Zach Meyer, formerly of WildEar, meets with Ramsey during Dallas Safari Club, telling him about his earliest introductions into hunting, about how he became a lifelong waterfowler with the single pull of the trigger. They share a few humorous tell-tale stories about shotgun-related hearing impairments (spoiler alert, Ramsey can’t read lips on TV screens). The two part ways after Ramsey receives an invite to experience something he’ll never do in Mississippi.
What Makes the Dallas Safari Club so Incredible?
This show is one of my favorites, hands down.
Ramsey Russell: I’m your host, Ramsey Russell. Join me here to listen to those conversations. This is Ramsey Russell of GetDucks. I am at Dallas Safari Club morning three, and it has been a heck of a show. There’s been a ton of traffic. All these folks saying the economy is not doing good need to be in a business, or be associated, or be in an environment like this one where people are buying hunts and hunt-related products from all over the world. Just see the flow of traffic and listen to the people at the morning breakfast saying, “Wow, that was a great day. We had a lot of people coming through.” It’s been a lot of fun. Met a lot of people from around the country. Tapped in with some old friends here at Dallas Safari Club, not the least of which is Zach Meyer of WildEar. Zach, how are you this morning?
Zach Meyer: Good. How are you doing?
Ramsey Russell: I’m good. What did y’all do last night? Don’t tell me you went to bed at eight o’clock; I know better.
Zach Meyer: No, we didn’t do that. We went out and got some dinner with some customers, and then went out.
Ramsey Russell: What is your take on Dallas Safari Club? Is this show better or worse than years past? How’s it going for you?
Zach Meyer: This show is one of my favorites, hands down.
Ramsey Russell: Why?
Zach Meyer: Just the people. Everyone here. Both the exhibitors and the customers walking through the floor.
Ramsey Russell: And the staff. I’ve told a million people, and this is the truth: as an exhibitor, you’ve got to get set up. You’ve got to come in the back door preceding the event and get all set up. These guys throw a barbecue. They’re friendly. I’ve known some of them, now, for ten years. They treat me like a friend. It’s very hospitable.
Zach Meyer: Yeah, big time. It feels more like a part of your social gathering than a show. I look forward to this one. It’s like, hey, I get to go see faces that I don’t normally see or don’t normally hang out with. Then it’s like, “Hey, dude, how are you?” It’s like your best buds.
Ramsey Russell: Yeah. Or somebody comes by about five o’clock and says, “Hey, what are you doing for dinner?” “Nothing. Let’s go.”
Zach Meyer: There’s a ton of on-the-fly— Like, “Hey, come do this.” It’s like, “Sure. Why not?”
Ramsey Russell: Duck hunting is a social sport.
Zach Meyer: Big time.
Ramsey Russell: So unlike somebody coming to buy an elk hunt or something you can go do by yourself, most guys want to talk to their buddies, talk to their families. I really don’t measure the success of an event by how many checks we take. We take checks or we don’t— it’s like this. I look at my watch; it’s 9:00. Five minutes later, I look at my watch, and it’s 1:00. Five minutes later, they’re turning the lights off, and I haven’t sat down all day. That’s the measure of a good success. It’s like Popeye and his spinach. The more people that come through, the more energetic I get. It’s just an energy. I’ve come by your booth a few times, and y’all are just slammed.
Zach Meyer: Yeah, swamped. I looked at Corey yesterday – Loeffler – he’s down here helping me work the show—and I was like, “Dude, it’s 3:30 already.”
Ramsey Russell: I know. Martha elbowed me yesterday and said I kept saying good morning when people came into the booth. She’s like, “It’s 2:00.”
Zach Meyer: Yeah, I did a double-take on that, too.
Ramsey Russell: I love it, though. It’s just people, and then the real fun, to me – now, look, I’m an old duck hunter, and I duck hunt all year long, so practically the whole year I’m getting up at 3:30–4:00 in the morning. Look, by about 8:30 or 9:00, I’m ready to hit the pillow. No shit. 10:00, I’m lights out, man. But I still like to leave here about 5:00 and go eat dinner, have a cold beer, socialize, meet people. If I go out with you, there’s five people I hadn’t ever met. If I go out with him, there’s three people I’ve never met. Just the stories I hear about people’s hunting experiences or life — it’s just incredible.
Zach Meyer: Yeah, there’s a ton of knowledge down here. Even asking them, “Hey, what would you do, or what do you do?” That part, to me, is probably one of the best parts of being down here. I’ve never done all the fancy exotic stuff, but you sit here and talk to people and, I mean, you see everything down here. From the super flashy all the way to regular folks.
Ramsey Russell: But they’re all hunters. My little niche at Dallas Safari Club is the world of duck hunting. People come by the booth to see the bar-headed goose or the Cape teal or something they’ve never seen before. I actually have a little repeat crowd that comes through to see what new birds we’ve got. At the same time, I’m in this massive thing, and I see animals and critters, and I start thinking outside my world. Well, man, I’d kind of like to go climb a mountain, maybe, and shoot that animal. That’s kind of a cool animal. Or just experience some of this stuff.
Zach Meyer: They’re not just hunts, though. It’s the full experience. It’s the four flights in, and one flight is a no-fly because of weather or whatever. Then you talk to them about that, and they’re just like, “Hey, dude, it is what it is.”
WildEar’s Zach’s First Hunt…and the Rest is History
We just loved the tradition of it.
Ramsey Russell: That’s part of it. Half the adventure is just getting there, sometimes. Try going from Mississippi to Minneapolis and getting caught in traffic, buddy. That’s a mess. It happens anywhere in the world. Zach, tell me this, because I’ve known you for a good while but I’ve never hunted with you, not yet shared a blind with you. How did you start hunting? How long have you been hunting?
Zach Meyer: I got into waterfowl hunting pretty heavy in college. I had grown up with my dad and uncles upland hunting, and just sharing the deer camp thing. I never got to deer hunt with him. I always had to sit in the camp, or sit at grandma’s house, when they all went hunting for deer, but that was the Minnesota deer hunt where there’s ten or twelve uncles out in the woods. It looks like a procession coming through.
Ramsey Russell: Dragnet of orange coming through the woods.
Zach Meyer: Orange army, for sure. A bunch of pumpkins out there. We and all my cousins, we’d go up there. We just loved the tradition of it. We would upland hunt. We would go pheasant hunt, but that was the same type of thing. Six or seven trucks. Back then, it was station wagons and minivans and whatever you had. Get in, and the dogs were sitting in the middle of the van. Everyone pours out of the car. It’s awesome. I had my little BB gun, and, again, I couldn’t load it. I would actually just stuff it. I would put my BB gun on the ground, with snow, so the cap was full, and I’d pump it and I’d shoot it. I’d at least get to see the snow shoot out of the gun. I never got a gun, so I’m just walking.
Ramsey Russell: Again, it’s crazy how we start talking about your origins of hunting and fond memories of you shooting out of the end of a BB gun. That’s part of the process. Those memories of just being out, being with family, being in a fun environment. It hooks you.
Zach Meyer: Yep. That’s all I wanted to do.
Ramsey Russell: I almost feel sorry for some of these kids that step out on the first hunt at five years old and shoot a 170” whitetail or something. What’s the point?
Zach Meyer: Yeah. I don’t know how you ever top that.
Ramsey Russell: No. Where do you go from there? But you grew up around Minneapolis?
Zach Meyer: Yep, five miles west of downtown Minneapolis. I didn’t have a ton of opportunities close by to hunt, so we’d always have to go where my folks grew up, which is western Minnesota.
Ramsey Russell: God, that’s some beautiful country. What are you calling western Minnesota?
Zach Meyer: This is up 94, so, to me, it’s northwest Minnesota, but it’s probably central-western Minnesota.
Ramsey Russell: Prairie?
Zach Meyer: Yeah, exactly.
Ramsey Russell: Freaking western Minnesota, eastern North Dakota— If I had to put my finger on a US map and say, “This is the most beautiful part of America,” I think that’d be it.
Zach Meyer: It’s nice country, for sure it is.
Ramsey Russell’s Start in Duck Hunting
I was in my twenties when I really, truly got into duck hunting.
Ramsey Russell: Every time I go through there, I feel like I’m on Little House on the Prairie or something. It’s just like, “God, this is gorgeous.” You started duck hunting in college, and a lot of people are surprised to learn that I did too. I remember going out—not shooting, just going out—once or twice with my granddad. I went out and absolutely dove hunted with him, but duck hunting was just a no. His health failed. Going out in a duck blind, the wet dogs, me wrapped up in a warm blanket or something. Back in the day, you didn’t buy your kid a thousand dollars’ worth of gear, man. You just had Grandma’s old coat and whatever else you could wrap up with if it was cold. Really, I got into duck hunting in, gosh, it had to have been the very early ‘90s. Which seems like yesterday, but it’s been a while. I was in my twenties when I really, truly got into duck hunting.
Zach Meyer: Yeah. Got the bug.
Ramsey Russell: It was a two mallard limit. I was hunting with a fraternity brother and his crowd, which included the chief of police of West Helena, Arkansas. They hunted public land timber, and Arkansas’ limit was two mallards. Their whole aura was not about shooting ducks. It was about landing them. When the first big water mallards came in—boom, boom, I’m shooting. Mr. Boyd was so nice, so fatherly. He said, “Son, I’ll call the shot.” I know some folks would have cussed me or thrown me out of the blind. He didn’t say that, because he knew I was just wrong, green, and excited. About the second time it happened, he said, “Look, son, let me explain how this works.” He said, “Anybody can shoot a dumb duck coming into the woods like this. We want to own them. We want to land them. We want them on the water, and then we’re going to shoot them because that’s what we’re doing. But that ain’t the point. The point is landing and owning those ducks.” That ain’t the way I hunt all the time, but it was really something. It hooked me through the roof of my mouth like a big old #5 hook, and I’m stuck for life. That was it. All these years later, I still get excited when that one mallard comes in through timber and lands in your lap. Do you remember your first duck hunt? Do you remember killing your first duck?
First Ducks and the Lure of the Hunt
It’s just very hard to articulate the magic, for me, of duck hunting. Anybody that’s ever been in a blind with me knows that I love to pull the trigger, but it’s just so much more than that.
Zach Meyer: Yeah, I do. I think I was thirteen. I played football and hockey growing up, so I didn’t have a whole ton of free time in the fall. Pretty much both of those — at least for us, hockey in Minnesota is more than full-time — so I didn’t have the opportunity to go out all the time. Me and my uncle were up, he had some ground where they grew up, and I remember we were sitting out there. It was a slough, really. Kind of a bigger pond.
Ramsey Russell: You hunted puddle ducks?
Zach Meyer: Puddle ducks and geese. So we’re sitting there, and he goes back to the truck. I don’t know what he was going to do. Grab food or a sandwich or bring something back to me so I didn’t have to walk. So we’re sitting there, and I’m sitting in the cattails, just kind of looking at whatever. Anything, right? Probably picking grass or playing with the gun or something. This goose comes in, and I’m like, “Oh man, here we go.” I don’t know what to do, sitting there watching this thing.
Ramsey Russell: Shoot it!
Zach Meyer: It comes in, spins, makes one pass. I’m like, “Oh man, I just blew it. I missed my opportunity.” By the grace of God, for whatever reason, it does another spin. Comes back around, and it’s flying right at me. I’m sitting there. I’ve got no one to ask, “What should I do? What do I do? When do I shoot?” So I’m like, “Well, alright. Here we go.” It’s probably like thirty yards away now. Again, coming right at me still. I’m like, “Well, alright. Let’s try it.” I pulled my gun up and shoot the goose. Boom, dead. Sitting in this pond. I’m like, “Alright, now what do I do? I’ve got to go get this thing.” But the water was high.
Ramsey Russell: Did your uncle have a dog?
Zach Meyer: No dog. Oh, no. Nothing. We had a little jon boat back on the shoreline. I’m like, “I’ll just go walk and get it.” I start walking to go get it, and the water’s coming up, water’s coming up, water’s coming up. It was one of those where it was two steps away, but you shouldn’t take the second step.
Ramsey Russell: Yeah, you do it anyways.
Zach Meyer: Yeah, of course you do. It’s right there. I’m not going back. I take the second step, grab it, and, yep, water over the top of the waders. Just like a little piece of wave. You’re like, “Ah, whatever.” Grab it. I walked back, and my uncle’s still at the truck. I dropped my gun on shore, and I got this goose, and I am running through this little slough to go show it to him. Like, “Look what I did! I got it.” He’s like, “Dude, you’re soaked. You’re going to be cold.” I’m like, “Oh. Yeah, I am cold.”
Ramsey Russell: Yeah, I am cold. It’s Minnesota.
Zach Meyer: But I had no clue. He was ecstatic, fired up, that I had shot my first goose. We shot ducks and all that, but I vividly remember that.
Ramsey Russell: It’s just amazing. I was having a discussion last night at supper. It’s just very hard to articulate the magic, for me, of duck hunting. Anybody that’s ever been in a blind with me knows that I love to pull the trigger, but it’s just so much more than that. I can just remember talking to my grandparents, my dad; they talked about the time they floated their hats and did this and did that, but they never talked about duck numbers. It was all about those memories. That’s what they remember. Even when I think back to any given duck season, I might remember, “Oh yeah, we shot a limit or we didn’t,” but I don’t remember that. I remember something else. I remember eating sausage on a creek bank, or the joke somebody told, or the time I took a knee, or the retrieval dog. Just those little other attachments.
Zach Meyer: Yeah. For me, it’s the weird details of the hunt, or the trip with buddies or family or whatever it is. You know, the dog did this. A story about a dog is like, “Yeah, that wasn’t even a retrieve, but the dog did something out there.” And you’re like, “Yeah, that’s awesome. It’s fun to watch.”
What’s Your Hearing Worth?
All of a sudden, I could hear things. I could hear those gadwalls up in the air that I couldn’t see yet. I could hear things that I’d been missing out on, not knowing that.
Ramsey Russell: Change of subject, because you are WildEar, and I do get asked quite a bit which hearing product I’m wearing in a lot of these photos. I’m 53 years old. I can barely hear it thunder. I can barely hear a turkey gobble. I’d bet you if I can hear a turkey gobble, he’d kill me before I can see it. I’m the guy who’s got the TV up full-bore and can barely understand it. People can hear the mailbox on the street, but I’m struggling to hear words. It’s just all that darn shooting. It’s funny because, here in convention, all of my clients — we’re all that way. Let the intercom come on, and I can hear you talk, but I can’t hear what you’re saying. When you get into a cafe with a lot of background noise, I can’t hear what anybody is saying anymore. And my clients are all the same way. We’re like, “Huh? What? Yeah?” Misunderstanding.
Zach Meyer: Oh, it’s this entire room. They’ll come in, and you say “Hi.” Then they ask a question, and I either say “What?” or they say, “What?” It’s like, “Oh boy, here we go.” I would say the easiest way to recognize that for most people, like you just said, is that you’ll be watching TV and your volume’s at 29.
Ramsey Russell: Yeah, shoot, 29.
Zach Meyer: The wife comes in, and she puts it down to 11, and you’re like “Huh?”
Ramsey Russell: Yeah. “I can’t read lips, baby.” I haven’t learned that yet.
Zach Meyer: You’re going to be that guy with headphones on across the room.
Ramsey Russell: Actually, at home, for TV, I do have bluetooth headphones. Because nobody else can be in the den with me, watching TV, unless I’m wearing headphones and can actually hear what they’re saying.
Zach Meyer: Yeah. Truck volume’s the same thing. All the way up. My wife comes in, and she’s like, “Turn it down.”
Ramsey Russell: It really wasn’t in adulthood that my hearing started diminishing. The first time I became acutely aware that my ears rang and I couldn’t hear high-pitched noises, I was in college algebra in junior college. Let me put it this way. One of the only reasons I showed up to that course, anyway, was because the teacher was quite attractive. I was struggling to get by, but I showed up to be a good sport about it. She was a very cute teacher. One day, in the middle of writing a big formula or something up there, she slammed down the chalk. That’ll tell you how long ago it was; it was chalk, not magic markers. She turned around and started scolding the class about, “Turn that off. Turn that off. Who is that? Who is that?” I’m looking around, dumbfounded like everybody else. Finally the girl behind me goes, “Dumbass, turn your watch off.” It was my watch alarm, and it had been going off the whole semester, right in the middle of her time. Well, I didn’t know. I couldn’t hear it. I put my ear to it, and I couldn’t hear it. After the class, I had to go over and apologize to her. That’s when I realized that I couldn’t hear anything.
Zach Meyer: Yeah. Not good.
Ramsey Russell: Not too long ago — I’m going to say ten years ago — I was in a duck blind with some friends. Really nice duck hole. Little flooded cypress break. Some of them were physicians. I was kind of in the middle of the blind, and my host was a couple of people down. Right before the hunt started, he handed me some hearing muffs that were amplified and had an electric turn-on. He handed them to me, and I turned them on. All of a sudden, I could hear things. I could hear those gadwalls up in the air that I couldn’t see yet. I could hear things that I’d been missing out on, not knowing that.
Zach Meyer: And that’s half of it.
Ramsey Russell: That’s half of it. That’s the whole magic. The very next day, we’re in the same blind. He hands those over, and, just to be a smart aleck, I go, “What, am I deaf or something?” And the whole blind, all six people, said, “Heck yeah, man. Dude, you are deaf. We have entire conversations where you’re sitting there staring off into space like you can’t hear nothing.” God, it’s bad, man. It’s all that shotgunning. At the time, it just seemed like a hard pill to swallow. Those products of y’all’s are $1,000?
Zach Meyer: Yup. $1,100.
Ramsey Russell: Never mind $250 on a case of quality shells, $3,000 shotgun, $2,000 a year in gas, $5,000 boat, $600 ice chest, $700 dog box, a bunch of lab training, the whole cumulative expense. Never mind all that. I know guys that spend way more than $1,000 a year on shotgun shells, and here I am: I got one set of hearing, and I blew it.
Zach Meyer: Yep. You don’t get a second chance.
Ramsey Russell: I’ve actually tried some of those hearing aids, digital reproduction. The problem is that they don’t work for ringing ears and hearing loss due to shotgunning. They can’t tune them for that. I tried a pair. A guy tried to sell me a $1,000 pair of hearing aids. I’m like, “Hell, I’m going to buy them. If I can hear better, I’m buying them, but I want to try them first.” Man, I can hear grit under my feet in the shop. I can hear grass crunching like somebody playing the drums. But I’d look up at a mockingbird forty yards away, and I could see his mouth moving, but I couldn’t hear nothing. I’m like, “Okay, these hearing aids don’t work.” I’ve still got some hearing, but at that point I said, “I don’t want to be stone-cold deaf.” That was what moved me to go ahead and get a set of those WildEars. Of course, y’all have been very good about—especially a clumsy guy like me — when they’ve been damaged or lost or something like that. Y’all have been very good about keeping me in WildEars. Do you describe all your clients pretty similarly? Is anybody smart enough to literally be proactive?
Zach Meyer: Some are. I think they’re finally realizing it now. Like, “Hey, I can prevent this.” You get into a room like this, and you see your fifty, sixty, seventy year-old guy, and he’s like, “Hey, I got nothing left. It’s too late.” It’s not too late. You can still protect what you’ve got. Save what you have left. But that generation is talking to the next, and they’re like, “Hey, you’re going to do this.” That’s a 20 year old kid, and they’ll buy it and make a set for him. That’s it. “Here you go. Take care of it.” It’s hard because it’s a lot of money. $1,100 is a lot of money, but when you look at the grand scheme of things—
Ramsey Russell: Well, what’s your hearing worth?
Zach Meyer: Exactly. You can buy a new tooth and you can buy a new hip, but you cannot get your hearing back.
Ramsey Russell: Cannot replace hearing. Cannot replace eyesight.
Zach Meyer: That’s right. You’re into hearing aids, and now you’re living with hearing aids. You can talk to anyone you know with them about how inconvenient they are in every single factor. You’ve got to bring them, you’ve got to do this, and you’ve got to do that. It’s brutal.
Ramsey Russell: People I’ve hunted with for a long time have asked me — the number one reason I did not wear hearing muffs was because it messes up my mount. I don’t care what you tell me. Those hearing muffs are made for maybe rifles and handguns. They’re not made for shotguns. We all put them on our kids because they’re cheap and they’re easy, but you’re not doing your kid a favor, teaching him to shoot with headphones on. Then with plugs and stuff like that—I couldn’t even hear myself call, let alone hear anything else. That’s not a good situation. Now, I can. That is the one thing I love about it. I can actually hear better with them than without. They attenuate when I’m hunting, when the gun goes off. I didn’t realize that some of these headaches I was having after really good hunts had nothing to do, so much, with shotgun recoil. They had to do with all that blast going off in my ears.
Zach Meyer: It’s not just your gun.
Ramsey Russell: It’s my neighbors.
Zach Meyer: Yeah. If you got three, four, five other buddies in the pit blind layouts with you, or whatever—
Ramsey Russell: Let alone the guy that likes it ported for some reason.
Zach Meyer: Yeah, and there’s fancy chokes out. It’s not your gun. If they all shoot three times, just do the math. Four guys three times, and you’re going to have six, seven, eight, nine, ten groups for the day. The math there. Then all of a sudden it’s a four day, five day hunt, or it’s a full season. Your exposure to it’s a lot. If you’re going to go shoot trap, skeet, or sporting clays, every single individual out there has hearing protection on. Whether it’s plugs or electronics, whatever. It’s like, why would you wear it there but not wear it when you’re hunting? Doesn’t make sense to me.
Ramsey Russell: Exactly. It’s because they want to hear the ducks, but they just don’t realize something like this exists. I’m not having this discussion with you to advertise. It’s important to me. It’s just sharing. Man, I lost my hearing. Then again, this technology didn’t exist, either, back when I was growing up. You could stick Kleenex in your ears or something.
Zach Meyer: That’s what it was. Guys are like, “I used to take a cotton ball.” Hey, I get it. The sun’s going to set tonight. I don’t care. Whether it’s WildEar or the other brands out there, that’s fine. Just do something, though, because it’s not worth it. It’s not at all. There’s way more important things in life that you probably want to hear and listen to when you get older.
Ramsey Russell: Yeah. It’s just a day and age that $1,000 is a lot of money. Then again, relative to the whole scheme of things—especially in the world of duck hunting—it’s really not.
Zach Meyer: No. You look at it over the course of ten, fifteen, twenty years, and it’s like, “Okay. $20, $50 a season. $100 bucks a year. No big deal. Let’s do it.”
Ramsey Russell: Of course, my season is a long time. I duck hunt a lot of different places throughout the year, so I get my money’s worth out of them relative to a guy that hunts for ten days. I actually put them to use outside the duck blind, too. Don’t judge me for this, but my wife wanted to go see Elton John this year. Man, I enjoyed that. I don’t care what you think of Elton John; I guarantee anybody listening knows the word to every single song he played that night, because he’s Elton John. That kicked something off, and the hottest band in the world, Kiss— I got to go see them play their absolute— Well, who knows, they may come back, but they were saying it was their last concert. From the time that cannon went off, and the fireworks, I laughed so hard. It was so fun, and I had my WildEars in. It’s crazy going to a concert now, compared to the last time I went to a concert back in the ‘80s, early ‘90s. There’s no smoke of any kind wafting around. There’s none of that mess going on, but you can buy liquor drinks. That’s different. You don’t have to smuggle it in. Of course, both the performers and me are way older. It wasn’t a bunch of teenagers in there, it was all guys my age. I wasn’t the only one with hearing protection. There were other people in there with hearing protection.
Zach Meyer: Yeah I believe that. I mean, you can still hear it. You just don’t have to get blasted by the speakers and go home with a headache.
Ramsey Russell: Yeah. Oh, I can hear it just fine. I wasn’t tone deaf ever, or had my ears ringing. That may have something to do with me losing my hearing, some of those crazy concerts I went to back in the day. What is your hunting situation now? I know you duck and goose hunt a lot. Do you still deer hunt?
A Lifetime of Waterfowl Hunting in Minnesota
Are you a goose guy or a duck guy?
Zach Meyer: I don’t. I’m not a big game guy at all.
Ramsey Russell: All birds.
Zach Meyer: I bet you I can count on one hand how many times I’ve deer hunted in the last five years. I’m a waterfowl hunter. I love goose hunting. That’s what I got into bad in college.
Ramsey Russell: You cut a pretty wide swathe. Gosh, I know you hunt in Canada.
Zach Meyer: Yeah, I start in Canada and pretty much go all the way down to either Kansas or Missouri.
Ramsey Russell: Are you a goose guy or a duck guy?
Zach Meyer: More of a goose guy than ducks because we hunt those at home.
Ramsey Russell: You’ve got the culture for it.
Zach Meyer: Yeah. It’s hard to not hunt them in Minnesota. They’re everywhere. We get a pretty good crack at them.
Ramsey Russell: The first conversation I had in this format was with Cory Loeffler, out in western Minnesota, and he’s a goose whisperer. Just grew up cutting his teeth on a goose call. All you guys up there in that Northern tier are like that. I just wondered if you had a preference, which one it was.
Zach Meyer: I love shooting ducks. Our problem is that we’ll get them on opening weekend, and then there seems to be a void. There’s just not a lot of birds around. Then the birds will show up mid-December, and our season is done. So we’ll chase them on the river, but the real numbers don’t get there until it’s too late.
Ramsey Russell: What about the geese? How long do y’all hunt them for, up in Minnesota?
Zach Meyer: Season typically opens the first of September, and that will run through the end of December, like Christmas.
Zach Meyer: There’s been talks about it. They’re starting to gather some information on them. Them gathering information for a year or two will probably lead to a season.
Ramsey Russell: That would be cool.
Zach Meyer: Oh, it’d be awesome. There’s a little pocket of those around, too.
Ramsey Russell: There are. I was up there with Chose, at his house, and there were a dozen.
Zach Meyer: He’s always got a bunch in his little pond.
Ramsey Russell: Yeah. I think they show up and breed. It looked like a couple of adults and their offspring.
Zach Meyer: Yeah. He’s got the waterfowl zoo behind his house.
Ramsey Russell: Yeah. He’s got a waterfowl zoo right there.
Zach Meyer: He doesn’t shoot a one of them. He doesn’t hunt it. He sits there, and I’ll talk to him like, “Dude, let’s go shoot those.” He’s like, “No, man.”
Ramsey Russell: Those are his pets.
Zach Meyer: Yep. He likes to have his coffee in the morning and look out that kitchen window, and he’ll watch all of them. If you go over there, he’ll sit there at that table and just stare at them for an hour. His wife, Bonnie, will be like, “Let’s go. What are you guys doing?”
Ramsey Russell: Have you got any more hunting trips planned, now that y’all are shutting down in Minnesota? Have you got any more hunting trips planned for the year?
Zach Meyer: Yeah, I’ve got a couple more work shows here in January, Dallas and SHOT and some other shows. I think we’ll probably get down to maybe Kansas again. Maybe for a duck hunt down there with some guys, and then we’ll probably go to the Hurt Locker again, at the end of January or February, and run around with Christian and Bailey.
Ramsey Russell: Forrest and I made a huge spin through the Mississippi and Central Flyways before Christmas. Catfish Floyd, over in Mississippi — I asked him, the other day, how he was doing, because he’s got some of the best dirt in the state of Mississippi to kill a duck on. He said, “Ah, we’re killing some ducks every day.” Which kind of summed up, to me, the entire North American duck season. But it was 70º last night when I got to the hotel. I woke up this morning, and it’s gusting 30 miles per hour. It feels like 25º. There’s snow up in Wichita Falls. That’ll either make stale ducks move or maybe even push some new birds down. There’s hope that we could end on a good, good note this year.
Zach Meyer: I hope so. All the guys I’ve talked to, they’re killers, and everyone seemed to kind of ride that struggle bus a little bit. Oof. That’s not normal for some of these guys.
Ramsey Russell: What are you going to do? I’m going to duck hunt. I’m not fixing to go ice skating or something.
Zach Meyer: Absolutely. Well, if you want to go ice skating, come up to Minnesota. It’s -30º.
Ramsey Russell: No, man. I love to visit Minnesota. I love to visit up North. I truly, absolutely love to visit in the fall, but I’ve just realized that I’ve got a rule in life. It’s one of maybe five or six hardcore rules. If I have to own a snow shovel, I’m not living there.
Zach Meyer: You’d have to own a couple.
Ramsey Russell: Yeah. I’m just not. I never will forget, I actually had a neighbor, one time. He lived in town. He came from, I think, Minnesota or Michigan. I was in his garage one night and I go, “Man, what the hell is that?” He goes, “It’s a snow shovel.” I go, “You ain’t going to need that around here, thank God.” I just haven’t been up there in y’all’s part of the world enough. I’m not fooling with all of that cold weather. I don’t get ice fishing, either. I just don’t get ice fishing. I think it’s a Northern thing. Guys I know love it.
Zach Meyer: You’ve got to do it. You’ve got to come up and do it. I promise you.
Ramsey Russell: Sitting on a block of ice, in a hut, looking at a hole in the ground? That just doesn’t sound sexy.
Zach Meyer: I mean, it’s cold. You can be comfortable. You’re not going to be warm or hot, but, again, it’s the whole experience. You’re going to ride a snowmobile or take your truck and drive it on the lake. There’s two, three, four feet of snow or ice. You get a little bit of snow up top, and they’ll plow the roads. It’s like little communities out there. There’s road signs. It’s the whole deal. You can pop from house to house.
Ramsey Russell: You ain’t got one of these set-ups with like a generator and a TV where you can watch the Superbowl and drink a beer? That sounds alright, now.
Zach Meyer: Yeah, the big houses. They’re awesome. They’re phenomenal. That’s what I’d do. I’d start you with that, and then, the next day, we’d go earn it out of a portable. But the big permanent houses are fancy.
Ramsey Russell: I might be in for a beer and a TV and something like that. That might would be good.
Zach Meyer: Yeah, absolutely. We’ll do it.
Ramsey Russell: Zach, look, I hear the crowd starting to wake up. Folks are starting to stream in to our show. Folks, thank y’all for listening. Check us out @RamseyRussellGetDucks and GetDucks.com, and at WildEar.com. What’s y’all’s Instagram account?
Zach Meyer: @WildEarOfficial.
Ramsey Russell: @WildEarOfficial. Thank y’all for listening. I’ll see you next time.