Following a kick-butt, pea-soup foggy morning rice field duck hunt, Casey Stafford of CCIC Outdoor Adventures and Ramsey Russell talk about waterfowl hunting in California’s Sacramento Valley. What was it like growing up duck hunting this region, who were Casey’s mentors and what were their backgrounds? Why is it that Sac Valley waterfowlers prefer foggy mornings? What’s the specklebelly hunting like, what’s a Tule Goose and what’s the Sac Valley Goose Management Unit? And by the way, what the heck is up with all the free-ranging chickens in Yuba City?! And what about decades-old, single blade spinner he uses? Forget the surfboards and Hollywood version of California beaming at you over the TV. Welcome to Real America.

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“Lake California”: First Morning Duck Hunt Sacramento Valley with Casey Stafford


Duck Hunting California’s Sac Valley


A lot of people call [the Sacramento Valley] “Lake California.” You get over the top of it and look down and all you see is water for miles and miles and miles.


Ramsey Russell: Welcome back to Duck Season Somewhere. And it is duck season in California. I did something today I always kind of wanted to do. I went duck hunting in the California Sac Valley , and that as a really cool deal. And I had forgotten all about the fact that decades ago, they had invented this particular product, this machine to attract ducks. They called it a T-Post, they called it a Goalpost, some people called it the Blade, and some people called it the Davis Machine. And I hunted over about a three decade-old version of one today, and it tolled ducks just like it was supposed to. I’m with Casey Stafford. How are you, Casey?

Casey Stafford: I’m good. I am good, buddy.

Ramsey Russell: Tell me. Was this morning pretty typical for Sac Valley duck hunting?

Casey Stafford: I would say it was. This duck hunting has gotten so weather dependent. Today we had that fog, real thick, pea soup type fog, when we came in, and it broke up right there at daylight, and we got a little shooting early, and then that stuff stalked back in, and those birds were lost. They just sat down and didn’t move. And then as the morning went on, they started getting restless, and we started picking off birds. So I’d say that was a good representation.


Why do Sac Valley California duck hunters want fog?


But with that fog, it confuses them a little and kept them out in the fields a little longer.


Ramsey Russell: And I had heard, somebody told me years ago that you wanted fog to hunt like we hunted today. That doesn’t make any sense to me because when I think about hunting back home, I don’t want fog. I want ducks from wherever to be able to see my decoys and do this, do that. What are the advantages of fog? Why do you want fog out here in California?

Casey Stafford: Well, what we got working for us here, especially where we hunted today is we were right next door to the Delevan NWR. We’re sitting right next door to the closed zone that refuges a chock full of birds. They sit in there all day and rest. And then they come out at night to feed. They’ll come out into the rice, disperse, feed in the rice fields, and then they make their way back in the morning. This morning, we had them trapped out there with that fog, they were underneath it and trying to get back to the refuge. It’s just their same routine they do every day. But with that fog, it confuses them a little and kept them out in the fields a little longer.

Ramsey Russell: It seemed to have worked. I just remembered from the time we stepped out of the pickup truck until the time we left, the whole time I felt like I was in a fish bowl.


Ramsey Russell Duck Hunting California's Sacramento Valley


Casey Stafford: Yeah, that’s a good way to explain it.

Ramsey Russell: Banks of fog kind of came and went, we could see fifty yards, we could see a hundred fifty yards. But I couldn’t really describe to you anything other than a hundred fifty, two hundred yard radius where we hunted today.

Casey Stafford: Yeah, no, we were socked in pretty tight today. And historically, we’d get those banks of fog like that, that would be sometimes a week, sometimes ten days, sometimes two, three weeks where you never even see the sun. That was back in the old days, and we don’t get it like that anymore. But when we were getting that fog that lasts four, five, six, seven days, the first day is kind of a wild card, it can be good hunting. The second day is usually good hunting. And by the third day, for as long as that fog lasts, it just gets better and better every day. Then birds get out there, they get lost, they get confused, and they don’t know where they’re going or where they’re getting back to.


Typical Sacramento Valley Duck Species Bagged


Ramsey Russell: One of the principal species today, we shot mallards. We shot a snow goose. We shot green-winged teal, and we shot some shovelers. I was surprised because we had stopped somewhere along the way as were coming in, we had stopped and rolled down the windows and listened, and I heard tons of pintails that I really expected to see. And we had talked about clouds of pintails you all have, we’ll talk about that in a little bit, clouds of pintails you all have been seeing, for whatever reason they didn’t fly this morning, but is that pretty much it? Is that your bread and butter duck? What else are you all killing out here?

Casey Stafford: Yeah, we get pretty much all the puddle ducks. Our main species in the rice I would say would be wigeon, teal, shovelers. We get gadwall, we got a lot of specklebellies, a lot of snow geese, the occasional honker. And we get the mallards, we just don’t get a lot of the mallards out in the rice. They tend to hold up in the Butte Sink area.


Ramsey Russell sac Valley Duck Hunting California



Sacramento Valley Rice Field Duck Hunting


I was surprised to learn that California rice production is second only to Arkansas. It’s over seven hundred thousand acres of rice production. And it’s all flooded, so it can be decomped, that’s seven hundred thousand acres of just rice habitat sitting out here flooded.


Ramsey Russell: Okay, what’s the difference in there and here? I’ll find out, I’m going to hunt it. But what is the difference?

Casey Stafford: It’s just a natural marsh. That Butte Sink’s eighteen thousand acres of historic marsh that it’s been there. It’s got the trees in it, it’s got the cattails. It’s where the Mallards like to be.

Ramsey Russell: And Sac Valley is rice.

Casey Stafford: Yeah, predominantly rice.

Ramsey Russell: We hunted a big old rice farm today, and what’s so interesting to me about hunting in California, especially as a duck hunter back home, a lot of those farmers burn off their stubble. You all don’t do burn with all this “West Coast clean air thinking” out here, you all have to decomp it, which means what?

Casey Stafford: Basically, since we can’t burn anymore, we got to find a way to get rid of the straw. The best thing to get rid of that straw is to get it under water. There’s a million different ways that guys do it. Typically, like the field we hunted today, that field was harvested, chopped and then just flooded. That farmer there in particular does that because of all the geese that are in the area early on in the season. He doesn’t feel like he needs to incorporate the straw or disc it because then geese get in there and start picking and chewing it up. Some of our other stuff, we will not chop it, we harvest it and use a big forty-two inch double disc and turn that straw right under the ground.

And that big stubble disc pulls dirt over the top of it, and we roll right behind it. That gets it down there, the water starts breaking it down, and you get the microbes and everything to break that straw. But that’s really the only way to get rid of it anymore. They’re working on a plan up out of willows where they’re taking all this straw and bailing it, and it’s actually a press board plant, and they’re going to try to make press board out of it. But still to this date, I have not seen a board come out of it yet.

Ramsey Russell: Well my whole point is, and I’ll probably say this every episode we do in California: when people think of California, they think of downtown San Francisco, Los Angeles, all these big cities and all the stuff you see on television, Hollywood, and we were as country as country gets today. We were going through little towns like Colusa and your little town right here in Sutter that are just small town, real America man. It’s as far removed from the big cities as Mississippi, but I was surprised to learn, getting back on rice, I was surprised to learn that California rice production is second only to Arkansas. It’s over seven hundred thousand acres of rice production. And it’s all flooded, so it can be decomped, that’s seven hundred thousand acres of just rice habitat sitting out here flooded.

Casey Stafford: You get up in the air, a lot of people call it Lake California. You get over the top of it and look down and all you see is water for miles and miles and miles. It spreads the birds out. We were still burning then in the eighties, nineties, early nineties. And the only guys flooding were duck hunters. So you had that water, you pretty much had them birds at your mercy. And now with all the water, it spreads them out a lot more, but it’s good for all species, it’s good for any species of waterfowler. There’s plenty of food for them.


Tule Goose subspecies versus typical White-fronted Goose?


The beak is longer, definitely longer, the feet are longer. I mean it’s a bigger bird and then I have noticed over the years, it’s not, I would say a fact, but 99% of the stuff that I can tell you that I’m sure is a Tule goose, has like an orange eyelid.


Ramsey Russell: Yeah, there’s more than just ducks and geese out there. And I’ve got a lot of questions about this morning. We were in a zone that we couldn’t shoot specklebellies. What’s up with that? Here’s what I’m trying to say, we were in a zone that you can’t shoot any  (white-fronted geese) specklebellies and yet, everybody I know wants to come to California because the specklebelly limit is ten. That’s the question.

Casey Stafford: Well, what we were in today is called the Sacramento Valley Special Management Area. And basically, what the powers to be have determined is that is where the Tule goose comes to nest. They’re saying that the Tule goose focuses on the Sacramento Delevan-Colusa refuges for its wintering area. And so the time of year that they’re supposedly here and using those refuges is about mid-December through the end of the season. So they cut us off December 21st inside this box, this imaginary box, and we can’t shoot them from the 21st of December till the end of the season.


Learn More: Why are the White-fronted Goose (Specklebelly) Hunting Regulations More Restrictive in this Special Sacramento Valley Goose Management Area?


Ramsey Russell: So supposedly these subspecies of specklebellies, the Tule Goose, just comes and lives inside this box and over winters during duck season.

Casey Stafford: So they say.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah, but you were telling me you’ve actually shot some, I mean you do shoot these birds outside the zone. And I guess you’re set up for specks.

Casey Stafford: Basically what we’re doing is we’re getting them out of a duck blind. All my duck blinds, the one we hunted today, like I was telling you this morning, I’d already pulled like five hundred decoys this week just because the ducks were starting to not like the big spreads, and we’re skirting them, but we start the season typically with about five hundred goose floaters at every duck blind and a couple hundred duck decoys. And so where we are outside of the closure, I’ll leave those goose decoys out till the end.

Ramsey Russell: And tell me the distinction for anybody listening because you were showing me this morning, we got there a little bit early this morning and sat in the truck for a little bit and you were telling me this. What’s the distinction between a Tule Goose and typical white-Fronted Goose?

Casey Stafford: Typically they’re going to be a larger bird. The beak is longer, definitely longer, the feet are longer. I mean it’s a bigger bird and then I have noticed over the years, it’s not, I would say a fact, but 99% of the stuff that I can tell you that I’m sure is a Tule goose, has like an orange-yellow eyelid around its eye.


Tule Goose Close Up


Ramsey Russell: Okay. I guess they make the same vocalizations. You react to them like specks and everything else? You hunt them like Specks?

Casey Stafford: All I would say the difference is it’s a little bit bigger speck in my opinion.

Ramsey Russell: Larger sub-species. I’ve looked at their migration distribution corridors, all that kind of good stuff. And this bird is coming from the extreme western part of their nesting area. And it’s flying specifically to this part of the world. I think there are four, five, or six maybe, breeding populations of specklebellies. And this is just a particular subspecies called the Tule Goose. And it’s one I want to check off my list. So I hope to get back up here with you one day and go after them.

Casey Stafford: Yeah. Well we can certainly try to get them, like I said, they mix right in with the regular White Fronts, there’s nothing really any different to them other than they’re a little bigger bird. But as far as hunting them and everything goes, they overlap in where they are and you hunt them the same way.


CICC Outdoor Adventures


Ramsey Russell: You run an outfitting service. CICC Outdoor Adventures. What does CICC stand for?

Casey Stafford: The CICC is the Colusa Indian Community Council.

Ramsey Russell: Okay. And you’ve got a relationship with them regarding their agricultural property.

Casey Stafford: Yeah. What I do for them is I manage all of their property from a recreational aspect. There’s a guy that does the farming, and then when he’s done with the farming, then that’s where I take over for the duck clubs. We have a three hundred thirty acre wetland that they own that I manage for them. They have a hill ranch, that’s seven thousand acres that I manage for them. All for basically the hunting and recreation industry side of things.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah. How in the world did you get into it? You’re in your forties? How long have you been doing it? And how did you get into it?

Casey Stafford: I’ve had a guide license since I was eighteen years old. Worked for Merlot Waterfowl when I was going to college up at Chico State. That’s how I put myself through college. And then after college, I started my own company -my wife and I- Stafford Waterfowl and we ran that until 2007. 2007 is when I went to work for the tribe.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah. You seem to be enjoying it. Would you say it’s mostly local California day hunters or?

Casey Stafford: We get a lot of California day hunters. I do get guys from the East Coast. It’s guys that are looking for something in particular, like the Pintail. We have a million of them. I get a lot of guys looking for the Ross geese and the Shovelers.

Ramsey Russell: Oh, yeah I can see that, come all the way from the East Coast to shoot shovelers. That’s very interesting. All right, now look, you told me some stories this morning I want to hear. You started guiding, putting yourself through college when you were eighteen years old.


Growing Up Duck Hunting in California


Ramsey Russell: But how long have you been duck hunting and what are your origins? You’re born and raised in California.

Casey Stafford: I was born and raised right here.

Ramsey Russell: Right here in Sutter?

Casey Stafford: Yuba city.

Ramsey Russell: Yuba city. Okay.

Casey Stafford: Our family’s been here for- I guess my dad and them were kids, were born and raised here in Yuba City. It looked a lot different back then than it does now, you can only imagine. I mean the motel you stayed at this morning, that’s the center of town. That used to be orchards and rice fields, and it’s grown up a lot. But they grew up here. They’re farmers, ranchers and did what they had to do to make a penny. I mean back in the day I had some wild crazy uncles, and they may or may not have been part of the market hunting and the-

Ramsey Russell: Well there’s probably a statute of limitations. And even if you’re just talking fifty, sixty years ago, that was then and this is now. But tell me a little bit more about your dad and his brothers, did you tell me your granddad passed when they were young?

Casey Stafford: Yeah. They were young. Both my dad’s parents died. I think my dad was in fifth grade or sixth grade. His oldest sister took care of them.

Ramsey Russell: And how old would she have been?

Casey Stafford: She probably would have been twenty-eight, twenty-five, somewhere in there. She and her husband basically took care of all the boys and the girls, and raised them. I mean they were, for lack of better words, dirt poor. I mean my dad said he’d wear cotton sacks for shirts, and they did what they had to do to make ends meet. And I mean that’s how it was back then.


What’s up with all the Yuba City, California chickens?


That’s the town chicken herd,


Ramsey Russell: Yeah, well that’s how it is everywhere, even today, it can be that way. Speaking of Yuba City, so I woke up this morning. I’m in California, right. And when we talked yesterday on the phone and you were saying, “Oh man, this is farm country,” and it is. I mean you start driving up through here, and you realize it’s just like driving through Arkansas. I mean it’s farming country, but I did not expect this nice, newish Hampton Inn. I did not expect roosters crowing out my window as I’m getting up, getting dressed at five o’clock this morning, and all of that cock a doodle dooing. But it wasn’t just one, it was a bunch of them. I didn’t pay attention, figuring it must be somebody got them in their backyard nearby. But when I walked out that hotel, started going to get my gear together in the van, waiting on you to get there, there were roosters crowing in all directions. I mean, thousands. All right. And I’m sitting, I’m looking around and there’s some up in a tree right there at the entrance of this big nice hotel, and it’s right next to a strip mall. This ain’t like the hotel off- No, this is right in the middle of town. Across the street is this massive parking lot with something in the dark that appeared to be a Buford Holly just growing everywhere. And I think every one of them got a flocks of chickens in it. I’m like, what in the heck is up with all these chickens in Yuba City?

Casey Stafford: That’s the town chicken herd, just from years as the town has expanded. It was always rural there. There were little farmhouses. As the town expanded and houses got knocked down and subdivisions or strip malls were made, those chickens just kind of got left there, and now they’re all over the damn place. You go into the Raley’s parking lot, and you got to fight them off to get into your car. You go to Carl’s Jr down the road, and there’s twenty of them standing in the yard. You drive down the highway, they’re on 99, and in that certain stretch between Franklin and Bridge Street, you may see a hundred on the side of the road.

Ramsey Russell: It’s unbelievable. I mean it’s like you go to Jackson Square in New Orleans, and there’s millions of freaking pigeons. These are chickens.

Casey Stafford: Yes, sir. Wild roosters.

Ramsey Russell: There ought to not be any hungry people in Yuba, California. During Covid, layoff, the zombie apocalypse. There ought to be plenty of chickens for everybody.

Casey Stafford: Yeah, there is. I would say there is, there is a heck of a herd of them.

Ramsey Russell: So what are some of the stories? What are some of the stories you remember about your dad and your uncles, the guys? I’m assuming they kind of raised you into this hunting.

Casey Stafford: Oh, yeah.


When did you learn duck hunting in California?


Ramsey Russell: When you were a little boy. How old were you when you started hunting? Do you remember your first duck? You’ve been doing this long and hard, hundred day seasons since you were eighteen years old. We’re talking three decades of hundred day season duck hunts. Do you remember your first duck?

Casey Stafford: I think back about that all the time, and I honestly can’t tell you exactly what it was. But I remember the duck club we killed it on, more than likely it would have been a Bull Streak. It was over in District 10, and I would be willing to bet that’s what it was. But we started out, we always had people around here that we knew, lamb we could hunt. We did a lot of goose hunting. My dad and them, as I got a little older, and they got a little older, they’d done all the killing they needed to do, I guess. And they had more fun watching me. So they’d take me around on the weekend and tell me all right, there’s geese out in that field, crawl out there and get you some. And I think they only did that because they enjoyed laughing, watching me make mistakes. I’d get it wrong nine times out of ten. But on the tenth time, I’d get me some geese.

Ramsey Russell: When they were younger, they were doing that to live.

Casey Stafford: To live absolutely.

Ramsey Russell: To feed themselves, to make money, to pay bills, whatever. And as they got older, they handed it off to you. But they taught you to be a hunter.

Casey Stafford: Yes, sir. Absolutely. And they taught me some stuff I probably shouldn’t have known. But that’s part of the history, it’s a story.

Ramsey Russell: We all know, there’s a yesteryear to waterfowling, but I just find that interesting. Can you talk about when you were sneaking up on geese? What did they teach you about shooting geese? That’s a legal practice now. We can crawl snow geese, and Lord knows there’s so many of those snow geese. They need to be annihilated. But what was that trick they taught you?

Casey Stafford: Well, when I was young, we’d go out there- You’ve been in a grind of geese, how deafening they are before, especially if you can get in the middle of them. And I can remember getting out of the pick-up, my uncle telling me, “Now go down that ditch,” and my dad laughed, “And when you get down there and get even with them, take a shotgun shell and tap your gun barrel, and they all shut up.” And I thought, “Oh come on.” And I remember when I finally got it right, I crawled right in the middle of this field and got in the middle, and there was birds on each side of me and I thought, “Well, we’ll see.” I grabbed a shotgun shell and tapped my gun barrel, and I’ll be damned if every bird in that field didn’t go silent and its head go straight up in the air. And back in the day when they were doing this to survive, that was the time to shoot. They would shoot right across them. But it would stand every head in that field straight up in the air, and you would look, it’s unbelievable. It’s almost worth crawling out in the middle of them to tap the shell just to watch it happen.

Ramsey Russell: Well I crawled those snow geese back in the day. That might be a good tip to know.

Casey Stafford: Yeah. No, I would like to see us be able to do more in California.


Vintage Sac Valley Duck Hunting Decoy


California Goose Hunting Topics


Ramsey Russell: California doesn’t have the lax conservation order that some of the other parts of the country does. Do they?

Casey Stafford: No, we get five days following the duck season. I forget the dates this year, but it usually starts like the tenth, twelfth somewhere in February and goes for five days. Everything still has to be the same, you have to have a plug in your gun. You can’t use electronic callers. But if they really want to have a conservation order and have some effect on these birds, we could help here if they would open this thing up. No plugs, just like it is in most other states, and let us use the e-callers and let us knock a hole in them. They need to be managed.

Ramsey Russell: I just don’t know enough about this, Casey. I don’t know if the Pacific population is counted the same as the Atlantic and Central Mississippi Flyway type population. Do you think it’s  more of a California thing or more of a management thing overall for Snow? I don’t know.

Casey Stafford: I want to say it’s more of a California thing just because I know in a lot of these other states here close by and other parts of even- They have different regulations in the North-eastern part of the state where the season goes longer. They get like thirty days because those geese are making their way back up North and picking on the alfalfa fields and the wheat fields. I know from the time I was a kid, it changed maybe fifteen years ago, but when I was a kid, we never saw Snow Geese until middle of December. And then they would start showing up, and they would end up down here in big piles. Now when the season opens, the third weekend in October, we got tons and tons of Snow Geese around here. The population is just out of control. I remember when we couldn’t shoot specks here, and then I remember it being two birds, and then maybe it was four birds.

Ramsey Russell: How long ago was that?

Casey Stafford: I know I was in high school when we couldn’t shoot them. So it had to have been mid-nineties, it’s crazy what’s happened in such short order of time.

Ramsey Russell: Wow. So up until about the mid-nineties, you all didn’t shoot specklebellies. Three or four decades ago, they weren’t hunted?

Casey Stafford: Yeah. And if they were, maybe we could only shoot two of them, it was very minimal what we could kill. And I want to say, maybe at a certain point we couldn’t shoot them, kind of like the whole Tule goose thing is right now. But in the last fifteen years, the population, it’s incredible how many.

Ramsey Russell: It’s exploded. May have something to do with all that rice ya’ll got out here.

Casey Stafford: It could be. It’s amazing, I know because we went from no birds to two birds to four birds to six birds, now ten birds. I mean that’s a pretty liberal bag limit.

Ramsey Russell: Ten birds is an extremely liberal bag limit for a big old, good eating goose like a Speckled Belly.

Casey Stafford: Yes sir.

Ramsey Russell: That’s incredible. And I know a lot of people that have asked me to find: “Hey, who do I need to hunt with out there?” That intrigues a lot of people to come shoot something like that. And I think two or three is what most of states back home are having to shoot, just two or three a day.

Casey Stafford: Yeah. And that’s the only place we are restricted is inside that closure area where we hunted today. Even from the start of the season until December 21st, I can only shoot three birds inside that box, per gun. And I’ve kind of argued, and I’ve knocked on doors and picked on organizations, trying to figure out what the deal is because I would like to see that season open for the duration. Even if we remain in the closure, if they knock it down to two birds and let us shoot them all season long, I’ll quit my griping or give us three all season long, I’m not asking for the ten because there’s not that many days where everybody is going to go out and shoot their three specklebellies. I really don’t think we would have that much more impact on the species period.

Ramsey Russell: I hope maybe while I’m here meeting with folks, I’ll run across a biologist or maybe somebody listening will know a little bit more about the topic of Pacific Flyway Snow Geese and that Sacramento management zone specklebellies to shed some light because I think I did hear, for example, the zone you’re talking about, that the specks are closed. My understanding, and I don’t know for a fact, but my understanding is that was not originally a specklebellies zone, it was a zone created to protect Aleutian Canada Geese, which now the limit’s ten. Have you heard anything about that?

Casey Stafford: Yeah, correct, 100%.

Ramsey Russell: So it’s not even originally a Speck zone.

Casey Stafford: Yeah that box was originally created for the Aleutians.

Ramsey Russell: Which are doing pretty damn good based on my hunt yesterday.

Casey Stafford: Based on what I saw yesterday. Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: It’s unbelievable how well- The limit on them is ten and if I’m not mistaken, it’s not just that y’all can shoot ten specks or ten Aleutians, whatever. Those seasons actually go into February, I think. I know in Oregon you can shoot the little Canadas, and I think specks all the way up into March.

Casey Stafford: Yes. And you can in the North-end of California too and the North-eastern zone.

Ramsey Russell: Up around Plymouth?

Casey Stafford: Yeah, and Modoc and all that stuff there. When the birds are working back, that’s when they hit those hay farmers hard.

Ramsey Russell: That’s a long time from now. I mean we’re talking into the first week of March, ten birds a day. That’s incredible.

Casey Stafford: Yeah, it is. And you can see these birds now, the white geese are still picking on the rice, but the dark have really gone to the green grass. They’re getting in guys’ wheat fields, they’re getting in alfalfa fields now. They’re on the sides of the roads picking at grass. Their diet changes this time of year, and when that switches, it’s hard to kill them in the rice now, a Speckled Belly. But they will work their way back up North, and those guys will get them good in the green.


Past and Present Waterfowl Hunting Culture in California


Ramsey Russell: That’s incredible. Can you tell me more stories about your dad and your uncles?

Casey Stafford: Yeah, I don’t mind.

Ramsey Russell: Because you told me some pretty cool stories this morning. True or false: Way back in the day, fifty, sixty years ago as a little boy, you once saw somebody shoot eight geese out of ten shots in the air with a 22 long rifle.

Casey Stafford: That’s absolutely the truth, 100%. The one uncle, Monty’s passed away now, I’ve seen him do it, and I’ve seen my other uncle do it, and I’ve seen my dad do it. I was a little kid when I’d seen my uncle do it.

Ramsey Russell: It didn’t really strike you as impressive back then.

Casey Stafford: Yeah I mean it was cool. He shot eight or nine shells and killed seven or eight geese, whatever it was, out of the air. And I thought, “Yeah that’s cool.” But looking at it now thinking, “Man, there’s no way, I couldn’t do it.”

Ramsey Russell: After 10-gauges and 12-gauges.

Casey Stafford: Yeah we’re throwing two, three hundred BBs a shot, and he’s shooting one little slug at them. I did see that. Back in the day, they’d showed me some of the stuff they did.

Ramsey Russell: What about the way they were loading shells a special way?

Casey Stafford: Yeah they were hand loading their own ammunition, and they didn’t have- I don’t know if they hadn’t bought any, or they didn’t have any around, or they were sitting around and just thought it would be a good idea, but they would actually take like a hundred or a hundred twenty pound monofilament fishing line, a ten or twelve inch piece, and you cramp a couple split shot on each end, and then they would coil it up inside a shotgun shell. And they continued to do that and continued to do that until the shell was full, and then they’d cramp it, and then that’s what they’d shoot when the geese jumped up, they’d shoot that into it and it’d get out there and stretch out and take off wings and heads and necks and all kinds of stuff.

Ramsey Russell: How long do you think that monofilament would have been fully expanded?

Casey Stafford: I think like ten inches. Ten, twelve inches. If that’s what I remember them telling me. And they said it would just start twisting out there and ripping through the air. I can’t say I ever tried it. But they say they did it.

Ramsey Russell: I’ve never even heard of it. Where do you think they came up with that idea?

Casey Stafford: I don’t know. Back in the day with them punt guns and everything. They’d throw nails, rocks, bolts, whatever you had down the end of the barrel. I think it was someone just sitting around that said, “Well, we don’t have any bullets, let’s make some.”

Ramsey Russell: “Try that weed eater wire right there. Let’s try that.” That never would have crossed my mind in a million years to do something like it.

Ramsey Russell: What changes have you seen since you was a little boy here in California? How have things changed? Did all this rice exist back thirty, forty years ago, or was it mostly marsh?

Casey Stafford: We’ve actually had this rice production. I don’t believe the numbers have gone up tremendously from when I was a little kid. They’re actually probably shrinking some now. Some of the marginal rice ground, or I shouldn’t say even marginal rice ground, it’s probably better ground suited for something else that used to be in rice. With the water issues and everything, they’re taking some of that out of rice and putting trees in. There’s a lot of almonds, a lot of walnuts and stuff going in. And so there is ground coming out that’s changing the Flyway. Places where there used to be big huge blocks of rice are now maybe big huge blocks of trees. And I think it just shifts the Flyway, but there’s still, I can’t tell you exactly how many acres for sure there is rice, but there’s plenty of rice for the birds.

But the biggest thing I think I’ve seen is in years past, up until about ten or fifteen years ago, every bird, once it got cold, they come out of Canada and they ended up here, they made their way here eventually. We didn’t have the big hunting clubs in Washington and Idaho, Oregon like we have now where they’re growing the corn and leaving the standing corn and the birds stop there, and unless it freezes them out or it snows so much they can’t get to that feed, they have feed and roost water with those running rivers all year long. So why come down here? And I think there’s shortstop in a lot of the birds now, for sure.

Ramsey Russell: Well, I always kind of dodge through these debates on habitat management and clubs because I do feel like they’ve got their place because there’s private landowners putting out habitat that benefits ducks, benefits society. But it may just be a function of warming trend, that it’s just not getting cold enough, like we talked a little bit about that this morning on the drive out. It’s just at some point in time, geologically, those glaciers that are melting up there didn’t exist, and Arizona was the bottom of the ocean. And there’s a whole big cycle that’s far bigger than a human life span is what I’m trying to say. And I don’t know,

I know coming from the Mississippi Flyway this year, it’s warm up North. Even though we’ve had some cold fronts, we’re just not getting the penetration of birds that we have in the past. And it’s not like just once every now and again, it seemed to be kind of settling into the norm. That’s scary. It’s worrisome. As a duck hunter, it’s worrisome that for whatever reason, and I don’t hang it on any particular habitat or user group up the Flyway as much as just the weather. Because if the water is hard, they’re not accessing those fields you’re talking about, they’ve got to go South. And I don’t know. Do you think there’s as many hunters around? I mean, one of the biggest surprises I’ve had so far coming out here is there’s a significant waterfowl hunting culture in California.

Casey Stafford: Absolutely. Yeah. There is.

Ramsey Russell: Once you get away from Haight-Ashbury Street type civilization, there’s hunters in California . I mean there’s regular real America type stuff. People hunt here. People are passionate about duck hunting.

Casey Stafford: Duck hunting is huge here. I rent seasonal duck blinds too, and I don’t care if I have fifty, if I have a hundred, those seats don’t sit unfilled. There’s more demand for them than we have supply. And it seems like some guys are phasing out and the younger generation I don’t see- It’s the older guys, the 50, 60, 70, 80 year old guys that grew up hooked on this stuff, and this younger generation, we’re losing it.

Ramsey Russell: I hear that everywhere.

Casey Stafford: Everywhere you go. I hear the same thing, around here, Sutter, you wouldn’t know that by looking at these kids. I mean you hunted with my boy this morning, his friends, they’re die hard. That’s all they want to do is kill ducks.


Ramsey Russell Travel Decoy Casey Stafford Cade Stafford


Ramsey Russell: Your son, Cade, is impressive. He sure is, for a young man to give me a lot of optimism for the future of America. And not only because he’s a duck hunter, because he’s a good kid and a hard worker. I was out in Havre de Grace, Maryland of all places not too long ago, where body booting originated, and that’s a very labor intensive undertaking because you’ve got to move a lot of decoys out in the vast tracts of open water. You’re standing behind these big, heavy cutouts of swans. It’s labor intensive, and it ain’t an old man’s hobby. And I was talking to a guy about my age, and he was telling me, “Back when I was young, we went out with the old timers and we were the muscle, we did all the work, they did some, but we did all the muscle.” Then he said, “Now I’m the old guy, and there’s no muscle behind me.” He said, “It’s tiresome because these young kids aren’t getting into it. There’s no eighteen to twenty year olds passionate about this stuff to come in and help us.” That’s kind of sobering.

Casey Stafford: And as many clients as we run through the business every year, I see that. Like I have my core of my clientele right now, I would say is in the 50 to 80 year old range, and don’t get me wrong, I mean I got some 30 year olds, 40 year old guys in there, but you see those thirty and forty year old guys that come up hunting, and very few of them have a kid with them, their kids just haven’t been brought into it, initiated into it, or they just don’t enjoy it. I see dads, quite a bit, will bring a kid up. The dad loves the hunt, and the kid sits on the corner the whole time on his phone and he says, “Daddy, my hands are cold.” Daddy this. Hell, when I was ten years old, that’s all I wanted to do. I wanted to roll around in the mud and rain and watch ducks fall out of the sky, and these kids, some of them just don’t care.

Ramsey Russell: They just weren’t raised into it right.

Casey Stafford: I think the younger generations, maybe the thirty year old guys, the forty year old guys right now, they’ve let business and making money get ahead of them and haven’t spent as much time in the field as they would like to or used to. And it depends on where you live. I mean, you see up here, that’s all there is: dirt and country and that’s what we do. We hunt, we fish, but you get down into San Francisco. I mean it’s a jaunt for those guys to get away for a couple hours to go hunt or to go fish. I mean they’re stuck down there in the urban jungle.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah. You’ve been doing this a long time. Thousands upon thousands of clients I’m sure you’ve had come through your blinds. It’s a people business. Have you met some interesting people along the way?

Casey Stafford: Oh, absolutely. I mean over the years we’ve had some gems, but I’ve had all kinds of people. One that sticks out, his name was Pruse I believe, he was a Peruvian wedding singer. He hunted with me quite a bit.

Ramsey Russell: A Peruvian wedding singer.

Casey Stafford: Yeah, that was his gig. I mean we’ve had a lot of characters over the years from all walks of life.

Ramsey Russell: And here in California, I’m sure a lot of national origins are represented among those ranks.

Casey Stafford: Yeah, I agree. And the funny thing is about all that, you can see everybody fight and argue in the country, divided and everything else. But when you’re in a duck blind, you’re just a duck hunter.

Ramsey Russell: I say it all the time, that’s exactly right. You get four minutes in a duck blind, it doesn’t matter who, what. And anybody that can’t leave the outside world out of the duck blind really needs to go to another duck blind.

Casey Stafford: Absolutely.

Ramsey Russell: Because we’re all just duck hunters in that moment. That’s one thing I love about what I do and doing that right there, I sure do.

Casey Stafford: Yeah, you can put people from all walks of life together in a duck blind, and we all have that one thing in common is the love for the duck hunting.


Spinning-winged decoys originated in Sacramento Valley California?


It started to get light, and I kid you not, them ducks would come from as high and as far as you could see them, and they would come straight to it. No circles, no loops, you know how them geese start waffling when they’re coming down. They would come over that tree line of that refuge and see that thing, and they would dive straight for it. Sometimes they would come so fast and get to that steel, and they’d hit the water and sit right under it, and the mallards will just sit under there and talk to it. I’ve seen teal hit it.


Ramsey Russell: I can remember back, Casey, in the early to mid-nineties, this new contraption that I heard described for a year and a half, two years coming out of California that was this magic decoy. It just commanded ducks like nothing. And, in fact, I can remember being in my jon boat over in Lowndes County, Mississippi wrapping up a goose hunt, Canada goose hunt for resident geese on Super Bowl Sunday when I first heard this decoy described, and it wasn’t an accurate enough description except just to capture my imagination. Something about spinning, something about flash, and something about calling ducks from a million miles away, every duck in the universe came to this thing, and I couldn’t understand it. And of course, we all know what a Mojo spinning-wing decoy is today. We’ve seen the evolution for the last twenty, thirty years, and I just got to tell you, man, we got up this morning,

I pulled on my waders this morning, I got my jacket, got my stuff together while y’all were backing off your quad. When I went to put my gun in the back of your Can-Am there, I saw one. I said, “Is that what I think that is?” You go, “Yep.” And I’m going to say that thing was twice as old as your son is, and you’ve been using it all these years. But I’ve heard it called Goalpost, I’ve heard it called blades, I’ve heard it called Davis-something, I’ve heard all kinds of names, but it doesn’t even look like a Mojo, it doesn’t look like a bird, it doesn’t look like a duck, it looks like a goalpost with a two and a half foot long blade going down the middle, and you turn it on, and it flashes. Let’s talk about this. It was conceived right there where we were hunting in the Sac Valley.

Casey Stafford: Yeah, that had to have been in the early to mid-nineties when that thing first came out, and everybody started talking about it. And you’d think, “Come on now, it’s a spinning piece of metal, that ain’t going to do nothing.” And I had heard about it for a week or two and finally got a look at one, got my hands on one, and I’ll never forget the first time.

Ramsey Russell: Was everybody just kind of making them themselves?

Casey Stafford: There was a couple guys making them, but they couldn’t keep up with- You know how duck hunters are, something’s working, you got to have it. And so we got our hands on one of those or maybe two of them and got to looking at them and said, “Okay, we can make that.” So we were making our own out of all kinds of scrap metal, you name it. But the first time I actually hunted with that thing, it was real close to where we hunted today, and the blind I remember that we were hunting, the checks ran north and south. So you sat in the blind, and you faced west looking right at that refuge, and we got in the blind, the guy pulled that thing out, walked out there, and he stuck it in the water on the West side of the blind facing the refuge. And he says, “You got to see this.” And I thought, “Oh boy, do I?” He turned that thing on, and it started squealing, making that little bit of noise that it does, and I looked at that thing and thought, “No way.” It started to get light, and I kid you not, them ducks would come from as high and as far as you could see them, and they would come straight to it. No circles, no loops, you know how them geese start waffling when they’re coming down. They would come over that tree line of that refuge and see that thing, and they would dive straight for it. Sometimes they would come so fast and get to that steel, and they’d hit the water and sit right under it, and the mallards will just sit under there and talk to it. I’ve seen teal literally hit it.

Ramsey Russell: And you were telling me this morning you’re the original, that thing is at least thirty, forty years old. You still use it instead of conventional spinning-wing decoy?

Casey Stafford: I do, and I think it helps to get the bird’s attention. It’s a little bit bigger, it’s a bigger flash. But the thing I think that makes it stand out is now if you fly over this valley and look down at every duck blind on a given day, you’re going to see one Mojo decoy, two Mojos, five Mojos, ten Mojos flashing at every blind. Some guys are using ten, fifteen in their spread. But it’s the same circular spinning wings that they see all the time. It puts off the flash, but it don’t put off the flash that big blade does. And I use it. I’ve rigged it up since, they were all hardwired before. We didn’t have the fancy remotes, the geese won’t come over them. And so we ended up running big old long sixty-foot cords and putting a car battery in the blind and you’d just reach down and take the gator clips off. But like that one I had this morning, I rigged up a remote on it. I used it to get the bird’s attention. I shut it off.

Ramsey Russell: Running a six-volt battery on it?

Casey Stafford: It’s a twelve-volt, little twelve-volt.

Ramsey Russell: And you said that thing will run forever on that thing.

Casey Stafford: It will run four, five days like that because we don’t leave it on all the time. I turn it on, I turn it off. I’m constantly turning it on and off, but it will run four, five days.

Ramsey Russell: The center blade on that that you used this morning, I’d say about two-foot long. Is that conventional? Is that the standard or is there a standard?

Casey Stafford: There’s not a standard. I’ve got some old ones. I was just thinking about that. I’ve got a six-foot one that’s maybe a foot long. I’ve got an old one that’s completely different than that one that’s probably twenty-four, twenty-five inches long. And I’ve seen them as big when they first started being made that were thirty-six inches long. I think it just comes down to ease of packing it around. But I would say that twenty to twenty-four inch blade, I mean it puts off a big flash.


Casey Stafford with original California spinning wing decoy


Ramsey Russell: It puts off a big flash, and I was impressed because I shot my first Sac Valley, California greenhead this morning that was coming right into that flash.

Casey Stafford: Yeah, absolutely. Some of them still absolutely cannot resist it. We’re going to get you one found here and fixed up and send it back.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah, I don’t want a newbie, I want one of the originals. I want one of them old spinning winged decoy dinosaurs I can paint up and use. Hey, just warning guys that I hunt with in Mississippi, we’re fixing to use one. I just want to try it. I think it’s going to be awesome. And it’s just hard to believe that since this thing came out in the mid-nineties, that till today- It’s like I said this morning in the blind. Right about the time I think I’ve seen and done it all, I’m in Sac Valley in California hunting over a 1994 edition of an original spinning wing decoy incarnation. And that was pretty cool. It really was, it was pretty darn cool. And I asked them a long time ago how that all came into being, and he didn’t describe exactly what we hunted over today, but something very similar. I said, “Well yeah, but where did they come up with that idea?” And maybe you’ve heard something different, but I heard that there were some guys hunting somewhere in Sac Valley, California and from where they were hunting, there was a massive greenhouse somewhere that had a big fan on the side of it. Those blades were spinning, and the fan would draw the air through the greenhouse. And just the way that was refracting light was like a strobe effect. And they noticed that when ducks would see it, they would all lock on those fans on the side of the greenhouse. And from that idea they had this idea of “why don’t we create this illusion of movement?” and the rest is history. I mean have you ever heard the origins of how that thing came to be or who invented it?

Casey Stafford: If I have heard the origin, I don’t remember it, but I do remember the craze. I mean when it hit here, it hit hard. It started with one guy, and then pretty soon everybody had to have one. You couldn’t get your hands on the parts, you couldn’t find the motors, and somebody would come up with a motor because you had to have the right RPMs. So there’s guys making them now, I looked at one the other day, the motor’s too slow, it don’t have the flash, it don’t spin, it don’t flash, it’s useless. It’s got to be the right RPM. And so once someone figured out, have the right RPMs, well you go buy one for three hundred bucks, four hundred bucks, whatever it was back then. What’s the first thing you do if you’re an industrious little sucker, and you want five or six more? You look at that motor, and you order you one of them motors. Well, it got to where you couldn’t find those motors. And so then people were buying motors here, buying motors there, we’d go to radio shack and get remote control car motors and try those. The only thing you buy one for five, ten bucks, the RPMs are no good. You throw it away and off to the next one, until you found the right RPMs, and then you just go to putting them together with anything you had.


Rest of the Story:  MotoDuck, the Original Spinning-winged Decoy


Young duck hunter son has booming business making duck call lanyards and waterfowl totes


Ramsey Russell: Speaking of industrious people, what are your thoughts about your son Cade, his little business he’s got going on?

Casey Stafford: Hey man, he’s hustling and killing it.

Ramsey Russell: I’m a daddy. You’re a daddy. You got to be proud of him.

Casey Stafford: I am proud of him. He’s been making those, and I asked him today because I can’t remember, but it’s been three or four years he’s been making them, and I asked him, “How many you think you’ve made?” He don’t even know. But he said he’s got it written down, in one month he did fifty-six.

Ramsey Russell: I love people that do stuff like this, but there’s a lot of guys making straps, making totes, making stuff like that. And how old is he, sixteen, seventeen?

Casey Stafford: He’s fifteen.

Ramsey Russell: Fifteen. Sophomore in high school. And we had that conversation this morning and I said, “Are you busy?” And he’s got four employees!

Casey Stafford: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: I mean, fifteen years old, boy’s got four employees making duck totes. Fifty, sixty a week. Making very nice totes. They’re very nice.

Casey Stafford: Yeah. He’s making the call lanyards with the drops. He makes the duck straps. He’ll braid out of a pair of cord, make gun slings. I mean, if it can be done out of a pair of cord, you can explain to him what you want. He can do it.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah. Well, I know that I didn’t have a signal. He somehow, and all the fifteen year old kids got technology figured out, he had enough signal. He was conducting business in the blind. Telling us about some of the orders, some of the contacts he’s gotten. I’ve actually followed him for a couple of years in social media @Marsh_Magic. He’s got an impressive Instagram page for those of y’all listening, check him out. Pretty dang impressed. I don’t care what the news and what the negativity of the world says. You show me a man that ain’t scared to work and ain’t scared to think, and I’ll show you a guy who’s going to be successful in life. And when I see young people like him living the dream, that is the American dream at age fifteen, it just makes my heart swell. It really does. And I know as a daddy, it’s got to make your heart swell too.


Making Duck Call Lanyards in California


California waterfowl hunting is a family affair


We always do Christmas Eve, that’s our thing. No matter what, the four of us go duck hunting Christmas Eve day.


Casey Stafford: Yeah. And since the time he was little, he grabbed onto this duck hunting, and he loves it. I mean that kid would sit out there, night, day. I could leave him in a blind from daylight till dark. And he would sit there on a day when he never fired a shell, and he’d be happy as a clam when he came home just being out there.

Ramsey Russell: When did you introduce him to hunting?

Casey Stafford: Oh, I got pictures of him when when me and my wife were running Stafford’s Waterfowl before I went to work for the Indian community. And we didn’t have no money. I mean she helped me pick up decoys, put decoys out, brush blinds, we did that on the side for money. I mean if you came to me and said, “Casey, would you brush blind for five hundred bucks?” “I’ll make that thing look perfect. I’ll put your decoys out.” We’ve got pictures all over from when the kids were little, my daughter Quinn still sitting in the backpack thing that you wear when they’re little, her on the front of my wife picking up decoys and putting out decoys. I mean both the kids have been in the middle of this stuff since they were born, but I’ve got pictures of Cade hunting with us. I got a picture in there. I’ll have to show it to you. We got him this little whistle, and it was a duck call, it was a Mallard head and mouth, and you blow through it. Yeah, he was like maybe, four years old, me and a buddy went out hunting, and we took him with us. “Dad, I want to go.” “Okay, okay.” So we get in the blind, and we’re shooting ducks, and he’s blowing his whistle, and he’s got the Red Ryder, I mean he was a little shit. And we get done, and we’re sitting there and I said, “Well, what do you think Cade, do you like it? And he says, “Well, Dad,” in his little kid voice. I said, “Yeah?” he says, “I think you guys have got nothing without my whistle.” He was convinced he called them all in, man.

Ramsey Russell: That’s good. He seemed to enjoy it, and I can tell from hunting with y’all, y’all seem to enjoy hunting with each other. Y’all have been doing it a long time. I’ve always said, your best hunting partners are the ones you raise. It’s not just you and Cade, it’s your whole family, your daughter, Quinn, your wife. So this morning on the drive out, drinking coffee and whatnot, we drove about thirty minutes to get out there to your place, and you were telling me, “Yeah we came by and saw you. You probably don’t remember.” And I didn’t, I see a lot of people, I talked to a lot of people since that, and somewhere along the way in our conversations in the quiet between the volleys this morning, I go, “Wait a minute. I know who you are.” I remembered, but of course, I didn’t recognize because Cade jumped two foot since I saw him last. He hit that growth spurt. He ain’t nothing like the little kid to come by my booth. And I remembered exactly because y’all hunt together. And your wife, when ya’ll met, ya’ll didn’t meet duck hunting. She’s a big duck hunter herself. I know this from our conversations, but she didn’t grow into duck hunting.

Casey Stafford: No, she grew up with her dad hound hunting. They hunted bears and pigs primarily in California. They were up by Lake County, and then her and I met in college at Chico state. The rest is history I guess. But when we were young-

Ramsey Russell: Brought over to the dark side of water fowling.

Casey Stafford: Yeah, we got married and she, I mean basically, knew she wanted to see me, she was going. And she got to where she enjoys it.

Ramsey Russell: My wife calls it a staycation. She likes it when I’m on the road, but go ahead.

Casey Stafford: I’m so busy guiding and have been for the last twenty years, that during duck season, I don’t get a lot of time to hunt with my family. We always do Christmas Eve, that’s our thing. No matter what, the four of us go duck hunting Christmas Eve day. We do a lot of afternoons. If I have a cancellation or if I get done early one morning, the kids are off school, I’ll come home and get them and take them. But primarily, Cade and Quinn both have been taught the world of duck hunting from Regina, because she is around on the weekend when I’m busy guiding, and she takes them. She takes them, goes with blind, does it all.

Ramsey Russell: And y’all don’t just duck hunt. I saw all those racks y’all got lined up out in the garage. It’s impressive, a lot of black-tails, and Quinn killed a heck of a buck this year.

Casey Stafford: We love big game hunting, I would say. Regina’s first love is bow hunting. She absolutely loves to bow hunt. Quinn’s following in her footsteps. Maybe not so much with the archery yet, but you put horns in front of her, and that kid’s willing to chase it, ready to chase it. Where Cade will hunt anything. He don’t care, but he loves them ducks.

Ramsey Russell: He likes those ducks. He sure does. I can tell. If anybody listening wants to plug into you, Casey, how can they plug into you in social media?

Casey Stafford: You can find us on Instagram @CICCOutdoorAdventures or anybody can always give me a call at 530.682.3176.

Ramsey Russell: There you go. Well, I sure enjoyed duck hunting with you and your boy, Cade this morning. I had a really good time, and as crazy as this sounds, Sac Valley with that original spinning winged decoy machine, with y’all, the father and the son, and that rice field, just really set it off. And boy, I tell you, I love hunting shallow water with a dog. The dog loved it too. I guarantee you because if you wing one down like that, and we didn’t wing down many because I got to say this, and I know everybody’s tired of hearing me talk about this on this program. This is the third morning I’ve hunted in California. We had no conversations. This wasn’t coordinated, nothing. You show up. Everybody’s loading their guns and shots are going off. You look at all the cases that are all Boss Shotshells. Every single person I’ve hunted with out here, about a dozen of you, is shooting Boss Shotshells. You’ve shot a lot of ducks, you’ve gone from the lead through the steel to now the copper plated Boss ammo. What are your personal thoughts on that?


Personal opinion on Boss Shotshells copper-plated bismuth ammo?


They’re stone dead. It flat kills. I’m not in any way affiliated with Boss, but I can tell you it’s good stuff.


Casey Stafford: I’m going to say they’re hitting the nail right on the head with that Boss copper-plated bismuth. I mean, you talk to guys all the time, and everybody wants to go cheap on shotgun shells. And I tell my clients, I tell the guys that lease from me all the time, I said, “You guys, why are you doing that?” That’s the cheapest part of hunting. And in my mind, one of the most important parts. Why wouldn’t you want a good clean kill? And that Boss, absolutely flat backs them. I mean I shoot what everyone calls the elephant gun. I shoot a 10 gauge all the time. With ones, it’s two and a sixteenth ounce ones. And you saw a couple of them birds today, the Teal that buzzed by, by the time he grabbed the gun-

Ramsey Russell: You shot at a couple of birds I didn’t even raise my gun on and just absolutely crushed it.

Casey Stafford: They’re stone dead. It flat kills. I’m not in any way affiliated with Boss, but I can tell you it’s good stuff. I don’t see much better. I bought some 28-gauge this year for a buddy of mine that did me a couple of favors. I give it to him, and he shot everything. He shot heavy shot, he shot Kent Bismuth. He shot it all, I gave him that Boss, and I said, “Just tell me, I just want to know honestly your opinion on it because I know what my opinion is, and I’m not going to tell you till you tell me.” And his first word for that stuff: “Flat kills.” It does.

Ramsey Russell: And I said something to Cade this morning: do you use the 10-gauge too? He said, “No, I can’t afford the ammo.” I mean Cade’s fifteen years old. Cade has a thriving business for high school, and I know it’s not his only business. But the way he said it indicates to me he buys his own ammo, and he’s buying Boss Shotshells. That says a lot to me.

Casey Stafford: And he’s the one actually, when that stuff first came out, that kid’s into everything on the internet, looking at shotgun shells, if there’s something new that comes out, he’ll be the first one to see it. I come home one day whenever it first came out. I can’t remember, was it last year? Was it a year before? Whenever that Boss first came out, he said, “Dad, I just ordered some Boss.” And I thought, “Oh great, what’s Boss?” And then it showed up, and I looked at the payload on it and what it was, and I thought, “Heck, that should do.” He was the first one. He brought it here. He found it and got mom to order it for him.

Ramsey Russell: Let old Dad try a little bit and Dad got hooked on it.

Casey Stafford: Yeah, I know. When I shoot my 20-gauge, that’s all I shoot. And then when I shoot that 10, that’s all I shoot. I mean it hits like Thor’s Hammer.

Ramsey Russell: It truly does. It absolutely positively does. And look, thank you all for your hospitality. Thank you all for having me. And if we do have a hole open up in our calendar, I already told John Wills, if we have a hole open up in our calendar in the next few days that we’re here, we may circle back, and if it looks like good hunting conditions for those Tule geese, we’ll try them. And if not, I’m coming back to see you, I’m coming back to see you. That’s foremost on my list, is a Tule goose. Folks, y’all have been listening to Casey Stafford CICC Outdoor Adventures.

Casey Stafford: Outdoor Adventures.

Ramsey Russell: Outdoor Adventures. CICC Outdoor Adventures, right here in Sacramento Valley of California. If you can’t tell it yet, you can tell I love California. We got a lot more hunting to do and a lot more good shows coming up. You all stay tuned. California ain’t what’s beaming at you on your television, folks. It is absolute Real America once you get outside those crazy cities, thank you all for listening. We’ll see you next time.

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Benelli USA Shotguns. Trust is earned. By the numbers, I’ve bagged 121 waterfowl subspecies bagged on 6 continents, 20 countries, 36 US states and growing. I spend up to 225 days per year chasing ducks, geese and swans worldwide, and I don’t use shotgun for the brand name or the cool factor. Y’all know me way better than that. I’ve shot, Benelli Shotguns for over two decades. I continue shooting Benelli shotguns for their simplicity, utter reliability and superior performance. Whether hunting near home or halfway across the world, that’s the stuff that matters.

HuntProof, the premier mobile waterfowl app, is an absolute game changer. Quickly and easily attribute each hunt or scouting report to include automatic weather and pinpoint mapping; summarize waterfowl harvest by season, goose and duck species; share with friends within your network; type a hunt narrative and add photos. Migrational predictor algorithms estimate bird activity and, based on past hunt data will use weather conditions and hunt history to even suggest which blind will likely be most productive!

Inukshuk Professional Dog Food Our beloved retrievers are high-performing athletes that live to recover downed birds regardless of conditions. That’s why Char Dawg is powered by Inukshuk. With up to 720 kcals/ cup, Inukshuk Professional Dog Food is the highest-energy, highest-quality dog food available. Highly digestible, calorie-dense formulas reduce meal size and waste. Loaded with essential omega fatty acids, Inuk-nuk keeps coats shining, joints moving, noses on point. Produced in New Brunswick, Canada, using only best-of-best ingredients, Inukshuk is sold directly to consumers. I’ll feed nothing but Inukshuk. It’s like rocket fuel. The proof is in Char Dawg’s performance.

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