It’s snowing and blowing, temps plummeting North Dakota-style when I wheel into Jeff Pelayo’s driveway during the 2020-2021 North American Waterfowl Tour. North Dakota duck hunting usually conjures mental imagery of mallards and Canadas pouring into dry fields, but I’m meeting Jeff to experience a lesser-seen-side of this cowboy state: diver ducks. Bluebills, canvasbacks, redheads, buffleheads, ring-necked ducks, occasional goldeneyes are Pelayo’s obsession. The way he hunts them harkens a bygone era. I get my first inkling of this after entering his prairie lakeside home. At first glimpse it resembles a waterfowl decoy museum – until I notice that most of his decoys are rigged for action. What are Pelayo’s duck hunting origins? How’d he go from banding Stellar’s eiders in Alaska to owning a collectible waterfowl gallery along Maryland’s Eastern Shore? Why’d he “swear off plastics” in the pursuit of diver ducks, and why do old school methods mean so much to him? Like a bluebill ripping off open water into a protected cove of soaking wood duck decoys, this fascinating episode speaks genuine American Dreaming.