Colorado’s Front Range has a surprisingly good goose hunting and an interesting history. In the small town of Severance, Colorado, the billboard located in town center pretty much spells it out. In today’s episode, Ramsey Russell swings through for a morning goose hunt and lunch, sharing a conversation with locals about why “geese fly and bulls cry” here. Bon appetit.

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Historic Waterfowl Hunting on the Front Range

It probably, in reality, Ramsey, is probably one of the best kept secrets in the world right here for Canada geese.


Ramsey Russell: I’m your host Ramsey Russell, join me here to listen to those conversations. Welcome back to Duck Season Somewhere, I am in Severance Colorado, about 30 minutes outside of Fort Collins, Rocky Mountains in the background, agriculture and urban sprawl all around. But listen, the billboard across the street reads “Where Geese Fly and Bulls Cry.” Me and my guest today are going to tell you why the billboard reads that. I’m starting with Jeff Caldwell, Front Range Guide Service, a new friend of mine, a medal on the way. Thanks to a follower named Alice Augustine that introduced us. And I got to jump in a blind today, and God, what a show they put on. What about it, Jeff, is that kind of like you’re welcome to the Front Range Party today you threw?

Jeff Caldwell: Well, we’d like to say that we love that every day, wouldn’t we? 

Ramsey Russell: I figured that was every day.

Jeff Caldwell: Well, we only hope so. Unfortunately that doesn’t happen every day. We like it the way that we went this morning, but it doesn’t always happen that way. 

Ramsey Russell: No, of course not. It’s real hunting but I came out here, gosh if it hasn’t been quite a decade ago, but it’s been a long time ago. The first time I ever came to the Front Range, east of the Denver metro area, in this part of the world and realized that Colorado was a lot more than Rocky Mountains, and snow skiing, and stuff like that, there was goose hunting out here. Really good historic goose hunting in fact.

Jeff Caldwell: Absolutely.

Ramsey Russell: And last night there in your shop you were telling me you’ve been doing this for two decades or more.

Jeff Caldwell: Yeah. I’ve had my own business now for 13 years. Been guiding for about 23 total, man.

Ramsey Russell: 23 years, are you from Colorado?

Jeff Caldwell: I am originally, I’m from Loveland. I’m not too far away. 

Ramsey Russell: You were born right here on the Front Range?

Jeff Caldwell: Born and raised right here.

Ramsey Russell: Did you grow up hunting?

Jeff Caldwell: I did. I started hunting when I was about seven years old. I actually started hunting waterfowl here on the Front Range.

Ramsey Russell: Tell me about that.

Jeff Caldwell: It was a funny deal. Back then, Colorado was not really known to have that many geese.

Ramsey Russell: I don’t really know now. It should be.

Jeff Caldwell: It’s not. It probably, in reality, Ramsey, is probably one of the best kept secrets in the world right here for Canada geese.

Ramsey Russell: Until this podcast is aired.

Jeff Caldwell: Well, that’s what we hope.

Ramsey Russell: But anyway, tell me who did you grow up hunting with? What were your introduction at seven years old to goose hunting on the Front Range?

Jeff Caldwell: Seven years old and my dad did not hunt that much, believe it or not when I was young. But there was a gentleman down the street, his name is Tom Bruns, and he kind of took me under his wing and asked me one time – I used to fish with him a lot and he asked me, said, hey, would you have any interest in going duck hunting with me? And I went duck hunting with him. I was seven, shot my first duck. 

Ramsey Russell: Where did y’all duck on the stream?

Jeff Caldwell: Well, it was actually a pond. Just a little reservation, a little would-be irrigation reservoir pond actually just up north here. So he took me there and shot my first duck and I was — it was a mallard hen. 

Ramsey Russell: I believe that.

Jeff Caldwell: Mallard and I believe I may have even water swat her. I might have shot her right off the water.

Ramsey Russell: All things equal, you don’t have to leave them as far.

Jeff Caldwell: You don’t when they’re so sitting still if they’re not swimming

Ramsey Russell: Exactly.

Jeff Caldwell: Absolutely. 

Ramsey Russell: Where did you go from there? I mean, you got hooked on that first duck?

Jeff Caldwell: I did. I got hooked on that. I grew up and got into high school started goose hunting with some buddies. I had some buddies that like to hunt and we started hunting. And back then, man goose hunting was not as big here. I mean years ago a guy by the name of Gurney Crawford started – he hatched nine goose eggs here in Fort Collins, they released them there, I believe, and started that resident population. That resident population started attracting the migrant geese to stop, the birds never used to stop here. They’d go right through. That resident population grew and grew and grew and back then when I was in high school, man, you go out goose hunting, limit was two geese. Now we shoot five on our dirt geese. The limit was two birds back then, and you have three guys go out and you’d shoot six geese. Ramsey, it was a big deal back then.

Ramsey Russell: Gurney Crawford, about when did he hatch them eggs?

Jeff Caldwell: It was in the ‘50s I believe.

Ramsey Russell: In the ‘50s?

Jeff Caldwell: Around 1950, I believe. And I don’t know exactly the date on that. But that’s when he started that program here in the Front Range of Colorado. And now our resident population, those were big Canada’s. But that’s the other thing too. I mean we saw this morning, how many big geese we see today?

Ramsey Russell: Not very many.

Jeff Caldwell: Not very many.

Ramsey Russell: Well, I was going to ask what it was like growing up. So he got those nine birds started in the ‘50’s. I’m going to say we’re the same mason. You started hunting in the ‘70s?

Jeff Caldwell: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: Was there’s much agriculture?

Jeff Caldwell: There was more.

Ramsey Russell: Because coopers was from here. I figured that the wheat and corn, like, crops and barley.


Losing Land

As the urban sprawl crawls east, we just follow it.


Jeff Caldwell: A lot more than, the urban sprawl, it grows day in, day out here. I mean my goodness, I remember fields that I hunted when I was a kid. Now there’s 1100 homes on them. We lose fields every year to my business. I lose fields to being annexed into city limits.

Ramsey Russell: That was what was so crazy this morning. We got to cover a lot of details about how you set up and what you do. I mean, but you’re out in the cornfield, the sugar beets back behind us. Of course, it’s all harvested. Man, what a beautiful full moon, the clouds, the sky, the water down below as you can hear all the geese down below us. We set up, we hop in your pit blinds and cover up. And it wasn’t until — I didn’t even wear a light, we’re putting out all the bazillions of profile decoys. And it wasn’t until later with some birds working, I picked up over there, I realized there was a whole neighborhood of million-dollar homes, multi-million-dollar homes just a couple of 100 yards away. 

Jeff Caldwell: Oh, yeah.

Ramsey Russell: Somewhere there was some housewife drinking coffee, watching us rain birds down.

Jeff Caldwell: And probably mad.

Ramsey Russell: Probably mad.

Jeff Caldwell: Probably.

Ramsey Russell: All those birds got rolled later in the morning and I just figured out stretching their wings. But as we were picking up decoys later, I see somebody out stretching her legs, walking around with nature. She was probably on the other side of getting them birds riled up for.

Jeff Caldwell: Absolutely yeah, that’s what it’s all about here on the Front Range.

Ramsey Russell: It’s what made me realize when I looked up and just the next property over from that agriculture field we were hunting was a big mansion neighborhood. I’m thinking, holy cow, in the next year or two this is going to be a neighborhood probably.

Jeff Caldwell: Absolutely, yeah, I mean actually that particular piece of property, my land owner is actually looking to sell that piece of property, he’s going to sell that. He’s going to make a killing on it.

Ramsey Russell: Put your mic just a little bit closer.

Jeff Caldwell: You bet. 

Ramsey Russell: There you go.

Jeff Caldwell: Is that’s better?

Ramsey Russell: Oh yeah, yeah.

Jeff Caldwell: He’s going to sell that property. He will sell that property. And he’s going to make a ton of money on it. And it’s going to be a bummer for us, obviously. But we keep rolling with the punches man, we just keep bouncing around, we’d move a little farther and farther east every year. As the urban sprawl crawls east, we just follow it.


Big, Littles, and Middles

But the difference in a cackler and a big goose, the way they talk, their gregariousness, the way they flock up, the way they approach the decoys, the way they study things. Totally different.


Ramsey Russell: Going back to the good old days, what was it like in the ‘70s and ‘80s? You were in high school in the ‘80s, you got your driver’s license. What was it like hunting here? Were you hunting the South Platte River? Were you hunting farm ponds? When did geese just sink their teeth into you? When did when did you get the goose bug?

Jeff Caldwell: I got that in high school probably about really in reality probably about my freshman year in high school. I thought man, this goose hunt is really cool and that’s about that time, that population was growing. Every year there was more and more geese that were actually wintering here on the Front Range of Colorado to where they used to just migrate through and they wouldn’t stop as much. But every year there was more birds, and it got to be a bigger, bigger deal. And, example, you were talking about all the silhouettes we put out this morning. And back then, I mean we had shell decoys, that’s what we had.

Ramsey Russell: Put out a few shells.

Jeff Caldwell: Matter of fact, I remember when the Bigfoot goose decoy first came out and that was a big deal. Everybody’s like, oh man, you’ve seen them Bigfoots, those things are unreal. Now there’s millions of decoys — there’s all kinds of decoys on the market that are a lot more intricate and fancier than them. But we had shell decoys back in the time, and I think we had 12 dozen, and people would say, my goodness man, Caldwell and Sheldon, those guys, they got 12 dozen goose decoys. That was a lot of decoys back then, it was a lot of decoys. Now we just were talking about that with the difference between the big geese and the little geese. Now they’re are a different breed of cat.

Ramsey Russell: They’re cacklers and I’ve always called them big, littles, and middles. But the difference in a cackler and a big goose, the way they talk, their gregariousness, the way they flock up, the way they approach the decoys, the way they study things. Totally different.

Jeff Caldwell: Oh yeah.

Ramsey Russell: And you know, I heard something one time that cacklers are new. When did you start seeing a proliferation of cackling geese at all on the Front Range?

Jeff Caldwell: Honestly, I would say that would have had to been more so to where you really notice the difference to where — some years I would say back in the ‘80s really. In reality some years there would be some that would be here, but they’d only be here for a week or two. They probably went on through, they probably ended up in the —

Ramsey Russell: Texas panhandle

Jeff Caldwell: Texas down that even back in the day, I think some of those little jokers even went all the way to the Gulf Coast.

Ramsey Russell: I believe so.

Jeff Caldwell: There’s a guy that I hunted with years ago that used to guide down there on the Gulf Coast and they said they used to get little Canada’s down there. Now they don’t rarely even see a Canada goose.

Ramsey Russell: Not many. And these are I’m pretty sure Hutchins, I call them Hutchins and geese, but what I heard it makes sense to me because they would come through here like when you’re in high school, but they just kind of skipped like a stone heading south, and then all of a sudden they started wintering here. And I think somebody told me one time that the buildup of cacklers in Colorado coincided with back in the Texas panhandle, back in the day, there were parts, they grew a bunch of peanuts and then the peanut market went away. They started plant more cotton and things of that nature and those birds started short stopping up here with the food.

Jeff Caldwell: That’s right. 

Ramsey Russell: Would you see that on the timeline, would you say?

Jeff Caldwell: Absolutely. Absolutely. There in the ‘80s and the ‘90s, there was this huge influx all of a sudden. These little birds were starting to stop here. And then we’ve always had what you were talking about the littles, the big, the mediums, I just call them the garden variety, medium goose. Which in reality, there is a population of geese that, actually, they claim like 80% of them actually winter right here on the Front Range of Colorado, it’s a highline Canada. And it’s kind of that medium sized goose, it’s a little different species of bird and they are a tricky little booger, I’ll tell you. But they say that like 80% of those will actually winter right here. But I think that whole deal you were just asking about back in the ‘80s and the ‘90s, that’s kind of when that whole thing shifted. And those little ones started to stop here, to where we never had them. And now I mean man, we got them all winter. We shoot them from November to our season ends in the middle of February. They’re still here a lot of years. But it’s funny everybody thinks about Colorado, they think snow skiing mountains, all this kind of stuff.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah.

Jeff Caldwell: We’re in a banana belt here on the Front Range of Colorado.

Ramsey Russell: Totally different than anywhere west here.

Jeff Caldwell: Oh absolutely. And people don’t understand that. They think, oh man, it’s got to be cold in Colorado when you’re goose hunting. Some days, but I mean, even today after we were done with the hunt, the sun popped out, man, it was getting warm. I mean we get a 30 degree shifts throughout the course of our hunting day. So it’s just a different deal. But I think that in fact with all the agriculture has caused those little geese to shortstop right here to where they used to go down to Texas. Now they’re just stopping right here.


Differences in Hunting Bigs vs. Littles

And if they get a lot of snow up there, we’ll still see those big ones, and when the big ones show up here, we just giggle like school children because they’re not difficult.


Ramsey Russell: What are some of the differences you’ve seen in hunting bigs versus littles, what are some of the differences?

Jeff Caldwell: Well, that’s like night and day. I mean the big ones, of course, is a lot of times you can get away with a smaller decoy spread. There a lot more spread out, they’re just a different bird, it’s a complete different thing. A lot of times back in the day we used to, and that’s the other thing, back in January years ago, right after Christmas, a lot of times those big geese would show up here out of Montana, and I think that’s changed as well. There’s a lot more grain crop now along the Yellowstone valley and stuff up there, and it literally does take an act of God to get those big geese to come anymore. And if they get a lot of snow up there, we’ll still see those big ones, and when the big ones show up here, we just giggle like school children because they’re not difficult. I mean they’re really, in reality, the big ones are not as difficult as these little ones. Little ones are more like a dark snow geese. I mean there’s no doubt about that.

Ramsey Russell: I think they are too. I really think, what’s so odd as we were talking last night over Coors.

Ramsey Russell: Funny, we were drinking Coors beer here in Colorado. Back in the day, back when I was a little boy, it was a special treatment, the man got Coors, somebody had to have gone out to Colorado, bring Coors back to Mississippi.

Jeff Caldwell: Right.

Ramsey Russell: That’s a long time ago, but anyway, we were talking about up in Manitoba, the light goose season. When it started Ross’s were protected, but during the spring conservation season, when they first started at Manitoba, you couldn’t shoot Roskies. It was so odd to me when you get up there, you see the Roskies, there really weren’t many with the white and blues. They were with the freaking cacklers.

Jeff Caldwell: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: That was the craziest thing. It must have something to do with them breeding in similar areas that —

Jeff Caldwell: Far north up there. 

Ramsey Russell: But their behavior is very similar.

Jeff Caldwell: Very similar. There are a lot of the same bird they really are.

Ramsey Russell: And somebody showed me one time, some boys I was hunting out here Front Ranges, we were out driving around scouting. It was odd to me how they set the decoys because I’m used to putting up a horseshoe, or a J or, a big old deep pocket with a big B52. Get way down wind and come in like a aircraft but they had a pit like yours which is extremely comfortable. The pit blind was located in the center of a donut hole. And that made absolutely no sense to me, and we were scouting around this afternoon, and he said, I want to show you something. And we went up and there was a ring, a donut of cacklers, and he said, when they land, they land right here and then they start to radiate out in all directions. And he said, if a new flock comes in, they’re going to land right in the middle of those they start pursuing that that outside line. That’s totally different behavior.

Jeff Caldwell: It’s a lot like, and you’ve seen snow geese before, they’re are a lot like the white goose to were, you know, white geese once they get on the ground, big Canada goose hits the ground they walk, right? They’re walking, they’re feeding through that field as they move. The little cacklers and the snows, they’re gregarious, and they’re leapfrogging, they’re jumping, they’re very greedy, so they’re moving quickly, they’re moving across the ground. But the interesting thing is a lot of times just like you said, they move as one unit. Where a big Canada goose, they don’t like another goose near them, especially if they find food, they’ll peck at them, they’ll nip at them. They don’t want — they want some room to where these little ones, that is not the case. 

Ramsey Russell: They’re right on top of each other.

Jeff Caldwell: That’s right. It is. And they are so much different, but that’s the other part of the equation too with hunting these things, because there’s constant movement, to where big Canada geese not necessarily a lot of times. As a matter of fact, guys when they’re flagging at big Canadas and everything, you can actually spook those big Canadas about with a flag at the wrong time. You can hit them on the corner, but those little geese, you can flag at them sometimes when they’re straight over top and it doesn’t scare. Totally different bird, totally different.


Joining the Guided Hunting Competition

It’s just always something that’s just been in my blood. It’s just how it is.


Ramsey Russell: How did you get into the guided hunt business and why? You got all this great hunting out here, you having a good time hunting, you kind of got it to yourself, there’s not a lot of hunting, there is quite a bit of hunting competition, isn’t it?

Jeff Caldwell: Yes, there is.

Ramsey Russell: It’s a fair amount of goose hunting competition.

Jeff Caldwell: There is.

Ramsey Russell: You get into it, but then you decide, oh, I’m going to start taking people, why did you get into that? How did you get into it?

Jeff Caldwell: It’s interesting. Over the years, even as a kid, I can remember, it’s the craziest thing I would — I grew up on a lake there just outside of Loveland, and I remember going down there, and I’d watch the ducks come in the evening and going to the center of the reservoir. I just go down there just to watch them just because I just enjoyed watching them. I loved watching them. I didn’t necessarily have to shoot them. I just enjoyed watching them. I always was, even as I was young, he would drive me out here to drive me out here, just east of where we’re at here, to Woods Lake, just to drive me by there so I could go look at the ducks because they’d be covered with mallards just after Halloween. I want to go see that. And so over time this passion grew, but it wasn’t just for hunting, it was for actually seeing them, just visualizing and watching those birds, watching the way they fly, watching the way they work. It’s just always something that’s just been in my blood. It’s just how it is. 

Ramsey Russell: You’re a people person, obviously you’re a people person. Everybody listening can tell how shy and quiet you are.

Jeff Caldwell: Yeah, you said I don’t talk much.

Ramsey Russell: You don’t talk much. But you are a people person, I can tell you love this. You’ve been doing it for 13 years, I’ll tell you, to your credit. I got to say this too though, I get a inbox or something, about hey, if you’re passing through Colorado, come see me. It was Alex Augustine, somebody off Instagram, but I wouldn’t know him if he walked in and bought me a beer right now. I wouldn’t recognize him, but we’ve been chatting and stuff like that, and he introduced you to me, it’s kind of funny because he called me the other day and said, well, you come and hunt with me, and I got some clients, I mean, how does this work? I said, I don’t know somebody introduced us, I guess I’m coming to hunt with you. But once everybody knew, it’s like I’ve been here for several days and so many people heard I was coming to hunt with Jeff Caldwell, and man, it’s just nobody had nothing bad to say. Everybody had nothing but good to say like, I had a buddy here from Kansas not too long ago, Doug said it’s the best time he’s ever been on. He said ever. I mean that that speaks volumes, when I’ve got wide audience of people, everybody knows you and they recognize you as being the top outfitter out here on the Front Range. You got to be proud of something like that.

Jeff Caldwell: I am. We’ve worked really —

Ramsey Russell: But why is that, Jeff?


What Makes You the Top Outfitter on the Front Range?

We want to make sure they had a good time.


Jeff Caldwell: Well, I’ll tell you. We’ve worked really hard at it, but we have come to figure out over time. It’s not necessarily about piles of birds, but it’s about the experience. Everybody wants to have a good shoot. We all want to have a good shoot. Everybody wants to get birds and harvest geese and ducks, whatever that may be. But we try and credit ourselves with being for the people, being for what they want to do. This morning we had a group of folks and they wanted to bring their dog. A lot of outfitters won’t allow them to bring their own dog, we allow them to bring their own dogs as long as the dog is well behaved. He doesn’t want to break, stuff like that where it doesn’t create safety issues. I’m all about that. Because it’s all part of that experience. They’re coming out and they want to have fun. We want to have fun. If we get our limit, that’s the icing on the cake. That’s the icing on the cake. But our thing is we want to make sure we take care of people. If they have a rough hunt, we’re going to take care of them. I can’t guarantee success. We never can.

Ramsey Russell: It’s a wild bird. 

Jeff Caldwell: There’s only one person that can tell us what kind of success we’re going to have, it’s not you and I, that’s for sure. But here’s the thing. I promise them that they’re going to get opportunities that decoy and birds, and if they don’t, we’re going to rehunt them. We’re going to rehunt them because I want to make sure that everybody’s happy when they leave, whether they killed 3 geese or 23 geese. We want to make sure they had a good time.

Ramsey Russell: You ride the road pretty hard scouting and looking at these birds, trying to figure out their flight patterns and it’s always changing. Like, this morning you said it a million times, and it was true. You could see the behavior of the birds. They didn’t want to be on the ground this morning. They were up buzzing around. They were looking at us, but they really didn’t want to land enough for more of the land we knocked out limits. But they really did and they were just kind of booger, and by the time you get excited, they just kind of start fading on.

Jeff Caldwell: Right.

Ramsey Russell: They really weren’t hitting down anywhere.

Jeff Caldwell: No. And it was just something, and that’s the other thing. When you spend enough time, and you’re out there, and you’re – just like we were talking about – I just love to go watch the crazy things. I watched the way that they’re on the ground. I watched the way that they’re sitting, and we try and make that sight picture of our decoy spread look just like they were on the field. We wanted to look just like that. And you spend a lot of time doing that in the last couple of days. It was like I told you, I said, Ramsey, these birds in the morning, they’re not real good. They’re not going to the ground, they’re flying around, and there’s enough of them moving around, and I think we’ve got enough geese that I think we can get our licks, right? But in the afternoons, it’s been night and day. We’ve been very fortunate we’ve had great hunts in the morning. There’s enough geese around that we’ve been able to get our birds before we have to hunt all day. But yeah that’s just kind of been the nature of the beast in the afternoon and been a different ball game. We have been attacked.

Ramsey Russell: Right. How long has your son Colton – he’s 20 years old, he turns 21 next week, huge asset to the blind, gets your set up. He’s energetic, he’s young, he’s getting off into, it’s got a lot of nice camera equipment, starting video and do some stuff and boys, he had called her. Ya’ll make a great team. How long has he been involved with your business?

Jeff Caldwell: Colton got the bug at four years old, believe it or not.

Ramsey Russell: I believe it.

Jeff Caldwell: Four years old. He got the bug and he’s just been ate up with it ever since. But I’ll tell you what, he’s become a very integral part of my business. He does a great job. He’s a good people person as well. He likes to hunt. He likes to be in the field. He’s the same way, I mean, just flat ate up.

Ramsey Russell: The way those birds are working, especially in big flocks. It kind of helps to have two sets of eyes. I mean in front, in the back, to the left, on the right, and it’s changing by the minute.

Jeff Caldwell: Yes, sir. Yeah absolutely, because if they’re big geese you can handle it by yourself easily. But with these little ones, my goodness, about the time you got four of them cupped in the front, somebody goes in the back, and they’re right here 10 yards with the feet out. It does definitely make a big difference when you got two guys. 

Ramsey Russell: There was a lot of shots you could have called this morning on 30-35 yards but you didn’t, you were patient and just let them get in there and we were able to sugar shots.

Jeff Caldwell: Yeah. In a perfect world you want to do that every day, we all do, whether it be ducks, or geese, or whatever and some days that’s just all you get. You get those swing shots and that’s just kind of the way it is. But I knew that we had enough birds to fool around with, and I knew we could kind of weed through them, and we’d get our licks, we’d get some birds that would finally do it. And so it was kind of – there was a few times there, I know there was one time I said we should have shot him because I could read it when they went around that they are not coming back. But it’s kind of one of those deals that you kind of got to make your decision at the spur of the moment. That’s the hard thing about being a guide. You got to make a spur of the moment decision. There’s a lot of times when I would have been fun hunting, I said let’s shoot him, let’s shoot him right there. But I want the clients to get that experience of those backpedaling birds, and everything just centered up just right, and you go, there they are.

Ramsey Russell: That’s the magic.

Jeff Caldwell: Have your way with them, right?


Changes in Goose Migration Patterns

I think I was telling you, 20 years ago, you wouldn’t see a snow goose here.


Ramsey Russell: We did shoot some snow geese this morning. And you were telling me over lunch that snow geese are becoming kind of a new things, like, first it was big geese, then it was bigs and littles. Now you get white birds coming in. What’s up with that, reckon? And I am thinking that these birds overwinter in Mexico, especially the ones who come back in spring. They’re not they’re not the bird down in Coastal Texas, they’re overwintering down in Mexico.

Jeff Caldwell: Yes, sir. I would agree. I think you and I kind of spoke about that a little bit. I think some of these birds are in that western continent, flock of snows that are kind of wintering, spending their time down in New Mexico, Bosque Del Apache, maybe Central Highlands of Mexico, even the farther west. I think I was telling you, 20 years ago, you wouldn’t see a snow goose here. None matter of fact, you’d come in and there’d be a bunch of hunters around, somebody say I saw snow today. Not got a snow, saw one. Now, it’s not uncommon, and every year we get more and more and more that are actually — last couple of years and it’s really only been the last couple 2-3 years here, we’ve got snow geese that are overwintering here. Not going any farther south. I mean we got snow geese are sticking around here and the end of the season in February. They’re still here. It is something, it’s really odd.


A Day in the Life of a Colorado Outfitter


Ramsey Russell: Walk the listener through a typical day. This morning we kicked off a coffee pot at your house and chit chatted a little bit. We didn’t drive far afield. You want to hunt near the big old roost, one too far, and then what? Just walk through a day of your hunt, you’re hunting all day or limit. It’s not just a morning hunt.

Jeff Caldwell: Right. Our hunts are, we charge for, it’s a day hunt. So a lot of times, typical deal would be if we hunt in the morning, and we get that morning flight coming off the roost, and then they go back to the roost midday. They’re back, and the birds are just lounging, and just kind of kicking back on the reservoir. We’ll take a lunch break. A lot of times we’ll go, and we’ll come over to Bruce’s and have a burger or whatever, and just kind of relax, and then we’ll get back in the field for the afternoon. But our typical day, a lot of times we don’t always meet at Mike’s place, obviously, but a lot of times, depending on where we’re hunting, will meet at a convenience store or something like that. I’ll say, here’s where we’re going to meet, we’re going to go from there, we’re going to go to the pit, we’re going to set up decoys. A lot of times we’re going to start normally, it’s going to be approximately an hour before shooting hours at this time of year, when it’s warm. A lot of times in December January. I’ll tell them, I say boys, we don’t need to meet till 7:30 or 8:00, we’re not going to see a goose till 9:00 because it’s 12 degrees, right? But so we’re going to go and we’re going to put those decoys up, we’re going to get in the pit, we’re going to hunt. If we get them in the morning, great, if not, we’re going to take that lunch break and we’re going to be right back in the field for the afternoon.

Ramsey Russell: I can’t beat it. I sure enjoyed hunting with you, Jeff.

Jeff Caldwell: A lot of fun. I enjoyed hunting with you too.


Bruce’s: A Unique Business Model 

I’m going to lease out goose hunts. I’m going to pluck your goose. And then I’ve got cold beer and hamburgers.


Ramsey Russell: But speaking of lunch, how many of your clients come right here to Bruce Karen’s most of them?

Jeff Caldwell: We have a lot of them, we’re hunting in the —

Ramsey Russell: It’s the staple of this area.

Jeff Caldwell: It is. When we’re hunting in this area and there’s a lot of times we’re maybe hunting — we’ve got farms spread from, I’ve got farms spread for about a 50-mile radius, actually we’ve got pit spread all over. So, but anytime we’re near here where it’s not too far for us to travel, we’re going to come here. I love giving Bruce Karen the business. It’s a great atmosphere.

Ramsey Russell: Greasy cheeseburger, brisket sandwiches, but their specialty.

Jeff Caldwell: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: Their specialty.

Jeff Caldwell: Their specialty is Rocky Mountain –

Ramsey Russell: Rocky Mountain oysters.

Jeff Caldwell: That’s it. 

Ramsey Russell: Let me get Bruce Karen in here to ask him about that. Speaking of Bruce Karen’s and Rocky Mountain oysters, it is really kind of a big deal. It’s a long, long, well established bar-restaurant here in this tiny little town of about 900. And it’s presently owned by Bruce Karen, the new Bruce, everybody calls you Bruce Karen.

Bruce Karen: The new Bruce Karen, that’s what they say.

Ramsey Russell: Are you from this area?

Bruce Karen: I am originally from Berthoud, Colorado.

Ramsey Russell: How long have you been patronizing Bruce’s bar?

Bruce Karen: Probably back to the 1970s, late 1970s.

Ramsey Russell: Are you a waterfowl hunter? Have you ever been?

Bruce Karen: I am goose hunter.

Ramsey Russell: Is that what brought you originally to this establishment?

Bruce Karen: Originally, yes, we would come up and rent the pits that they used to have over on the other side of the lake.

Ramsey Russell: Really?

Bruce Karen: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: Talk about the history of this bar. It really didn’t start as a bar and a restaurant, it started more as something else.

Bruce Karen: Originally it did start as a bar, but it was just the center part of the bar that we have now that was here. So it was a tiny little place, in a tiny little town, and when Bruce started it up, it started as a bar, and it eventually just kind of morphed into what it is now, and the goose hunting just kind of came along with it.

Ramsey Russell: Well, what was his relation like? Somebody told me that historically, he was the guy you called if you wanted to go pass shoot some geese in the morning.

Bruce Karen: Pretty much.

Ramsey Russell: How did that work? Did you just show up and get in line, or you?

Bruce Karen: You showed up and you rented, they would have all the blind numbers up at the bar up there, and you’d show up, and if there was anything open, you’d rent those blinds directly from the bar. And what I tell you where they were and —

Ramsey Russell: What time would you show up in the morning?

Bruce Karen: You had to be here early, 5:00. Yeah, they rented them out.

Ramsey Russell: Were beer sales pretty strong that time of morning? 

Bruce Karen: Oh, yeah. You know, I was too young to drink back then. No, I think it was the Bloody Mary crowd is what they were.

Ramsey Russell: The reason I asked because I had a friend of mine on here the other day from Denver, he makes that Flashback decoy, and he was fishing somewhere, and the Breakfast Special for $1 with a fig Newton and a shot of whiskey.

Bruce Karen: There you go.

Ramsey Russell: And I just wonder if that was kind of this crowd that would come out here pass shooting, pass shooting with a decoy. And how did the hunting work back then?

Bruce Karen: They had both that most of it was pass shooting. They used to have a bunch of blinds that were over by the Timmins Reservoir over there. So that would be the pass shooting and then they had other pits that were south and east of here. So getting the pits was kind of tough because they didn’t have very many of them. So those you had to almost reserve way ahead of time to get them. But they did have both and I don’t know what the success was with the pass shooting and I know we used to do pretty good in the pits. 

Ramsey Russell: And the limit was two. Now would that have been mostly the big geese? Or there’s some little geese in there too, sometimes?

Bruce Karen: Yeah, there was little ones too. I mean there’s the locals that have — it’s just like it is now there’s still the locals that are here, the local geese that are here year around. And then you had a lot of the big ones too. So yeah, we had a little of both.

Ramsey Russell: And was he also doing goose plucking out of this facility at the time?

Bruce Karen: Yeah, we still have a —

Ramsey Russell: So I’d come in at five o’clock maybe have a have a beer, to into a blind until whenever, and I come back and lay them off?

Bruce Karen: Yeah, and we still have the goose cleaning room in the back there. We don’t use it anymore. But all the equipment is still there that — when we reopened, we had the cleaning going on. We did that for a couple of years. But, to be honest with you, it’s a mess.

Ramsey Russell: It’s a mess. The Federal regulations alone, let alone the physical mess of.

Bruce Karen: Yeah. And it got to the point where we were filling up freezers and then a lot of the goose hunters would pay for it, but then they never come back and get the meat.

Ramsey Russell: I can imagine.

Bruce Karen: Then what do you do with it? We got a whole bunch of geese that are frozen in the freezer back there, and at the end of the year, they’re still there. So yeah, we just kind of, we got away from it. It was hard to find somebody that wanted to do it, and basically it was kind of a mess for us to do it anyway. 

Ramsey Russell: What was Bruce’s last name?

Bruce Karen: Bruce Karen Ruth.

Ramsey Russell: Bruce Karen Ruth? That’s an easy name to remember. One of his relation to Babe Ruth?

Bruce Karen: That I do not know.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah. Was he a goose hunter himself?

Bruce Karen: Oh yeah. He’s a big hunter.

Ramsey Russell: From way back when?

Bruce Karen: From way back when, yeah.

Ramsey Russell: It just intrigues me. What a business model. I’m going to lease out goose hunts. I’m going to pluck your goose. And then I’ve got cold beer and hamburgers. Dennis, who I talked to, was telling me that he’s the guy that kind of brought the Rocky Mountain oysters into play.

Bruce Karen: And Dennis is the guy that you want to talk to about that, because Dennis has been here since 1974. I should say well known as one of the main staples here.

Ramsey Russell: Y’all do have a website don’t you?

Bruce Karen: Bruce Karensbar123.

Ramsey Russell: Bruce Karensbar123. Severance Colorado. Do you have a social media page?

Bruce Karen: We do, we’re on Facebook also. You get Dennis on here, you’re going to get some stories.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah, well, I’m going to get Dennis on here and thank you very much. I sure enjoyed coming by here. To me, it goes hand in hand, coming to the Front Range and hunting geese necessitates lunch here at Bruce’s Bar.

Bruce Karen: Yep, you got to do it. You got to experience the Rocky Mountain oysters. This is the best place to get them.


A Slogan to Remember

“Where the Geese Fly and the Bulls Cry”


Ramsey Russell: There’s a billboard out here in downtown right across from your bar here that says “where geese fly and bulls cry.”

Bruce Karen: Where the geese fly and the bulls cry. That was the slogan.

Ramsey Russell: Where the geese fly and die and the bulls cry. But when did that become a town slogan?

Bruce Karen: That was the slogan that they had way back in the day when they did the goose hunt, and all the big goose hunting here. And that was just kind of one of the things that the original Bruce Karen brought out. That was the slogan that they kept, and that’s what they used, and it’s still here. 

Ramsey Russell: To me it’s real interesting for a little town this close to Denver to have that, because Denver is kind of liberal.

Bruce Karen: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: Granola and —

Bruce Karen: But it didn’t used to be.

Ramsey Russell:  When did that change?

Bruce Karen: Probably within the last, I’d say, 15 years.

Ramsey Russell: Influx of people from outside Colorado coming to it?

Bruce Karen: Yep, that’s exactly what it is. Originally, Denver was a cow town. And the liberal people that have moved in from all other states is what’s changed Denver, and pretty much a lot of the Front Range, Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins. But it is what it is, I mean, there’s still a lot of hunting here, and there’s still a lot of people that come for hunting, a lot of out of out-of-staters still come here for hunting.

Ramsey Russell: When I think of Colorado, I think of snow skiing and hunting, not waterfowl hunting, elk hunting, mule deer.

Bruce Karen: Exactly, yeah. Big game. 

Ramsey Russell: And only recently, like I say, have the politics gotten kind of what they are.

Bruce Karen: Politics are getting into everything right now.

Ramsey Russell: How has this surrounding area changed since you were young and since you were coming here as a youngster? I mean, pulling into town, there are just big mansion neighborhoods everywhere.

Bruce Karen: Well, back in the ‘70s, there was 103 people that lived in Severance. And now we’re close to 9000 people.

Ramsey Russell: Oh, I didn’t realize you were that big.

Bruce Karen: This town is really growing and the housing development’s crazy here, they got their own schools now, which they didn’t have a few years back. So this area is really getting crazy.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah. How did you get into hunting? Did your dad introduce?

Bruce Karen: Yeah. 

Ramsey Russell: Was he a goose hunter?

Bruce Karen: Yeah, I used to hunt with him.

Ramsey Russell: Was he also from Colorado?

Bruce Karen: Originally from Minnesota. He moved here, back when he was in his 20s. We hunted with him a lot.

Ramsey Russell: What were some of your fondest memories growing up hunting with your dad?

Bruce Karen: Oh, just being able to go out and getting in a pit and hunting was the fun thing.

Ramsey Russell: Cutting up and spending quality time.

Bruce Karen: Yeah. And we need more people to do that.

Ramsey Russell: Absolutely. Bruce, I appreciate you. Bruce’s Bar, a longstanding tradition here on the Front Range, anybody coming through, you find yourself going to be in Denver, going to be anywhere nearby, do yourself a favor. Swing over here to Severance so you can’t miss Bruce’s Bar. It’s the epicenter, it’s like the whole downtown of Severance just kind of emanates from Bruce’s Bar. Y’all can’t miss it. Look for the big billboard and he’s right across the street. Thank you, Bruce.

Bruce Karen: Thank you.


Tales from an Old-Timer

And then they’d go out and do their hunt, then they’d call come back in for lunch, have lunch, go out and hunt more, and then they all come back to the bar to have some libations and party a little bit in the evenings.


Ramsey Russell: Dennis Guffey.

Dennis Guffey: Yes.

Ramsey Russell: You’ve been here at Bruce’s Bar for ever.

Dennis Guffey: Since 1974.

Ramsey Russell: How did that come to be?

Dennis Guffey: Well, my parents lived here for years, just about a block east of here and my dad frequented Bruce’s. So basically, when I was about 15 or 16, the manager at the time hired me, started out as a dishwasher, and then when he went up the pole, and learning how to cook, and I’ve done everything in here cooking, bartending, even serving. So I pretty much learned the business.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah. Was your dad a goose hunter?

Dennis Guffey: No, he wasn’t.

Ramsey Russell: Were you a goose hunter?

Dennis Guffey: No, I never hunted a bird in my life.

Ramsey Russell: Never hunted bird. But you were here during the heyday.

Dennis Guffey: Of the hunting, yes.

Ramsey Russell: When Bruce Karen Ruth was leasing out the holes, leasing out the post. People hunting, people coming back here and plucking ducks, and all that good stuff.

Dennis Guffey: Sure, it was, right in the height of it. And mid-seventies through about early nineties was a real crazy, crazy, crazy time. Especially the mid-seventies, early eighties it was busy all the time. Especially on the weekends because there were so many areas around here that had open fields where Bruce Karen could lease and put his blinds and his pits out. So we were really busy back in those days. We opened really early in the morning, we served the hunter’s breakfast and sent them on their way.

Ramsey Russell: Was beer a big part of that breakfast? I’m just curious.

Dennis Guffey: Actually we did have some people come in when it was legal. I think it was seven o’clock or after you could serve alcohol.

Ramsey Russell: Oh, okay.

Dennis Guffey: But some people did have a like a Red Beer or Bloody Mary.

Ramsey Russell: Sure, a little something tight and it was cold out there.

Dennis Guffey: Yeah. And then they’d go out and do their hunt, then they’d call come back in for lunch, have lunch, go out and hunt more, and then they all come back to the bar to have some libations and party a little bit in the evenings.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah, while the birds are getting picked.

Dennis Guffey: And we had a cleaning room on the south end of the building.

Ramsey Russell: Tell me some stories from back in the heyday. What do you remember when this place was buzzing in the seventies with goose hunters coming in in the morning and coming back midday? What do you seem to remember back then?

Dennis Guffey: Oh, just a lot of partying when they all got together. It’s just a lot of camaraderie.

Ramsey Russell: It’s social and camaraderie.

Dennis Guffey: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: Most of the people coming out of Denver?

Dennis Guffey: Oh, a lot of our hunters did come up from the Denver area and even some of them from the Springs, believe it or not. We had a lot of regulars that come up there, they’d bring their motor homes and campers, and they make a weekend out of it.

Ramsey Russell: How have times changed since then? Was this area just everyone near grown up, I’m guessing?

Dennis Guffey: Oh God, no. Severance back in the day was barely 100 people. It was small.

Ramsey Russell: Except during goose season.

Dennis Guffey: Yeah, it was crazy here on the weekends, unbelievable. I mean, just crazy.


Cowboy Country Delicacies

Tell everybody the difference in a buffalo oyster and a beef oyster.


Ramsey Russell: Bruce Karen started a bar, but he was a goose hunter. So he started leasing up fields around Timmins Reservoir and running these hunts and stuff. And then the two kind of went hand in hand, we’re going to pluck our birds here, and while your birds are being plucked, we got a bar, we got hamburgers. When did the mountain oysters come onto the scene? And what is it about Mountain Oysters?

Dennis Guffey: Well, Bruce Karen started those back in the late 50s.

Ramsey Russell: Oh really?

Dennis Guffey: Yeah, he opened Bruce’s back in, I believe it was 1957. He opened a bar and he bought oysters from like local farmers and stuff. Kind of started it as a novelty for the people that came in here on the weekends and stuff. And then it just got popular and took off. I mean it just exploded basically.

Ramsey Russell: I have been everywhere out West but a lot of the places that I’ve duck hunted, it’s only place I’ve duck or goose hunted that Rocky Mountain oysters is kind of a big deal.

Dennis Guffey: Oh yeah.

Ramsey Russell: You don’t just see them everywhere at the bar or on a menu.

Dennis Guffey: Yeah, there’s been a few places but like stuff like that you won’t find on the East Coast or anything. Not a thing.

Ramsey Russell: Definitely not a thing in Boston. 

Dennis Guffey: No they have real oysters there. But yeah, it’s definitely a Western United States deal. A lot of the Western States. I don’t know so much about California, but like Colorado, Wyoming, Montana.

Ramsey Russell: Cowboy country.

Dennis Guffey: Exactly.

Ramsey Russell: It’s hard to believe it’s right here on the Front Range. I mean, I basically see the skyline of Denver and Fort Collins. But this was historically ranching country, cowboy country when you were growing up, that was kind of a thing wasn’t it?

Dennis Guffey: Oh yeah. It always has been.

Ramsey Russell: He could buy them local. You were telling me earlier back in the kitchen about how many oysters, how many bull testicles y’all go through? Where do you get them from? And how many do you order?

Dennis Guffey: Well, we’ve gotten them from basically almost every state in the country at one time or another. We’ve gotten them from, currently we’re buying them from a packing place out of Chicago, and then they just ship them here to us, and we have a big freezer, we keep them, but we’ve gotten them from everywhere. Years ago we actually got some out of Costa Rica. We’ve got them there. I think we’ve gotten some out of New Zealand, I believe, long time ago.

Ramsey Russell: I bet those were all the sheep. Those were all the sheep y’all used to get because that that sheep country down in New Zealand. Boy, they got some sheep down.

Dennis Guffey: There’s a lot of sheep there.

Ramsey Russell: And on the menu today, y’all got beef and bison.

Dennis Guffey: Exactly. That’s the only two we currently have.

Ramsey Russell: When did bison, I mean, when did bison testicles become a thing? I mean one back in the ‘70s and ‘50s, was it?

Dennis Guffey: Oh no, since the new Bruce Karen took over the bar, we started those, which was in 2008. And we’ve had them since then, and we did have lamb for a while, I think I told you that earlier.

Ramsey Russell: I bet the over coming out of New Zealand.

Dennis Guffey: They may even be more tender than the buffalo are, believe it or not.

Ramsey Russell: What’s the difference? Tell everybody the difference in a buffalo oyster and a beef oyster.


Rocky Mountain Oysters Pro Tip: Chewy or Tender?

That’s a lot of nuts.


Dennis Guffey: The beef has got a little bit more chewy consistency to them. I liken it to kind of like liver, or gizzard, or something like that. And the buffalo oysters are really, really super tender. They’re night and day I think. Yeah, I mean you can definitely tell the difference.

Ramsey Russell: I ordered a combo and when she laid it down, she goes, these are the bison, those are the beef. And when I bit into one, one until I tasted both of them and I realized, oh no, she had it backwards. Those are definitely more tender, way more tender.

Dennis Guffey: You can definitely tell the difference.

Ramsey Russell: And so for those of y’all listening, just a kind of a pro tip: when you’re eating Rocky Mountain oysters, you can have chewy or you can have tender, whatever you want. That’s just a pro tip.

Dennis Guffey: There you go. And that’s kind of how those are.

Ramsey Russell: How popular are they here? I mean you’ve got cheeseburgers, brisket, and all kinds of food, but that’s kind of your menu highlight, how many Rocky Mountain oysters do y’all go through in this little town of 9000?

Dennis Guffey: Well, in the course of a year, if you add up all the beef and all the buffalo, we probably go through, I would guess 15-20 tons, something like that.

Ramsey Russell: 40,000 lbs of bull testicles. And I’m going to guess a single bull testicle weighs 1/10 of a pound, maybe less.

Dennis Guffey: You’d be surprised. I mean, some of them were relatively small, and I’ve literally run into some have been this big huge.

Ramsey Russell: Holding up his hands like a cantaloupe.

Dennis Guffey: Yeah, exactly. I would say the bulk of them probably weigh in at a half a pound, maybe a little more, give or take.

Ramsey Russell: When you all buy them, are they just actually frozen bull testicles and then y’all slice them?

Dennis Guffey: Yeah, we do all the work here ourselves. They come in whole, so we get them in whole. Sometimes the skin or off of them. And here lately though, we’ve been getting them already skinned, which is handy, but sometimes we have to get them in.

Ramsey Russell: You have like a white sheath on each testicle?

Dennis Guffey: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: You have to peel that off.

Dennis Guffey: The skin’s no good.

Ramsey Russell: Kind of like, I’ve seen beef heart when you do a beef heart, you have to pull that out of skin off.

Dennis Guffey: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: that’s the way this testicle will be.

Dennis Guffey: Yeah.

Ramsey Russell: And then y’all slice it in strips.

Dennis Guffey: Yep. We do our roll.

Ramsey Russell: We cut it laid out flat and then cut it in strips. Or do you just kind of cut it in little rings?

Dennis Guffey: No, we actually take it like this, cut it lengthwise. Like, lay each half down flat and then cut it into the strips that you’ve seen, about a quarter inch thick.

Ramsey Russell: Yup.

Dennis Guffey: Then you just throw them in the deep fryer with cracker meal on them.

Ramsey Russell: All you do is put straight cracker meal?

Dennis Guffey: No, there’s no seasoning, nothing.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah, salt and pepper, whatever like that later?

Dennis Guffey: At the table, right.

Ramsey Russell: That ketchup was souped up. That little different sauce? It wasn’t just ketchup with that horseradish.

Dennis Guffey: That’s horseradish. It’s a ketchup and horseradish mix. That’s it.

Ramsey Russell: You go through about 40,000 lbs of bull testicles. That’s a lot of bull testicles.

Dennis Guffey: That’s a lot of nuts.

Ramsey Russell: That’s a lot of nuts. When y’all brought the bison testicles onto the menu, is it about 50-50 or?

Dennis Guffey: No, beef still outsells buffalo by quite a bit because that’s the one we’ve always had, but buffalo are becoming increasingly popular. So we actually sell a lot of those in the course of a year.

Ramsey Russell: Wow. Do you remember any funny stories from back in the old days, back in the old days when this place started, when this place was just thriving, when it was dominant? A town of 100 people. And all of a sudden it blows up to a thousand, cause you got goose hunters just coming in and out. Who are some of the colorful characters or personalities, some of the funny times you remember back then?

Dennis Guffey: Oh, there’s been so many old timers that have come through here, unfortunately, a lot of them are gone. Just hanging out, watching them party in the evenings.

Ramsey Russell: Did You hear some funny stories?

Dennis Guffey: To tell you the truth, I’ve always worked back in the kitchen. So I really tell you the truth, I mean we’ve had some well-known people back in the day, when the Broncos used to come up when they trained over here in Greeley for years. We get a few of those Bronco players that were coming here and everything. I’ve got to meet some of them and stuff like that.

Ramsey Russell: This is Denver Bronco country.

Dennis Guffey: Yes, it is, yep.

Ramsey Russell: Matter of fact, you’re wearing a Superbowl hat.

Dennis Guffey: Yep.

Ramsey Russell: Die hard. I bet this place fills up during football night.

Dennis Guffey: Oh, Darrin sometimes on Sundays when they’re playing, we get pretty good crowd in here. So, it’s kind of fun.

Ramsey Russell: A pretty big crowd in here and I know people listening can see since here the crowd in the background, it’s always like this at lunchtime?

Dennis Guffey: Lunches vary from one day to the next. You never know. But sometimes we have some pretty big ones, especially on Saturdays and Sundays, pretty busy in here. Weekend nights are crazy. I mean there’s times there’s not an empty seat in this bar.

Ramsey Russell: I’ve heard of people that work like at places like Baskin Robbins, and sample and eat so much ice cream, they finally quit eating it. Do you still like to eat Rocky Mountain oysters?

Dennis Guffey: Believe it or not. As many as I’ve worked with and processed, I do like them. I do. They are a unique thing. I mean, some people won’t try them just because they know what they are. You’d be surprised how many people come in here and say you want to try our house specialty? And they say no, thank you. They just can’t get past what they are, and I’m not eating those, and I’m like, that’s fine.

Ramsey Russell: Well, they are not big and round like you got to bite into them or something. They are little chicken strips or something.

Dennis Guffey: I think they envision this whole round coming out. It’s like, no, we don’t do that, no.

Ramsey Russell: Dennis, I appreciate you being here and explaining to everybody, and walking us through the customs of Rocky Mountain oysters at Bruce’s Bar. Folks, thank you all for listening to this episode of Ducks Season Somewhere live from Severance, Colorado, where geese fly, where geese die, and where bulls cry. And now why, I’ll see y’all next time.


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

Tetra Hearing Delivers premium technology that’s specifically calibrated for the users own hearing and is comfortable, giving hunters a natural hearing experience, while still protecting their hearing. Using patent-pending Specialized Target Optimization™ (STO), the world’s first hearing technology designed optimize hearing for hunters in their specific hunting environments. TETRA gives hunters an edge and gives them their edge back. Can you hear me now?! Dang straight I can. Thanks to Tetra Hearing!

Voormi Wool-based technology is engineered to perform. Wool is nature’s miracle fiber. It’s light, wicks moisture, is inherently warm even when wet. It’s comfortable over a wide temperature gradient, naturally anti-microbial, remaining odor free. But Voormi is not your ordinary wool. It’s new breed of proprietary thermal wool takes it next level–it doesn’t itch, is surface-hardened to bead water from shaking duck dogs, and is available in your favorite earth tones and a couple unique concealment patterns. With wool-based solutions at the yarn level, Voormi eliminates the unwordly glow that’s common during low light while wearing synthetics. The high-e hoodie and base layers are personal favorites that I wear worldwide. Voormi’s growing line of innovative of performance products is authenticity with humility. It’s the practical hunting gear that we real duck hunters deserve.

Mojo Outdoors, most recognized name brand decoy number one maker of motion and spinning wing decoys in the world. More than just the best spinning wing decoys on the market, their ever growing product line includes all kinds of cool stuff. Magnetic Pick Stick, Scoot and Shoot Turkey Decoys much, much more. And don’t forget my personal favorite, yes sir, they also make the one – the only – world-famous Spoonzilla. When I pranked Terry Denman in Mexico with a “smiling mallard” nobody ever dreamed it would become the most talked about decoy of the century. I’ve used Mojo decoys worldwide, everywhere I’ve ever duck hunted from Azerbaijan to Argentina. I absolutely never leave home without one. Mojo Outdoors, forever changing the way you hunt ducks.

BOSS Shotshells copper-plated bismuth-tin alloy is the good ol’ days again. Steel shot’s come a long way in the past 30 years, but we’ll never, ever perform like good old fashioned lead. Say goodbye to all that gimmicky high recoil compensation science hype, and hello to superior performance. Know your pattern, take ethical shots, make clean kills. That is the BOSS Way. The good old days are now.

Tom Beckbe The Tom Beckbe lifestyle is timeless, harkening an American era that hunting gear lasted generations. Classic design and rugged materials withstand the elements. The Tensas Jacket is like the one my grandfather wore. Like the one I still wear. Because high-quality Tom Beckbe gear lasts. Forever. For the hunt.

Flashback Decoy by Duck Creek Decoy Works. It almost pains me to tell y’all about Duck Creek Decoy Work’s new Flashback Decoy because in  the words of Flashback Decoy inventor Tyler Baskfield, duck hunting gear really is “an arms race.” At my Mississippi camp, his flashback decoy has been a top-secret weapon among my personal bag of tricks. It behaves exactly like a feeding mallard, making slick-as-glass water roil to life. And now that my secret’s out I’ll tell y’all something else: I’ve got 3 of them.

Ducks Unlimited takes a continental, landscape approach to wetland conservation. Since 1937, DU has conserved almost 15 million acres of waterfowl habitat across North America. While DU works in all 50 states, the organization focuses its efforts and resources on the habitats most beneficial to waterfowl.

It really is Duck Season Somewhere for 365 days. Ramsey Russell’s Duck Season Somewhere podcast is available anywhere you listen to podcasts. Please subscribe, rate and review Duck Season Somewhere podcast. Share your favorite episodes with friends. Business inquiries or comments contact Ramsey Russell at And be sure to check out our new GetDucks Shop.  Connect with Ramsey Russell as he chases waterfowl hunting experiences worldwide year-round: Insta @ramseyrussellgetducks, YouTube @DuckSeasonSomewherePodcast,  Facebook @GetDucks