Duck season is somewhere between hitting a fevered pitch to come and gone, depending on where you live in the US. But south of the equator, duck hunting season south is May through July. In today’s episode, hear how avid US duck hunters–that are likely duck hunting right this very minute somewhere in North America– describe their Argentina Duck hunting experiences. It’s never to soon to start dreaming about something to do after January 31 because remember, it really is duck season somewhere 365 days per year!
The Ins & Outs of Waterfowl Hunting in Argentina
First time, chasing ducks outside of the United States, man showed up, got our first evening hunt in and it’s just the amount of birds and wildlife period is unrivaled as far as sheer quantity.
Ramsey Russell: Welcome back to Duck Season Somewhere, Argentina revisit. I’m back down here for a second helping in a house full of clients. We’ve had a great week, leading off the line-up is Mr. Cole who’s from Northwest Arkansas. Cole, how are you?
Cole: Doing great man, had a blast.
Ramsey Russell: Are you ready to leave?
Cole: No, hell no. First thing, I did this morning was check and see if they had an availability on the flight tomorrow with the other.
Ramsey Russell: We do. Tell me about you week? Give me a rundown, this is your first time out of the country or first time hunting out of the country?
Cole: First time, chasing ducks outside of the United States, man showed up, got our first evening hunt in and it’s just the amount of birds and wildlife period is unrivaled as far as sheer quantity. Even outside of ducks, man, there ain’t no telling just the sheer amount of birds, waterfowl, everything that I’ve seen this week.
Ramsey Russell: What do you think about some of the species down here?
Ramsey Russell: Well, I was going to ask you something, I was going to ask you this question because I’m going to make this a theme of this episode is, on the drive down, I don’t know what I was saying to do, but you said, what is it about the Rosy-bills? I said, you’ll see. What do you think it is, I love so much about Rosy-bills?
Cole: Man, I think, they set up, they work, there’s no pass shooting Rosy-bills, they like to get down in there and back pedal just like mallard back home.
Ramsey Russell: Get ugly down in the decoy. And one of the best Rosy-bill hunts I’ve been on in a long pre-pandemic time was the morning me and you and Jared went out and hunted, that was pretty fast and furious.
Cole: Killed them before the sun came up.
Ramsey Russell: We had rounded up and we’re taking a picture and the sun was halfway over the horizon, that’s pretty epic wasn’t it? I got to tell the story about you, I’m going to ask you a little bit about you hunting back home, but I knew I was a monster, a real duck killer, when somewhere, I don’t know, but I never will forget because you were to my right, you had a box of shells in one hand, you were fixing to load your pockets with another box, you had a cigarette, take a smoke break, had a cigarette and a bunch of Rosy-bills got in the decoys and you up in one hand and them boom, boom and shot that wasn’t the impress a part that you doubled with one hand, the impressive part was you didn’t drop a cigarette ash, that was the impressive part. How does the hunting habitat here compared to how you hunt back home?
Cole: Man, me and my dad were talking about it as far as, the pothole hunting, we don’t do a whole lot of that back home, more standing in trees, stuff like that, but as far as the climate, I would say, if you were to mix Arkansas and South Dakota Prairie pothole region, that’s really what it reminds me of, some middle Kansas be the same. I mean, if you turned our summer around like it is our summer now, this is extremely close to the weather conditions that we would be getting back home, mid duck season.
Ramsey Russell: I think, it’s pretty darn perfect. Every once in a blue moon it gets down below freezing here, but not often. I mean, this morning, I guess it was high, humid, good wind and it was – I felt it, it was just right cold to me, 35°, 40° maybe and it was just perfect.
Cole: Yeah, this morning they work better than they have all week, I think it was due, that made them get down in there and get right.
Ramsey Russell: What all species did you all shoot this morning?
Cole: We shot 99 Rosy-bills and one teal, that’s it.
Ramsey Russell: What species have you put your hands on this week?
Cole: We’ve killed silver teal, ringed teal, cinnamon teal, whistlers, fulvous whistlers, Rosy-bills, white cheek pintail, black headed ducks and I know I’m missing some. But we checked a lot of them off the list.
Ramsey Russell: And what’s your favorite duck?
Cole: The Rosy-bill. As far as, sporty little shoot that Rosy-bill.
Ramsey Russell: For guys like yourself that come down here for the first time, everybody wants to encounter every single species and I want to see everybody put their hands on all the usual suspects, but for me personally, I could come down here and not shoot but one duck except for Rosy-bill in terms of just purity, what we’re all in the duck hunting for that heartbeat of duck hunt. Now, white cheek pintail is my favorite, that’s the most beautiful bird on God’s earth in my humble opinion. But the Rosy-bills, man, they win me over every time.
A World Full of Duck Hunts
…so you all been hunting together over half your life?
Cole: There’s something special about them Rosy-bills and piñatas.
Ramsey Russell: Well, you make a good point they eat good. We’ve had a chicken fried Rosy-bill and Rosy-bill and piñatas, I’m sure we’ve had some other stuff. How do you cook ducks back home as compared to how they cook ducks down here?
Cole: 99% of them wind up as jerky or poppers, just the classic jalapeno cream cheese.
Ramsey Russell: In a world full of Argentina duck hunts, how did you find this hunt and why did you choose this hunt in a world full of hunts?
Cole: Man, a lot of it, I know you’ve done some running around down here and had followed you, I called you, I don’t remember if this has been a conversation we had 18 months ago, but I said I want to go to the best duck hunting in the world and I want to go with the best time, price was irrelevant, we’re going to go, we’re going to go. So, you said, well Las Flores mid-July.
Ramsey Russell: If I could pick a moon phase, if I just had the whole calendar in front of me, I’d want a dark moon, but it was the two brightest moons of the year and it didn’t make a hill billy difference, did it?
Cole: No, not a bit, not a bit at all.
Ramsey Russell: Normally, we hunt 2 to 3 to a blind and you all went out at least once, I know of and did 4.
Cole: Yeah, 4 of us.
Ramsey Russell: How did that work out?
Cole: I mean, technically 5 because Diego was a shooter that day too. So, it was nutty, I don’t even know how to – like swamp mosquitoes.
Ramsey Russell: How long have you been hunting with those boys?
Cole: My whole life.
Ramsey Russell: How old are you?
Cole: I probably, since I was 12 years old before we had driver’s license and that one’s my father and he started hunting, I got him, started duck hunting when I was in high school.
Ramsey Russell: So you all in your 30s now, I’m guessing, so you all been hunting together over half your life?
Cole: Oh, yeah.
Ramsey Russell: That makes a difference, doesn’t it?
Ramsey Russell: Oh, yeah. Because I know if he’s going to shoot, I can tell – you just get to read people. You get to hunting with somebody so much that I know what they’re going to do almost before they do it, when they’re going to say something, when they’re going to call a shot, when they’re going to do something. So, it makes a bit of a difference.
Ramsey Russell: On those big flock of Rosy’s, it makes a huge difference making numbers. 20 birds comes in, when you know how the other guys are going to shoot and everybody plays their roles, it’s a rain out at a time.
Cole: I bet 10 different times, I forgot that fore shell was in there. I’m just so used to racking 3 through there that I look down at my gun, it’s still racked up.
Ramsey Russell: That little 20 shooting had 5. Oh, yeah. It worry you out loading that thing sometimes. You talk about coming back, you think it’s somewhere you’d come back?
Cole: You bet your ass, I’ll be back. I will be back.
Ramsey Russell: We were sitting around the campfire last night and I like the fact you 4, that’s where you all live is out there by the campfire you must have one at your own camp.
Cole: Oh, yeah. At every one of our houses and everywhere we go, shop everywhere, we stand around a fire a lot.
Ramsey Russell: But you said something the other night you said, it ain’t cheap because coming here ain’t cheap, well, we ain’t going to take it with us.
Cole: Absolutely not. I have no qualms about a dollar amount spent to have a good time, let it be this or anything else.
Ramsey Russell: How would you describe this duck hunt to anybody listening?
Cole: You’re thinking it’s going to be fast-paced and it’s twice as fast is what you playing for. Yeah, I would start getting a callus on your thumb right now so you can start racking them bullets in there.
Ramsey Russell: Talk about fast pace this is relative. Yesterday morning, I was out there and it just seems slow and we were done in an hour, it seems slow, we were done in an hour. I’m like, holy cow. But anyway, Cole, I appreciate you, I’m really glad after talking to you for a year and a half, I’m glad to meet you, I’m really glad to share camp with you. Thank you for coming down here.
Cole: Had a blast, we appreciate it.
Ramsey Russell: Mr. Jared Winter from Jonesboro, Arkansas. Man, we got a southern brigade down here this week. I mean, a house full of southerners, isn’t it?
Duck Habitats Around the Planet
Today was one of the top 2, maybe the top hunt of my life, they decoyed straight in these smaller little marsh holes and reeds and so you could just decoy them, right and the ducks presented, I don’t know that you could ask a duck to present to a decoy any better than this morning from what I saw.
Jared Winter: Most of us are from Arkansas, so it’s been easy.
Ramsey Russell: Let me ask you this first question, Jared, how did the habitat compare to what you hunt back home?
Jared Winter: When you look across the landscape, it’s similar, there’s not as many zero graded fields here, so potholes everywhere but overall fairly similar. They could hold more water in the midst of a field and so it seemed like they could hold ducks here and there.
Ramsey Russell: Got a real heavy clay bottom down here. A little bit of rain, puts a lot of water on the landscape down here, but they don’t grow a lot of rice down here.
Jared Winter: No, it was, let’s see corn and then we had popcorn and then beans and whatnot, mostly corn. And they didn’t know, I learned the other day they don’t force their harvest all at once, they just go as they please. So a lot of that crop actually holds around longer in especially around northeast Arkansas.
Ramsey Russell: Is it similar habitat to what you expected before you came down? Because I know you shoot timber and rice back home, but what were you expecting to hunt down here?
Jared Winter: No, I guess it was different than what I expected, I thought it’d be like, big huge marshes and stuff and you’d just be shooting more passing shots. Today was one of the top 2, maybe the top hunt of my life, they decoyed straight in these smaller little marsh holes and reeds and so you could just decoy them, right and the ducks presented, I don’t know that you could ask a duck to present to a decoy any better than this morning from what I saw.
Ramsey Russell: What species did you all shoot this morning?
Jared Winter: Well, the first cinnamon teal of my life we shot 4 cinnamons, mostly Rosy-bills, some yellow bill pintail and just shooting a cinnamon teal out of one group and what else could I ask for?
Ramsey Russell: That’s good. You told me the other day because we hunt together a few mornings, you said there was two species you were really looking to kill when you got down to, what were they?
Jared Winter: The Rosy-bills and the yellow billed pintails.
Ramsey Russell: But you shot at least a half dozen or more species.
Jared Winter: Oh, yeah. We shot another white face whistling duck today that was first. So I did not know if I would shoot that many species, so I couldn’t ask for anything better for a kid from northeast Arkansas that dreams of coming here, it’s fulfilled every bit of my expectations and more.
Ramsey Russell: We were talking the other day and somebody asked me, Rosy-bills, what is it about Rosy-bills? It’s when we drive down, they asked, I said, you’ll see. Now, you and I shot teal, we shot pintail, we shot whistlers, well, we beat the brakes off Rosy-bills one morning, what do you think it is I love so much about Rosy-bills? And of all the species you put your hands on, which one you’re going to remember the most?
Jared Winter: Yeah, I remember Rosy-bills the most.
Ramsey Russell: What is it about them?
Jared Winter: I think as a duck hunter, as a true duck hunter, you or me or all the others that come down here, you’ve seen enough ducks decoy or enough ducks work and there’s just something about watching a waterfowl species work to the plan that you’ve presented to them. And they lay the decoys out here and they set up in a wind just like in America and watching those ducks work to that presentation is magical, I mean, that’s all you can describe. And today was a perfect example. You let one or two light and you’d wait on 20 or 30 and if you drop 5, 6, 7 out of one group and the numbers add up, honestly, they added up too fast. These 2 over too fast, but that’s probably why you love it and I love it, it’s better, I mean, I can’t believe what I’m saying, it’s probably better than a mallard, how they present to those decoys, today at least and the other day. So it’s magical, it’s all I know to describe it.
Ramsey Russell: My favorite duck is the next one in the decoys. But really and truly my favorite 2 ducks species, I love mallards and I love Rosy-bills and they’re different yet, they’re the same. They both read the playbook, they both come along with it, that’s what I love about it. Those whistling ducks, I like shooting them, I like the taller shoot, but typically, when they work, they’re working high. It’s like one of the first ones we hunted together, we shot a lot of whistling duck, but they were tall, I like those birds coming in hot, making them pay rent. You told me a story the other day and I’m going to get you to share it, who’s the most famous person you’ve ever taken duck hunting?
Jared Winter: I got the opportunity, blessing, I guess, to take Kevin Costner goose hunting last year on speck hunt, so that was fun.
Ramsey Russell: What was he like?
Jared Winter: We talked about this the other day, when you meet somebody like that, you expect them maybe to not be ideal, not meet your expectations and he was absolutely better than any expectation.
Ramsey Russell: He’s a real human being.
Jared Winter: Oh, no, he’s just fun and laid back and more of a gentleman than any famous person probably even should be. He was just as kind, his kids were with him, he was an incredible father and we’re all dads or most of us are. And so getting to hunt with him, I tell people all the time I was a fan of his before I hunted and then after the hunt, I was a bigger fan.
Ramsey Russell: Was that before Yellowstone?
Jared Winter: It was right in the middle of Yellowstone. So, really, I grew up watching Dances with Wolves with my Dad every Thanksgiving Day or Christmas Day and so he’s famous then and but Yellowstone made him monumental in America, especially.
Ramsey Russell: What’s his personality like compared to the Yellowstone show? Like, just his voice and his demeanors?
Jared Winter: Voice is exactly the same, demeanor probably similar, he’s just real laid back and I’ll tell you what he’s a hunter, I mean, he’ll shoot and that’s what he was wanting for his kids, he wanted his kids to become better wing shooters. And so he asked all the right questions and they ask all the right questions and that was what made it special is, it was just like sitting in a blind with you, we’re just pushing each other to be better wing shooters and better hunters. And so it was a special day, special afternoon.
Ramsey Russell: How would you describe this hunt to anybody back home? Like, how did you all Argentina hunt go? How would you describe it?
Jared Winter: I would say everybody should go because whatever you have in your mind, whatever you think, if you’re a serious duck hunter and you hunt a lot, then you know there’s so much more to the hunt than just shooting them. It’s setting up in the wind right, laying a plan out, like I said, for the ducks to decoy and when they do it in the numbers, they do it in down here, it makes it fulfill your dreams.
Ramsey Russell: I just had this thought you were talking about small water body, one afternoon and it was over too quick, but one afternoon we show up, drive up to a popcorn field and I’d say the water was 7.5 to 10 yards wide and 30 yards long, just a little finger right there and I’m thinking what and I’ve hunted some small water body down here. But what were you thinking when we pulled up and you realized that – and he started throwing decoys out in that little mud puddle?
Jared Winter: Well, when we got up there, I was like, you have got to be kidding me and you really think, well, who did we piss off? Did I make somebody mad at camp? But you look, what I equate it to is like, it’s effectively like a long dining room table is like the water you have showing and like you said, it was over too quick because they’re right there in your face.
Ramsey Russell: They had nowhere to go. I think we shot about a perfect game that day.
Jared Winter: Yeah. If that was northeast Arkansas, people would laugh at you.
Ramsey Russell: Jared, I appreciate meeting you and get to know you here in camp, I’m glad you showed up and hope you’ll come back again and shoot some more Rosy-bills.
Jared Winter: You can count on it, I’ll be here.
Ramsey Russell: It’s be hard to beat that full moon hunt that time.
Jared Winter: Yeah, it will.
Ramsey Russell: Brian Raison from Kentucky. Boy, we talked about this on a long time and often didn’t we?
Brian Raison: Yes, we did.
Why Choose a Las Flores Argentina Hunt?
Ramsey Russell: What is it about Argentina that compelled you in a world full of Duck Season Somewhere top hunts that you choose Argentina with your daddy?
Brian Raison: Yeah, we’ve been to Canada multiple seasons and that’s a whole lot of fun, we did a lot of freelance there, but just the volume is one thing that definitely, interested us quite a lot for this hunt.
Ramsey Russell: Kind of like Kentucky only better.
Brian Raison: No, it’s quite a lot better than any other place I’ve been hunting and it’s worldwide, Kentucky.
Ramsey Russell: Yeah. How did you find this hunt and why did you choose this hunt for your Argentina hunt? I know your dad had been here before, hadn’t he?
Brian Raison: No.
Ramsey Russell: So your dad had never been to Argentina?
Brian Raison: No, sir, it was something, he had a friend that he used to hunt with down in West Kentucky goose hunt years ago and he started coming down here and for about the last 25 years we talked about, we need to get down here sometime and after COVID and not getting to travel and do anything, it was like, seem like we need some payback. Just came down here and pounded them, it’s just been incredible.
Favorite Waterfowl Species to Hunt?
Ramsey Russell: What all species have shot so far?
Brian Raison: Speckled, ringed, cinnamon, teal, silver teal and yellow bill, white cheek pintails, Chiloé wigeon shot one yesterday and a couple this morning –
Ramsey Russell: Black headed duck, you showed me a picture of.
Brian Raison: Yes, sir. Fulvous whistling ducks, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned Rosy, but we shot a whole lot of them.
Ramsey Russell: Of all that list of species, I think a first timer down here should be able to put their hands on all the usual suspects because they’re so beautiful in their own regard, which are your favorites?
Brian Raison: Well, being from Kentucky and having hunted in Saskatchewan multiple times like, I’d seen cinnamon teal in D.U magazine and stuff. But it was a duck I never expected to ever encounter in the wild. And I can tell my guy was real excited, I saw teal come in out of the decoys and I was like, well, looks like just teal got in and out on us, I wasn’t concerned about it because there were plenty of duck shoot that afternoon. And I saw him get real excited, so I’d already missed him the first time before I heard him say cinnamon and when he said it was cinnamon, I was like, oh, I’m going to dump the gun to get this bird down, if at all possible.
Ramsey Russell: So, that’s your prize of the trip.
Brian Raison: I mean, then just to get to hold all those variety species like, when I killed the Chiloé wigeon yesterday I was really excited about that.
Ramsey Russell: It’s as big as a mallard. It’s one of 3 world wigeon but it is ginormous, it looks nothing like the Eurasian or the American wigeon.
Brian Raison: If you were to just cut his head off, the actual face, I mean, if you look at the wigeon’s bill, I mean, it’s obviously a wigeon but yeah, it’s a huge duck and it’s really pretty.
A Rosy Billed Hunting Addiction
I’ve been down here enough, if I could only shoot one duck species, it’s going to be Rosy-bill, I love them…
Ramsey Russell: They work nicely when they do it, they really do. What about the Rosy-bills?
Brian Raison: Of all the ducks, I mean, some of them look at you kind of sideways and think about it a little too hard and don’t commit, the Rosy’s overwhelmingly just they come in and if things are right, if you got a decent wind, they’re just going to bomb. You just look for them over top of the mojo, that’s where they’re going to be every time.
Ramsey Russell: I’ve been down here enough, if I could only shoot one duck species, it’s going to be Rosy-bill, I love them, it’s like, maybe you start off drinking a Coca Cola and you graduate to light beer and heavy beer and liquor and one day crack, cocaine that be a Rosy-bill, I mean, baby, I am freaking in on a Rosy-bill.
Brian Raison: I said, when you get down here, you want to get your hands on at least one of all of them. But after you’ve had hands on one, the second one ain’t near as important, ain’t near as special but those Rosy’s just commit.
Ramsey Russell: Did you grow up hunting with your daddy?
Brian Raison: Yeah.
Ramsey Russell: So you all hunted together practically all your life. What’s it like being down here hunting, sharing this hunt with him?
Brian Raison: It’s something else. Maybe the last year he gets to a whole lot of traveling. He had some medical concern and stuff. But yeah, it’s really been special to be down here with him and be able to – he packed me around for a long time, it’s great.
Ramsey Russell: Well, you are you paying him back now packing him around?
Brian Raison: Well, trying to, anyway, trying to make it easy for him.
Ramsey Russell: How would you describe this hunt to anybody listening?
Brian Raison: I mean, just think about the best day you’ve ever had and most every day here is going to surprise side by quite a lot.
Ramsey Russell: Did you have any expectations when you showed up? And how did reality compared to your expectations?
Brian Raison: I mean, I had really high expectations and it’s definitely met or exceeded all of them. I mean, I just haven’t heard talking to you about it on the phone and everything and I really came down here expecting to do really well and we’ve killed the limit every day. I mean, it’s just been pretty amazing, even the days have been a little bit slow, no wind or whatever –
Ramsey Russell: Slow is kind of a relative word.
Brian Raison: Yeah, it can only be considered slow after you’ve been down here a couple of days and your expectations have been revised considerably from everyday life, it’s just pretty incredible.
Ramsey Russell: It’s somewhere you’d want to come back?
Brian Raison: Oh, absolutely. Yeah, it’d be a trip I schedule every year, if I can get it done.
Ramsey Russell: Time and money were no objects, that’ right.
Brian Raison: Yeah. And I might would consider moving down here, I mean, it’s just that damn good.
Ramsey Russell: I have considered moving down here, I don’t know what my wife would think about that. It’s kind of like setting back in time and what I try to tell people because we focus so much on the ducks, but I feel like as a company we sell duck hunting experience is not dead ducks, but dead ducks are part of that experience.
Brian Raison: Absolutely. Yeah, it’s hard to have a real good experience when you’re not hiking out piles of ducks.
Ramsey Russell: Have you been on guided hunts before?
Brian Raison: No, this is my first. We’ve always freelance hunted before we come down here.
Ramsey Russell: In my humble opinion, the bar has been set very high because the level of organization, it runs like a – I described the program here running like a bus schedule. You know breakfast is going to be at 04:30, you know it’s going to be wheels up at 05:30, you know you’re going to be back between 10, 11 o’clock. We know we’re going to probably gather around the coffee pot at 02:30 go out at 03:30 be back around 6 and sit around, eat dinner around 07:00 –
Brian Raison: Eat dinner around 07:00 and –
Ramsey Russell: And start fade by about 08:30 or 09:00.
Brian Raison: Get back and tell lies and tell jokes and I have a good time around the fireplace and it’s just a really great environment. It’s been just – I felt like I met a group of new friends, this week, it’s just been incredible.
Ramsey Russell: And that’s what I was just fixing to say is how we got a house full down here right now, 14 people and it’s just one big happy hunting camp in there around a fireplace and a snack.
Brian Raison: It’s like a bunch of old friends hanging out, I mean, but then within a couple hours –
Ramsey Russell: Birds of a feather, flock together.
Brian Raison: Within a few hours I had met these guys, we were cutting up telling jokes like, we’ve known each other for years and years.
Ramsey Russell: Brian, I appreciate you and enjoyed sharing camp with you.
Argentina: Experience a Different Hunt Every Day
And so a lot of different kinds of shots, a lot of different situations.
Brian Raison: Absolutely Ramsey, thank you.
Ramsey Russell: Mr. Rick Rhodes here in Argentina, we had a heck of a duck hunt this morning, didn’t we?
Rick Rhodes: We sure did. It started a little slower than most in the morning, but once it got going, it really got going.
Ramsey Russell: Pull your mic a little bit closer there. Yeah, there you go, that’s good. It was a fun hunt, but it was a multiple, we shot half Rosy-bills and half fulvous whistlers and they present themselves differently and from flock to flock, they were either low in the decoys and fast or high, tall and slow working, it’s a big change up.
Rick Rhodes: Yeah, every hunt’s been different, I think we talked about that this morning coming in that we’ve hunted several different kinds of weather conditions. So, from bright and sunny and into the wind and this and that, but this morning being cloudy, almost foggy, it was a totally different set of circumstances. I think we had closer birds, especially those whistlers got in a lot closer. But then they’d lull you into thinking they were going to come in really low and set like those Rosy’s do, then they all of a sudden they peel and go up over your head. And so a lot of different kinds of shots, a lot of different situations.
Ramsey Russell: You’re not a huge duck hunter though, you’re from New Mexico.
Rick Rhodes: Oh that shows, does it?
Ramsey Russell: Yeah, I mean, I might make a good point that you’re not a huge duck hunter, but you’re a huge hunter. So what brought you down here to duck hunt?
Rick Rhodes: Well, in all honesty, my buddy Philip, who planned the whole hunt invited me to come and I just knew it was an opportunity of a lifetime, come and see a different culture, see a different hunt and do what we talked about, also this morning is that I don’t hunt very much for myself. I guide so much of the time that I don’t shoot. So I’ve shot more in the last 4 or 5 days than I’ve shot in the last 25 years combined.
Ramsey Russell: You said that when you met in the airport.
Shifting from Big Game to Waterfowl Hunting
Talk about your hunting experience because you’ve been a big game guide for a long time and then a little big game guide, you’ve been in this game doing a lot of different hunt for a long time.
Rick Rhodes: Yeah. So it’s been a really nice change to shift into the mode of pulling the trigger, being ready to react and shoot as opposed to just sitting back and waiting and watching and laughing at everybody else, I had to laugh at myself, let you laugh at me this morning for a while too.
Ramsey Russell: We’ll talk about that in a minute. Talk about your hunting experience because you’ve been a big game guide for a long time and then a little big game guide, you’ve been in this game doing a lot of different hunt for a long time.
Rick Rhodes: 35 years now. And it’s funny that we started doing so much big game because I started in Oklahoma on family property where we hunted upland birds, it was all about pheasants and quail. And so we did a lot of that for years, but I just immediately got over into white tails and everybody knows about Oklahoma Whitetail hunting these days. But back when I started in the late 90s, nobody ever heard of that. So, started there again, family property and then just moved into hunting 5 states, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado and if it walked around, we hunted it and as long as somebody wanted to pay to go, we did it and it’s been a wonderful life, I thought I retired a few years ago and got rid of my outfitting business and then just started guiding for buddies and now I’m back to guiding almost full time.
Ramsey Russell: Is it appropriate to ask you how many elk you reckon elk kills you’ve been on throughout your career?
Rick Rhodes: Sure. And I’ve never been a numbers guy –
Ramsey Russell: That’s what I’m leading up to but go ahead.
Rick Rhodes: For many years, I wasn’t about how many kills I had or anything else and we keep track of scores and I’m not a numbers guy on scoring and racks and trophy hunting and whatever. But as a byproduct of the business, you’ve got to know those numbers and it does give us certain things we can relate to and we can communicate when I tell you 150 inch white tail, you know what I’m talking about. But those are things that as an outfitter you end up dealing with all the time. But as I’ve gone through my career now and again, being 35 years in and looking back, I wish I knew the numbers and I would say, conservatively, I’ve witnessed the taking of more than 500 bull elk. And I have never stopped to really go back and think about the number of big white tails and big mule deer and all those things, but probably in excess of 500 spring turkeys, that’s another passion, but anything that you can call other than ducks, I’ve just never gotten into duck calling because I lived in the desert and the mountains for the most part and we didn’t have that opportunity. But if you can call it, I like to hunt it.
Ramsey Russell: I bring that up because you and I got a pretty interesting conversation considering we’re in Argentina, which is as compared to America, a high volume duck hunt. But neither one of us are really numbers guys and that’s kind of what I was alluding to. It’s more about an experience and we had a pretty interesting conversation, I felt like in the morning. I mean, yeah, I’m going to shoot the limit given a chance, but that’s okay if I don’t.
Rick Rhodes: Absolutely. I think the most enticing aspect of this is no matter where the number is, whether your limits 15 in a morning hunt or 30 or 50 or what, it doesn’t matter what that number is, what makes it nice is what most of us experience back home, if you go out and shoot 5 or 6 ducks, you’re done. And it could be the best flights you’ve had, it could be the best day and you can’t hunt them anymore, it’s the same with us big game hunting. It’s bittersweet when you’re done. But here that at least is prolonged and some of the flights we had this morning and it still, they were flying like crazy when we were done. But I think that’s the big thing is, there’s so much opportunity and you shoot so many different types of hunts, different types of setups, different types of shots. But you just keep getting to do more, it just seems like, you think we ought to be about done, but you just keep getting to do more.
Ramsey Russell: We shoot a lot of different type of species too, the teal, the whistling ducks, the wigeons and pintails and Rosy-bills and they all kind of present themselves differently, what’s your favorite? Do you have a favorite?
Rick Rhodes: My favorite one is the one that just hovers in front of me, whichever one that happens to be. These Rosy-bills are unbelievable. And when you’re in the right set up and you have the right spread and everything is good, I mean, even when it’s not good, it’s amazing and when it’s good, it’s phenomenal. The way they present and the way they decoy is nothing or like nothing I’ve ever seen. Now, we got into a great shoot not on those white cheek pintails and what a beautiful duck. But we just had an ideal set up where they were coming into the sun and the wind was perfect and that made for some awesome shooting. But just day in day out those Rosy-bills are hard to beat.
Ramsey Russell: This morning we’re walking to the blind, we didn’t have to walk far maybe 10, 15 yards and you said, what side of blind you want? I said, well, I’ll take a left, if you don’t want it. And you can have the right to be downwind and I’ll just pick up the spares or whatever. And I’m going to say the first 25 or 30 birds did not come into the decoys, they instead been around your end of the blind and you got to do all the shooting and I would just say, I would tell anybody that out of your first box of shells, you probably shot 24 ducks, I mean, you were on fire, you couldn’t miss.
Rick Rhodes: It was enough that you wanted to trade me sides of the blind, I remember that. But yeah, I was on fire in the beginning but I know where you’re headed with this.
Ramsey Russell: And we chipped away and I thought I had a hole in my pocket but I realized it was in my gun barrel and looking down to spent holes in our feet, so we get all the way to the last duck, I’m out of shells and we need one more duck for the 2 man limit and what happened?
Rick Rhodes: I don’t know. I mean, you might have to tell this part of the story, I have a mental block at this point about it. But I remember a lot of laughing out of – I was even laughing at myself but more laughing out of you and more laughing out of our guide at my shooting and I burned a box of shells and I don’t think we ever really got to the to the last duck but –
Ramsey Russell: And it really don’t matter.
Rick Rhodes: No, it doesn’t matter at all. But that was a little cloud or dark cloud that I want to leave behind me.
Ramsey Russell: As somebody that’s been in the professional guiding and outfitting business for 35 years, how would you describe the organizational level and food and amenity level of this operation?
Rick Rhodes: It’s as good as it gets. It’s really is –
Ramsey Russell: It runs like clockwork.
Rick Rhodes: I’ve not seen anything that I would change or complain about and for a guy like me, that’s hard to go into place and say that. But yeah, the food is fantastic. Diego and his crew guides are excellent and it’s just a fun thing to see the way they’re organized and the way they know where they’re going to go and we all head out in the morning. I always enjoy seeing that line of trucks going out and then we get to a place and it’s always fun if you know where your buddies are hunting, so who’s shooting and who’s not shooting around you, but they put you in great spots every time. And yeah, it’s a pretty tight ship and it runs very well.
Ramsey Russell: Rick, I enjoyed hunting with you and enjoyed spending the week with you. Thank you very much.
Rick Rhodes: Me too. And thanks for not beating on me too bad.
On the Hunt: Expectation vs. Reality
I didn’t expect to see this fast paced of loading the gun, shooting the gun consistently, it was just crazy how everything just – you didn’t have time to think you just had time to load and shoot.
Ramsey Russell: Mr. Steve McCall from Arkansas, boy, what a week it’s been?
Steve McCall: It has been a good one, hadn’t it?
Ramsey Russell: Seem like we got here just yesterday.
Steve McCall: Yeah.
Ramsey Russell: How did you loading thumb holding up?
Steve McCall: It’s pretty sore, but it’s going to hang in one more evening and one more morning, I think.
Ramsey Russell: You grew up duck hunting, it sound like, I mean, we’ve been sitting out here all week, telling stories around the fire, you grew up duck hunting in Arkansas.
Steve McCall: Yes, sir.
Ramsey Russell: This your first time shooting ducks in Argentina?
Steve McCall: Yes, sir, it is. First time I’ve ever been down here and it’s amazing.
Ramsey Russell: What did you expect and how did that reconcile reality?
Steve McCall: I didn’t expect to see this fast paced of loading the gun, shooting the gun consistently, it was just crazy how everything just – you didn’t have time to think you just had time to load and shoot.
Ramsey Russell: Well, that’s ideal. It’s kind of like Arkansas only better.
Steve McCall: Yeah, exactly.
Ramsey Russell: What do you think about the hunting scenarios compared to how you hunt back home? Like the water bodies and habitat?
Steve McCall: Well, it’s a lot different. I really just started, it’s kind of similar to where it is in Missouri, I started hunting in Missouri probably about 6 years ago and they’ve got some of the things you hunt ponds and you hunt lakes. But from where I’m originally from, we just hunt Bayou and oak timber and stuff like that and it’s a little different, but I was used to it by hunting in Missouri, it’s kind of similar.
Ramsey Russell: What’s been your most memorable hunt so far?
Steve McCall: I have to say this morning because they were just in my face all morning.
Ramsey Russell: What species were you shooting?
Steve McCall: Majority was Rosy-bills, we killed a few whistlers and a couple of teal, I think, but majority of them was Rosy-bill.
Ramsey Russell: We shot all the usual suspects this week. I mean, everything practically you can shoot in Argentina has come into the deck. But what about the Rosy-bills? What do you think about the -having shot some teal and pintail and wigeons and whistling ducks, what do you think about the Rosy-bills?
Steve McCall: To be a plain duck, they’re pretty duck. I don’t know how that, if I can make that any clearer, but like mud, I guess. But a mallard green head, beautiful.
Ramsey Russell: Sparkles like a jewel.
Steve McCall: Yeah. But I guess it’s the Rosy-bill and the way the back of it’s real soft, they’re just unique.
Ramsey Russell: Even this morning, which was cloudy, it seemed like it never get daylight, those drakes really pop. I mean, I can see that big old knob on their beak.
Steve McCall: You know what you’re shooting at with the Rosy-bill because when they come out of the fog you go, oh, that’s Rosy’s right there.
Ramsey Russell: And I can discern the drake from the hens pretty big gum readily.
Steve McCall: Yeah. And no more than – I’ve just been down here my first time and it doesn’t take very long to figure out which one’s a male and which one’s a female.
Ramsey Russell: And we’ve eaten quite a few of them this week, the chef serves them just about every day for appetizer, what do you think about?
Steve McCall: They’re wonderful.
Ramsey Russell: How do you cook them? How do you cook ducks back home?
Steve McCall: I cook them a couple different ways, I’ll either put them on the grill, I’ll marinate them and put them on the grill or I’ll cut them in strips like chicken strips and then I’ll mill them and Louisiana fish fry or something like that and fry them like fish, they’re good that way too. Mostly, I just grill them or I’ll hack them out and fry them like deer steak.
Ramsey Russell: Rosy-bills are kind of a diver. Their feet are far back, they’re a diver but they’re not, they’re in a genus called Netta, which is described and a false diver, which is to say this. They got the wherewithal, the body type to dive like a scaup or a canvasback or a redhead and go deep, but they don’t, they choose belt deeper shallower habitat, that’s what they’re feeding and making their living in. And have you ever shot any canvasbacks or scaup or redheads? Have you ever hunted divers like that?
Ramsey Russell: I don’t think they’re as agile and aerodynamic as a Rosy-bill because Rosy-bills will come streaking in like canvasbacks or in some situations they’ll put on the brakes and just drop straight down like a mallard.
Steve McCall: Yeah, exactly. And you think you got them, you’re going, oh, he’s coming in and he can go from that to out of the hole in just a matter of a second.
Ramsey Russell: No, wait a minute, you ain’t missing on this week, have you?
Steve McCall: A few, yeah. I’ve missed my share, that’s for sure.
Ramsey Russell: Besides the ducks and it’s a high volume duck hunt, but besides the ducks, what else did you enjoy about this operation?
Steve McCall: The professionals here, I mean, they take care of you, you come in your rooms clean, you get fed you, it’s just a first class all the way.
Ramsey Russell: Have you had a favorite meal this week?
Steve McCall: They’ve all been my favorite, I look forward to lunch and supper every day because I know it’s something new.
Ramsey Russell: I’ll go back here just about every operation I go to, I like to spend time in the kitchen, what we’re going to eat for lunch and it don’t matter, it’s all going to be good. The ravioli, several people have said this week that ravioli he served for lunch the other day and I mean, I appreciate that, they hand make everything, all the pasta, everything, it’s just completely homemade right here.
Steve McCall: It’s delicious. I mean, you can’t ask for nothing no better.
Ramsey Russell: Well, we got 2 more hunts and we’re done, I don’t know, it’s going to be tough to leave this heat and all them ducks go back to Mississippi and Arkansas.
Steve McCall: It is. But we’ll survive and hopefully once we get to come back again.
Ramsey Russell: Steve, I appreciate you. I’ve been really enjoyed sharing camp with you this week, enjoying your stories and bring something to the table.
Steve McCall: I have too, it’s been a pleasure.
A Duck Hunt for Every Age
I recommended it a 100%. It was awesome. We killed our limit every morning, it was great.
Ramsey Russell: Mr. Mason Grier wrapping up a great hunt down here in Argentina, the ripe old age of 14 that boy can shoot. Mason, I enjoyed hunting with you a couple of days, how was it?
Mason Grier: It was great.
Ramsey Russell: Tell me about your week. Tell me what you’re going to go home and tell your friends about this week down in Argentina?
Mason Grier: I recommended it a 100%. It was awesome. We killed our limit every morning, it was great. All kinds of ducks from –
Ramsey Russell: What all species did you kill?
Mason Grier: I killed speckle teals, ring teals, I forget the name.
Ramsey Russell: Ring teal, silver teal.
Mason Grier: Silver teal, spotted teal.
Ramsey Russell: Speckle teal, yeah, that’s all right.
Mason Grier: Rosy-bill.
Ramsey Russell: Fulvous, we wore a fulvous out that day son.
Mason Grier: White cheeked pintail, cinnamon teal, red shoveler, I think it was, there’s some beautiful birds.
Ramsey Russell: The morning you and I hunted together, Mason, you’re 14 years old and I forgot how good them eyes were, I think you had 20 on the water before I even fired a shot. The moon was glowing, the sun was coming up but it was behind some cloud just glowing out there like somebody was holding the spotlight above man, you were just bam-bam, wearing them out. How does that compare to hunting back home?
Mason Grier: It’s so much more, it’s as fast as you reload your gun. It was just awesome. Back home the limit is so much bigger, you can kill so many more –
Ramsey Russell: Down here you mean, yeah.
Mason Grier: These Rosy-bills down here are some decoying sons of guns just dive in from 100 yards up just right in your face.
Ramsey Russell: I was just fixing to ask you, what about those Rosy-bills? I think there’s prettier ducks down here, but the Rosy-bill is just on my heart, because the way they freaking work. That morning, we shot all those whistling ducks, they were working high like whistling ducks do, but we had a pair of Rosy-bills come in and they got around, got to wind right, right into the decoys. What was your favorite hunt this trip?
Mason Grier: I think my favorite hunt was the last hunt I just had this morning, it was great. They just would come from all directions. We didn’t shoot for a long time, but –
Ramsey Russell: We didn’t either.
Mason Grier: I mean, like 07:40, first duck we killed and from there on out, we was done by 08:20.
Ramsey Russell: Who’d you hunt with this morning?
Ramsey Russell: I hunted with Phillip’s brother Donny Booth. Who’s great. Great shot.
Ramsey Russell: Do you remember – you were telling me the other day in a blind, you’ve been hunting for, what, 6, 7 years?
Mason Grier: 7 years.
Ramsey Russell: Do you still remember your first duck?
Mason Grier: I shot it with a 410 off a pond, it was a hooded merganser.
Ramsey Russell: Really?
Mason Grier: Yeah. Shot off the pond 410 me and my dad, I was with Phillip at our party place up there.
Ramsey Russell: What’s your favorite duck back home?
Mason Grier: Mallard drake.
Ramsey Russell: Yeah. And what’s your favorite duck down in Argentina? Got to be the Rosy-bill just the way they act like a mallard.
Mason Grier: Probably Rosy-bill, they’re so similar to a mallard.
Ramsey Russell: What’s your favorite duck down here, in terms of looks?
Mason Grier: Probably the spoonie, I love that duck.
Ramsey Russell: That’s a cool looking duck, isn’t it?
Mason Grier: Whiteish gray head and then a red and had like a cinnamon teal wing, white eyes beautiful duck.
Ramsey Russell: Beautiful bird. Look, you told me something the other day and as a daddy, I really enjoyed this hearing a young man like yourself say it. You were talking about how lucky you were, why you feel so lucky?
Mason Grier: I mean, I know people, like people I’m hunting with right now, they’re all 45 up and they just now got to take this trip and I’m 14 and I’ve taken trips to places that most people don’t get to do their whole life.
Ramsey Russell: Who do you owe that to?
Mason Grier: My father, my parents.
Ramsey Russell: Are they pretty good parents?
Mason Grier: They’re great.
Ramsey Russell: Did your daddy take you hunting? Do you all spend a lot of time hunting together?
Mason Grier: Oh, yeah. All the time. He’s taken me – I’ve been deer hunting with him since I was about 4, killed my first one at 6.
Ramsey Russell: Yeah, you’re a pretty good shot, everybody was bragging on you shooting and I got to tell you for 14 years old – I know grown men that don’t shoot as well as you. Is that just natural? Is that from a lot of duck hunting growing up?
Mason Grier: I think, it’s a lot of duck hunting and I shoot trap back at home, it’s a little – and it’s helped me a lot with just everything.
Ramsey Russell: Well, I’ve enjoyed sharing camp with you, I appreciate you coming down and I bet you, I see you all back down here again.
Mason Grier: You can bet on it, we’ll be here sometime for sure.
The Rosy-bills Steal the Show
Ramsey Russell: Mr. Jerry White, also from Arkansas. Jerry, you’ve duck hunted a while, haven’t you? I’ve heard some stories this week, you’ve been a duck hunter for a while up here in Arkansas.
Jerry White: Yes, sir, got started at a young age probably about 13 or so. First time, man just fell in love with it. Been with it the whole time.
Ramsey Russell: Has the hunt been hanging in pretty good since you were 13 years old, did it changed any in Arkansas?
Jerry White: It changed a lot in Arkansas, up and down, I think the ducks flyway may have changed a little bit, the way we hunt them has changed. We have learned some stuff as far as trying to be able to kill ducks, but as I’ve gotten older, I’m not as mad at them as I used to be. So, I don’t work as hard to go on a good duck hunt as, as I used to.
Ramsey Russell: Well, now me and Philip wrapped up a little bit earlier than you all did this morning and we sat there on the hilltop watching you shoot, you seem mad at them this morning.
Jerry White: I was this morning, I got cold early – that wind was tough. And we had to move a few times to get to hunt. We had to burn some shells early to try to kill some ducks. But after we made that last move, they stuck their feet in our face and after we had to – we had to adjust to get with them, but wind kind of got them knocked out.
Ramsey Russell: How long have you and some of these guys been hunting together back home?
Jerry White: Donnie, Phillip and I have been hunting together since we were 12, 13 and I’m 52, Phillips 53, Donny’s 55.
Ramsey Russell: 40 years, 4 decades worth of duck hunting.
Jerry White: Yes, sir, when the ducks is coming, I mean, we know what each one is just about going to be doing and where they’re going to be shooting.
Ramsey Russell: This is your first trip down to Argentina?
Jerry White: Yes, sir.
Ramsey Russell: What you think about it down here?
Jerry White: Awesome.
Ramsey Russell: Why?
Jerry White: It has just been phenomenal. These guys do an excellent job to make sure that you are having a good time, you’re killing ducks, whether it’s moving to blind 2 or 3 times, setting up a little different. And not only that the scenery, the agriculture atmosphere around here, that’s what we’ve got back home, I’m a rancher and believe it or not, I have been paying attention to a lot of what’s going on with the cattle and the way they ranching and so that’s a bonus to my trip that I did not expect it.
Ramsey Russell: This part of Argentina is very rural, it’s very agricultural, a lot of cattle industry, yeah, I can see where you would relate to that.
Jerry White: Yes, sir.
Ramsey Russell: What were some of your favorite species?
Jerry White: Man, the Rosy’s they just act like a sure enough mallard, the way they will decoy and the way they were coming in –
Ramsey Russell: They steal the show down here, don’t they?
Jerry White: Yes, sir, they do. But some of the other ducks are, they’re all beautiful. I think we killed about, I don’t know, 6, 8 different kinds and every one of them and I’ve taken pictures of them to go back home and to show. Some of those little teal are, they’re kind of a show out too. I mean, they’re beautiful as well.
Ramsey Russell: Well, I like the way the pintails work and this morning we shot a couple of pintail, shot a cinnamon teal. But I’m telling you, man, I get down here and nobody, but nobody in this country does it better day in, day out, year to year for Rosy-bills and that’s what I want. I told Philip when we got the blind this morning, I said, if I don’t kill another duck but a Rosy-bill, that’s all. Man, them Rosy-bills come in. And you were talking about moving to blind, we were on the X, but we moved about 10 yards, 15 yards just to – as we were looking at the decoys to the left because he’s a left-handed shooter and once we just made that little adjustment, boom. And we had from a 9 to 3 killing range and then nothing come without dying quick. And I love hunting with a left hand shooter too.
Jerry White: Yeah, and that’s what they did to us. They were coming in but they would just drift off to our left, well, I was on the left and Steve was on the right and that didn’t give him really a fair advantage to shoot without going over my head or whatever and we did that for a little bit, but it wasn’t working. So, they made the call, we moved, we packed up, moved real quick, set up that didn’t do it. So then we need to cross the fence and get over in what I call the bushes and hunker down like we hunt in Arkansas, I mean, and they stuck their feet in our face and it just took us a little bit to get after them.
Ramsey Russell: It’s extremely generous limits down here, but it’s amazing how quick you’ll get that limit, that number. Shoot a weeks or more worth the full limits back home in just an hour. Sometimes it’s a little too, like the other morning, we hunted with two other guys, we got on a Rosy-bill man and it was almost chaotic, it was so fast.
Jerry White: I’d always heard that the ducks come faster, then you can load your gun and I was okay. Well, it took, let’s see, Wednesday morning, Donnie and I, and they come in our face and I mean, and it was cold and I warmed my hand on my gun barrel, I mean, I took a break and warm my hand that we had shot so much and we killed ours in about an hour. Now, yesterday morning, when the fog rolled in and the clouds and all of that I was cold and I thought, man, this is going to be miserable. But I looked at my phone at 08:08 AM and we had killed probably a dozen ducks and at 08:35 we had killed, I’m going to say 85 to 90 ducks and had them picked up standing on the bank, on a day that I really was wanting to go stand by the fire. I mean, and they come in so fast and my partner didn’t, he still had his gun loaded, I didn’t. And I said, wait before you shoot, let me load and that was a couple of times and I mean, it’s nothing for 2 guys to kill 6 or 8 ducks when a volley comes in.
Ramsey Russell: When they present themselves, right, that’s what the big deal like, I say, we adjusted this morning, not because the ducks weren’t coming in, but just the way they present themselves, so we could capitalize on it bigger. Besides the ducks because I’ve always said we sell duck hunting experience just not dead ducks, dead ducks are part of that experience. But how else would you describe this operation in terms of food and organization and people and everything else? Because one thing about it, like we don’t have the same guide every hunt or even every day and so you really get to see the entire staff. What do you think about all that?
Jerry White: Guides did a great job, like I said earlier, they want to make sure that your experience is fantastic, good hunt, hospitality.
Ramsey Russell: Did you get hungry?
Jerry White: Not yet, I haven’t. I probably eat more than, I may have gained some weight. Food’s been top notch, it’s excellent. I had one day that they had a strawberry dessert, I’m not a strawberry guy and I asked, could I get what we had that day at lunch? It was only one, they brought me a piece out, was no big deal. They want to make sure that you are satisfied and that is top notch, in my opinion. The whole thing, I mean, they’re going to assist you in any way that you need to be assisted. The first day, my seat was a little low in the water, water was fairly deep, I sat down not paying attention, dipped, my left hand, got my glove wet, it was cold, I was cold. When you come from Arkansas at 110° and come down here and it’s 27 and the wind blowing, that’s a major change, I got cold. My guide took off a pair of gloves and gave to me and after the hunt I gave him back and he said, no, those are yours, keep. And so that says a lot. And then I heard another story, a guy got his boots wet and the same guide, helped him get his boots off, bring the water out so he can finish the hunt and these guys are working, they work hard to earn what they get and they’re always smiling and that’s a blessing.
Ramsey Russell: That’s a good point, they are, they’re always smiling. And I don’t think I’m too far off base describing this destination as Disneyland, it’s a Disneyland experience. And I told Phillip this morning, I said, one thing different than here at home, all things equal, we ain’t going to even pluck those ducks when we get back.
Jerry White: No, sir.
Ramsey Russell: All we got to do is go back and take a shower and get ready for lunch.
Jerry White: That’s it. And if you want to kill –
Ramsey Russell: It’s vacation.
Jerry White: That’s right. Kill your ducks and if you want to head to the truck or whatever, it don’t bother them. If you want to help, carry some stuff to the blind, it almost offends them when you try to help them and we didn’t grow up that way, Philip Donny and I didn’t grow up that way, I mean, we had to work and we appreciated any help that somebody offered, but these guys and I’m sure they run across people that’s not willing to do that, but that’s just not how we were brought up. But they figured out, look, they wouldn’t going to win that battle, so they said, okay, so we helped out and my thing was the sooner I can get all that stuff gathered up and get in the truck, I could either get back and get something to eat and get a cocktail or take a shower or whatever the case was.
Ramsey Russell: Well, I sure have enjoyed sharing camp with you, Jerry. It was a fine time, good week and I appreciate you taking time out, but here before lunch to tell everybody about it.
Jerry White: Yes, sir, I thank you, I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s been a blessing to be able to come and experience this, hope we get to come back, if we don’t do something else. But it’ll be a once in a lifetime memory for sure and I thank you and thank you for what you do and I greatly appreciate your knowledge of ducks and duck hunting.
Ramsey Russell: And wrapping up the episode, Mr. Philip Booth. Philip, it was 3 long years ago, I met you at Safari Club International and we planned this trip and that pandemic got in the way and here we are at the end of a pretty darn epic week.
Philip Booth: Well, I’ll tell you, it’s been a long time coming, but it’s a beautiful end to a story. Every hunt this week was fabulous, the weather’s been great, the food, the accommodations has just been spectacular and it’s just been a great end to a story 3 years later.
Ramsey Russell: Jerry was telling me, you all been hunting together for 40 years.
Generous Limits + Low Hunting Pressure = Waterfowler’s Dream
Philip Booth: Yeah, we started in Bayou in Arkansas, there is down below Stuttgart is just, back when we started there, it was just a haven, you could just go there and be by yourself, no other hunters or anything, maybe 10, 15 boats and nowadays there may be 300 boats, so it’s changed a lot.
Ramsey Russell: It ain’t like that down here. Well, I think one of the biggest things, they’ve got an abundance of habitat, a lot of ducks, but they have just generous limits, but extremely low hunting pressure relative to anywhere back home.
Philip Booth: Well, a tell tale sign when you see tens of thousands of birds every morning and they all want a decoy to you, if everything’s right, you’re going to get your birds in just a few minutes and it’s amazing. But Rosy-bills remind me of mallards and it’s the first time I’ve ever hunted them and they just do 99% of what a mallard does.
Ramsey Russell: Describe that? Like this morning.
Philip Booth: When you blow the call and they decoy and they decoy to your decoys, they’re not just flying by, they’re going to set, they’re coming to your set up like a mallard would.
Ramsey Russell: They present themselves perfectly.
Philip Booth: It’s unbelievable.
Ramsey Russell: This morning was a prime example, we were in the hole behind the blind, we set up, the wind was at our back and it was a good strong cold wind and those birds just got in right. They got in real right to start with because it was all on my side when they broke but we adjusted, we moved 10 yards maybe and that was all she rode. When you being left handed, me being right handed, those poor duck didn’t stand a chance.
Philip Booth: No, they didn’t. It was a great shoot and it’s a blessing to get to come to a place like this and I’m already figuring a way to come back, not even left yet.
Ramsey Russell: Tell me some of your favorite hunts this week? It seemed like we’ve been here a month, we’ve only been here 5 days.
Philip Booth: Well, I got to hunt with Steve’s boy, Mason and got to hunt with my brother and got to hunt with Rick Rhodes and I must say I love my brother and Rick Rhodes, but when you can hunt with a 14 year old young man, that’s as good as we are and he really enjoys the game. So we really had a good time together.
Ramsey Russell: Did you enjoy the food? I couldn’t tell because you ate 3 desserts last night.
Philip Booth: The food is unbelievable and it’s spectacular. Yeah, they all made a joke out of me, sent me their desserts last night and I gobble on them.
Ramsey Russell: We just going to see how many you eat before you quit.
Philip Booth: Yeah, I ate two of them and gave them one away, I was maxed out. But yeah, these people are unbelievable.
Ramsey Russell: When you talk about the people, what do you think about the people down here? The staff? I mean, you’ve been on guided hunt before, what do you think about the staff? How is the staff here at camp as compared?
Philip Booth: The staff is impeccable and they are very humble. They want to please you and they want to – from your guides to your cook, to the ladies that work in here, they’re all here to please and it’s really humbling to me and it’s really makes you want to come back.
Ramsey Russell: Wrap up on this note right here, I want to get back on the Rosy-bills because that’s the king of birds down here. You can tell the drakes from the hens and isn’t that a funny call the make, they growl.
Philip Booth: It’s a pleasure to do something you hadn’t done. We chase mallards in America and that’s what everybody does and this is totally different on the calls and just the sound of the birds but the Rosy-bills are special, I would encourage anybody if they’re coming here to be sure to get a day of them or every day of them if you can.
Ramsey Russell: It’s amazing to me how – I do not think that canvasbacks because what would you say, we were looking straight ahead to the water’s edge, maybe 40 yard, maybe 30?
Philip Booth: Max, yeah.
Ramsey Russell: I don’t think canvasbacks could have set up, I don’t think they would have set up on that dry land and come into those like the Rosy-bills did, they behave a lot like a mallard even though they’re a diver.
Philip Booth: It was pretty short but these ducks today, even in the wind, these Rosy-bills would set up to your left and come so hard, you wouldn’t think they could do that degree, but they’d come and smoke right in front of you, they’re moving when they get there and then set up and you get your shot. It was fantastic, like every hunts been.
Ramsey Russell: Birds of a feather flock together, we sure had a great camp full of folks and I heard some great stories in that, I mean, didn’t you think so? Have you notice that you brought a crowd there were some other folks here but we just all kind of hit it off. You wouldn’t know that we all have been friends forever.
Philip Booth: Yeah, it’s great. There was some guys from Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Sallisaw, Mississippi, of course you and some guys from Minnesota and Colorado, it was very good atmosphere.
Ramsey Russell: Phillip, why did you choose this hunt? Because I met you at SCI, but there’s other hunt for sale, why did you choose this hunt and this destination? Why did you choose, getducks to work with?
Philip Booth: Well, I had researched a lot of things and to tell you the truth, I felt that you all had more to offer and more accommodations and more to offer. And when I looked it up and looked up all the information on Diego and everything, it was really inviting to me.
Ramsey Russell: Good deal. Well, I sure have enjoyed it and I appreciate you, I really do, it was a long wait but it was worth the wait, wasn’t it?
Philip Booth: It’s kind of like the last dead duck season in Arkansas, we start planning for next season the next day, so that’s what we’re doing today here.
Ramsey Russell: There’s a lot of great species down here, food culture, it’s a total package experience. Everybody wants to get their hands on the usual suspects but make no mistake about it, Rosy-bills are king in Argentina. Folks, thank you all for listening to this episode of Duck Season Somewhere, we’ll see you next time.