Right about the time you think you’ve seen and done it all, you walk into a Western New York duck hunting blind. Eleven long finger-shaped lakes were carved into the Appalachian foothills by retreating glaciers, and every square foot of their perimeter is now occupied by summer cottages. Following a diver duck hunt within skipped stone distance of a home (and while waiting on pizza and buffalo wings), Ramsey discusses waterfowling with today’s guests, Keith Crowell and Louie Scafetta. How does western New York differ from the city and what do other New Yorkers think about duck hunting? Why did Louie describe a recent goose hunt with his grandfather as coming full circle? What ducks species are hunted on the finger lakes, and elsewhere in New York? And finally, what’s the proper way to eat real Buffalo wings?! Pay close attention, folks, like a bufflehead flying with gusty tailwind just inches off the water, this episode might catch you by surprise.
Checked Off the List: Hunting Waterfowl in New York
Ramsey Russell: I’m your host, Ramsey Russell. Join me here to listen to those conversations. Welcome back to Duck Season Somewhere. Today, it has been duck season in western New York. Forrest and I got to New York yesterday and met up with a buddy of mine, Keith Crowell, and we went to a little marsh area behind a home site of his. It’s pretty impressive. I mean, just imagine walking out in this little cattail marsh, dead sticks everywhere, like a little stick pond, but it’s a marsh. that’s got about 50 mallard or black ducks. When we got there, they buzz around, went somewhere else, and we waited it out. Then just right there before shooting time ended, just like he predicted, a freaking bunch of Canada geese and a bunch of ducks started working around ,and we managed to clobber a Canada goose. So check, Ramsey, killed waterfowl in New York. And then we drove today, we drove pretty good. We got up this morning and Forrest and I went by Quick Stop and bought some coffee, and I want my dollar back, that lady sold us cold coffee.
Keith Crowell: It was awful, I feel bad about that.
Ramsey Russell: Oh, it was terrible.
Keith Crowell: Typical New York procedure.
Ramsey Russell: It was terrible. But we went out and it was very unique. Imagine Finger Lake, Seneca Lake seven miles long, as wide as a mile. And every square foot of the shore has got a vacation home on it. Just like you see on a movie Dan Aykroyd movie, Summer Vacation or something. It’s just these summer houses. And we back down the driveway, little skinny driveway off a black top road, and we walked down a steep set of stairs to a gravel beach right behind the house. And there was a blind waiting in about, I’m going to guess 5.5 acres that looked like a long lines, and diver decoys, and goose decoys, and we started hunting and we actually killed some ducks. I mean that’s how they hunt in this Finger Lake area. I asked, Forrest to look up this morning, as we were driving, we were chasing Keith’s tail lights, going to meet Louie Scafetta, another guest today. I said, you know, how long has this been New York? When did New York become a state? And I don’t remember what date he said, but I do remember him saying the Dutch began to civilize – established New York 400 years ago. That means there’s been humanity, civilized humanity here in New York for 400 years. So you got to kind of expect there being houses in the background, and beach houses, all up and down the shore as you go duck hunting here. Anyway I’ve warned you all up, and I’m in New York. I know you all are thinking big cities, Big Apple, New York, but that’s not the case here. Today’s guest or Keith Crowell and Louie Scafetta guys. You all introduce yourself one at a time, Keith, you go first, who are you?
Are There Local Lifelong Duck Hunters in New York?
Here we are 16 years later, and I mean we’re having some of the best seasons of our life right now, 434 geese down right now between the early season and now.
Keith Crowell: I’m Keith Crowell actually live in North Collins New York. Western New York here about 40 minutes south of Buffalo. Grew up hunting, fishing all my life. Right now, currently I farm, we farm cash crops, and I also do a little Correctional Officer work on the side.
Ramsey Russell: Wait a minute. You say you’ve been hunting and fishing your whole life? How did you start fishing? How did you start hunting and fishing? Who took you? How did you get involved? How did you get into duck hunting, most specifically? Because seriously like a lot of people listening outside of New York, we don’t think of New York as being duck hunters.
Keith Crowell: No, well the hunting and fishing comes from my dad, and my step-dad, actually. But the duck hunting and goose hunting aspect of it, it comes from my really good friend, and he’s my boss actually, on the farm and with the farm comes acreage, comes the corn, comes the birds. So about 15 years ago, 16 years ago they invited me, didn’t even have a gun with me, they invited me, said come on kid, you’re going to go get some birds for us. All right, let’s do it. I’ll never forget those Canada’s falling out of the sky and making in dense in the ground, man. And it just I was hooked. I was hooked from that point forward, and we were chasing birds down, and one of the old guy’s hands me a 10 gauge man, the hand of Satan, holy cow, point that thing up in the air and “boom” knocking birds down, gunpowder in the eye, and as I said, I was hooked at that point. Here we are 16 years later, and I mean we’re having some of the best seasons of our life right now, 434 geese down right now between the early season and now. We got a good handful of ducks down and it’s amazing. We almost take for granted what we have around here for hunting. It’s everywhere. We can hunt everything and anything and like you said, you think maybe it’s in this, we live in the city or something like that, but it’s not the case we’re as country’s, country can be up here.
Ramsey Russell: You all are country. I mean really and truly, there’s a lot more houses say, I’d say the house density as we’re driving down the road is more than Mississippi, but its country. I mean there’s red barns and corn fields and hardwood trees, and I think we passed two or three pickup truck where guys were stepping out to go hunting, it’s country. It is country. We’re going to your parents’ house last night to eat dinner in their garage. Venison stew last night, venison pot roast last night for dinner, and the Confederate flag hanging up, that was a shocker. Boy, I tell you some of the conversations we had, I’m like, man, this is just like being at home except they’re talking funny.
Keith Crowell: You all talk funny man, let’s put that out for, you all talk funny. We just talked like we are from Canada.
From Big Game Hunting to Waterfowl Hunting
Hunting was my whole life growing up, that’s all I’ve ever done. I’ve just worked and hunted my whole life, that’s all I care about, that’s my thing.
Ramsey Russell: Being from Mississippi it’s funny to hear people pronounce all the vowels. But what about you Louie? What’s your background?
Louie Scafetta: So I live in Alexander, New York. I’m from western New York also. So I also live in western New York. Just like Keith I grew up hunting fishing. My dad was a hunter. My grandpa, though, pretty much taught me most of what I know. It’s kind of funny though because pretty much everyone in our family, they were all big game hunters. So I grew up hunting deer even, I mean I shouldn’t say just big game, we hunted rabbits, turkeys. I had beagles growing up as a kid, so we did a lot of rabbit hunting, and pretty much I turned 12 years old, and me and my grandfather started going to down to Pennsylvania because I could hunt down there as a kid. It pretty much started there, and I grew up deer hunting ,and actually good friend of mine Brian, he introduced me to duck and goose hunting for the first time, and I can remember, he was just starting to figure it out and I had no idea what I was doing. So there was many a days where, you know, we charged half a mile through state lands, and cattails, and chest-deep water, to go and maybe shoot at a hen wood duck and probably miss it. So there was definitely a learning curve for me and him, and he had a little more experience, he had been doing it for a few years at that point. So he kind of had it figured out a little bit and I can remember the first hunt we went on together where we actually killed some birds, and we were just off of this, we were in this corn field just off the one of the other lake, Silver Lake and the birds were coming right off the lake, hitting this corn field, so we’re sitting there and it’s just me and him, it was always just me and him. We’d hunt, there’d be times we’re going hunting 500 bird feed, just the two of us, and kill our six geese.
Keith Crowell: That was just like that around here a lot.
Louie Scafetta: So we’re sitting there, and these birds are coming off the lake, and they just, I don’t know if something bumped him or what, but there was this one, they come up off the lake and there’s like 1000 of them all in one shot. And it was early on. So we’re still hunting out the layout blinds before we were living the luxury.
Keith Crowell: With the layout blind. Really?
Louie Scafetta: Yeah. So we’re laying there and these geese are just, I mean it was like, they were like snow geese, they’re just tornado and out of the sky, right on top of us and, I jump up and we each we shot three times, and we each killed our three geese, and that was it, the hunt was over, and I was hooked after that. Well, I can remember after that though, I mean they were right on top of us, it was hard not to, it was hard to miss them. So fast forward into the season more and I could not hit the broadside of a barn, this was my first season. I’m shooting at birds and I’m shooting, and I’m shooting, and I ain’t touching a thing. So finally we’re like, we’re on this hunt sometime later, and it was like all the stars lined up in my head because he always used to tell me, he’s like, shoot him in the beak, that’s what he always said, shoot him in the beak.
Ramsey Russell: Shoot them on the lips.
Louie Scafetta: So I’m like, so just one day it clicked in my head, I’m like, man, shoot him on the beak, shoot him on the beak, so I’m like, I’m try shooting this thing in the beak. So I aim for the beak and I started folding birds, it was a September hunt and I shot like, I shot like 13 or 14 geese off my side of the blind. We were laying in layout and all the birds were finishing off my side, I ended up shooting like 14. But I was on fire. They’re like, man, you are doing good today. I’m like dude, I thought you were supposed to shoot him in the body the whole time I started shooting them in the beak, I’m killing these things now. He’s like, you’ve been shooting them in the body the whole time? I’m like, yeah, I don’t know. He’s like, why do you think I told you to shoot him in the beak? So it’s just funny to look back at where we came from and how we started to now.
Keith Crowell: Absolutely, me and my buddy Joe look at the same thing too, we talk about it almost every hunt that we have birds that are way up in the air and this and that and we’re like, you know what? Ten years ago we would have shot at that man, we would have went through a box of rounds. This hunt now, it’s like, we just shoot what we know we can shoot, we make good, ethical shots. It’s nice to have the dogs now to go get these birds even if they are a little bit crippled and we’re very lucky even to have a working companion like that, like a dog, they have that. But I don’t mean to jump in there, but it’s just funny that you say that because like I said, we say the same stuff, and you watch guys next to you in a blind down the river, or down the lake from you, or whatever, and you’re like, they’re not going to shoot. They’re – oh my God, I can’t believe that they just shot that, and you’re like, I would have never shot at that a day in my life. Now you see that, and we realize that it’s better to just make that ethical shots, let’s do it right and let’s leave out here with some birds, you know what I mean?
Family Generations Enjoying a Hunt Together
There’s no other feeling that you’ll get by doing that.
Louie Scafetta: Well, I think, going back to how I started it, and going back to – my dad was always supportive and he used to take me hunting – but my grandfather definitely took me under his wing. Hunting was my whole life growing up, that’s all I’ve ever done. I’ve just worked and hunted my whole life, that’s all I care about, that’s my thing. So it was really cool this season, last season, I got him out once on a September goose hunt when it was warm and he was super excited, couldn’t stop talking about it. And this year, I got him out on, I mean, I got him out on some of the best hunts I’ve ever been on in my life.
Ramsey Russell: It was important to take him hunting like that. How do you feel when you take your granddad hunting?
Louie Scafetta: It’s cool to see it come full circle. Like, to have a guy that’s taught me so much about life, like just not even hunting, just life in general, like just how to be a man? How to be a worker? He was a retired union carpenter, that’s what I do for a living and just how to, just be a,
Keith Crowell: Good human being.
Louie Scafetta: Yeah, and he’s genuine, and honest, and hardworking, and he’s a devoted husband, and him and my grandmother have been married for over 50 years. To be able to bring him out, and do that for him, and see the sense of just pride and excitement on his face, like for me to be able to give him that, it’s just that there’s something.
Keith Crowell: There’s no other feeling that you’ll get by doing that.
Louie Scafetta: And this year, we got hit with some with some pretty bad news with him. When COVID was first wrapping up real bad, he had gotten really sick, so we’re like, well, maybe he’s got it, he was just off and he couldn’t breathe really and wasn’t feeling good. So we brought him in, and they did the test or whatever, it came back negative. So they were like, so certainly had it, they retested him, didn’t have it. So then they started running some other tests, well, it turned out he had lung cancer. So that kind of rocked us pretty hard. And they told us, so then it was just at that point it was like all hands on deck trying to figure out what we could do. And they ended up they went in, they had a surgery scheduled, he had to go in and do like a bunch of breathing tests to figure out if they could remove the part of the lung that was infected with the cancer. But part of the condition of that was he had passed this breathing test and if he didn’t pass the test, he couldn’t have that part of his lung removed because he wouldn’t be able to breathe off of oxygen. So my grandfather had been a smoker his whole life, so we were all pretty nervous about how this test was going to go. So long story short, the story he ended up performing well enough on the test that they felt they could do surgery still. So they went in to do the surgery, and right before they did it, they noticed that one of the valves on his heart was only functioning at 10%, and it was like full blown as soon as they found it like emergency surgery right away to put a stint in his heart. So they did that and they’re like, you’re lucky we found this when we did because you were like on the verge of a heart attack at any given time. So they finally did the surgery to have his lung removed and it was rough on him. I mean, my grandfather, he’s out every single day doing something, working, building something, cutting trees down, doing firewood, gardening, hunting whatever it is, he’s always just always out doing stuff. To watch him not be able to do that stuff anymore, it just sucked the life right out of him, like he went into this just dark place of, he wouldn’t leave the house, wouldn’t go anywhere, couldn’t do anything, my grandpa’s a small guy, he’s a little Italian dude, he’s only like 5’6 ft, weighs about 160 pounds and towards the end of it, he was like 100 pounds soaking wet. And we really didn’t know what was going to happen, it hit us so hard and quick that none of us were ready for it. We didn’t know how much time he had, so coming into this hunting season, he was barely even getting out of the house, and he started feeling a little better, and one day he come up to me and I always told him I’m like you got to get through this, like we got ducks to kill, we got stuff to do this season.
A Special Duck Season
It’s another story to tell, it’s another duck that we shot, it’s another sunrise that we saw.
Keith Crowell: It’s always duck season somewhere.
Louie Scafetta: Yeah, that’s what I mean. I’m like, you ain’t going nowhere, we ain’t done killing ducks yet, so you need to get yourself together. And one day he comes up to me, stopped over at the house to help him out with a few things, he goes, “Hey Lou?” I’m like, “Yeah what’s up?” He goes, “Bought my duck stamp today.” And I said, “Yeah?” I was like, “You’re feeling up for it?” He’s like, “Yeah.” He goes, “Hopefully not too much walking.” I’m like, “We’ll make it work.” So we had this hunt just up the road from my house here and it’s historically just been a really good field for us over the years. My buddy brought a side by side out, shutting them out to the field, and we ended up shooting a 13 man limit in geese that day and 13 man limited ducks. And it was all on film, and we got some footage of my grandpa talking a little bit, just doing his thing, being my grandfather. And so it’s been a pretty special season for me.
Ramsey Russell: Getting out of the house and joining you in the blind brought him back around. He looked more like himself. He was more like himself and now he had a purpose.
Louie Scafetta: He had some, just, his personality came back, see him smiling again, and laughing, and cracking jokes with us, and just, it was good to see.
Ramsey Russell: The light came back to his eyes.
Louie Scafetta: It did. He’s one of the most important men in my life, so the fact that I can give something like that back to him has really meant a lot to me.
Ramsey Russell: Do you have anybody like that you hunt with Keith? That’s was a heck of a story, thank you for sharing that.
Keith Crowell: Well kind of in a sense yeah, I mean I got my one buddy who have been hunting with for I mean our whole lives, we’ve been hunting together, and last 10 years he’s been kind of dealing with a little brain cancer himself. Five brain surgeries, this kid is stronger than ever, man, he beats it every time we go out.
What Duck Hunting is Really All About
If we all work together a lot better, we could be a lot better people.
Ramsey Russell: You have mentioned him several times while we’ve been hunting in just the last 24 hours.
Keith Crowell: Yeah, dude, the guy means a lot to me, he really does, and we’ve always – every hunt, at the end of it, we’re like man this was a great hunt. It’s another story to tell, it’s another duck that we shot, it’s another sunrise that we saw. It’s just, there’s always something about coming together with duck hunting. Like, you go out deer hunting, give me a break, stuff’s boring, that stuff’s boring. I can’t sit in a tree stand for an hour but you tell me we’re going to go out duck hunting, and we’re going to stand around for 5-6 hours I’m in, man.
Ramsey Russell: Well, you got that social dynamic going. You visit, you talk, you share the pictures.
Louie Scafetta: The camaraderie of all of it.
Keith Crowell: The camaraderie. So like I said, me and Joe, we’ve had a good camaraderie together our whole life. He’s actually got rid of his 12 gauge now he went down to a 20 gauge trying to get rid of some of the percussion away from his body and stuff and it seems to be going a lot better for him. But we try to go out absolutely as much as we can, and we scout together, we do a lot of stuff together. It’s amazing that this guy can, even after five brain surgeries, be able to function. He hasn’t lost himself and he’s lucky dude, some people can’t get brain surgery like that, you know what I mean? So I’m very thankful to have somebody like that in my life because I can look at him and say, shit ain’t that bad dude, look at what he’s doing, he’s been going through chemo for 10 years, 20 years old, he started dealing with this stuff. To be able to give back to him, same thing like you said, to be able to get back to him and go out and see the smile on his face at the end of the day because we got ducks, or even if we didn’t get ducks, we don’t care, we had fun together. That’s all that matters.
Ramsey Russell: Nobody listening, none of us sitting in this room, to include Forrest sitting here quietly, none of us are out there just to watch the sunrise, just to eat pancakes. We’re out there to shoot ducks. But you got to take what the duck guide gives, you got to play the hand you’re dealt. And my thoughts are none of us, not your granddad and your best friend, me, we never know when our last hunt’s going to be. And every hunt you skip because the ducks aren’t flying, or it’s right wet, or it’s rainy or whatever, that’s one less hunt, something we really love to do. That’s one hunt less we get to go do. And I mean, I don’t know, I guess it’s a good thing you don’t know when you’re last hunt is. That’s what I think about. But in it, let me ask you this question because somebody hit me with an inbox this morning, out there in the blind. He said, man, it’s just crazy you just, you know that I’m watching you go all over the country and jump into blinds with strangers, but looking at your videos and your clips and your photos, it’s like you all are friends, it’s like you just jump in the blind, you bond. I said, I think that’s a phenomenon of most duck hunters in general. There are few assholes, small talks a lot. But I mean once you get guys in there, you’re all just duck hunters.
Louie Scafetta: Well, and I’ve always had that motto to, I say to people all the time, everyone has their opinions that they formed about one person or another. I never take anyone’s word for it and I like to decide for myself. Whatever way it’s going to go, I form my own opinions unbiased based on what anyone tells me about anybody. And adding to that too, I’d much rather make friends than enemies. Most of the time, most people are good. Most of the time there’s usually a reason behind every story and to just predispose yourself to not liking someone just because –
Keith Crowell: Because somebody else said something.
Louie Scafetta: Exactly. And it’s silly because especially in the waterfowling community, even across the country, it’s a small group of people.
Ramsey Russell: Isn’t it crazy how small? It’s like Keith and I were talking this morning about somebody I know off of social media, you know off of social media, I mean it’s a very, very small world, even in the international community, it’s a very small world of duck hunters, let alone the United States, basically social media like it is.
Keith Crowell: Yeah, I mean it is kind of cool how we all get together as we’re almost like, we’re our own community almost, and we will take care of each other, and as you go back making opinions about people and this and that, like I’ve ran into that situation where I’ve been told things about people and I took those words for granted, and come to find out those people were amazing. Like I’ll just throw this out there. This year, September 1st, New York state, early goose season, some of the best hunting ever. Fifteen birds per guy. We had eight guys, we had three A-frame blind set up middle of the field and here comes his truck pulling up through the field, I’m like, oh man, here we go. Guy pulls up and it’s somebody in the past who I’ve had, who somebody gave me an opinion about, I told him in the past I said, sorry man early bird gets the worm, we’re hunting this field, my spread’s already out, see you later. Well, this year is different, the same exact guy showed up in a different field and he had his three grandkids with him, I mean from the ages of 12 to 15 years old, but because I’m looking at things differently now, who am I to kick this guy off of another farmer’s field? I don’t own the field, he don’t own the field, we might as well work together. And that was the magic of it is, he’s like, no, I don’t want to bug you guys, I’ll go to the other end of the field and he said, listen dude, we’re going to set up 20 dozen decoys and you guys are going to watch us shoot birds all day. You might as well just join up with us. And we did and we shot 125 geese over land that day. And these kids, some of these – two kids have never shot a goose in their life and they just watched 100 – hooked for life, they still talk about it there. Their dad messaged me, thank you for doing that for the kids, they’re talking about it like crazy. And this was like 5-6 days later after the hunt. He’s like, dude, thank you so much, these kids, they had a great time. In how many times if you would have kicked somebody out of, if you would “kick” somebody out of the field from hunting, you would have never gained that friend. You would have never had that experience, those people might have never had that experience and that’s where it’s at, and that’s where our community comes in together. If we all work together a lot better, we could be a lot better people.
Louie Scafetta: Well, I think we so quickly forget to that, we’re all in this together, we’re a dying breed of –
Ramsey Russell: -We’re all in the same life raft.
Is Regulatory Harvesting Good for Waterfowl Populations?
Whether we’re private lands or public land hunters, our recreational interest generates economic output.
Louie Scafetta: Exactly. People, it’s constricting us every day, more and more people that just don’t know about hunting or don’t like hunting because they see this article, and most of them aren’t factual. I’ve had just living in the area that we live in, there’s a lot of people that either don’t know about hunting or don’t like hunting but for the reason of some article they read on Facebook that some person who has no idea about hunting posted. And a lot of the times when you really break it down, and you explain the amount of money that goes into funding conservation efforts, or the amount of money that we put into funding conservation efforts, or the way that we give back to the environment, and looking at population control and helping that, hunting actually really does help increase population numbers of birds. Regulatory harvesting is not a bad thing when it comes to –
Ramsey Russell: That conversation is like last night’s conversation while eating dinner.
Louie Scafetta: I would and I just you drew me right in on that too me man. That was pretty good.
Ramsey Russell: That’s exactly what, there was a person there was a lady that, she’s just not in the hunt. And I heard her say something we’re across table – it’s very loud and there with the background noise – and I heard her say something to her boyfriend about free for killing and “blah blah”. And I thought for a good long five minutes as they were talking about just keeping my mouth shut, and I didn’t and I said what do you do for conservation? What do you do? Do you eat meat? Yes I do. I said well what do you do for conservation? What do you do for the elephants, and the leopards, and the ducks, and the geese, and the deer that you don’t approve being shot? What do you do for their well-being? And it is kind of weird, I struggle with it, I asked myself this but I know where I stand on it. But white-tailed deer, we got to, they can become overpopulated especially in urban environments, on the edges and suburban area, they can become overpopulated, we have to knock them back. You really can’t say that about ducks. They really don’t need are outside influence to go and shoot them. The models are kind of run on hunting is being compensatory or additive, is it? Or maybe a combination of both? I mean cholera outbreak, excuse me, botulism boom wipes out millions of them. So it’s really not population control, but it goes back. When you start looking at Ohio, they were talking about 98% of the wetlands have been clear just in the state of Ohio. I’m sure it’s a lot in places like New York, I know it’s a lot of Mississippi, but we hunters, because we’re guided by our purely recreational interests, of course we eat the ducks but I’m saying we’re out there doing what we’re doing because it’s fun, because it’s social, but it generates revenues that goes directly into conservation. Whether we’re private lands or public land hunters, our recreational interest generates economic output. And I think of it in very simple terms, the same as our recreational interest in football. These franchises turn millions of dollars, the advertisers make a lot of money, it starts back into local economies. I mean it’s the same thing, it’s just a wild resource, but that’s a very good point you made there, Louie.
Louie Scafetta: Yeah, I mean, like going back to it to you just when you really get down to it with people, and I guess that’s where I think, we as outdoorsman need to almost do better because we’re so quick to judge the person that doesn’t support what we’re doing, rather than,
Keith Crowell: But at the same time, the person who doesn’t support us is judging us in the background.
Louie Scafetta: Which is fine though. But I think it’s their right to do that, but I think as outdoorsman and being in the position that we are of losing people that are doing it or losing new people coming into what we do.
Keith Crowell: Or tougher regulations because of it.
Louie Scafetta: Right, and I think instead of, someone should be, someone has to be the bigger person. You can’t just say, a person can’t be like, well I don’t like hunting, and then you immediately go, well, you’re ridiculous.
How to Talk About Hunting with Non-Hunters
And now you get people talking, now it’s a conversation, instead of all this misinformation and judgment about what we do.
Ramsey Russell: It’s funny, you say that because I was up in Saskatchewan last year, hunting with a friend of mine. He had just found a little corner of Saskatchewan that there weren’t a lot of outfitters going on and he’d knock on doors and there was a husband wife as I understood it to, there was husband wife nearby, a farmer team that just really didn’t understand why he would drive all the way from Texas and hunt. They don’t understand that at all and they kind of disapproved of it because it was just these pretty birds as they see. And he said, well you ought to come out there and join me in a blind one day. And he said, matter of fact I’ll have some coffee for you, if you ever do, so you just show up. He says, sure enough the husband and wife showed up, he had a panel blind, he took him out, he had a thermos of coffee for them, and they didn’t have a gun. They didn’t care to shoot, but born and raised in Saskatchewan seeing all these birds around them all the time, they’ve never been in a blind and witnessed the interaction of the calls, and the shooting. When later he brought them by some finished birds processed, and whatnot, to eat, told them how to cook it, they were like, it changed our lives. And he said now, pretty regularly they’ll call us, hey, you can be out tomorrow morning, we might want to. End up they’ll come and just drink coffee and they still just hang out. But it’s like holy cow, they got it.
Louie Scafetta: But that’s the difference of just being like, all right, well, you don’t like hunting so I’m not going to waste my time or we’ll see it you later. But if you take that opportunity to look into it a little further, well why don’t you like hunting or what’s your take on it? And if you use it as an educational opportunity, a lot of these people don’t know.
Keith Crowell: Because they’ve never been they weren’t brought up on in it. We were brought up like this.
Louie Scafetta: And you can’t knock someone for not knowing something because no one ever taught it to them. So if you take an opportunity to teach someone something, even if it doesn’t work out, at least that person now has the knowledge to understand why you do what you do. So that maybe next time when one of their friends who doesn’t support of it is like, oh my God, these people just go out and kill animals for no reason. Well, that’s really not it. Now it’s going to trigger that little thing in the back of the brain that time that they had that conversation with someone that was very respectful and knowledgeable about what they were doing now, it’s like, well actually they’re really not.
Ramsey Russell: They could be telling somebody else now that these guys really hurt.
Louie Scafetta: For X, Y and Z, this is why they do what they do. These are the good things that come out of it. We might not necessarily support it, but they’re not what you’re saying they are. And now you get people talking, now it’s a conversation, instead of all this misinformation and judgment about what we do. Now you have people out there spreading more education to other people and it doesn’t seem so bad. And I think as hunters and outdoorsmen, we need to do that more often.
Ramsey Russell: And we need to find opportunities. It seems to me that we as hunters and the hunting industry in general seem to be preaching to the choir about it. We don’t need to be preaching among ourselves, we need to be preaching to, not the anti, but that 80% middle ground. Just educate them. They don’t have to be hunters themselves. It’s always they understand it. Why we’re doing it.
Louie Scafetta: And like you said, you know, it’s the people that are on the fence. One bad interaction can take a person who really doesn’t have any problems with hunting and make them totally against it. So rather than just being closed minded about the situation, take the extra 5 or 10 minutes to talk to them. Teach them a little bit, talk to them. We’re humans, we’re all people. I’ve said it all along that knowledge is power and we as humans like to learn things. I learn new things every day. Whenever someone has, takes the time to teach or tell me something, I listen to what they have to say, whether I agree with it or not, you’re still gaining knowledge, you’re still learning something. A perfect example is my vacation home’s next door neighbor, he lives there year round.
Ramsey Russell: Well, when he came out to say good morning, I’m like, oh, here we go.
Louie Scafetta: Older guy, doesn’t hunt, no one in his family hunts, no reason to hunt, no reason to like hunting but also has no reason to dislike hunting. We’re down there all December long every single weekend.
Ramsey Russell: Right in his backyard. Literally in his backyard.
Louie Scafetta: Blowing 12 gauge off at 7 o’clock in the morning on Sunday. That guy has every right to not like us. But for the first time I ever met him, we went up there, we helped them down the driveway because it was icy out, shoveled and salted his driveway for him. I talked to him like a person. I took time out of my day to talk to him, let them know what we were doing, let them know what we’re about, and he respects me for it, and I drop him off a gift card every year as a thank you for putting up with us, all the time banging down there, and he appreciates it.
Keith Crowell: He appreciated so much, he was like, dude, you didn’t have to do this. But it’s good though.
Louie Scafetta: But now that he knows what we do, there’s times we’ll be hunting down there, he’ll come stand right where he was standing this morning and just watch the dogs out there. He loves watching the dogs. That’s his favorite thing, watching the dogs go out and get the ducks.
Ramsey Russell: And just to add to that one little thing I noticed, you all picked up all those holes, there was no litter left behind, and I mean spent holes are litter, they are trash.
Keith Crowell: Takes a long time to decompose.
Ramsey Russell: If I had a nice vacation home and, as you were explaining to me, those aren’t cheap properties. And if I had a half million dollar vacation home sitting on a beautiful finger lake in New York, I wouldn’t want to see trash floating up and down the beach left over from the pesky hunters.
Keith Crowell: I’m so glad that I got that pick stick though. That thing was pretty nice man, I appreciate that Mojo.
New York Hunting Styles
Ramsey Russell: Let’s talk more about you all’s style hunting like we did today because that was, first off that was an impressive spread, it took you a little over two hours to get it all picked up.
Keith Crowell: How many dozen did you say?
Louie Scafetta: Between 25 and 30 dozen about.
Ramsey Russell: Yeah, it’s a massive lake. And what species, today we shot some buffleheads, that’s a primary species on those lakes.
Keith Crowell: Most of these lakes, those birds are primary.
Louie Scafetta: Yeah, we usually hold a pretty substantial amount of buffleheads in all of our finger lakes. I mean, even the Niagara River and they’re pretty prominent duck in the area.
Ramsey Russell: But we saw some golden eyes.
Louie Scafetta: Yeah. So, Conesus Lake as a whole, I mean obviously you’re going to get your mixed diverse species. So you’re going to get all your main divers, redheads, blue bills, lesser and greater scaup, canvasbacks, golden eyes, buffleheads, mergansers, I’ve seen all three species of mergansers on that lake. Mallards, black ducks, and then if you go early, you might get some woody’s. And I think it has something, I think when you really look at it like Conesus Lake prominently hold redhead, that is like,
Keith Crowell: I breed redhead, Robbie says.
Louie Scafetta: As Robbie would say. But it’s funny when you really look at it because it’s like well and that’s when I like to start trying to pick things apart. Like why? What is so appealing about this lake in specific that hold so many more redheads than any other species? Like yeah, you’ll shoot your blue bills, you’ll shoot some golden eyes, there’s a lot of buffleheads, but in comparison to redheads during peak migration time there, I mean it’s minimal. I mean when the redheads are on that lake, it is incredible.
Keith Crowell: That was a huge flock we’ve seen flying this morning.
Ramsey Russell: And that was 11,500 birds they were high, they weren’t quite settled in.
Louie Scafetta: But the crazy thing is like, that’s nothing too bad and I at when it’s good. I mean, that’s like a regular, you’ll see that cruise on the lake, every half an hour, you’ll see flocks that size trading back and forth only they’re three ft. off the water. And so I look at it and I’m like, well, what is so appealing? Is it the shape of the lake? Is it the depth? Is it the vegetation that grows there? And I look at that and it’s just interesting to me that one lake can be so predominant over a certain species. So, a lot of people have redheads on their bucket list and I think, people think of New York and it’s like the city, and it’s so overlooked for hunting. I think New York is so underrated as a whole when it comes to the outdoors. So with it being the way that it is and the number of birds that we do see there, it’s definitely a numbers game sometimes when it comes to your spread. They’re divers, you can kind of call at them but there’s no real diver call. So you have to do something to get their attention. So I run a big spread, they like to fly the co’s and the points out on the lake. And I put out a big spread, a lot of white, a lot of black, lot of contrast out on the water to get their attention. We got the Mojos out there running and just to try and pull them in and get them doing their thing.
Waterfowl Migration Process in New York
So once you start seeing the bufflehead, it’s starting to heat up a little bit.
Ramsey Russell: Tell me about the progress or talk about the progress of the progression of species. How is the migration progress? And give me a timeline on that.
Louie Scafetta: So, the timeline part of it’s hard because a lot of it depends on weather. If we have mild weather all through October and November in the early December and all the refugees around here are still open, those hold thousands of birds. And parts of those, they’re refuges. A lot of those you can’t hunt. So there’s spots, you’ll drive by and they’ll be 15,000 birds sitting out there, totally safe. They have food, they have water, they have no reason to leave, so they’ll just sit there and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Keith Crowell: So it’s when it freezes up is where we keep.
Ramsey Russell: When all the little bodies of water freeze.
Louie Scafetta: Exactly. So like once you start losing all the little ponds in the swamps and all your sheet water freezes up. All those birds start getting pushed out and that’s when we start seeing them on the Finger Lakes. But we also get an influx of birds when Canada starts to freeze out. So this year and last year as well, Canada was really warm. I have a friend of mine, a guide, he lives in Canada, but he guides up there and he’s always spot on within two days he’ll get ahold of me, he’ll text me or message me on Facebook and he’s like, hey man, get ready, like the birds are coming. He’ll get ahold of me, he’s like, we got a week of negative temps in the night, get ready because the birds are going to start pushing down, and usually within two days, three days, he’s not wrong. They’re starting to push it hard. But a good gauge, because we’re here in western New York and I have some friends up north that, they see the birds first. They hunt like the St. Lawrence River, and up in Shino Bay, and stuff, and I always kind of keep in touch with them because they’re the first ones to start seeing the birds. So you get your buffleheads first, those always kind of pushed down first. So once you start seeing the bufflehead, it’s starting to heat up a little bit. They’re starting to trickle in and then you’ll start seeing some golden eyes and then you see your first little rafter red heads pop up and that’s when we all start getting pretty excited because we’re ready to go and throw 300 decoys out for the 50 red head that showed up on the lake. But and then it gets to a certain point where once things start freezing up heavy, you just start getting pushes the birds and there’s no really saying how many or when exactly it’s going to happen, but usually you get a week, a solid week of temperatures in the twenties and the tens around here overnight, things lock up pretty quick.
Keith Crowell: And here we are December 6th and we don’t even have a lick of snow on the ground and we’re running 35-40 degrees right now. So that’s normally right now, we’re definitely running heaters and we’re freezing and it’s definitely neoprene wader season. We’re normally hunting at this time of the year but the past couple of years it’s been, it’s made it rough, and then on top of that, the way the New York state changed our bag limits and how they cut our season back and now we’re shut down January 3rd this year, and the birds are coming down January 4th, you know what I mean? So it’s just –
Ramsey Russell: That’s when the cans start coming.
Keith Crowell: Exactly, and it gets dirty, really dirty but now it’s like crap, we can’t do anything because season just closed, two or three years ago now because we’re in the 3rd year of this, two years ago, three years ago, it was just like, oh man, this is great. Like we’re out January 15th, 19th you know what I mean? Like it was cold, it was late. Like I was telling you before, we were hunting Niagara River, I walked out on the river, it was so cold out of the river that I took my waders off, my waders literally stood up in the middle of the driveway.
Louie Scafetta: But that’s when it’s good.
Keith Crowell: But that’s when it’s good.
Louie Scafetta: Because all the, you know even Kiamesha like starts locking up and then all the birds from Kiamesha push off to the river to Seneca Lake or Cayuga Lake, and now I mean Cayuga Lake, when Seneca Lake is good, I mean, you’ll go there, you’ll see 200,000 divers sitting on the lake. I mean, they pick up, the sky turns black, and I mean it’s incredible. I can remember, I can look back and in years past back when we used to get cold weather in October even, early November, when we’d get those 20º nights in November. There was times Kiamesha Lake would be loaded with birds midway through November. And you could show up on Kiamesha Lake starting halfway through November and shoot your ducks every single day until the end of the season or until it froze. And the combination of the winters we’ve been having, the weather and the season dates, it has really put a hurting on diver hunting in New York.
Keith Crowell: The puddle hunting’s great. That’s hasn’t changed. You go to my place, like I said, you’re swatting wood ducks like they’re mosquitoes, man. Green winged teal, blue wing teals, those rails we we’re talking about, but you’re batting them away. But then, my place though, it freezes up like he said, and it pushes all the birds out. But at the same time, that’s not bad because I know you got divers to hunt.
NY State Puddle Duck Hunting
Ramsey Russell: Talk about the puddle duck some Keith? Tell us about puddle duck hunting.
Keith Crowell: Well, around here it’s pretty phenomenal, I have to say. We’re pretty blessed in the sense that, we’re not like the Midwest. I know it’s nothing like the Midwest but we sure try to make it look like the Midwest. We’re hunting cornfields, we’re hunting soybean fields. I hunt Canada’s in September in the middle of hayfields, green grass, hay fields, you shoot a bunch of them, but the puddlers, I mean it’s nothing to see a few hundred. I mean, this is just my backyard that I just bought, that lake that I got. It’s nothing to see a couple of 100 mallards in there but during wood duck season, same thing, it’s nothing to see three to four hundred in there when you walk in there. And it’s not just at 8 o’clock in the morning, its 8, 9, 10, 11, 3 o’clock in the afternoon, 4 o’clock in the afternoon. There’s I mean there’s puddlers everywhere, but at the same time, they got to have the food to eat and that’s the big thing. If you’re not hunting the puddlers where the food is, you’re not going to get them, you might as well just pack it up. My place, I got button bush, smart weed, got that – was it algae you said it was?
Ramsey Russell: Yeah. No, it looked to me like some sago pond weed places. A lot of water lotus for cover as per the wood ducks, they would love to raise their brood in water lotus.
Keith Crowell: For sure. And that’s the thing that we’ve been working on with my area is, so the Safari Club we do, this year we didn’t do it, because of COVID but last year and years prior, around March, we get a group of Boy Scouts together and we put together a bunch of wood duck boxes. I’m talking like 100 wood duck boxes, bluebill boxes, all that stuff. So I’ve been putting those out around my property, my neighbor’s property, I only own 16 acres, but surrounding me, I have 250 acres of wetland creek, beaver dams, you name it, that I can utilize. So to shoot a puddler in there makes it pretty easy because like I said, there’s a lot of food in there and you just got to be at the right place at the right time, though because there’s a lot of water back there. But to watch mallards and even the wood ducks floating in through dead ash trees, bouncing into each other landing, between you and I, there’s nothing better than that. Like the diver hunting is cool, that’s cool, you are out in your spread, you see big rafts of them, that’s cool. For me standing in the woods and you see those mallards just maple leafing or flipping, even the wood ducks, you’re like, oh I got this wood duck at the last second. Man, 90º turn dives down and you just wasted around because that wood duck is smarter than you, you know what I mean? But another actually the speaking of the wood ducks, the food, the acorns that are around there, that’s our big thing that’s around there, that keeps our wood ducks in there. We have acorn trees, that’s probably because we got a creek. And along that creek, I guarantee you there’s over 1000 oak trees and some of these oak trees, the three of us could put our arms together and you couldn’t even touch and there’s just acorns everywhere. So these wood ducks are coming in and just shoveling these acorns down their throats. I mean we’ve pulled, no joke, between two wood ducks, we’ve pulled 16 acorns out of these guys. It’s just, it’s nothing, it’s normal to see that.
Ramsey Russell: How prominent are black ducks in Western New York?
Keith Crowell: Black ducks are, when you shoot them, you’re not surprised. You see them. There’s a lot of them. When they come in here they’re thick. Going back to the weather change and stuff like that, they’re staying up a little bit north. We’re still getting them though. I shot one, I shot one last week, my buddy shot one last week in a totally different area. Even seeing a couple of posts today guys are shooting them in Western New York right now. So they’re pushing down and that’s when you see those black ducks come down though, there’s something about those its way better than, I don’t know, I think that they sound different, I feel like they fly different. People are like, it’s a mallard, I mean, it’s not a mallard man, it’s a whole different duck if you want to ask me. Just like a wood duck. A wood ducks is different than a mallard, you know what I mean? Teal’s different than a black duck. Black duck’s different than a mallard. So I don’t know, just to have those black duck to be able to be lucky enough to have those black ducks. That’s pretty nice. But some people that’s their target birds, but here I am, I’m like I’m batting away, and I’m batting like mallards away, and it’s like whatever, I see so many of them.
Louie Scafetta: When I think going back to what you said to about puddle ducks and being in the right place at the right time, and it’s funny, because it’s like, now, the more I immerse myself into being a waterfowl hunter, the more I try to learn and figure things out, more than just face value, like, oh, here’s some flooded corn, there’s some ducks in it. Well, why are they in this flooded corn over the other one? What’s topographically different about this field compared to the other field? What flight pattern are they taking to come off of the routes to go to this field as supposed to where the other one is? And I try to find, similarities in what the birds do, and even down to like the species, and it’s cool when I think about black ducks because I’ve shot black ducks in flooded fields. I’ve shot black ducks over a seven mile long lake. I’ve shot black ducks in little streams and creeks, and it seems like to me, you find black ducks are really cool and they’re pretty unique.
Keith Crowell: You want to know what’s a really unique black duck? That banded pure bred black duck I got.
Louie Scafetta: Yeah, definitely. But when you really, it’s cool to figure them out. Especially in in this area like where I live, we have a lot of, you’ll be like driving down a side road, and you’ll see like those little waterholes in some flooded timber and it will just be black ducks, the whole thing. Like I got a spot just up the road from my house here, and when they get in there it’s 10 yards wide and it’s about 40 yards long, and it’s surrounded by trees, and you’ll drive by there and when they’re there, there’s like 200 black ducks in there. The whole thing.
Ramsey Russell: It’s like Briar Rabbit says to Briar Fox, “Please don’t throw me in that briar patch.”
Louie Scafetta: But it’s just cool though like the similarity it seems like to me in this area, black ducks like to get into that kind of heavier cover. They like to sit up on the heavier cover and them smaller streams and creeks, and get into that slack water up in the woods, or them little swamp holes. And we shoot black ducks in the field but some of my best black duck hunts have been on flooded tempers and flooded timbers and creeks that are – you couldn’t skip a rock across them.
Keith Crowell: But what I think correlates back to that is a podcast that I listened to from you a while back with the mallards. And the guy was talking about how, he was talking about how, like the black ducks, the mallards at the boreal forest, they stopped, and the black ducks continue because they’ve changed over the years, and that’s why they’re black ducks, and they’ve lost the green in their head because they’re in that flooded timber and they’re in that dark, thick environment. You know what I mean? And that’s where we’re seeing them here is in that dark thick environment is where, the mallards are out in the corn field there on the open there here, there’s thousands, let’s face it, there’s thousands of them. And that’s what I see, is that like you said you get into that flooded timber, you get into that creek or we got this lease down in Amish Country, you know what I mean? The same thing, it’s just all dark woods around there and they just come in droves man, it’s incredible.
Louie Scafetta: And like he’s saying to about staying up in the cover, it’s funny, like even when we shoot black ducks in fields, the roost that they’re coming off of, or swamps and ponds or a little creeks with you know, tall trees on either side.
Keith Crowell: Like my neighbor’s place that we were hunting yesterday.
Louie Scafetta: You see them come out and it’s not like they’re coming out of a wide open pond in the middle of a cornfield somewhere there. You see them coming out a little creek beds and little water holes out in the field.
Ramsey Russell: They like it up in those shadows, up in that cover. Sounds good. Well look, speaking of you all’s accent, I know, I can tell by you all’s accent that you all are diehard Dallas Cowboy fans, true or false?
Louie Scafetta: Absolutely false. Buffalo Bills all the way man.
Keith Crowell: So, I’m about like the only person in New York that doesn’t watch football.
Louie Scafetta: I’ve been diehard, my family’s 22 years, season tickets.
Ramsey Russell: I’m not a huge NFL fan either, but I’ve never been anywhere that the local society to be so passionate for a team like the Buffalo Bills.
Louie Scafetta: Bills Mafia baby. That’s actually being trademarked right now for the Buffalo Bills, Bills Mafia. It’s something that a local started and it’s just like, pretty much just showcases all of us crazy bastards. That’s all it is. Buffalo is crazy party tailgate. You want to come to a tailgate for a football game? Buffalo is where it’s at, man. You got Pinto Ron getting sprayed down with ketchup and mustard every game he’s been to, every game that there possibly is. You got Elvis sitting down in the front row banging his guitar on the wall. You got the chefs down in the bottom. I mean like it’s an experience that I think that nobody’s ever experienced.
Louie Scafetta: I mean, people go to Buffalo Bills game to tailgate. They don’t go to watch football.
Keith Crowell: They don’t even go into the game man, they just go out and party on the tail.
Louie Scafetta: Half of them don’t make it out of the parking lot.
Ramsey Russell: Until the next morning.
Keith Crowell: Yeah party. We get there at 8:30, we start at 8:30 in the morning, game’s at 1 o’clock in the afternoon, dude. We get there at 8:30 in the morning, we got the grill out, we got deep fried turkey, crab legs, I mean you name it. You got cakes, pies, steak, you name it, it’s all there.
Ramsey Russell: Even the alcohol?
Keith Crowell: Dude, the amount of alcohol in that place could drown the whole stadium.
Ramsey Russell: Enough to float a battleship.
Louie Scafetta: Enough to drown a horse.
Keith Crowell: But at the same time, we all come prepared. Most of the businesses around here and all the Buffalo can drink, so…
Ramsey Russell: Forrest said last night as we were coming home, because he was hungry, he got too hot of legs, he stays hungry and I can tell he’s hungry because he gets real quiet, grouchy and he said, I want to get a pizza while I’m here in New York. I said, no, we’re in the wrong part of New York. I think we’re out here in the sticks. We got to get over to New York City, we ain’t going there. True or false? I mean there’s good pizza around here?
Louie Scafetta: Our pizza here is better here than New York City.
Keith Crowell: You’re talking like thin crust pizza in New York City.
Louie Scafetta: That ain’t real pizza. We have the real pizza.
Ramsey Russell: Real pizza?
Keith Crowell: Real wings. We have real pizza.
Ramsey Russell: Like the one we are fixing it to eat for the lunch?
Keith Crowell: Like you go down to down south and like, oh, I’m going to Buffalo Wild Wings for wings. Well you’re kind of lame, that’s not real.
Louie Scafetta: We got crispy chicken wings with blue cheese and real pizza with real crust.
Ramsey Russell: Buffalo wings came from right here.
Keith Crowell: Yeah, that’s correct. That is correct. They were originated from here.
Ramsey Russell: Probably originated in the parking lot of the Buffalo Bills game.
Keith Crowell: Probably did. And if you think that you’re going to eat, oh my God, I can’t believe I’m going to even say this. If you think that you’re going to eat chicken wings with Ranch around here, I’m going to smack that freaking wing out of your hand man. You eat that shit with blue cheese, man. I don’t know who the hell ever started that you go down south and these guys are like, give me my bottle of Ranch. I’m like what the hell is this man?
Louie Scafetta: And it’s funny you say that we, me and some buddies of mine went to Long Island this past January on a duck hunting trip. And, I’m like, man, I’m going to try some Long Island pizza. Right? And this is why I say that, our pizza is definitely better than downstate pizza because we went to some hoity toity fancy pizza place, right? And they got their fancy brick oven pizza. And it’s like, you get like this 14 inch pizza, thing’s like 60 bucks. I’ve never spent so much money on pizza and wings of my life. So they bring out my food, and I’m looking at it, and it’s like, this pizza is about as thick as this piece of paper in front of me, and I’m like, man, what is this thing? So I’m like, all right, well I’m not going to, I’ll give it a chance. So I’m like, oh, can I have some blue cheese? And they look at me, I’m like blue cheese, right? So they bring me out this cup and I’m looking at it and it’s like, I don’t even know how to explain it, but basically it was blue, like crumbly blue cheese chunks in olive oil. So like you’re supposed to like mix it something. So I’m like, all right, maybe I’m just missing something. So I like kind of stir it up a little bit and I take one of these fancy chicken wings that cost me $30 a dozen. And, I dunk it in there and like I take a bite of this slimy chicken wing and it was –
Keith Crowell: It was probably already a slimy wing as it was.
Louie Scafetta: It was because it was like some brick oven fired chicken wing thing. And I’m like, man, this ain’t like back home, I didn’t eat any more of the wings. And then I think I had like half the pizza and it was like you had to eat half the pizza just to feel like you ate a slice of regular pizza because it’s paper thin.
Keith Crowell: Our go-to pizza is a barbecue chicken pizza with red sauce base. That is where it’s at. Blue cheese on the side.
Louie Scafetta: That’s about as western New York as it gets right there.
Ramsey Russell: Like a buffalo pizza, buffalo chicken pizza.
Keith Crowell: Barbecue chicken wings on the top of the pizza, blue cheese on the side.
Louie Scafetta: Can I have the blue cheese? But I mean it’s just, it’s like, my aunt lived in Florida and the first thing she does when she comes here, we like pretty much have a pizza order ready and waiting for her for when she gets home, because that’s the first thing they want when they get here is a pizza.
A Game Plan for Hunting Black Duck
Ramsey Russell: All right, guys. What’s the game plan for in the morning? What are we going to do? I know we’ve got options. What’s you all game plan? No pressure, nothing. I want to kill black duck.
Louie Scafetta: Putting the heat on us.
Keith Crowell: Big heat.
Ramsey Russell: Well, I’m just getting started way, like it off the air and sharpen up the spurs.
Keith Crowell: So we got my neighbor’s place that’s behind where my property is, that we hunted yesterday. And that typically holds – and that’s the flooded timber that we talk about – that typically will hold the black ducks. So, we’ve got a lot of mallards in there too, though, I’m not going to lie about that. But so, right as of right now, the game plan is looking like we may be hunting over there at my neighbor’s house unless Sir Louie Scarface here pulls up something out of this magic hat and there’s a bunch of black ducks in this magic creek that we’re going to get some.
Louie Scafetta: So back to the whole more friends than enemies thing. I do a lot of inviting when it comes to hunting, I usually got a full blind every hunt. I never really asked for anything in return –
Keith Crowell: Except for today,
Louie Scafetta: Except for today. But having the ability and opportunity to do that and treating people with respect and inviting them on hunt.
Keith Crowell: Just like us man. I mean me and you share hunts together all the time. We work together. We live an hour away from each other dude, like, and that’s and it’s nothing for us to call each other, text each other daily and when we’re getting ready to hunt, like let’s work together, let’s do this.
Louie Scafetta: Exactly. And there’s people I’ve hunted with one time I called them up today, I’m like, hey man, listen like this is a deal. I got a –
Ramsey Russell: Special guest here.
Louie Scafetta: Yeah, I got a special guest. He wants to shoot some black ducks, man. Like what do you got? I got guys that I’ve hunted with one time, three years ago out scouting birds for us, right now. We’re doing this podcast. I got people driving 6 counties right now looking for black ducks for our hunt tomorrow morning, but to be able to just make some phone calls and have those options is a nice thing to do. But as far as my end right now, I got a good friend of mine, he’s got a creek that runs through his farm. And when the birds are there, it always holds black ducks, it’s flooded out right now. Have a nice, it’s got a nice open pocket of water into some flooded timber.
Keith Crowell: It would be nice to send another black duck, tell Conrad to get on it.
Louie Scafetta: So I’m hoping that when I get the scouting report tonight, I would assume he’s going to be heading there in about 15 to 30 minutes to go check it out. You know that he tells me there’s a bunch of ducks pearling into that little water hole and we can sneak up in there.
Ramsey Russell: It’s just two black ducks. It doesn’t take hundreds.
Louie Scafetta: That’s right.
Keith Crowell: Even if you guys are just the ones shooting them that would put a smile on my face.
Louie Scafetta: Absolutely. So, we’re hoping that pans out tonight. Like I said, I got quite a few people out.
Keith Crowell: Lots of options out there.
Louie Scafetta: Putting some miles on the trucks right now.
Ramsey Russell: Well I’m going to put my own stoppers tomorrow. Tomorrow a friend of mine down in Michigan, Zack Bradley, let go of a model 12, a mint condition model 12, 28 inch barrel, full choke, full cob shucker. And I’m going to shoot that gun tomorrow. And I’ve got a big humongous goose sized black duck for my buddy, Joey, held in Michigan. And I got a hand carved black duck beauty from Lou Costello.
Keith Crowell: Those things are huge, they look beautiful.
Ramsey Russell: I’m taking them all out. I’m pulling out all the luck tomorrow.
Keith Crowell: Nothing that we need it, but we need it. We just don’t, we don’t like talking about big game and showing off.
Ramsey Russell: It reminded at the time I had some friends come all the way from the little island nation of Malta to shoot a wood duck in Mississippi. They’re a dime a dozen and we went four days before we even saw one.
Keith Crowell: And you’re like oh yeah, come on up man, the first 20 minutes we’re going to limit, and you’re just like you’re standing there, tapping your foot.
Ramsey Russell: The first shot 20 shot with 80 yards high and it hit a big oak tree and bound to hit every limb coming through the oak tree. But I didn’t see any feathers, flies, okay, it’s great. And it shucked its head right off, peeled it off like a sock off your foot, and he was crestfallen. But we did there, towards the end of their, week get into the wood ducks. They took a bunch home.
Louie Scafetta: Yeah, I mean that’s kind of how I felt this morning. You’re like, what’s the plan for this morning? I’m like, man playing for this morning to shoot some dang redheads. But I didn’t want to say that out loud for fear of, and like I said, on paper today was the day they migrated in last night. They were after right up in front of the blind, we snuck out of there. I’m like, oh man, we’re in for it tomorrow and it’s just like, it’s funny everything you could, it seems like the most planned hunts, the ones that seemed the best on paper and then it’s like what just happened.
Ramsey Russell: And one of my lifelong buddies, the late Mike Morgan used to say, someday chicken salad, someday chicken shit but I like chicken. You got to go forward. All right, real quick before we wrap up, how can folks get in touch with you all? If somebody want to connect with you all in social media, Keith, how can they get in touch with you?
Keith Crowell: So I’m on Instagram and Facebook, I’m @K Crow is like the bird outdoors. Kcrow outdoors on Instagram and my name is Keith Crowell on Facebook. You guys are more than welcome to follow what we do, man. I’m just an average Joe schmo that goes out, but when I go out I go all out, I’m out. If there’s 60 days in the season, 45, I’m out, and you got to be because there’s all the ducks are only here when they’re here and we can only shoot them when we can shoot them.
Ramsey Russell: Life’s short, get ducks. How about you Louie, you can one get in touch?
Louie Scafetta: So I also have Instagram and Facebook. My Instagram, it’s 11 Lakes Outfitters on Instagram.
Ramsey Russell: With a hyphen, 11 hyphen lakes. He’s saying lakes.
Louie Scafetta: Yeah, my accent.
Ramsey Russell: 11-Lakes-Outfitter.
Louie Scafetta: Yes, sir. And then it’s also the same name on Facebook. I have a Facebook page as well for my guide service and my name’s Louie Scafetta the Third on Facebook. So, but yeah, I mean same boat for me. I live and breathe it every day. I’m thankful and lucky to have a wife that supports my crazy duck hunting addiction. She’s a good woman for putting up with my grumpy self when I get home and I’m running of seven day week on four hours of sleep. She deals with all my nonsense.
Keith Crowell: It’s the toughest three months out of any year. September till January is tough. But we got, like you said, we got we got good women on our side to help us out.
Louie Scafetta: Definitely big shout out to her for sure, grateful for her putting up with all my hunting for sure.
Ramsey Russell: Folks, thank you all for listening to this episode of Duck Season Somewhere. Forrest and I are going to go out and hopefully scratch out a couple of black ducks in New York. Tomorrow jump in the truck and head down to see our buddies in Pennsylvania. You all stay tuned for the next episode. It’s Duck Season Somewhere.