I had the clubhouse on the north end of the island, a bunch of them froze out. And then here come that big old 50 miles South wind. And one of my guides, Trey Crawford, he was over there at the game refuge, and I’m looking out the window at the lodge, and I’m about a half mile south of refuge, and I said, okay, Trey, here comes a pack of 35. And then you look behind them, here comes a pack of 40. Next pack’s 10. Here comes pack about 50. This goes on for 5-6 hours.

Ramsey Russell: Like an escalator.


Famous Jim Guinotteisms

And there was a gentleman who taught me more about ducks, and how ducks work, and his philosophies than any other individual in the face of the earth, was Jim Guinotte.


Roy Carter: Yes. And they done went and blew back in, okay? And yeah, our hole, now we’ve got holes where we preserve our ducks and try to get the best crop in there and manage them, don’t bang them up too much. But that hole, we call it Drake’s hole, the McCollum place, whatever you want to call it, that hole is in the flight line. These ducks typically fly out of the refuge pool and they head straight south, and it’s like the Macy’s Day Parade. And there was a gentleman who taught me more about ducks, and how ducks work, and his philosophies than any other individual in the face of the earth, was Jim Guinotte. And Jim was a dandy. Jim wasn’t full of bullshit, so I believe this to be true. He never bullshitted. His father was 50% partners on two square sections of flooded timber with the McCollum’s in the forties and fifties down the Stuttgart, Arkansas. There’s a street named after him up in Kansas City: Guinotte. He had shackles hanging on the front of the bus from using English call ducks. He said the first time he’s seen – actually where you was hunting today, your muzzle blast was blowing across Jim Guinotte’s sold swamp over there. Sure was. But with that being said, the first time he’s seen ducks use the dry grain fields, 1946 up until that point they was considered strictly waterfowl. Let’s see what else, oh, ducks eat their way south contrary to how they used to migrate. These are all Jim Guinotte things. He got Nebraska mallards which are also known down here as thin-skinned mallards. There’s about 50,000 ducks that shows up, as Mr. Guinotte would say, around Armistice Day. I said, what’s Armistice?

Ramsey Russell: Yeah, November 11th.

Roy Carter: 11th. Yeah. Veteran’s Day — and here I am, a Vet, don’t even know. And he smoked them little cigars, and he had bats by the door of his old camouflage bus, the boys and Guinotte, for breaking ice, and his old yellow Lab’s name was Radar. And Radar couldn’t hear a thing, he was so old. But now Mr. Guinotte also owned a nice farm up at Swan Lake. He sure did. And that was considered a goose capital of the world. Now, Mr. Guinotte was a straight shooter. Instead of the Fish and Game, he called him the Fish and Drain, because sometimes as humans, we try to manipulate things and it don’t work out for the best. But so I was told by Mr. Guinotte, and I’ve heard other theories about how that species of geese got decimated.

Ramsey Russell: Interiors.

Roy Carter: I tend to believe Mr. Guinotte’s theory. They drained Swan Lake down and then they went through endured a 3 to 4-year drought and it filled up full of Willow saplings and the geese never used it again. And once they change, they are done. So anyway, that’s just interesting stuff, and he taught me a lot about the history and he ended up selling that place up there to John Chizik. Which is interesting because when we started this little deal down here, and the bankruptcy and stuff, Dad and I had it figured out. If we sold that 500 acres for I think $875 an acre, after capital gains, we’d have enough money left to pay the bank off. So I toured Mr. John Chizik and then I toured Mr. Chris Turlup, which that’s another story in itself. His family grew up and they was poor as dirt and they had a slaughterhouse. And his daddy married into the McGivney family. He fed them meat scraps off that slaughterhouse to mink, and then he wondered, what am I going to do with all these mink carcasses? And then he developed Strongheart dog food. The reason I bring that up because your True Sportsman’s friend, the first outdoor show ever in the world that I know of, was Harold Ensley. His sponsor was Strongheart dog food, who was Bob Turlup, Chris Turlup’s dad.

Ramsey Russell: Small world.

Roy Carter: And they both, the Turlup boys both have marshes down here in these bottoms. And these aren’t just little marshes, these are 200 plus acres full of 100 plus bushel corn, not an ounce cut. And then those guys, I sold my 1000 acres or old original 1000 acres. These ducks don’t get pounded. Okay, now there’s some slow days up here. Okay.

Ramsey Russell: Well, for example, you were saying 50,000 to 100,000 ducks sitting two miles away, four miles away on a refuge from where we hunted today. But yesterday they didn’t shoot but one or two mallards because the ducks just sat or did something else. I mean, yeah, but there’s ducks in the area.

Roy Carter: Exactly! What I tell these folks and these boys is patience. With all this habitat we’ve got here in this Neosho Valley, in 1991 or 1994, I think it’s ‘91 when I was on the WRP Steering Committee, I was all for, let’s build duck lakes from here to Grand Lake because that’s one thing, that’s one form of business where you can let the secret out and it can still help you. We’re all working together. We’ve got these 100-acre impoundment and yes, it might be slow and yes, it might be nocturnal. But guess what? They’re here, they’re here. You can’t kill them if they ain’t here.

Ramsey Russell: Good point Roy. That’s right. You going to be patient and play the duck’s game. You don’t think there’s much hunting pressure here compared to other parts of the US?

Roy Carter: Boy, it’s a lot more than it was 20 years.

Ramsey Russell: So that restaurant, that’s all some of the crowd this morning at breakfast?

Roy Carter: A lot of pressure.

Ramsey Russell: Some of them I knew.

Roy Carter: A lot of pressure, refuges overcrowded but yet enjoyable. Hell, people getting along better than they used to be. Not fights in the parking lot. Two kids, I was looking over pool three this morning, here come two kids pulled up and rolled the window down, took them to this young man, took another kid to the youth pool, flushed out a bunch of ducks, and one boy shot his first mallard. Now these boys went through all this work, got up four in the morning, killed two mallards and was tickled pink. You see what I’m getting at? I’ve seen some of these people come down bitching because they didn’t kill 40. These kids killed two mallards the right way and was tickled pink. I’d say that they understand the concept.


Starting Carter’s Big Island Hunting Club

You know, so I took something I love then and turned it into business.


Ramsey Russell: Speaking of kids, maybe just think have his question. Some of your favorite memories growing up hunting with your folks, your dad, whoever you hunted with? What would the like hunt with man that were shooting after the corn being thrashed back when they had to shoot by the limits of season, or whatever, like, I mean what was it like? But what are some of your fondest memories growing up with some of them family members?

Roy Carter: Yeah. Those are memories that I’ll never forget. It was far and few — we didn’t hunt growing up like they do in Arkansas, Louisiana, and stuff. I think I’m saying that right.

Ramsey Russell: Didn’t go out every day.

Roy Carter: Didn’t go out every day. We were farmers, and my dad, to be honest with you, we took it for granted, human nature, we don’t want what we have. He was so sick of these damn mallards. It’s just like fishing, grew up on the river and last thing he wanted to do was go fishing, but something, you know, my brother Mike loved it. And from that love Mike took me along, now all us boys grew up hunting.

Ramsey Russell: Brother Mike was your brother.

Roy Carter: Yeah, he was. I’ve got Steve, Mike, Ed, and then I’m Roy.

Ramsey Russell: Mike would take you hunting.

Roy Carter: He’d take me hunting. He’s the one that kind of got me going and then I’ll be honest with you, I started chasing girls as a freshman in high school and put the shotgun down. Then my buddy Shannon Golf who went to, we ended up, we went to basic training together when he was 17. He got a duck boat and said, hey man, let’s go duck hunting. And we went out to the refuge and anyway, you know, it all started right there with the business, right? You know, so I took something I love then and turned it into business and that’s something — 

Ramsey Russell: Let’s talk about that a little bit because I can remember way back in the old days seeing Carter’s Big Island Hunting Club. The only flooded timber, advertising flooded timber, I can see it advertised. I remember seeing it back in the old magazines, back when people actually read magazines. I remember seeing some of those ads. So you started out when you were 17, 18 years old, Carter’s Big Island Hunting Club. Was it a hunting club or was it a people coming from around the country to pay hunt?

Roy Carter: Initially it was a five-year lease with Eddie McKay and Eddie Landreth. We flooded up 20 acres, right where the big island comes together at the confluence where the old river meets the new river. Well, these guys – that tells you they were educated in the world of waterfowl – they pulled out aerial maps and they found where two bodies of water south of the refuge come back together. By the way, south of the Big Island’s feedlot, National Farm feed lot, there’s a 90-degree bend in the river and there’s three miles that never freezes because it’s only a foot and a half deep when the river gets slow. If you’ve seen some of my footage last year in February, you’ve seen it —

Ramsey Russell: I saw that.

Roy Carter: Hundreds, with specks mixed in, pintails, sick. And you cast your dog and he just run. I shot a show there with Bruce Hurl. It was on American Wing Shooter or whatever, but we’ve done tons of shows up and down here. I’ve did four shows with the Flyway Highway. Three shows with Drake Waterfowl.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah. So you started Carter’s Big Island. How long did that go for? A long time?

Roy Carter: Yeah, I’m sorry, I got off track. Okay. Eddie McKay and Andy Landreth paid $5,000 a year on a five-year contract. Well, finally after busting my knuckles and doing that shit, I decided, you know, I think I can make a little more money. And this stuff was starting to get a little more exciting. People were starting to pay for duck hunting. When I started this, the toughest thing about starting hunting clubs was being a prick. What do you mean by that Mr. Carter? I’ll tell you what I mean. My family let anybody wanted to hunt that was an honest person go hunting. And I had to tell them no because we were about to starve to death, in a sense, was going broke. And I’d seen a resource, I’ve seen a chance. And I just got ate up with it, and it’s all I could think about was developing habitat, in-water control structures, scrapers, killing two birds with one stone, borrowing dirt from the high spot, putting it in the low spot, getting the benchmark, zeroing out. I can make water run uphill. It’s what I do. And people say well, I can’t see it. I can’t quit seeing it. I can’t quit seeing it. I see a place and I see a duck lake. And so we built all that. It’s funny you mentioned magazines. Delta Waterfowl – I’m trying to think of that old boy’s name, hell of a good guy. Anyway, they made me, I had them, all mallards, and one black duck hanging on a tree in Kansas. Pete Carlson and the Guzzi boys helped me set that deal up. So I advertised that in Delta Waterfowl, four color half page ads for about 3-4 years. And then times changed and California politics got involved. And he called me up and he said Mr. Carter, I do apologize but the company has made a request. I said what’s that? And he said well you got all them mallards hanging on that tree and there’s no hunters, would it be okay if we just made it one row of mallards, because that’s a little too much killing for today’s world. And so we’ll keep you at this cheap price, we’ll give you a full page ad. And so I put a deer on there, a boner, and then half a line of mallards, and a black duck, and that’s how that worked out.

Ramsey Russell: You were 17, 18, 19 years old – you’re 50?

Roy Carter: 51, going to be 52. We started doing this gig when I was 16, we did a five-year lease with McKay and Landreth. And then I started doing a hunting club. And what I did with the hunting club was one unit was $2500, a corporate unit, which consists of five, was $5000. Okay, $2500 get you 12 hunts. A corporate unit would get you 60 hunts, 12 five-man hunts. And I’ll basically, I’ll tell you what happened, this old call right here I was showing you, oh boy, that worked out here from Coleman.

Ramsey Russell: That old call.

Roy Carter: That old call. I tell you, I went down to Claythorne, they did some, this is right down the river here, Sam and Frieda Lancaster, they’ve had some world shoots there, actual World Championship shoots, more than one on the clay target stuff that they do down there. Claythorne Lodges, that’s where we’re over now. So with that being said, they had an outdoor writers deal convention, I went down there and spoke with them and told them what we got and they came up here, and Steve Harper, who’s not with us anymore, wrote an article in 1991. Because I struggled getting members there for a few years. I’m going to tell you what, it wasn’t that easy because everybody wants to remember these glory days, as my friends put it. When I was trying to run this, it was a two-duck limit. And I’ve seen times folks where I stood down that legendary big hole that everybody knows about and couldn’t kill two ducks. Every year is different. But all of a sudden John Rukavina come in here, fell in love with it, and he got on the phone and Flambeau decoys bought a membership and Dunlop Golf, I was sold out. And he was the only one that hunted it, worked out great. But people only going to send a check for a couple of years until they say, well John, we can’t do that no more. And so that’s then I went into, instead of doing the club, we started doing day hunts, figured I can make it work better that way.

Ramsey Russell: So you’ve been all in, you’ve been 30-35 years. You’ve been all in. And how long has your son Drake run the business?

Roy Carter: Well, that’s a good question.

Ramsey Russell: I know he grew up in it.

Roy Carter: He grew up in it.

Ramsey Russell: I can just imagine how many showed me a baby picture when I’m holding a duck call back then, I’m sure he grew up in the duck blind with you.


The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Passing the Torch to the Next Generation

We sold the farm and started buying duck ground. 


Roy Carter: Well, if you go on our deal with on the US Hunt List or and look up Carter’s Big Island, you’re going to see front page a show that we did. It’s called 2010 Kansas Mallards. And not just a show but with Wade Bowen and Mike, check it out on Ducks Unlimited Television. And Kevin VanDam, good friend of mine, one kind of got us hooked up on that. Well in that show, the reason I put it up is there’s an interview with Drake Carter where Wade’s asking him, will you be able to carry the torch and all this? And Drake’s all excited cause he’s going to get to skip school the next day- he’s like in the seventh grade. I leased it out, was going through different changes there to Habitat Flats and that was working really good. And Drake, he kind of thought he was going to do different things and he was going to move out to California and make a bunch of money. And he moved out to California and lived out there for a year and worked two jobs. He realized that it ain’t about – you know what I mean?

Ramsey Russell: He came back home.

Roy Carter: One season without duck hunting and it about killed him, and he ain’t missed a day of duck hunting hardly since. And so I said, well, shit. And I’ve seen how good he was and I raised him with three-time World Champion Trey Crawford guiding for me and teaching Drake and Jacob how to blow a duck call, so the boy can call. I mean ain’t nobody blows a better feeding tray bow. And so with that being said, I’ve seen it, I thought, wow, he’s not a farmer, he’s a duck guy. So shit. We sold the farm and started buying duck ground. Instead of having $5 million worth of overhead and over a million dollars’ worth of debt, we finally are out of debt. Everybody’s smiling. I’m not an alcoholic — I’m an alcoholic, but I don’t drink no more, stress level way low, and you know me, stress level’s still pretty damn high.

Ramsey Russell: You’re wound up now bro, I’ll give you that. I’ll give you that. How have things changed? Good and bad? How have things changed this part of the world since he was a young man, in the last 30 years, let’s say during the scope of Carter’s Big Island Hunting Club? How have things, the habitat, the river, the ducks, I mean, it stayed the same? What’s changed good, bad and ugly?

Roy Carter: It’s changed a lot. For the ducks, I’m going to say it’s changed good. For the hunters, if they’re, for like say, Roy Carter, if he’s concerned about kill, like he was in his first stage of three stages of the evolution of the outdoorsman, because we had a monopoly on them. I’ll be honest with you and statute of limitations is up. I’ve seen days down there where – I’m going to leave his name out of it – but he knows who I’m talking about. We went in on the oxbow and we all had, just me and my buddy, we had a couple boxes of shells and then we got a couple more boxes of shells, then we —

Ramsey Russell: Steel shot days or lead days?

Roy Carter: Well, they was supposed to be steel. I think it was right in there. At first it was lead, but —

Ramsey Russell: In the early ‘90s.

Roy Carter: Yep.

Ramsey Russell: Go ahead. I didn’t mean to interrupt.

Roy Carter: No, you’re fine. I’m glad you brought that up. The reason I say it’s supposed to be steel because I do remember going to the truck and getting all the quail loads we got. So obviously there was some segregation going on there. But I could be wrong about that because I wanted to say it was in the ‘80s, but anyway, yeah, in late ‘80s, early ‘90s. It was some shooting, some party shooting going on so to speak. And that’s when the club was — I had at least going with the McKay and Landreth and everything, and I didn’t have a respect for the sport then like I do now. I looked back at that and that was kind of the last big time and then my buddy looks back at that, and we feel bad but we kind of laugh that’s just part of it, I think we killed 50 that day.

Ramsey Russell: You talk about respect for the sport. And I remember, being a guest on the podcast one time and we were talking about stages and phases, one of the first podcast interviews I ever did. And I think hunters do go through that. Some people say it’s four. I’m not so sure it’s not closer to 40. Little ladder steps we go up to. Nobody I know hardly want to go duck hunting with an unloaded gun. We all out there to shoot a few birds. But what happened in your life? I mean, it is stages and phases, and so I understand. I promise you, I’m old and don’t agree but I do understand the big heaping piles and chest beating and all. I was young and dumb one time too. What changed Roy? I mean, you said it was your last big time you went out and shot 50 ducks with your buddies and it was just a slaughter.

Roy Carter: It was just two of us.

Ramsey Russell: Two of you with your buddy. What changed?

Roy Carter: I started making a living off them ducks. They was my way out of the ghetto and then through all that —

Ramsey Russell: Which is a value and a reason —

Roy Carter: And I hate to just put a dollar sign of it. But the value of the resource. I had a game –


Rungs on a Ladder – Stages of a Hunter

The three I was referring to, that I’ve read and heard a lot out in society, is phase one, kill kill kill, phase two, trophy trophy trophy, and then phase three, the whole deal, the hunt the camaraderie.


Ramsey Russell: Wait a minute cause that’s interesting – here’s where I’m trying to go with that because it started off as a monetary value. Break break. Down in the Yucatan peninsula, hunting oscillated turkeys, them folks down there, they’re Indians, they don’t hunt for sport, they feed their families. An outfitter explained to me one time how he’d hired these really good guys. They were good at feeding their families and wild oscillated turkeys. And once he could show them how some rich sport from America comes and shoots one of them blue peacock looking turkey birds. He gets a big tip. Now he can feed his family a whole lot more than a turkey. They saw that dollar sign go off. Now they know where them turkeys are and they feed their family food from the grocery store.

Roy Carter: I am going to tell you what Mr. Ramsey —

Ramsey Russell: But it transitioned as you talk to some of these old guides with a translator, they do have a respect and a value on that resource beyond the dollar, and that’s where you are now. I mean, look Roy, we ain’t got time in the podcast to talk about what I know about you, which is Roy today is not going out maybe hunting hardly at all. Roy’s going out and looking at the birds, Roy’s going out and pumping the water, Roy’s going out and building the habitat-habitat-habitat- habitat. My gosh, you’re in the trees, doing clearing, you’re under brushing, you are planting crops, you are planting morsel management. One of my favorite quotes “diesel is what kills these ducks” which brings us back to you and your brother going up there to Montana. So that’s kind of what I was just trying to point out is, here’s this guy in a duck killing part of the world that nobody’s ever heard of hardly, it ain’t stuck, guarded, its way off the path.

Roy Carter: Wade Bowen says is the best kept secret he ever seen.

Ramsey Russell: Until this podcast comes out, Roy.

Ramsey Russell: And so you did grow up in that environment back in that day, like we all did kind of reckless and young, and what I call the intemperance of youth. And the monetary value to get you out of the ghetto because this is a valuable resource. That’s how hunting generates $75 billion. It’s a valuable commodity.

Roy Carter: Yes.

Ramsey Russell: But now you’re an old guy like me and its transition is an even greater value, a more personal value than just the dollars. Just the sense – it’s funny how the stages and phases are like rungs on the ladder.

Roy Carter: And it is more than three. The three I was referring to, that I’ve read and heard a lot out in society, is phase one, kill kill kill, phase two, trophy trophy trophy, and then phase three, the whole deal, the hunt the camaraderie.

Ramsey Russell: Experience.

Roy Carter: And then so when you get to phase three then you start breaking it down. A couple of months going to DU magazine, you got your guy that likes to cook at camp, okay, you got your guy that sweeps the floor.

Ramsey Russell: Washes the dishes.

Roy Carter: Yeah. You got your guy that’s over there whittling on decoys or tuning duck calls.

Ramsey Russell: There is always the guy, he’s the guy that makes the coffee in the morning.

Roy Carter: Exactly, exactly. I mean and everybody kind of falls into their position. It’s just really special. And I find myself filming, if you study my Instagram or follow my Instagram @roycbi, now I keep it real. I asked, should I tune it down a little bit? And no, no hell that’s the best one yet. You know, now granted, I don’t know if we should use Doug for a judge but I love him. But now I just keep it real and I think people want real and honesty. And so with these ducks, they’re precious to me. And as I travel the world like you do to try to get to hunt these ducks, I realize how precious they are. I tell you what folks, you get in your car, and you hook your duck boat on and stuff, and you take off. Yeah, you might get in some of them, you know them, creating the piles, and chest pounders, and all that. But you go start hunting public and get up around Devil’s Lake, and go up to the west side around the Silver Lake, and then start coming on down – what, last week I was up on the night, cabrera hunting on the Missouri River there. And I’m going to tell you what, I knew I left 100,000 of them things, but I still love to see that other country, and then it makes you realize how precious they are. Drake, Drake killed 47 that day. The best day ever.

Ramsey Russell: Wow.

Roy Carter: And we run two groups a day and we have no reason. I always tell them, if there’s anything we’re doing wrong, please come tell us and show us, and we’ll fix it right then and there, we’re not going to wait one more second, and we’re open books.

Ramsey Russell: Last question is if you’re throttling back? Getting into different things, trading in land, doing habitat development, the kind of stuff you’ve been doing, get away from it? You have handed over to Drake, who we’re going to talk to next. What is your future plans? What is your future ambition?

Roy Carter: Well that’s a good question because there’s things that I thought was my plans. And then there’s all that magnetism that draws me back to the Big Island.

Ramsey Russell: Like I said, when you come to a fork in the road life, take it.

Roy Carter: Yeah. Yeah. Like I told the boys that I sold the farm to, I may have sold you this farm, but I’m here every day. So it’s still my home, you know what I mean? And I don’t have to pay taxes on it.

Ramsey Russell: Right.

Roy Carter: And Wall Street has been pretty good. But with that being said, Roy’s next plans, because see I went down there, oh, what was it, 2018? I think the market did a 30% correction in December. So I bought me a house down in Destin, Florida because I wanted to see something, I wanted to touch it. Supposedly I’m not broke anymore and I’ve got a little bit of jinx. So I bought me that there house down there. And then the market corrected 30%. Me, being the numbers guy, beat myself up because I just had to add that onto the price because that’s what I just lost. Well, shit. If anybody studies real estate down in Destin, Florida, it’s only going one way and it’s headed towards seaside and watercolor. So anyway, I’ve done okay. And I got a boat and a rack 80 ft out on the salt, you know, on the bay. But I went down there twice this year. And my wife, she likes it.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah, I bet she does.

Roy Carter: There’s no mallards and that’s okay. I enjoyed it and I needed to get away, and I’ll be back in February, but they do shoot ducks on the bay there, but this is where the heart is. I grew up drinking out of a well on the Big Island. So if you look at my body and the molecules that is made up of, it is a Neosho River.

Ramsey Russell: Yep, it is in the Neosho River. That’s a good note to end on. Folks, you’ve been listening to my buddy Roy Carter here in St. Paul, Kansas. Born and raised on Carter’s Big Island for seven or eight generations, long time. One of one of the greatest mallard holes you never heard of probably. Thank you, Roy, for being here. Thank you for sharing your time folks. Thank you all for listening this episode of Ducks Season Somewhere. We’ll see you next time.


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Tetra Hearing Delivers premium technology that’s specifically calibrated for the users own hearing and is comfortable, giving hunters a natural hearing experience, while still protecting their hearing. Using patent-pending Specialized Target Optimization™ (STO), the world’s first hearing technology designed optimize hearing for hunters in their specific hunting environments. TETRA gives hunters an edge and gives them their edge back. Can you hear me now?! Dang straight I can. Thanks to Tetra Hearing!

Voormi Wool-based technology is engineered to perform. Wool is nature’s miracle fiber. It’s light, wicks moisture, is inherently warm even when wet. It’s comfortable over a wide temperature gradient, naturally anti-microbial, remaining odor free. But Voormi is not your ordinary wool. It’s new breed of proprietary thermal wool takes it next level–it doesn’t itch, is surface-hardened to bead water from shaking duck dogs, and is available in your favorite earth tones and a couple unique concealment patterns. With wool-based solutions at the yarn level, Voormi eliminates the unwordly glow that’s common during low light while wearing synthetics. The high-e hoodie and base layers are personal favorites that I wear worldwide. Voormi’s growing line of innovative of performance products is authenticity with humility. It’s the practical hunting gear that we real duck hunters deserve.

Mojo Outdoors, most recognized name brand decoy number one maker of motion and spinning wing decoys in the world. More than just the best spinning wing decoys on the market, their ever growing product line includes all kinds of cool stuff. Magnetic Pick Stick, Scoot and Shoot Turkey Decoys much, much more. And don’t forget my personal favorite, yes sir, they also make the one – the only – world-famous Spoonzilla. When I pranked Terry Denman in Mexico with a “smiling mallard” nobody ever dreamed it would become the most talked about decoy of the century. I’ve used Mojo decoys worldwide, everywhere I’ve ever duck hunted from Azerbaijan to Argentina. I absolutely never leave home without one. Mojo Outdoors, forever changing the way you hunt ducks.

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

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

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

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

It really is Duck Season Somewhere for 365 days. Ramsey Russell’s Duck Season Somewhere podcast is available anywhere you listen to podcasts. Please subscribe, rate and review Duck Season Somewhere podcast. Share your favorite episodes with friends. Business inquiries or comments contact Ramsey Russell at 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