Guatemala is a new up-and-coming, work-in-progress GetDucks hunt. It’ll eventually get there, but while visiting recently, was reminded of just how challenging these start-from-scratch hunts can be. In today’s episode, I meet with a couple longtime, been-there-done-that associates to hear their thoughts. It’s a candid, behind-the-scenes glimpse that social media posts don’t really depict.

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Off the Beaten Path: Exploring Duck Hunting Worldwide

Ramsey Russell: Welcome back to Duck Season Somewhere, man, I am sitting on a swimming pool watching 5ft waves pound black volcanic sand on the Pacific side of Guatemala, where we’re wrapping up a kind of an exploratory hunt. Down here last year, looked great, felt great, brought some, what I call my A-listers, the kind of clients that are up for an adventure, up for whatever the hunt may bring and just to kind of help me beta test some of these adventures. And Scott Chaserice from Montana. Scott, now, look, I’m going to start off with this because you’ve been to Rio Salado, I don’t know, a bunch of times. In fact, that’s where I met you and you were a part of the first team that ever came down there. You with old Bill Smith. And Bill never booked a trip with us to Argentina until Rio Salado and the minute I posted it up and described it as wild and remote and crazy out there and everything else, he called me up and said, that’s the kind of hunt we’re looking for. Now, I said, Bill, it’s a long drive, he says, we’re all sheep hunters, Ramsey, we’ve been all over the world doing this stuff, we don’t care. And that’s when I met Scott Chaserice and you went there a bunch of times. We can talk about that some, but I don’t know, after 4th or 5th or whatever time you called me up and said, I enjoy it, I know I’ll be going back, I’ve been to Mexico, yada, yada. But you said, I want to do some real Ramsey shit. I said, what do you mean? You said, I want to go somewhere off the beaten path, somewhere you ain’t even been yet. And we’ve been, hadn’t we?

Scott Chaserice: We have. That first time I called you up and I said, hey, where are you going? What are we going to do? I’d love to do some adventure stuff with you. And you said, well, I’m thinking of going to Romania and maybe Sweden and maybe somewhere and you named off about 8 countries and then I was like, well, yeah, all right. I mean, like all at once or like over a year, what are we talking? You said, I don’t know, I’ll put it together and then just whatever and I said, okay. I said, I’m in. And then we ended up putting about 3 of them countries together and we had some good times. We had some great shoots, we had some interesting shoots and some interesting travel, all of it.

Ramsey Russell: Romania is one of those places that from the duck hunting perspective, I’ll never go back. I just don’t think you could talk me into going back to Romania, we shot some ducks, we didn’t shoot enough –

Scott Chaserice: I shot the greatest duck in the world to me.

Ramsey Russell: You did. You shot a common shelduck, a magnificent trophy and the people were very hospitable, they cooked that beautiful 50lbs pig, that was the best thing I’d ever eaten. We drank grappa and sang songs in Italian with the Italian cast, we had a great time, but it just wasn’t really a duck hunting experience, was it?

Scott Chaserice: No. I would say it was like and jeez, I hope I’m not in trouble for saying this, but an American hunt, 5 bird limit. And we went out and you and I scratched all the birds we could get, which we appreciated.

Ramsey Russell: We didn’t take no prisoners either.

Scott Chaserice: No and we were serious. And about 30 minutes into the hunt, you said, Scott, we better dust every bird available, this thing’s going to be thin. And I got my serious face on, which I don’t rarely put on because I always have fun and I don’t care how many ducks we kill, I always have great time. And you were like, serious and I’m like, all right. And I mean, I bear down on every shot and I think we shot the first day, maybe 7, 8, whatever, between two of us. And next day, maybe a few more, a few less, who cares? And we saw some interesting things that made the trip worth it, but not something you’d probably book.

Ramsey Russell: You said just the first night we were here, we got to talking about it. You said, I would go back not to duck hunt, but I would go back to Romania. Now, look, we were in Sweden and I’d been working with some Romanian over there, back and forth and he wrote broken English, but all of a sudden I get a Romanian language, I had to use Google and it wasn’t him, but tell me, come on, everything’s worked out and I go what’s worked mean? And we’re like, leaving tomorrow from Sweden to go to Romania.

Scott Chaserice: Well, we had a pretty hectic schedule, because I think we went to the Netherlands first we stopped and then we went to Sweden and then we were going to Romania.

Ramsey Russell: By way of Netherlands.

Scott Chaserice: Yeah. And then we hunted somewhere or may went to Pakistan a month later. But anyway, we had a big schedule that spring or whatever. Anyway, we were sitting at the airport and you were in a heated call and I’m like, well, what’s up? He’s like, I don’t know, it’s a little iffy. And I go, what? And he goes, well, the guy’s not answering and I said, well, what do you mean, he’s not answering? He said, well, I’m worried about who’s picking us up, what’s going to happen? And I said, yeah, no big deal, let’s go. I’ve traveled the world and had fun.

Ramsey Russell: Here’s the deal –

Scott Chaserice: It’s Romania.

Ramsey Russell: We’ll go to the airport. Romania, home of the Gypsies, home of the international criminal enterprise that doesn’t even have a written language and you don’t speak the language unless you’re born into it, because they’re just little thieving families and here we go. And the deal was we’ll go to the airport and we’ll check out the guy to pick us up and if he looks shady, we ain’t going.

Scott Chaserice: Yeah, we’re not going.

Ramsey Russell: What he looked like when we saw him?

Scott Chaserice: He was a hitman, an Eastern block hitman or whatever, I don’t know.

Ramsey Russell: Had an old broken nose.

Scott Chaserice: Yeah. It was, like, broken 18 times. And you and I were like, what do you think? And we’re like, I don’t know, he boiled up to us and he’s like, what do you think, boys let’s go and we’re like, it was like we were kidnapped.

Ramsey Russell: I say no, I’m not going. He calls the guy who’d been emailing me and says hands me the phone and it turns out to be the outfitter’s brother in law and I’m like, where’s so and so. He’s like, he cannot be here. I go, is he in the hospital? No hospital, he’s okay. I said, is he in jail? No, he’s not in jail. I go, where is he? He can’t be there. I said, he ain’t in the hospital, he ain’t in jail, just tell me where he is. He’s at the police station, he can’t leave the police station, which back home means jail. And it turned out to be just a technicality, we never did meet the guy. His brother in law took care of us and everybody took really good care of us.

Scott Chaserice: We never laid eyes on him.

Ramsey Russell: The last thing I did before climbing in that van is I took a picture of the license plate.

Scott Chaserice: Yeah, I remember.

Ramsey Russell: And sent it to my wife and said, send it to Interpol if you don’t hear from me again.

Scott Chaserice: And Anita texts me, she’s like, is Ramsey real? What’s going on? I’m like, well, it’s a little dicey, you might want to keep that license plate handy in case we don’t show up.

Ramsey Russell: Well, you wanted real Ramsey shit, here we go. And so we find out this guy is just – when you open up the van, there’s water bottles, he’s just a hired taxi guy, he just happens to look like a Romanian hitman. And you get to say, well, it’s a long drive, let’s stop and get some beer and we’d heard that beer was just astronomically expensive in Romania and we pull into a little quick stop and you say, well, how much is that? And I get out my Google Translator or whatever and heck, it’s the same as Busch Light back home.

Scott Chaserice: They only were double sized bottles and they were big and there was, like, 4 of them on the shelf and I love beer. So I said, well, we’re going to this lodge, who knows if they’ll have any beer? I’d like to have those 4. So I carried them up and put them on the counter and then the lady was like, all 4? And I said, yeah, of course all 4. And I said, do you have any more of that kind of beer? And she said, well, of course, yeah. And I said, we’ll take it all. And she brought out like, 12 more cans of beer or bottles of beer and she thought we hung the moon. I mean, 12 bottles of beer and I think it cost us, like $11.5, something simple. And she wanted to try and sell us everything in the store, she thought she hit the lottery because we wanted 11 or 12 bottles of beer.

Ramsey Russell: Did you notice how drastically her English improved when she thought we were rich Americans? And she told her boss something in Romania and then offered to be our tour guide for the week. We don’t need that, I promise you, we don’t need that.

Scott Chaserice: All of a sudden, we had a buck.

Ramsey Russell: And that really kind of worked out. In terms of just an absolute cultural adventure, it was fun. To me, it was worth the 3 or 4 days we spent over there. And I remember we’d come out, I don’t remember the boy’s name that really took care of us, took us out to the field and everything, but it sounded like Pooh Bear, so I called him Pooh Bear. He’s in my phone as Pooh Bear, never will know his name.

Scott Chaserice: I’m afraid to know what I’m in your phone.

Ramsey Russell: So I can remember coming out of the swamp and we had to meet the police and check in our guns and ammo and there was a guy by a driveway and all the driveways had grapevines over them like little awnings, because everybody made grappa, which is 150 proof moonshine version of wine.

Scott Chaserice: And we had no idea what it was at the time.

Ramsey Russell: Who knew. And I can remember this guy hollering, because he knew Pooh Bear and us pulling over, my friends and he had a Mickey Mouse coffee mug and we get liquored up on that grappa before we go back to eat our lunch.

Scott Chaserice: They were like, oh, you must have one and we’re like, yeah, okay and we did.

Ramsey Russell: And we were buddies after about 2 or 3 shots of that stuff. Anyway, what an adventure. And you’ve been to Mexico, you’ve been to Sweden. Sweden turned out to be pretty cool. We had no idea, Sweden turned out to be good. And the thing I remember most, we shot barnacle geese, we shot greylags, but one day we were driving just driving, heading back, it looked just like rolling Tennessee hills, real hilly Tennessee, few oak trees and it was fall and the foliage was beautiful. And out in the middle of this agricultural field was like what I’d called a fuel station. It’s like where you mound up dirt, put a gas tank on it and you can gravity feed your tractors. But it was too mound looking and I said, you know what that would be in Mississippi? He goes, what? I go, that would be an Indian mound. He goes, what is that? I said, well, it’s a structure they built, an earthen structure they built out in the Mississippi Delta and ceremonial. He said, it’s interesting you make that observation, let me take you over there and show you what it was and what is it?

Scott Chaserice: Yeah, it was a burial for the Vikings.

Ramsey Russell: A Viking burial mound.

Scott Chaserice: Yeah. And actually, it’s one of them they preserved, which was fantastic. And you got to bend over and crawl in this thing way back –

Ramsey Russell: Looked like a little Igloo or something. Old stones kind of stack like a little tunnel crawl up in there.

Scott Chaserice: And I’ve been a lot of places and not much bothers me or affects me, but when you’re in that thing and you’re buried deep and you’re thinking Vikings and way back when it touched me. I’m sitting there going, man, there was somebody they buried in here centuries ago.

Ramsey Russell: People, plural. Maybe there was a battle or something. It was kind of a killjoy, because we had to get on our hands and knees and get our iPhone, crawl back in there. And once you got in there, just like being in a little 3ft high stone closet and you look around and say, okay, well, I’ve seen this.

Scott Chaserice: I thought you were going to tell the story about when we shot all the mallards real quick.

Ramsey Russell: Boy, that was a fun. Well, they do driven mallards over there. Again, we had no idea what a driven mallard is, it’s a farm pond, it’s like there’s no way you can jump shoot, pull the trigger, they’re gone. But they had it figured out, didn’t they?

Scott Chaserice: You can’t even describe that. And nobody probably will understand that and I was just so blessed to be there. When the guy said, we’re going on, jump shoot, I said, okay and we went down there and they have farm raised tame ducks, but they’re there to keep the wild ducks in the Duke, which we’re on the Duke, one of the 14 Dukes of the Country’s property.

Ramsey Russell: I don’t know what a Duke really is, but I just remember made a mental note to self, I’d like to be a Duke. Live in a castle, everybody pay you taxes and you got really good duck hunting.

Scott Chaserice: Because the big deal was, remember all the Dukes, they spend a month, they spend all year preparing their property for this big hunt where all the Dukes, all 14 of them, come together and they go 3 days or 4 days at each place and they party and raise hell and have a great shoot and I thought, man, why wasn’t I born into that? I was just born unlucky, I guess. But we shot and we had an unbelievable time on that duck hunt.

Ramsey Russell: And we’ve been on some other hunts together. I started doing these road trips around North America and I was going to North Dakota, you said, hey, man, you need to hook up with my buddy Tom and Kenmare. I’m like, what’s Kenmare? Well, it’s snow goose capital, self-proclaimed snow goose capital of the world and a bunch of cowboy buddies of yours, you’re a cowboy and holy cow, I’ve been up there several times now, they’re kind of like family, that’s just the way they are. They take in like family and drink copious amounts of Busch Light and have a good time. We went on a snow goose hunt, we actually participated as a team last time, that’s the last time we hunted together was snow geese in Kenmare.

Scott Chaserice: And remember, we had a great duck shoot that one day. There was 13 of us and we smacked our limit in about 35 minutes. We were in a slough and we all were in layout blinds, which is rare, that many people. And when we walked up there, you look down that line, you go, well, if we’re on this slough – well, hang on, I’m going to go back, because there’s one thing about you I got to tell the world is, you always analyze the situation – no, this is a good thing. You analyze and I learned from you and I have on hunts and usually you’re full of baloney, but no, I’m kidding. But you analyze the hunt and you go, now, hang on a minute, there’s 13 of us going to lay in this coolie and we’re going to try and shoot these ducks out of this field. And remember, Tom’s cousin owned the field and they knew they were feeding there and we were lights out, we knew we were game on. And so we’re all in these layout blinds and we shot our limit in about 35 minutes and you were like, that is an outstanding duck hunt.

Ramsey Russell: But we did get lower down in it and covered up. And those ducks, they were actually getting behind that little hill in front of us and coming over the hilltop and we’re shooting like, you don’t see them because they are right freaking there.

Scott Chaserice: Just straight there.

Ramsey Russell: You saw them go down below the hill, you start holding your breath and when they come up over that hill, they are in the wheelhouse and they freaking die.

Scott Chaserice: And for a bunch of hillbillies that we put together that day, there were some shooters and we did some good shooting.

Ramsey Russell: That was a great hunt, I forgot all about that. That was an amazing hunt.

Scott Chaserice: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: All right, get back on point. I’m asking you this question, what’s the weather like in Montana when you left and what was your winter like this year?

Chasing the Hunt

 And so I try and hook up with you or anybody that’s willing to go to Central America or Argentina or anywhere and do some hunting and it’s been good. So I’ve been kind of drifting all over wherever we can.

Scott Chaserice: Actually, it’s been 30s and 40s, which is a little bit warmer than normal for January and start of February, cold and whatnot. And I used to Coues deer hunt for about 15 years in Mexico for a week or 2, and I’ve kind of switched over to appreciate and I love bird hunting more nowadays. And so I try and hook up with you or anybody that’s willing to go to Central America or Argentina or anywhere and do some hunting and it’s been good. So I’ve been kind of drifting all over wherever we can.

Ramsey Russell: But Montana gets cold.

Scott Chaserice: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: I mean, you all have had some record breaking minus weather this year. I mean, minus weather anyway. And why I ask you that question, is because –

Scott Chaserice: Is because I’m cooking to death here right now.

Ramsey Russell: I called you up and I said, you want to go to Guatemala? You’re like, hell yeah.

Scott Chaserice: And then I Googled the weather and I called you back and I’m like, maybe I’m busy.

Ramsey Russell: You called Anita and you’re like, did you know it’s going to be 90? And she goes, yeah, it’s kind of like Mississippi down there, every day, 365 days a year.

Scott Chaserice: And I said humid too? And she’s like, yeah, of course. I’m like, oh, dang.

Ramsey Russell: You got in earlier than us and 3 of us came in on a later flight, you came in on another airline a little bit earlier Toto picked you up and Guatemala City is a little cooler, it’s a little more high, elevation, it’s beautiful.

Scott Chaserice: It’s my like Mexico City.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah, beautiful and drier. So what you all do? You get picked up at 1:30, then what you all do before you saw us?

Scott Chaserice: Well, first of all, I’m going to give a shout out to Anita, your wife, that woman’s wonderful. Because when you fly into a distant country when I was big game hunting one time, I flew into Azerbaijan and my flight was a day late and I didn’t even know if there was somebody that was going to show up that knew who I was or not. And when you’re in a foreign country and you don’t know the language and what’s going on, you hope you got some resources. And Anita’s great. And I said, hey, would you maybe give me a shout out to who’s picking me up? And she said, yeah. And so about time I landed, somebody texted me and said, yeah, I’ll be here and I’m like, all right. And I come out and there’s a guy with a big smile on his face and I knew right away, hunters just know hunters, too. And I’m like, yeah, give him the wave and then off we went. And we missed some traffic that you had to hit.

Ramsey Russell: Oh, boy, Guatemala City, rush hour. But see I went and got something to eat, Tacos, what you all do? Get something dumb? I know you found a cold beer.

Scott Chaserice: Actually, I passed on the cold beer. But yeah, we went and had some ceviche, shrimp ceviche. Which you don’t bump into that in Montana when it’s 30 below 0 usually.

Ramsey Russell: For us, this is a ground floor, what I call a ground floor hunt. Netherlands was the same way. Australia was the same way. It’s capable guys that have got a lot of opportunity, so it’s very promising. And I know the boys over here wanted me to bring a bunch of guys and I’m like, no, I’m going to bring my A-team. I’m going to bring an A-team client. The guys that will be honest, guys that will roll with the punches, guys that will have a good time. And by honest, I mean, guys that will give you some constructive criticism if you take it and that’s just how I am. I feel like Scott, after 20 years, I think it’s how we met, I think it’s why you continue to do some of this real Ramsay shit, I think it’s why a lot of people will call us to go on certain trips around the world is because I’ve got to test it, I’ve got to beta test it. I’ve been down here, I have a great time, now I need to bring some clients. And I think you 3 really represent the kind of duck hunting market that would do this and I just got to do a walk through. The first day, it was not without its fits and starts, it was a little disorganization, exactly like I expected it to be. Like a real long, drawn out Chinese fire drill. But we go out and we shoot ducks. Not a lot of ducks, but good ducks, the hunting quality, the boat staff worked very hard, it was good. We had some interpreters with us and it was a good hunt. And the food, what do you think about the food down here in Guatemala?

Scott Chaserice: It’s amazing. And the people here worked very hard. They’re very interested in tourists and pleasing them and working hard, it’s wonderful. The place we’re staying at is magnificent, probably nice duck camp I’ve ever been in.

Ramsey Russell: It’s a family vacation home and I’m going to guess I couldn’t throw a baseball and hit the beach, but there probably are people that could and it’s right there. And with a beautiful swimming pool, open air, there’s air conditioning in the bedroom, which is where you need it. But out here, the weather’s beautiful in the shade, we got the breeze blowing.

Scott Chaserice: Now, you’re talking about things I don’t know about. One time we had to go into that micro hotel in Sweden –

Ramsey Russell: You booked that, I had a Hilton booked.

Scott Chaserice: I don’t know. Anyway, we could use the bathroom and shower –

Ramsey Russell: I thought you made us a reservation in a closet because the beds were right close together.

Scott Chaserice: There was one bed and we had to share it and jump into it.

Ramsey Russell: And like an ant, like an ant trail, get all our baggage in and then crawl over it to get on the bed. And then the bathroom, I could shower and brush my teeth and shave and use the bathroom all at one time, it was very efficient, but by God, it was cheap for Copenhagen, Denmark. You sniffed that out.

Scott Chaserice: Yeah. I don’t know if I – we won’t go down that again.

Ramsey Russell: Ms. Anita to the rescue because she had to get on the Hilton’s butt to get us out of that reservation without eating it.

Wild Places: Best Hunts in the World

It’s like going through National Geographic magazine with a hip boots and a shotgun. 

Scott Chaserice: I’ve been in some wild places with you. The capercaillie hunt in Russia, which right now is with the war going on, probably isn’t happening, but put that on their radar. You go back to and I’d been to Russia as a young man wrestling. But we went into this little village and in the middle of nowhere and we went out and I’m a lot younger than Ramsey, if anybody’s listening, but I just had a fake hip put in and we had to go down these little wooden trails and everything and I fell a couple of times and the guy’s like, what the hell? And then I remember we were in the middle of the forest and this grown man, this huge Russian man, wanted to hold my hand and I’m like, what in the hell? And he says, no, just hold his hand, it’ll be good and that’s how they walk in on these birds.

Ramsey Russell: They can hear the capercaillie and we can’t.

Scott Chaserice: They know what they’re doing. And so the guy holds your hand and when you take a step, if he’s not calling out loud, the bird, then he squeezes your hand so you stop. Those stalks were brutal and long and I hunt a big game all over and guided in Alaska.

Ramsey Russell: That’s kind of your thing.

Scott Chaserice: And in Alaska, I guided for a long time. But I’m telling you, that was probably one of the greatest hunts on the planet as far as stalking an animal and that was all you because you sniffed that place out.

Ramsey Russell: That’s one of my favorite game birds in the world. and it has nothing to do with the bird or shot gunning, it has to do with being in that boreal forest and doing it, that’s what it’s about. But now ask me what I remember about that trip. You know what stands out most to me? We get up one morning and we got this tour guide, bless her heart, she was friendly and hardworking I’ve ever seen. But you had to stand up wind of her, I think she’s one of the people that practiced not bathing during the winter months and she took us around, she was excellent, she did all this and did all that and I wasn’t paying attention to you and you had gone and talked to her boss and I saw you all cutting, talking, doing something, I saw you pull some money out and pay him and you bought two opera tickets. I said, who are you going to opera with? You go, you. You’re the booking agent, me and you are going. I’m like, I ain’t going to no dang opera at St. Petersburg rush. But now for lunch, she takes us to a place called, literally, the Vodka Bar. And they bring food out, of course, but the big thing is, they brought out, like, these little platters with 4 shots of vodka, different colors, different origins, different provenance and somebody in broken English kind of sort of explains, this one came from here and it’s made from that and yada yada. And after 30 minutes of lecture on these 4, you take 4 shots and they all taste equally like vodka. And after about 3 platters, she takes us to the opera house and I’m watching people walk in with long formal dresses, bow ties, first coats, high heels, like they’re going to the Royal Palace and you and I are wearing crocs and blue jeans and ball caps.

Scott Chaserice: It was like they’d prepared for weeks to go to this thing and it was all in Russian and I’m fluent in that, so I knew what was going on. So we’re sitting there, but even then, we just were mesmerized how great it was and it was wonderful. It was so classic and everything and it was a beautiful place. And that’s the culture that we get on these hunts.

Ramsey Russell: Because we get to the front door, two guys dressed in crocs, going to the opera in Russia. It’s an Italian opera translated in Russian and the guys look at us, the doorman look at us, look at my boots, look at me and they start shaking their heads and she gets heated up. And I’ve always wondered, was she that convincing? Because she got ferocious. I mean, that lady copped an attitude or did they just want to get out of her BO? I’m serious as a heart attack, I’m not being ugly, I’m just saying. But we go sit and I’ll be honest with you, that vodka buzz wore off at Act II and I said, that’s all, it’s time to go, I’m ready to go to bed. You remember that?

Scott Chaserice: Yeah. But we watched it.

Ramsey Russell: But you’re right, it’s the culture and that’s what I tell people, Scott what I’ve really come to enjoy about hunts, like, especially the raw new hunts and the crazy hunts, like capercaillie Romania, it’s that cultural backdrop. It’s like going through National Geographic magazine with a hip boots and a shotgun. And it’s been such eye opening, but I’m going to ask you this, bring it back on track, the food here. Talk about a little bit about the food and the culture here, some of the meals you’ve enjoyed. I know you don’t like chicharrones, I love them.

Scott Chaserice: Yeah, we’ll skip that subject. My gal, love of my life, going to be my wife someday, she loves chicharrones too, she’s from the south, same as you and I just don’t understand them. But anyway, we’re getting on track here with these people is, they make their own tortillas.

Ramsey Russell: Every day. You don’t eat store bought tortillas. Every city block equivalent, which ain’t no city blocks out in this rural country, there’s a little bitty hole and two ladies are sitting there making them.

Scott Chaserice: You go up and give them about a nickel and you get one. And then, of course, I carry a scale with me, a weight scale, because I gain about 10lbs a day, because I just love them and I eat them and it’s the best part. The food here is amazing. I don’t even think I’ve been anywhere with you, where the food – Romania even had great food.

Ramsey Russell: We ate those migratory quail and I thought I was going to die until we ate the pig the next day for the send off and I really about to pop, I was sick for a week after eating all that.

Scott Chaserice: There’s been a few meals we have like that, but there’s nowhere in Mexico or Central America and I’ve been on a bunch of hunts in Mexico and they cook like kings, man. I mean, everywhere you go, you eat like a king.

Ramsey Russell: I was down here last year with these guys and I love authentic Mexican food and Guatemala is, it’s like good, really good Mexican food with a spin on its own. And they really steered us into that, they try to do that. We haven’t eaten ribeyes, grilled ribeyes, although Toto cooked some kind of piece of beef and a beef rib over the flames that was just an absolute die for. Of course he owned a barbecue place, what do you expect? It was really good. And then we’ve got Big Al cooking 4 entrees of our blue wing teal.

Scott Chaserice: Well, he’s on deck tonight.

Ramsey Russell: Coconut water.

Scott Chaserice: Yeah, he’s supposed to make the meal tonight, Big Al.

Ramsey Russell: He’s in there chopping and going at it right now.

Scott Chaserice: He better be. There’s big expectations.

Ramsey Russell: What do you think about the coconut water?

Scott Chaserice: It’s very unique, I’d never had it before. I mean, I’ve eaten coconut –

Ramsey Russell: I had no idea they just chopped off the top till I come here last year. They chopped the top off the coconut and poured it into a jug and mix it with rum.

Scott Chaserice: That was the one thing you asked me, what I do on my way here, you were behind me and we pulled over, we’re leisure. We are taking our time and guys like, let’s have a couple of coconuts and put a straw on it and we drank it, it was wonderful.

Ramsey Russell: How’s your hunting experience been here?

Scott Chaserice: Fabulous.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah.

Scott Chaserice: I would say I love the culture and I love the people and I always love the situation. And whether you shoot a lot of ducks or you don’t, that’s a different question. I’ve been lucky and I would honestly say this, that I’m going to state this on record because it’s the only time he’s ever talked to me in my life is Ramsay is one of the best shots I’ve ever seen. But this week I’ve been shooting pretty good because I’ve had the highest number almost every day, I think I’ve been blessed because I got the right hole or whatever.

Sweat & Commitment to the Waiting Game

Problem? There ain’t no ducks coming. 

Ramsey Russell: But yesterday we had some high drama. And look, when I go and do these hunts and I’m walking through them and trying to get them up to par, I expect things slide off the rail sometimes. And I think I’ve got a very high threshold for that because 20 years doing this, man, I’m up for anything. But yesterday it tipped the scales. Yesterday we had to move 3 times and like my buddy Ian said, he didn’t think it was humanly possible that each spot they moved us to would get successively. I’m sitting, I’m literally sitting, the guy wanted to put me on this little mound and I could see like through a porthole to shoot, couldn’t see the decoys, now this ain’t going to work. So I saw another spot, the problem was it’s in the beaming sun and it’s about as big as a coffee table, like a mangrove root. I can stand on it, we broke some limbs and said, all right, I’m here. Problem? There ain’t no ducks coming. Second problem is, I just started breaking a good sweat and committed myself to a spot that surely the ducks will come, when a native fisherman come and laid about 3 miles of fish net in a half mile slough.

Scott Chaserice: And you got to tell the world you bring your dog.

Ramsey Russell: Char dog’s here, it wasn’t like a pool buoy that she could swim over, this was fine net. And I’m texting Toto and they move us. Well, shit goes downhill. And by the time I got to the ramp, I may have said a cuss word.

Scott Chaserice: I didn’t know we say shit. I want to talk about that, I heard a conversation, you were upset.

Ramsey Russell: I wouldn’t say I was upset, but I was damn serious.

Scott Chaserice: Oh, yeah, because your dog was in peril and everything was not good. No, I can say, you and I, when we’ve explored some of the world and been everywhere about nothing phases you because you’ve seen most of it. But things can upset you when you’re not professional or you’re not doing things right. And that’s the thing, is no matter where I go, if I’ve never been on a hunt with you or somewhere and I call you up and go, hey, I want to go to Botswana and hunt a tsetse fly, you’d be like, all right, yeah, I can do it. And I’ll be like, all right, am I going to have a good shoot? And you go, hey, have you ever had a bad shoot where I send you? And I’ll be like, no, I honestly haven’t. And so it’s why we go on these trips and you smooth out a few of the bumps early.

Ramsey Russell: And I did tell Koya, I said, I brought Mr. Ian and if you all are Munn factor proof, you all can do anything. Now there is a small chance that yesterday, because he and I were together, there’s a small chance like 50-50, heads or tails, that because he was there, this is a Munn factor experience here. But at the end of the day, I get a phone call on move number two.

Scott Chaserice: Not for me.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah, I get a phone call.

Scott Chaserice: You’re not going to tell them that.

Ramsey Russell: What did you say?

Scott Chaserice: I had heard Ramsey talk to one of the guys that owns the outfit and he was very unpleasant with him just on, there were some things going wrong that shouldn’t have went wrong and he was in all rights doing it. And I heard him bend a little bit and whatnot. So we hung up phone, the guy I was with was one of the owners and I said, you watch. I said, I love that guy, but I’m going to poke the bear. And so I waited a couple of minutes and I dialed his phone, I dialed your phone and I said, hey, on a scale of 1 to 10, how pissed off are you right now? I mean are we at a 7.8, 8.1? And click, he hung up on me.

Ramsey Russell: You’re lucky, I didn’t block your number.

Scott Chaserice: I turned to the guy and I said, in all the years I give Ramsey, a lot of crud because we’re good buddies, that’s a buck, he never hung up on me and he did.

Ramsey Russell: But they finally moved us to number 3. And then number 3, I meet one of my partners down here and I love these guys, you can tell I love these guys, he’s all business everything else. And he says, well is there a problem? And I go, not a good time to talk about it, but there’s a problem? And I said, what I’m about to say does not reflect on our friendship, I just kind of read one of them little things you hear, like somebody talking softly at the back of a pharmaceutical commercial and then I freaking had a Jesus in the temple moment only said some pretty bad words for Jesus and I felt better and then we moved on. But today, man, was today’s what you come for, you know what I’m saying? And again, the promise, the food, the hospitality, the first day, the third day, the promise. And today was just, at least for me and you, it was one of them days and part of it was. Let me just explain, let me say this too, Scott and I know you can agree with this, we Americans, we hunt ducks and we can shoot 6 on the good days in the Mississippi Flyway, 7 in the Pacific Flyway, whatever. And my point is it’s not an easy game and we have elevated it to art form. We want the birds to present themselves in the decoys and they’re coming at you, so we can by gosh capitalize on them opportunities. And when you get the further you get away from that Romania, parts of Argentina, for sure parts of Mexico and all over Guatemala, you get into Mongolia off the chart, Russia is no reform in that because they’re never going to get what we do, here they’ll get it. They’re used to just putting decoys out, the wind no matter what and there’s so many ducks at times they can just shoot and kill ducks, that ain’t working for me. I want the ducks to present and blue wings will present themselves.

Scott Chaserice: Let me interrupt you, because today so I shot with one of the outfitters friends and we hit it off last night, we have a common business.

Ramsey Russell: Oh, yeah, you and Big Al.

Perfecting the Hunting Experience 

I see it everywhere we go hunting, so everywhere we go, it’s professionalism and great people and great food and they take care of you no matter what.  

Scott Chaserice: Yeah. And Al and I sat there and I said, you shoot to the left, I shoot to the right, if two come in and this is your zone, my zone and we’re like, yeah. And the first set come in and they crossed right when they were as close as you could barely make and he followed his and I followed mine and we shot them opposite what we said. But at the end of the day, we had so much fun and we shot together and had a blast. And what you’re talking about is like coming to a place like this and we slaughtered them. I mean, for a great shoot, you couldn’t ask better, they were decoying great. And when you talk about waiting, so finally at the end, we were so successful today that I said, let’s let them land. And then we’ll wait and then you and I’ll whistle at them and then we’ll shoot them as they get out and he’s like, I like that and we did. We were lucky, God given today.

Ramsey Russell: We got to where we were going and first we did motor step into the pango and then they motor and then the water gets shallow and the mud gets deep and they start to push pole and we push pole about 10, 15, 20 minutes and we stop and Koya goes, I think we’re going to go back there. And he pointed back through a cut and a lot of teal back here when we left. And I said, well, the water is a foot deep, mud is 2ft deep, but the water is a foot deep. And there’s an edge and there’s a pocket and there’s a cut and there’s an edge and way these teal are if you sit there and watch, they fly those edges, they fly them edges, they hit them cuts. And I said, I really like that point. What are those 3 points? I said, I held a flashlight and I go click right there’s where I want the boat, that’s where we need to hunt. The wind is at our back, the sun’s at our back, there’s all these edges and all these freaking flight lines right here we just run traffic and get them. He says, where do you want the decoys? And I say something to him, he says something to the boat pusher and he pushes us forward and I said, throw your sack over there and when he gets done, I said, no, tell him to go that way and I throw him off the other side. We got a real basic decoy pattern, just blob here and a few decoys in the middle 3 Mojo, 2 up wind, one right here. And as we’re pushing into the grass and finding good footing because we’re standing in the boat for good footing, as we’re pushing in the grass, as I’m putting in my ears, as I’m getting loaded, Char is laser beaming because bing, bing, there’s ducks just everywhere, landing. I said, I think this is going to work. And I shot my limit and about 8:00, I said, you know, I got some good light, I want to take a picture and I handed him the gun. I said, I’m done. He goes, actually, you said, you’re done? I said, I’m done. I got my limit, I’m happy, I don’t even want to shoot no more. But here’s the best part, there was one shoveler that kind of gave us a flyby and 35 yards high, there was maybe another pair that maybe they heard you shoot way over there and they jumped, everything else come right into the kill hole, you shoot and what do they do? Go straight up, you got them. Bam, it was beautiful.

Scott Chaserice: There were some few long shots because you wanted to take them, but today they decoyed unbelievably great.

Ramsey Russell: For reasons we’ve talked about, I want to ask you this question because you’ve done a lot of Ramsay shit, you’ve done a lot of stuff on your own, but you’ve done a lot of stuff. You’ve been with me on some of these hunts. This hunt, I don’t think this hunt Guatemala is ready for – I’m not ready to go full in on it, but I do think it’s got promise. Would you agree with that assessment? It’s got some kinks to work out, it’s got little wrinkles to smooth.

Scott Chaserice: Sounds to me like you and I need to come back here next year or 2 for a week each time, I love it. No, but anyway, seriousness, what you’re talking about is, I see it everywhere we go hunting, so everywhere we go, it’s professionalism and great people and great food and they take care of you no matter what. It’s like you ask questions, what’s going to happen? And they tell you, the outfitter does. I mean, anything they throw at you, they got it. And these guys are just so new. And I’ll say new, which doesn’t mean they’re bad, it doesn’t mean anything, it means new.

Ramsey Russell: But running hunters and all the myriad of truly organizational details. And here’s the deal, it’s only a trial by fire, you’re not born into it. Now, these guys are highly educated, very smart, successful business people, they’re young, they’re energetic, they’re everything you want. It’s like I told them, I said, I’m here with good clients because I see the potential and I know that of all the people in this country, you 3 guys can make this happen, I believe it. I have no doubt. And now what we’re going to do is they’ve got these lagoons as I was in a boat today, they’re gaining access to more of that lagoon, that wetland we hunted today, they’ve got access to about 4000 acres of that lagoon, but it’s 22,000 acres in size and they’re fixing to get some more area. But I’m very excited and it’s not ready yet. But they have got the largest rice farm under lock, surrounded by lagoons with a river to the north of it and a big lagoon like what we’re hunting now nearby. And it’s about 1500 to 2000 acres of agricultural rice. And they asked me last year, do you think it’ll be -? I said, that’s where we need to go. You say, no more, that’s exactly where we need to go to run some teal hunt. I like this lagoon stuff, too. The program needs a little tweaking and I have built an absolute long bullet point list of action things we need to work on and these guys will deliver, no doubt in my mind they will.

Scott Chaserice: I’m telling you what, this thing could become spectacular and even up on the rice field, whatever. But no matter what happens, you’re going to come here and have a great time with great people, eat great food, stay in a wonderful place and you’re going to shoot ducks.

Ramsey Russell: I think it’s always going to be what I classify as an immersive experience. I’ll throw this at you, you’ve been to some of our Mexico operations that are absolute clickety click lodge and from here to here, Argentina and that’s just at the lodge experience. And then I got like the immersive experience, like the Netherlands, like here. Romania, if had worked out. Russia is an immersive experience, man, you are neck deep and the hunt is just a very small part of what you walk away from, but it’s an important part. I don’t sell dead ducks, Scott, I sell good hunting experiences.

Scott Chaserice: And I’m so sophisticated, I love that stuff.

Ramsey Russell: Hey, you did not tell me yesterday until afterwards, I did not know that yesterday afternoon was only your second dove hunt ever. You’re Montana boys, man, we cut our teeth down in the Deep South where you eat everything on a pig but the squeal. But how did you enjoy that?

Scott Chaserice: It was outstanding.

Ramsey Russell: White wing doves and red billed pigeons.

Scott Chaserice: And we spread out, we were over probably about 300 yards and bam, bam. And we were all laughing and my buddies, I could see on either side were harassing each other and having a good time. It’s wonderful.

Ramsey Russell: That’s dove hunt.

Scott Chaserice: Yeah. It’s all the hunts I go on, most of them are all booked through you. Because I know I’m going to get a professional deal and this is no advertisement, we’re buddies. I call you, I text you and harass the hell out of you and usually you hang up on me because I’m kind of honest –

Ramsey Russell: I ain’t never hung up on you, but one time and I almost blocked your number permanently, Scott.

Scott Chaserice: You were in a bad spot and I loved it.

Ramsey Russell: I couldn’t even say to you, not the time.

Scott Chaserice: I was poking. And then we were staying in the same room and before we go to bed, I’m like, hey, quit hanging up on me. Yeah, it’s good, but yeah, no matter where we go or whatever, it’s always organized, stuff’s good, crazy things happen, but no matter what, you have fun.

On the Hunt to Find the Best Outfitters

Ramsey Russell: I wanted to bring you on and I’m going to bring Mr. Ian on, he’s out hunting again this afternoon, the Munn factor this morning and I’m going to tell you, I saw where he’s hunting this afternoon and Koya was like, oh, we’ll go right there. I said, I don’t know, man. And we pulled up in there, push polled up in there and a gazillion blue wings got up and I asked, I looked around and I said, he needs an improved cylinder or a sawed off shotgun for this little tight hole. So I hope it worked out and I’m going to get him on here too. But the reason I wanted to what was important to me is, I believe after 20 years in business, I believe we have established ourselves with a credible reputation of doing this. And a lot of people in social media, a lot of our podcast listeners, it’s easy to see Ramsay holding blue wing teal in Guatemala or whatever, wherever, thinking, man, this guy lives. But it ain’t all fairy tale, is it? It looks like a fairy tale when you see just one picture, but when you get behind the scenes, there’s a lot of – sometimes you got to hang up on people. Sometimes it’s a monumental curveball that have to be surpassed and that’s what I take my greatest satisfaction in – there’s a lot of hunts in Mexico, in Argentina and around the world, like Romania, we spent the money, we spent the time, we went there, we went through the drill, we went through the Chinese fire drill, it was an absolute shit show, never going to change and that’s why it’s not a part of our program. But we pay our dues to find, we sift through a lot of chafe to find the duck –

Scott Chaserice: We’ve had a lot of bad hunts to have phenomenal hunts.

Ramsey Russell: That’s what it takes, man, there’s a lot of outfitters out there. Every single outfitter you ever call or email is the best outfitter on Earth, if you don’t believe me, just ask him. But go down there and go through the programs and make sure they got to be tested. Not to say that a full moon won’t hit or a drought or something, but there are a lot of controllables. And I believe these boys have come control it. But I just wanted to share some of your experiences that we’ve done together doing real Ramsey shit, but also just kind of let the listener kind of back into the kitchen about what it’s really like. It used to be a meme in social media, it’d be like a picture and that’s what your mom thinks you do. And it’d be like, this is what your husband thinks you do and this is what somebody else thinks you do. And then it’d be like your neck deep up an elephant’s ass doing something, that’s what you really do.

Scott Chaserice: Oh, there’s going to be a meme, all right and it’s going to be an ax in your forehead if you pull another stunt with me with a snake. So I’m tired of it and unfortunately, I’m an honest guy to my friends and he knows I’m deathly afraid of snakes. So we come in from the first day –

Ramsey Russell: You better be glad that didn’t happen after the phone call, son. Buddy, if I had had that snake after that phone call yesterday, I had dropped it in your shirt.

Scott Chaserice: You might be dead. So he curls this boa that somebody had bumped into it, had come at their boat and they had the snake.

Ramsey Russell: One of the bird boys hit it with a stick about a 7ft boa.

Scott Chaserice: Yeah. And he puts this nice duck on it and he’s like, Scott, you got to look at that bird’s leg and of course, I think it’s a banded duck. And so I’m like, oh, yeah, I bend down, I pick it up, I didn’t even notice the snake. And I’m looking at and I’m like, you lying booger. And he’s like, but down and then I jump back about 43ft and he knows I don’t like snake.

Ramsey Russell: Man, for a big old boy, you move quick. Scott, thank you very much for telling everybody about Guatemala. I’m looking forward to our next adventure together.

Scott Chaserice: We’ll have many more.

Hunting Experiences: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly 

Well, the first thing that happened was we arrived in camp and he didn’t have our licenses for us and he was like, go with the flow, it’s no big deal.

Ramsey Russell: Mr. Ian, you’ve been on a bunch of these trips and you’ve been on a bunch of trips before there was such a thing as We’ve hunted together, I’d guess a half a century, although it ain’t actually that long, it feels like that long sometimes. And we were talking, I guess, the first hunt we ever went on together, first pay hunt, first guided hunt, I had gotten out of grad school, gotten a real job and we went to Canada. You remember that?

Ian Munn: Yeah, through Cabela’s.

Ramsey Russell: Through Cabela’s. I wasn’t going to say the name, but they don’t do that anymore and hopefully they don’t fire in on me. But we booked a trip through them and went up to Saskatchewan, there were supposed to be 8 people in camp and it turned out to be anything but as described.

Ian Munn: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: Now, we did have a good shoot, but we put it together kind of ourselves.

Ian Munn: Ourselves, yeah. The Marines from Michigan, is that where they were from?

Ramsey Russell: Yeah, I think he was an army ranger and they turned out to be some real good guys. And man, he put his mossberg down one day and disappeared over the hill in a foxtrot with a pace like an elk. And next thing I know, the guide’s truck, because the guy didn’t sit with us, that first American, they called him up there, he didn’t sit with us, but here comes his truck and the army ranger was driving. He jumped out and said, grab the decoys, let’s go, I found the geese and we freaking got the geese. And then the very next day, because we killed the geese, that was the last time we ever saw that field, the outfitter had to move, I’m going to say there were 30 people in camp.

Ian Munn: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: Supposed to be 8, I’m going to say there were 30.

Ian Munn: And we had to “share the wealth”.

Ramsey Russell: Share the wealth.

Ian Munn: We found the field and he had to rotate all his other clients through it.

Ramsey Russell: It started that hunt experience, talk about a shit show of epic proportion that put me on the course of little did I know it at the time, started with the outfitter saying there are no snow geese, there are no snow geese, forget snow geese, because that’s all I want to shoot was white birds at the time. And it started the next morning, an hour and a half, 2 hours late with an inebriated duck guide showing up with a truck full of, I say a truck full, it’s all to fit in that little truck of his full body snow geese. And it ended with boiled steaks, I shouldn’t say steak, boiled meat pieces that the outfitter calls steaks. That was a trip to remember. What do you remember about that hunt?

Ian Munn: Well, the first thing that happened was we arrived in camp and he didn’t have our licenses for us and he was go with the flow, it’s no big deal.

Ramsey Russell: Go with the flow is what that man said.

Ian Munn: And he said, it repeatedly. Everything that went wrong was just, don’t worry about it, go with the flow. No hunting licenses, well, you work for Fish & Wildlife at the time, if you’d have gotten caught without a license, there would have been serious repercussions for you, I would assume.

Ramsey Russell: That was an event. But we’ve been on some more hunts since then, we’ve done a lot of hunts together. And as getducks was growing, you did a lot of hunts. And I can remember you went and scouted another hunt in Saskatchewan with me one time. Do you remember going up there, we hunted the opener in September and it was absolutely as hot in Saskatchewan as it was in Mississippi, but we shot birds. You remember that? You don’t remember that? You came up there with me and it was hotter than blue blazer, I think that was the hunt. I think that was the hunt that you had a cell phone because –

Ian Munn: Yeah, and we went up and both our wives were pregnant.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah.

Ian Munn: And we had a conversation with the stewardess about how great our wives were and unintentionally, because I’d never had a cell phone before, I had it in my pocket and I hadn’t shut it off. I thought I hung up and stuck it back in my pocket and it recorded this whole conversation on your answering machine at home. And the girls got back to here and listened to this long, flowing –

Ramsey Russell: Thank goodness we’re good family, man, that’s all I can say.

Ian Munn: We could have been saying anything, gotten us into trouble, but that worked out like a charm.

Ramsey Russell: It’s one thing when you start traveling around North America, not to say that we hadn’t had some self-induced shit shows because we’re duck hunters and no matter how bad a hunt is, I ain’t saying it was a bad hunt, but no matter how bad a hunt is, I always ask myself, well, at least I’m not dragging a coffin blind full of decoys, a half mile into a shin deep gumbo mudfield like we used to do, all the time.

Ian Munn: I was just thinking the other day of the hunt, it was your lease, it was you, me, and Derek and we had poke boats and he had a coffin blind. and so ours were just skimming over the top –

Ramsey Russell: I got a poke boat.

Ian Munn: And poor old Derek was bogging down, knee deep in the mud in his coffin blind and he was cussing us, I shouldn’t tell this story on myself, but that was the hunt that we’re laying there in those coffin blinds and poke boats and you can hear speckle bellies. I can hear speckle bellies. And you go, Ian over your shoulder and I swing up and bam, perfect shot that goose crumples, cormorant. And you did that on purpose, to me.

Ramsey Russell: But I mean, number one, I didn’t think you’d shoot it number two, I was thinking even if you shot at it, you wouldn’t hit it.

Ian Munn: I smoked it.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah, you sure did that was a hell of a shot, by the way, nice shot, Mr. Ian. And the time we went teal hunting in Hog Bayou and my God it’s no wonder we didn’t die. And then we find out that because the mud so deep, the water so shallow, they had literally had to bring in a Medevac helicopter and lift a guy out. Like drop a cable and time up and pull him out of the mud. I mean, we’ve been on some adventures now, Ian.

Ian Munn: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: Going out there to public land over in Mississippi on the Ten-Tom I can remember 4:00 in the morning sliding up on those broke off trees. So you had to put the weight on one side, the front of the back of the boat to get it off that center line without flipping your boat over, there’s always something as a duck hunter. But you get outside the United States on guided type hunts, like we Americans know how to hunt, we know kind of more or less. We may do it differently for sea ducks than for puddle ducks and the timber in the fields, slight new hunt, but it’s all kind of the same. But then you get far down the rabbit hole where there’s no waterfowl hunting in Russia. And what I remember most about Russia is we used to call it like a waterfowl combo, now it’s a capercaillie hunt because I just gave up, that’s the time I showed up. The first time we’re going, the second time I showed up because we’re going to shoot eiders on the White Sea, I brought long lines and decoys. I’m going to show them how to do this. Now, they never got open, they never got used, they got left on the bank and a freaking metal James Bond speedboat, we go running down eider.

Ian Munn: Oh, James Bond speedboat is being generous.

Ramsey Russell: Being generous. I felt like James Bond crashing over Evil Knieveling over them 4ft waves.

Ian Munn: And they would just run right into a flock going, I mean, wide open and be yelling, shoot. And you’d be bouncing up and down 4ft either direction, up and down.

Ramsey Russell: But the time you went I don’t know what the others of us had gone to do, maybe grouse hunt or capercaillie hunt, but you hung around and I think you got every of the keystone species in Russia. We were after Eurasian wigeon, a beautiful Eurasian wigeon. Talk about that hunt a little bit.

Ian Munn: Okay, so I think you all were out trying to get capercaillie or black grouse, but anyways, I had gotten my black grouse, I had gotten my – it was before I got my capercaillie, but I was the only one duck hunting and they took me around and hunted in an old quarry for a while and then got a few ducks and they said asked me if there was anything I really want, I said, yeah, Eurasian wigeon. Okay, so hop in the truck and we started driving around and looking at all these pothole, we’d look at a pothole and no and essentially we were jump shooting, we’re looking for a pothole that had – we finally found one, here’s a pothole on a far side, Eurasian wigeon. Get out, creep up on him, get close and shoot. So I’m creeping up on him and I’m aware that the bottom there’s something on the bottom, it’s just very treacherous footing, very treacherous footing. But I get close, close enough to shoot and I get that Eurasian wigeon and the second I shoot and I’m sure he’s not going anywhere, I happen to look down and my foot is literally through the top of a toilet seat. I’ve got this toilet and I just shot my Eurasian wigeon in the middle of the town dump.

Ramsey Russell: Because it’s a tiny little village 10 km from the Arctic Circle and they don’t have –

Ian Munn: They just dump trash wherever there’s excavation on.

Ramsey Russell: There was some plant, like a brick plant or something around there and that’s just where they tossed in the bar pit, that’s just where they tossed everything they didn’t want no more. And that’s their idea of duck hunting. Decoys, calls, be damned, that’s not how you do it, you just go out and kill duck.

Ian Munn: Yeah, well, same thing. Along the same lines, they were completely unfamiliar with setting up decoys, sitting up, luring the ducks in, calling them in and then taking your shots as they came into the decoys, no, it was just you got however you could get as close to the ducks as you could and then blast away and then you moved to someplace else. And it was evident in that at one point I shot a tufted duck and it landed out in the middle of the pond and it was straight ahead. But they had no way of I’m not going in the water to get that duck, I’m not going in the water to get that duck, you shot that duck and I’m going, oh, wait a minute and they actually went all the way back to the house, the camp and got that little German whatever kind of dog that was, Yuka. Wasn’t it Yuka?

Ramsey Russell: Yuka is her name. She was about a 35lbs German terrier of some sort, German hunting terrier or something.

Ian Munn: Absolutely fantastic.

Ramsey Russell: I thought it as 35lbs of whoop ass.

Ian Munn: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: I’d love to have that little dog.

Ian Munn: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: If I was ever going to have something other than a duck dog, that’d be it.

Ian Munn: And talk about versatile, she was actually his bear dog.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah.

Ian Munn: And little itty bitty, she retrieved ducks and did everything you’d want her to.

Ramsey Russell: First time I walked in the woods with that dog, I was scouting that hunt and we were just walking along, she started barking and up the tree goes about 800lbs of 2 bear cubs, 400lbs a piece and Alexis was like, we must leave because we couldn’t see the mama bear. And that little 35lbs dog ran 800lbs of brown bear cub up a tree and ferocious. But it brings up a good point, I just said I went over and scout a hunt and that’s what since the first hunt we ever went on as this business and what we do began to do what we did, it’s important to me to put my hands on, go through a hunt, babystep it into it, Guatemala is a prime example. Guatemala is very alluring, there’s been a hunt down in Nicaragua forever, blue wing teal, I know that ten to 15% of the continental population of blue wings go to Guatemala and it’s commercially unexploited, it’s got great potential. But you take some guys that don’t hunt like we do in the first place and have never hunted clients before, oh, boy, it’s going to be some missteps and misadventures along the way and I’ve seen it slightly with Australia. Australia was one of the best out of the gate hunts we ever did, but especially Netherland, very English speaking and they do hunt, but they don’t hunt like we do, they hunt European. And it was a work in progress until it wasn’t. So, being asked to go to Guatemala and hey, let’s do this, let’s get some clients, let’s do this, I went down there last year and absolutely loved it. Like if I ever run away from home, I’ll be in Guatemala, you all can find me, probably under one of them grassroots bars overlooking the Pacific Ocean, drinking coconut water and rum and when I’m not shooting ducks in the morning or something like that. I like the food, I like the culture, I like the people, I like every – and I say this, I was in a conversation recently, somebody told me, oh, we got to be cold and miserable to shoot ducks and I said, you ain’t going to the right places. I don’t mind hunting in 75°, 80° weather as long as I’m shooting ducks. I mean, I love it, I’m just going to tell you right now, I like shooting ducks in warm weather. But anyway, I knew it was going to be something. I got a question for you here, Ian. What allured you to Guatemala? Because I’ve had a lot of hunts come and go and you’re drawn to certain hunts, it seems like. What was it about Guatemala that you just said, oh, I’m going on that hunt? Well, on the get go out the gate, exploratory unproven. I mean, you’ve never done that before. You’ve been on some hunts with me, but you’ve been to Russia, you’ve been to Netherlands, you’ve been to Argentina, you’ve been to Uruguay. But I don’t know, it just kind of surprised me when you said, I want to go to Guatemala.

The Allure of Duck Hunting in Guatemala

Ian Munn: Well, I wish there was some profound reason, but I was sitting there listening to your podcast and you were talking to Toto and you asked him about where did he learn to speak such good English? And he rambles on about he went to high school in the States and it was a school and then it was a boarding school and then it was in Indiana and eked it out a little bit by a little bit, then it was a military school and I said, I know exactly, that’s the high school I went to. And then he finally said it, he said, I went to Culver Academy in Indiana and that’s where I went. And that’s why I got to go meet this guy, I got to go hunt with this guy. Culver Military Academy for me and I think for everybody goes there is a life changing experience. And it was just looking forward to talking to somebody that went to Culver, just like Charles Ketchkall. Sitting there chatting away and him talking about going to a high school in Indiana and interestingly enough, both of them were in the same part of the school as I was in the artillery. I was in battery A, Charles was in battery A, Toto was in battery C, which doesn’t mean anything to your readers, but within that school, we were very close. And Toto actually lived in his room, we had the same room in the dorm is what I’m trying to say. The room he was in for one year was the same room I was in. Yeah, we had a lot of good times talking about high school and whatnot.

Ramsey Russell: There were a lot of – just as I expected on a brand new hunt with guys that had never run American hunters before, it was rife with disorganization, nothing life changing, I mean, we were in the blinds on time, except one day, I think. But it was exactly what I’d expected after 20 years of doing this, it was exactly what I expected for a first run. And I’d take out my phone, I’d make a note for whatever reason, I did not send them an action list like a bullet point summary based on my time visiting with them, but we talked about it in the truck, that’s different than sending them an email with, hey, here’s how this thing should roll. And so this time, right out the gate, I started typing in my phone, making notes. But then came day 2 and day 2 kind of started it kind of like, okay, we were late, but we weren’t late because you’ve got to drive a little bit, you got to cross that river ferry, which is I think is nice, it’s pretty cool. Rather than build a bridge, they’ve just created a whole economy around these little water taxis. People are riding it like a bus, a dozen people get on, get ferried across the river and around the curve and over here and then the cars back up on these little wooden barges driven by 0.5ft – third world.

Ian Munn: Yeah, not fancy barges. I mean, just oh, my God.

Ramsey Russell: Very effective. I mean, it worked. Who’d have thought you could back 2 full size pickup trucks on a flat bottom and run up the river with a 20 HP.

Ian Munn: Obviously, we weren’t in a hurry, but it got us there.

Ramsey Russell: But it got us there. When you hunt those mangrove berries, a lot of times when you hunt some of these habitats, Mazatlán is a prime example, we don’t get there at shooting time in Mazatlán, what I’d call Mississippi time. And for 15 years it never missed a beat, the hotter it gets, the more the ducks come in to drink water and loaf and do their things and we’re shooting teal also down there. And that didn’t strike me as, okay, that too bad. And we divvied up who’s going to go where, and you and I were going to hunt together. When you say, okay, you two are going to hunt together, I assume we’re going to be shoulder to shoulder in a blind, like we’ve been for 30 years. So you get in your little skiff and I get in mine and our boys are pushing and man, the ride in was awesome. It was like nature television.

Ian Munn: My family, I sent them the film of going down that little itty bitty channel. Do you remember what the name of the boats? But anyways, we’re in these local boats and every fish one had almost an identical boat, but they were probably at most 3ft wide, I don’t think, 2ft and the channel we were going down was no more than a foot wider on either side, no more. And a lot of times you were scratching brighten shows on each side and I was filming a good bit of it and sent the film home.

Ramsey Russell: And the mangrove roots were like, over your head high, it was enchanting. Wading birds, shorebirds, because there’s so many fishermen and so many locals using that habitat, the birds are just – and they’re not interested in those water birds, so they’re just completely indifferent. It’s like you could almost reach out and touch them. This is amazing.

Ian Munn: The comment, both my daughter Mary and my wife said, it looks just like you’re on Discovery Channel.

Ramsey Russell: Discovery Channel.

Ian Munn: Yeah. And that was a good description.

Ramsey Russell: It kind of were. And we go back off and it kind of opens up in this long slough, I guess just this long sliver, half mile long in these mangroves and there’s teal getting up and I’m thinking, okay, this is going to work and I wonder where you were. I said something not in Spanish and he pointed, I can see your guy putting out decoys about 40 yards from where I was and I’m like, well, if the birds are coming in from him to me, me to him, okay, this will work. Because if you miss a few or I miss a few, but this will work. And I got set off on a little mangrove root ball and it was good footing, but by the time we broke all the limbs where I could see anything whatsoever other than looking through a ship porthole, I was in the full beam sun and sun in Guatemala can get hot, but that’s okay, too.

Ian Munn: Yeah. Where I was, I was actually on the bank, so I had good footing, but the branches were all around you and I had a very narrow window to shoot in. The futile that worked, either came from behind and overhead and the slough, there was probably no wider 20 yards, 25 yards and if you got a shot on them at all, you hit them and they landed in the mangroves on the opposite side –

Ramsey Russell: Knee deep in the mangroves.

Ian Munn: Yeah, and we didn’t have a dog or I didn’t have a dog. And the one time I could get the guy to understand that, I just shot a bird in the far side, he went over the shore and looked in and shrugged his shoulders and I said, come on back, there’s no getting in that, I mean, it was just that the mangrove roots were so tight.

Ramsey Russell: And the pair I shot that comes from behind, it’s like the decoys are over here in front of me, well, that ain’t way I was looking. I was looking behind because that’s where the birds are coming, I managed to catch boom, 2 for 1 out of a 4 pack. And by the time we got sorted and by the time I got loaded and by the time the decoys were out, by the time I indicated to this guy with the little pencil shaped pirogue boat to hide the boat, not put it right there, we’d been there 45 minutes and I’d kill them 2 teal. And about that time, here comes a local and how he managed to put 3.5 miles of fish net in a half mile slough is beyond me, but he did. It was like I was surrounded, Char couldn’t have gone 5ft without jumping into a net and we weren’t seeing teals, so I indicated, hey, this ain’t really working. All the while, I can hear a few shots with other hunters and I hear firecrackers going off everywhere and by firecracker, I mean like big old cherry bombs.

Ian Munn: Yeah, they look bigger than cherry bombs.

Ramsey Russell: They look like half a stick of dynamite.

Ian Munn: Yeah, they were about 4 inches long and about an inch in diameter.

Ramsey Russell: And they got a fleet of 8 to 10 year old kids walking around, throwing bombs, making these bump, making the birds fly, I guess, well, few birds were flying and indicated to our host, hey, this ain’t really going to work, I’m just telling you, this ain’t going to work. So they get on the radio, we get in the boats and now an hour later, I’m going to say, and I managed to shoot some birds on the boat, we go back, keep on going down a slough and he drop us off on a levee. And we get set up, you’re on the levee, I go around over here, it’s coming on about 10:00 11:00 now and you knocked down one, I knocked down two at 10:00 or 11:00 and I got the wind in my face and I was in the shade, though and I was comfortable and I had shot some teal there last year and the teal, even though the wind was in my face, I was in a little cut and the birds were coming in and that’s fine. Blue wings don’t have to have wind in their face to land, it makes it easy and I was getting a little action, I was saying, okay, this could work, it’s going to be more pass shooting and they decided to move us again. Now, Ian, we’ve hunted together and been friends and everything else for a long time, is it a fair assessment that – I tell people all the time, I don’t play poker because you can read me like a book, I don’t have a poker face. Would you say it’s a fair assessment?

Ian Munn: Absolutely.

Ramsey Russell: Have you ever seen me mad?

Ian Munn: Oh, yes. I haven’t never seen you as mad as you were in this trip.

Ramsey Russell: Well, at what point in this storyline did you say, oh, yeah, he’s getting mad?

Ian Munn: As soon as you informed me about the blankety blank fisherman that put the blankety blank net in front of your blankety blank dog and you couldn’t –

Ramsey Russell: Me talking to him the whole time, him just smiling to keep on laying that net. That’s kind of when I feel like the Discovery moment kind of ended and it started going into a Quentin Tarantino film type mode. It went from Discovery Channel to Quentin Tarantino, I mean, whatever, boom, this thing started. And so they’re going to move us again. And you made the observation somewhere that day, you said, I did not think it possible –

Ian Munn: Move 3 times, well, set up 3 different times and each time okay, it’s no good here, we got someplace better and it was worse. And so we went from bad to worse.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah. And I don’t think there were for whatever reason, I don’t think they got the teal. Now, talking to some of the fishermen, talking to some of the other people, they got a lot of water, the birds were spread out, there was a full moon, there’s a lot of different reasons, there were places, not that morning, but at the other places that I’d see a lot of high flocks trading, so I knew there was some teal in the area. The second day was a bad day. And it was beyond just the little Chinese fire drill and it was where our host were trying to accommodate American hunters, Guatemalan style, that’s where a clash of culture doesn’t work, is when you try to – American hunters, we’re flexible because it’s a big world and we got to be flexible, but we got to go with the flow to a point and now it’s just a complete and utter shit show. And I looked over my shoulder to make sure you weren’t within ear range when I got to the ramp and my friend was waiting on me to move us to the 3rd spot and he said something and I said, that’s not a good time to talk about it and I said, I issued a polite disclaimer, so hopefully it wouldn’t reflect on our friendship and then I told him exactly what I thought. So, we finished up the day and it was a punt. Now, the first day, I felt like other than just a little disorganization, first run, first time, there’s a lot of things, little details, little nuances that could have been done better. And when you go to decoys, I’m just telling anybody, no matter where you go outside of America, Canada and parts of Mexico, if you want it a little American style, you’ve got to instigate the decoys. Because in places that have an abundance of birds and don’t shoot like we do, wind in your face, wind, whatever, sun, it doesn’t matter, they’re just shooting, if a duck come within range, they’re shooting, that’s how the game is played to them. I’m all about the presentation, we make numbers when the ducks present themselves. But the first day, it was a little slower than I had hoped, but 3 out of 4 of us did okay.

Ian Munn: We all did, I think. Didn’t we all get around 10 to 15?

Ramsey Russell: So you shot good the first day, too. Second day no good. I shot about 15, Scott shot about 20, which is the limit and Rich shot about 14 or 15, I guess you shot about 10 or 15 first day.

Ian Munn: We brought back 10 and we had 5 in the tules –

Ramsey Russell: When they get off in them long tules, I can understand why them guys can’t find them all sometimes.

Ian Munn: Oh, gosh. I couldn’t describe it through this podcast, but it’s thick.

Ramsey Russell: And it’s crotch deep and there’s no footing beneath it. Char dog is a fast dog, but the water was too shallow for her to swim, the mud was too deep for her to run and too soft. She was just trudging, she was a whooped ass, we got in the back of the boat on the 3rd morning, she had retrieved a lot of bird and she was whipped, I’ve never seen that dog sleep in a boat on ride out, she was give up on that. But the first day was good and the hunting was good, the food was good, everything was good just a little bit of disorganization. And I had a list going of things that need to be changed, but okay, this will work. Second day –

Ian Munn: It was a bad experience.

Ramsey Russell: But now that’s the morning. That afternoon, we go to a little local fishing community and eat – I thought a great dinner, the shrimp were amazing, the fish was good, it was hot because it’s Guatemala. The good cold beer went down good. And then we went out that afternoon to dove hunt, just went to a little feed lot of some sorts and we’re going to pass shoot birds come up between a roost and I ended up getting where you didn’t want to see it.

Ian Munn: I know.

Ramsey Russell: And you went further because there was deeper shade.

Ian Munn: I actually went down further to stand in the shade and then I looked farther down and I could see they’re all flying across the end of that field, so I moved even farther down.

Ramsey Russell: Really? Well, you had a good day. You sure were whistling Dixie happy when you come out that –

Ian Munn: Oh, yeah. You started giving me shit and I said, giving me grief and I said, no, don’t you pee in my weedies, I had a great time. You just back off.

Ramsey Russell: You looked like you had a good time. I yelled, nice shot, Mr. Ian several times, because it was a great shot. I would describe the way those white wings were coming across that field, at least where I was as expert level shooting.

Ian Munn: Yeah. And where I was the field was even narrower, I’d say it was no more than 25, 30 yards, well, 30 yards wide and they would come over and you’d see them over the trees and they were in full afterburn and you had a half a second to get a shot off them before they were back behind you.

Ramsey Russell: And that was good. And then the next day we went out and I had a great hunt, it was like, okay, a little better organized because they had 3 days of practice and I had a great hunt. We got to where we were going and we put the decoys out more like you and I would put them out a sack over there, sack over here, mojo’s here, one there and even though it was atypical of what those teal would want to do, when you see the teal landing in those area, they’re flying those edges, when you see them land, they’re landing up tight up against that grass. And we’re trying to put ours out 20, 30 meters so they can see them, number one, number two, so our patterns are opened up and that’s enough that those little teal will come on in and the birds just presented themselves, it was so good that when I hit the limit, took a few pictures and handed Andres my gun, let him shoot because I was done, my cup was very full. Just because there were a lot of birds, they presented themselves, everything was good. Scott had a great shoot, I could hear him shooting down the bank over there. We thought Richard might be shooting, he had a decent hunt, Mr. Ian didn’t have a very good hunt.

What’s the Munn Factor?

He believed in the Munn factor by end of day 3.

Ian Munn: No. The Munn factor was in full force this week.

Ramsey Russell: Well, I was going to ask you how much of this was kind of just the groundbreaking Guatemala, them getting adjusted versus the Munn factor. Because even on the second day, Andre said, he looked at me and says, now you tell me about the Munn factor. I’m like, where did he hear about the Munn factor?

Ian Munn: Well, at some point, you made the comment to him, you said, you will know you’ve arrived as an outfitter when you can do things to overcome the Munn factor.

Ramsey Russell: That’s right.

Ian Munn: You haven’t done it this trip, but now you know what you got to do.

Ramsey Russell: That’s right. He believed in the Munn factor by end of day 3.

Ian Munn: After day one, every hunt they put me on, 2 or 3 birds and I may have missed a few, but in perfect shooting, I couldn’t have gotten more than 5 or 6. It was just that every place I went was pretty slow.

Ramsey Russell: As we were palling out, because we’d boat down and then the water get shallow, the mud get deep and those boys would lift up the outboards and start push polling. As we were push polling, we had plenty of time to talk 10-15 minutes and he was talking to Andres in Spanish, I said, what’s he saying? He said, he’s saying that they’re seeing a lot of teal out here in the afternoons and that maybe if you all want to, we can come back out or if somebody has a bad hunt, we can come back out. And so on the last day, they said, you obviously had a bad hunt, let’s take Mr. Ian. And on the way out, we hit a couple of pockets with a bunch of teals, I’m like, man. And I’m like, hey, be sure he’s got an open choke, because that’s some tight shooting. And that didn’t work out either, teal didn’t come back?

Ian Munn: No. On the way back out that afternoon, there were big groups of teal getting up all around us and we put into a spot where our boat captain, guide, bird boy, whatever you want to call him had said they come in here in the afternoons, that’s where they go to sleep, right in this area, right here. So we set up and I like the setup, the boat was kind of lengthwise along the – you call it grass, just so your readers know that it’s a bull rush, very similar to cattails without the cattails, but it’s 10ft, 15ft tall.

Ramsey Russell: In Peru, they call it patera grass, tules.

Ian Munn: And it’s as dense as it can be. So backing the boat up in that stuff is an ordeal in itself. But we were set up nice and we only saw 4 ducks, 3 of which decoyed and I got 2 of them and then one was a passing shot behind us that Andreas took a shot at, but it appeared and was gone before you could do anything with it. And that was it, that was all we saw.

Ramsey Russell: We’re talking about a lot about the hunt and I’ve learned in 20 years, we don’t sell dead ducks, we sell experiences and dead ducks are part of that experience because we’re duck hunting, not bird watching. That’s just the nature of the beast. There’s some things we can control, like the organization and some of the little things that make it different than just hunting with your buddies and there are some things we can’t. So let me regroup and ask you this question, we used to send out post hunt surveys and two of the first questions I had, I’m going to ask you this, was your hunt successful?

Ian Munn: And then I would say no.

Ramsey Russell: Okay.

Ian Munn: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: Was your hunt enjoyable?

Ian Munn: Yes. And I would say yes, for the most part

Ramsey Russell: You did not shoot the duck, the Munn factor was in full effect day 2 and 3, but why was it enjoyable? Because as somebody’s known you for 30 years, you seem to be having a good time.

Ian Munn: I thought I had a phrase this and it was the best bad hunt I’ve ever had. Andreas, Paulo and Toto couldn’t ask for a better group of guys as your host, they’re very entertaining, very concerned about what was going on, I mean, clearly they had a lot to learn, I think they were surprised at how much they had to learn. But they were very interested and attentive to, okay, you tell us item by item what we need to change and so that was good. And just the whole thing was so pleasant. I mean, it’s hard to be mad when you come back to a nice rum and coconut water or rum and on ice and sit out there and watch the sunset over there.

Ramsey Russell: Sit neck deep in that swimming pool, hearing the waves crash, just the ambiance. That’s what I told them, that’s what I tell anybody, I went last year and just visited and fell in with their group of friends and got a feel for the country and the possibilities and then we came back and just some things you can’t explain, you just got to go through. And to really have a good program, it’s trial by fire. And I knew I needed to bring the right client and I think that you and Richard and Scott represent different mindsets. On the one hand, you’re very well traveled, you’re very experienced, you’ve got a lot of perspective, on the other hand, everybody’s needs and mindset is a little bit different. And without being ugly, you’re willing to give constructive criticism and we did, we gave them plenty of it and we had some good discussions about that.

Ian Munn: Yeah. I think numerous times, informally, sitting around the bar or sitting under the cabana or on the truck rides to and out, conversation rolled about, okay, what can we do differently? What should we do? Or vice versa. We were just saying, hey, look, you need to have everything organized ahead of time. Ramsey’s gun needs to have a tape with Ramsey on it, his shell box, Ramsey, his cooler, Ramsey, all together. We spent a lot of time, but they had accounted for it, we weren’t late anywhere, but there was a lot of Chinese fire drills where’s Ramsey’s –

Ramsey Russell: But you could sleep in 30 minutes later, just with a little more organization. And something else that especially always, we should say always in Latin America where they speak Spanish as a first language. Mexico, no problem because they’ve got such a hospitality mindset. And Obregon, for example, has been dealing with American hunters, have been in the business for 30 years, they’ve been dealing with our clients for 15. Mazatlán, you’re kind of free range and eat when you want, but Argentina, Uruguay, Peru, Guatemala, all of those countries eat later than we do. I don’t want to eat at 9:00 or 10:00, if I got to get up at 4:00, I want to eat at 6:00 or 7:00, have me a couple of drinks, go to bed at 9:00. That’s one little subtle cultural thing that can be fixed, but I’m just saying, it makes for a long day when you ain’t eating supper till 9:00 or 10:00 at night like they do, that’s what they do.

Ian Munn: But there’s a lot of things that I think as they progress, will take care of themselves. For example, most of the boat captains that we had, for lack of a better term, boat captain, people that took us out were hard workers, were trying to help us, they just didn’t know what to do. And I think as they get more and more experienced, they’ll learn how to set up the decoys instead of just throwing them out in a clump in front of you. They’ll learn that 5ft from the bank is not the place you want to put a decoy and stuff like that. But they’re going to have to have their own crew, their own set of boat captains or bird boys or whatever you want to call them that they can rely on time after time and that’ll go well.

Ramsey Russell: And I’ve got faith, I really do. All these boys, my 3 partners down there are hardworking, educated, sincere, they’ve got the personal human qualities I look for in an outfitter and they’ve got the desire and I just think that, but it’s always a work in progress. We talked about this, it’s easy, if we’d gone down there and it had been Disneyland and everybody, oh, it was great. But that’s not reality, that’s not what I do. If you look at my social media, no, that is not an indication of actual reality of what’s going on behind the scenes to make the hunts you see at it’s just not. And Scott and I talked about this earlier, sometimes there’s just places that just aren’t going to work, that won’t work, that just can’t work. Romania, prime example, it’s just not going to ever be a getducks destination, although we enjoyed going over there, it can never, ever be a destination for us. There’s been others down in Argentina, in Mexico and around that just aren’t going to make the cut.

Developing the Perfect Duck Hunt

But when you look back and cool off and think, well, day 1, day 2, let’s get down just to the fundamentals of what it takes to be in this business in a foreign country with guests coming in from America, drop this program, tweak the rest of this, we got a good program, that’s what I think. 

Ian Munn: Well, let me ask you a question. If day 2 had been successful, 20, 25 ducks a piece, how much would have that have changed your whole attitude instead of it being day 2, you get out there and it’s a fiasco?

Ramsey Russell: It would have changed. I’d have had about 15 less bullet points on my notes and I would not have lost my temper and it wouldn’t have ruined my day until the afternoon. But what am I trying to say, how would it would have changed? It would have changed that day. That day right in the middle of day 1 and day 2. Okay, punt, great experience, that needs a lot of tweaking, that’s how to change it. That day, need to drop that part of the program completely for Americans. Go out there and hunt with Guatemalans all you want to, don’t bring Americans back out here on this shit show. But when you look back and cool off and think, well, day 1, day 2, let’s get down just to the fundamentals of what it takes to be in this business in a foreign country with guests coming in from America, drop this program, tweak the rest of this, we got a good program, that’s what I think. But it’s going to take some time, it’s going to take some work. I’ve had a lot of people in social media, I do the stories, I do the post and reels and stuff like that, a lot of people – last year when I was doing that in Guatemala just visiting, it blew up, went nuclear. And this year it got busy, I mean, a lot of views, a lot of comments, a lot of inboxes, a lot of text messages like, hey, when can we go? What can we do? I mean, asking detail for this hunt, I’m like, it ain’t ready, it will be, I’m confident it will be, but it ain’t ready yet. Isn’t it interesting that you enjoyed it even though you didn’t shoot many teal? If you shot more teal, you’d have loved it. If it’s a little more organized, we’d have shot more teal and you’d have loved it. I guess you can see why I fell in love with the opportunity last year and why I’m still encouraged to continue trying to develop this hunt with them.

Ian Munn: Yeah. You’re pretty adamant about doing away with the day 2 hunt where we went 2 hours away and I thought that place had a lot of neat stuff that appealed to a lot of your clients.

Ramsey Russell: Like what?

Ian Munn: Like the habitat. Going down that channel. And if there was a way that they could do that hunt without having to go through that particular local person who kind of put it all together for them.

Ramsey Russell: Get there at daylight, make it a little more organized, I ain’t saying never will I go back, even though I did say that in person, very loudly. But okay, 3rd spot we went to, that was lousy, but the last time I sat in that spot and again, this time about a half mile, maybe a third to a half a mile –

Ian Munn: Other end of that little body of water.

Ramsey Russell: Another clump of mangrove surrounded by water with knee deep grass with water. So both times I’ve been to that 3rd spot, they moved us to, this is prime example, further back, third to a half mile back, there’s another clump of mangrove and it’d be a walk getting in there, but okay, so what? At least I’m not dragging a coffin blind through gumbo mud. Both times I’ve been there, the birds come over from behind you and land way out there and that’s exactly what I want. And that goes back to the nuances. You and I, as American duck hunters and we look at it and go, that’s where we need to hunt, but it’s too far walk, got to carry decoys, never mind the fact you got a half dozen kids just begging for something to do for a dollar. I can tell you this, I think my day 2 would have changed my attitude, go with the flow a little better had at 06:00 in the morning, I’ve been sitting by that clump of bushes, I guarantee you we’d have shot some teal.

Ian Munn: We probably could have got 5 to 10 birds a piece, well, I don’t know about a piece, but in that late afternoon, we were only there for about 45-50 minutes –

Ramsey Russell: And I didn’t even hunt.

Ian Munn: Yeah, if we’d moved on up to that north clump of mangroves or bushes or whatever it was, I think we’d have shot birds. I think we shot a fair number of birds.

Ramsey Russell: It was into the wind. Again, just a fundamental of duck hunting. If you’re hunting a given body of water and the wind’s out of the north, most of the birds are going to want to be on the north side of that property, they’re going to utilize, they’re going to be on the upwind side, that was the upwind side, that’s where we should have been. And if you look I didn’t walk through there, but I could see flooded grass, that teal especially like to be, that’s why they like, they want to be in that grass, they want to be in that cover. It looked more like teal habitat than where I’m at now. If you want to sit here and just bang away, but perfect chance, they went back there, they threw a bumba, a big firecracker, some couple of flocks of teal come by and bless their hearts, they tried their best to go against their nature to come over them decoys. Those birds tried, even though it was no reason whatsoever for them to have to come all the way over here and curl back around in them decoys that were too close to the bank, they tried, but it was very difficult shooting, that’s just past shooting at best, shooting at a duck. But I feel like if we’d been back there set up right, they would have presented themselves.

Ian Munn: Yeah. And it’s throughout the whole trip, it was the subtle details, they’re not so subtle, actually. You don’t want the wind in your face, you need to be hidden, we harped on that. And so after day 2, we brought out camo netting that we could drape over the bows of those little boats or put on sticks in front of you to help you stay hidden, the decoys are all typically just thrown out in a clump. On a funny note, I had no luck communicating with my bird boys about, moved the decoys farther out, split them up, no matter how much I panamined and told them how to do stuff, they just didn’t understand. And then you came over and it’s not like talking to a deaf person, it does work if you yell louder and get more emphatic, they knew what you wanted, you weren’t saying anything different than what I was saying.

Ramsey Russell: No.

Ian Munn: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: It’s not being rude and ugly. But I had a landscape company come up one time to do some work for me in the backyard and the head knocker, a buddy of mine was yelling in English, well, they were all Spanish, they didn’t speak no English. And I said a word in English to him, he said, no, I’m paying them, they learn my language. I learned something that morning, the louder he talked, the more they respond. I said, maybe they can’t understand English if it’s spoken loud enough and emphatically enough. But that’s not normally the case, they’re good people, everything up there’s got potential and I’m not trying to beat up on this hunt and say, hey, you all don’t need to go to Guatemala, you do when it’s ready, because it’s going to be ready, I’m confident it’s going to be ready, it’s just a work in progress and it’s trying to get the round peg and the square hole aligned and Russia, Romania, some places it’s never going to align, I think we can align it here, I just really do. I’ve got a lot of confidence in the staff down there and I’ve got confidence in the resource and I think it’s a fixable problem. I just want to take this opportunity because it’s just not all rainbows and chocolate candy, I mean, it’s reality and it takes a lot of work. People ask all the time, why do you travel so much? This is why. Because going back to that first hunt that you and I went on, that we bought from a booking service at the time, before I even knew what one was, I just realized, obviously, the person for that company that sold us that hunt, obviously had never set foot on that hunt, obviously. And I’ve just felt like, Ian, if you or a listener or anybody in the past 20 years, I’ve always felt like, if they’re going to trust me and commit their time and money to go on a hunt, than I’ve got to do right, I need to know shit from Shinola, it’s got to be a real duck hunt. Now, we’re all duck hunters, we all know that full moons and high water and no water and migrations, there’s a myriad of different reasons that you may or may not shoot a lot of ducks, but you got to control the controllables. And that’s all where we’re at with a point in Guatemala. I just want to take this opportunity to show people what real Ramsey shit’s all about. And it ain’t just going out and shooting ducks and drinking rum and having a good time, it looked good on the videos, but that’s the good part, because there were a lot of good parts of this trip, but there’s a lot of parts you got to be fixed before I can send anybody down there to hunt.

Ian Munn: Yeah. Not quite, but almost, be totally worthwhile to go down there, book a trip just for that last night, Chef Al –

Ramsey Russell: Big Al’s good eats, man.

Ian Munn: That was great food.

Top It All Off with Great Food

Ramsey Russell: He’s not one of the partners in that hunt, but they’re all friends and he is a recreational chef of sorts. The poppers, I said, what you going to cook, Big Al? Because he never cooks one thing, in fact, he cooked two meals. He cooked the fish and the coconut rice one night and then the next night was the duck and dove dinner and he said, he’s going to cook this and Cajun rice and some grills something another with ducks and doves and what else did he cook? The tostadas, that’s what he invented last year that he since refined and made better, not that he needed improvement, I’m just saying they’re eating better and then I’m just going to do a Guatemala spin on duck poppers. I’m like, yeah, well, jalapeno duck poppers, that was the best thing I’ve ever eaten, I cannot believe. And he promised he going to send me the recipe, but I can only describe it as like if you took your bacon wrap, jalapeno cream cheese, dove or duck poppers and then embedded it with a rich Guatemalan enchilada sauce.

Ian Munn: The sauce on top was amazing. The peppers were about what, 4 or 5 inches long and he stuffed all the duck and the cream cheese and all that stuff into those jalapeno peppers and your bacon, all that was inside stuffed into a jalapeno pepper and then that sauce on top of it, it was grilled and then sauce poured over top of it. I saw you go back, I’m pretty sure and just scrape up a bunch of the sauce.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah, I loved it, I really loved it. That’s just it, I like everything about that hunt and I would say this, despite day 2, I mean, day two be damned if I run away from home, I’m moving to Guatemala, I love it down there, I really do like it and I guess you can see why now.

Ian Munn: I thoroughly enjoyed the whole trip, would have loved to shot a lot more ducks, but yeah, I don’t regret going down a minute.

Ramsey Russell: Well, folks, now you all know what real Ramsey shit’s all about. And hey, it may look good on social media, but developing these hunts and bringing around – I tell people all the time, if you want a fancy hunt, if you want a 5 star experience, take your wife to Italy, I try to represent real duck hunting adventures for real duck hunters. And trying to get the round peg in a square hole and cultural barriers and work with indigenous communities and stuff, it sometimes takes a little work. And I just wanted to let you all in behind the scenes as an idea of what we do. Thank you all for listening to this episode of Duck Season Somewhere, we will see you next time.


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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.

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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.

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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