LIFE’S SHORT GETDUCKS: COOP’S LAST MEXICO ROAD TRIPYellow dog Cooper and I spent many great times duck hunting in Mexico, but all good things come to an end
That little marshmallow-colored pup became one of the best hunting companions ever hoped for, and certainly the most well-traveled. What yellow duck dog Coop’ lacked in hunt test title initials (no fault of hers but we had a hectic hunting schedule), she made up for with real-world smarts, a fail-proof nose and the fierce tenacity to root cripples from the densest thickets. A real band magnet, too. In crowded airports, pet-friendly hotels and hunting lodges throughout 4 US flyways, 4 Canadian provinces, 4 countries worldwide, her politely quiet demeanor earned affections from countless strangers, a place beneath my feet on long flights, her share of in-flight meals, sometimes even a spot on the bed. She’d earned it. We shared many great times for weeks on end in Mexico each year. She’s still got plenty of hunts left in her yet, don’t worry, but she’ll be in full-blown retirement, sunning in her favorite spot in the back yard, before we’ll ever have the chance to hunt South of the Border again. And that’s ok.
More: “Coop’s Last Trip” on The End of the Line Podcast
#lifesshortgetducks #getducks #itsduckseasonsomewhere #duckdogs #ramseyrussell #duckhunter #ramseyrussellgetducks #realduckhunting
Mexico Duck Hunting with the Best Duck Dog
Rocky Leflore: Welcome to The End of the Line podcast, I’m Rocky Leflore sitting in the Duck South Studios in Oxford, Mississippi. It is Thursday, you know who’s on the other end of the line Double R himself. Double R are you ready to get home?
Ramsey Russell: Sure, I am. Don’t ask me why but I’m ready to get home and had a good time down here though. It’s just another day in paradise. We went and shot a lot of pin tails this morning, some redheads and what a spectacular trip. Talking everybody back home about the rain, I’ve forgotten all about rain. I’m in basically a part of the world to get 15 inches of precipitation a year, just everywhere. All the plants have thorns on it and stuff, you get off in agriculture and around these days. But yeah, I’m looking forward to getting home, I’m going to skip tomorrow afternoon’s hunt and come on back. We got one more hunt, we’re going to try for brant in the morning. And we’ve had some fair to middling success with them this year. But everybody in camp wants to go travel, so we’re going to get off and travel in the morning and then it’s a wrap and I’ll be home Rocky. I’ll be home for almost 30 hours before the next trip. So, I’m ready to get home for 30 hours.
Rocky Leflore: I know you hadn’t had time to – or get that, I know you hadn’t had time to listen to the podcast with Bill Cooksey that we recorded yesterday. Let me ask you something, for all these young people that are aspiring hunt for a living, let’s spend a couple of minutes on this. I don’t think there’s – besides Bill Cooksey himself – that hired the best per staff in the world. There’s nobody else out there that can. Not only do you live it, you are around some of the biggest professional hunters out there, get to hunt with them every day. Some people are made to do this, some people think they’re made to do this. But at the end of the day, it’s hard on you, it’s hard on the family and there’s just not a lot of money in it.
Ramsey Russell: No, I don’t think the hunting industry is the most profitable industry in the world to get into.
Rocky Leflore: Bill and I spent some time on this yesterday talking about it and it’s just a – how it came up. One of my friend’s – he had about 30 or 40 people come in his booth at the NWTF – man, how do I get in hunting industry? And the thing about it now, in the times that we’re living in, unless you invent something that’s industry-changing besides toting a video camera or just becoming the next big influencer that’s in front of a camera, it’s a tough world to be in.
Ramsey Russell: Getting tougher by the day. Rocky, I never set out to say I do this for living. We talked about that in the past this isn’t what I’ve set out to do, it just happened. The quality of service just wasn’t there under another model and I know a lot of people on the internet, a lot of people – well I could just get on there on Google, find myself, good luck, okay, I get it. Yeah, I mean, let me tell you what the internet is full of folks. I did see something social media today, it was an outfitter in Louisiana, Aaron App like, I mean unbelievable. Aaron, now some guy, the guy had recorded that, he had called – matter of fact they didn’t kill a lot of birds, it was a tough season – but he called just to discuss a few things. I’m just talking about 50% of the story and half the story, I heard which was this outfitter just profanely, I mean my gosh, I’ve never heard nothing like that. There’s good ones and there’s bad ones like that on the internet that’s fine, you just go Google it and so we’ve got a really bad one right out the gate. I was a young man, I worked hard for my money. Wanted to go to Canada and shoot something, shoot some geese and we just got taken. I started doing my own diligence and putting a Canadian trip together. One thing led to the next and outfitter asked me to start bringing in clients and I didn’t know nothing about nothing at all. I’m a Federal Government forester but one thing led to another as we became immersed in the business. What to me is huge is to make a huge different way in doing things, there’s always a way to do it better. And I do know and friends with some people that still do it part time and in my opinion, just for me to my wife, what we do requires full time attention.
Rocky Leflore: You and I were visiting about that.
What It Takes to Make It In “The Industry”
I think I found a good way to really assess what is a good hunt, what constitutes a good hunt, and what duck hunters want.
Ramsey Russell: Rocky, you deserve my full time attention, not my part time attention. If somebody’s got my part time attention in a business that has so many moving pieces like this does, if it’s got my part time attention, it’s just something that the ball’s going to drop. I’m not a service provider, I’m as dedicated and focused as I need to be, and that’s kind of where we are. I just don’t like part time in this business, I just don’t think it really belongs. To speak quite honestly with you – and I hear a lot of these young kids, people – we get resumes, we get letters, we get emails and we get inboxes. Everybody sees Ramsey go around the world and hunting and I wish that was my life because I do that. But don’t get me wrong, but there’s so much more to it. I’m sitting in the third week with a house full of clients, hunting morning and evening, I’m not hunting in the evening, I’m hunting in morning, hunt and come back here and then working, the phone’s working, the emails following up with clients. I still got clients traveling a lot of different other places and my wife is at home, take care of all the administrative, and I communicate with her. She’s a virtual office and that’s a great thing about this day and age with technology is, we work in a virtual office a lot but it’s crazy. I have a lot of people, a lot of young people in high school or college, or fresh out of college, wanting to get into “the industry” now, when I think of “the industry” I think of merchandise. You’re taking a $24 billion dollar hunting and fishing industry that’s merchandise. I’m not in the industry. I don’t sell merchandise nor do I want to. I love a lot of great products out there and there’s really are some products out there but I don’t want to work in the business – it’s just not for me. We’re providing a service to people and finding very good outfitter – somebody tagged me in thread the other day in the thread somebody looks to go somewhere something, somebody tagged me – a real notorious outfitter. I have zero respect for the man, it’s all just the past dealings known to be just a very scurrilous personality, but he said Ramsey is not a guide. And no, ladies and gentlemen, I am not a guide nor do I want to be in that part of the world. But for nearly a decade, I have been traveling 100, now 200 days a year meeting with outfitters, firsthand personal knowledge and bringing into my assessment of a given hunt. A lot of perspective having been in a lot of other good and bad operations and as somebody, a real duck hunter myself, I still truly, really duck hunt. My own home base is not the best, easiest duck hunting on earth. You have to work hard, you have to honor the sport, you have to call and hide to play your cards right and earn those ducks. It’s like I’m a real duck hunter. And as a real duck hunter that has taught for nearly two decades to duck hunters of all walks of life, coast to coast, north and south, all walks of life and to outfitters every single day every day without fail. Talking to them before they go, talking to them while they’re there, talking to them when they get back. I think I found a good way to really assess what is a good hunt, what constitutes a good hunt, and what duck hunters want. I’m in a service business and we get these emails and we get stuff about “I want to be in the business.” Rocky, like I said, people just send me their resumes and it means nothing to me because maybe one day my wife and I will take up some other people in our business but probably not. The nature of our business is very, very personal, relational with people. If you’re a clerk, if you do bookkeeping and kind of stuff that I’ve been there doing, if you sit behind the desk and do bookkeeping and talking on the phone about non-hunt related things okay, I might can hire you. But you know what? For somebody who come out of college that lacks, it doesn’t matter how long you’ve hunted with your dad, your friends, your family around Mississippi, or your home base but it will bring no value at all to me and especially to my clients. It would be 20 years before you had scrambled around the world seen the good, the bad, the ugly and been able to talk honestly to customers that are calling and asking questions. Rocky, I’m going to point out again, I know, I’ve talked about this in the past, there’s a huge distinction between what I do, what a guide and outfitter does. If you’re in sales and we all of us are having to go out every day and hunt and kill what we can eat, that’s just the nature of the world. But you got to understand when you call an outfitter, some have way more scruples than others but when you talk to an outfitter, ABC outfitter or wherever – he is biased. He only killed something to eat when you buy the hunt from him, not from somebody else for something similar only him. I see it time and time again in the hunting world of commercial hunting, and figure out a field Rocky, it’s unregulated. It’s unregulated in terms of professional ethics or boards or convention or titles or requirements. I mean it’s just, “Hey I’m a guide. You want to have a good class?”
Rocky Leflore: Well, that’s what I was going to say. I always go back to one of your very first podcasts that you were on with Jake and I, or Josh and I, it’s one of us, but I always go back to one of those first podcasts. Somebody asked me that question, I asked them, have you ever worked in a restaurant? That just may go way over your head. But working in a restaurant and being a server/waitress, whatever you will, politically correct term these days, if you’ve never done that – I can tell you, it prepares you to be a guide. Because you think being a guide is about killing ducks? Yeah, it’s part of it but the major part of it is about relationships, it is about people, you’ve got to love people to be a guide. I’ve gotten feedback from that podcast already today about people, “Well, why didn’t you talk about yourself being in the “hunting industry”?” I didn’t – I kind of look at it the same way Ramsey does, I look at it as merchandise when we were kind of talking about that. But being a guide man, you better love people. That’s what it’s about. You better love talking, you better waiting on them, hand and foot.
Ramsey Russell: That’s correct. And you’ve got to make a living that’s got to be honest. Things between us and them is, if you’re a guide running your business, you have to sell that hunt. Yeah, we got mallard. Yeah, we got ducks. Yeah, well you want timber? Yeah, we got timber. I see it all the time and you get off to Latin America, it’s really takes on a life of its own, on selling it all costs. And distinguish between me and that is, pick a geography, let’s say Mexico and Argentina, Mississippi or anywhere on the US hunt list. We pick and choose and we’ll get into areas like Argentina and Mexico. On the one hand, I’ve got an important relationship with my outfitters. Very important relationship. Rocky, we’re a point now, you can’t buy, get off the street, can’t buy a hunt directly with a lot of our outfitters because we do such a great service for them. We market and we handle all the client needs coming to it, everything else it’s unavailable directly. I’ve got a very – it’s a very good and very valuable and very important relationship with Mexican outfitters, I’m out here with right now. And it does bug them just a little, you can tell, you also have other outfitters. Take Mexico for example, I’ve got Obregon, great combo hunt. I’ve got Mazatlán, wonderful couples trip, very different to attract very different people, slightly different price points, different pluses and minuses. And when someone calls me, heck yeah, I want to sell you hunt, don’t call me if you don’t buy one. But at the same time you call me up, I want to go to this place right here, I want this and as I listened, I realized, you know what, that’s really not where you want to go. I know you think you do, but that’s not where you want to go because they don’t have this and this and they can’t do this. You want to go here. I got told this morning – we get out on a drive about an hour out to the bay – I get to visit some clients in the suburban. We’re talking everything that I got a whole day, a couple of people who said, Ramsey, one thing we like about your business – they have been on some good hunts and bad hunts around the United States and they were talking about, they said, you’re big on expectations. You define reasonable expectations better than anybody else, which is kind a lot to do with not being disappointed. And so Rocky, I’ll tell you this, I’ve said this to a lot of different people, if you’re a young person and you want to be in “the industry” like you perceive the industry being watching television and playing on the internet, these influencers and personalities, if you think that’s for you, ask yourself why? You’re by yourself and you’re being introspective, ask yourself why? What do you want to do in the industry? And what is attracting you to it? If it’s what your skill set and what your interest is, has something to do with the actual delivery of what your functions would be in that position, prove it. If you go hunt and fish, you might think about another career. A lot of guys that I associate with do a lot of hunting and fishing but their skill set is something entirely different and that’s important if you’re going to rise and achieve. My friend Ryan Bassham for example, hunts and fish quite a bit, man I think I’d have ulcers doing what he does. He operates at a high level of corporate America type sales and organizational development, things of that nature. He was terrible all through college, all throughout a lot of his other travels and things he did as he was building up into it. It’s like, I ain’t putting words in Ryan’s mouth, but from outside looking in and knowing him, he was working in the orthopedic tennis shoe-type market one time. The mechanics of what he did, the whole accounting and managing and all the stuff he had to do at the fundamental level is exactly what he’s doing now. He goes to build on that in the outdoor world. That life is not for everybody and my life is not for everybody. Rocky, my life is not for everybody. You just think about being away 100-200 days a year, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing now, that’s a long time to be away from your home. Some people can do it and some relationships can stand it and some can’t. Outdoor cameraman life, I’ve known over the years, a lot of those types of people and man, it’s tough.
Rocky Leflore: Ramsey, you remember the days when everybody was – when TV was a huge thing and man, everybody was just fighting to get in front of a camera? Is that what’s driving you? I’m telling you you’re in it for the wrong reason.
Ramsey Russell: That’s exactly right. Well, think about Rocky, look at social media, I think there is a little bit of Instafame ego, something or another than compels people to want to be that guy. You know I’m saying? And a lot of people are shocked. I talk a lot, I know that I talk for a living, some real practice, I get that. But Rocky, I’m kind of a shy guy. I really truly am. I don’t make small talk well. I don’t like small talk, what’s the point? I could just soon be quiet. Jake and I were doing our little video, I said Jake, I don’t want to be in front of camera to tell the story. Follow me because I’m going to tell the story but that’s not why – I describe myself more to Jacques Cousteau and everybody knows who Jacques Cousteau was. He’s all over TV and stuff like that but he wasn’t a celebrity, he was a biologist. He was a marine biologist. That’s what he’ll be remembered for, as a very famous marine biologist. Everybody can picture him, everybody knows who he is, at least anyone older but he wasn’t a celebrity. And you really need to look at it. By all means if you can find a job that’s good to do, it isn’t work if you like what you’re doing but you may find out that being in the outdoor industry is not what it seems to be. It’s just another job and you either good at it or you ain’t.
Making It in the Hunting World – Sage Advice from an Expert in the Field
Usually the most successful people have traits from – they pull from both baskets and they do them really well.
Rocky Leflore: Before we leave this topic – I want to jump into Mexico just a little bit before we get off here -but the thing that I’ve noticed about people that are really successful in the hunting world. And I would say this even if you weren’t here, it’s people like you and Ryan, Troy Ruez is another great example of that. To make it and make it to the top of the game – I want to describe the personality of the guy that makes it to the top and I’m going to use you, Ryan and Troy as an example. Very detailed oriented, you get tasks accomplished and get them accomplished well. Like I was walking around with Ryan at the NWTF, dude, that guy is a people person all the way around. Usually you don’t find a detailed person and a great conversation maker, they don’t usually come together. I see that in you and Troy. You all are a people person – people love you. You’re always ready to go, dude, working on no sleep. You can’t be on one – what I’m trying to say is, you can’t be on one end of the spectrum or the other. Usually the most successful people have traits from – they pull from both baskets and they do them really well.
Ramsey Russell: Yeah, Rocky that I agree. A lot of the people you have on your podcast fall in that category. The go getters, the people they got a vision, they got a dream and they’re not scared of hard work. They’re not scared of all-nighters and they’re committed to delivery of products or services, that’s just a common trait. But to me, to get back on your question about these young people wanting jobs in the industry, it doesn’t matter if the product you’re selling is plumbing supplies or hardware supplies, or firearms product or camo, it doesn’t matter, it’s all the same. At the end of the day, a job is a job and whether you’re in product distribution, the product manufacturing, product sales, it’s the same thing. It’s just get a product and that’s what I think you need to not lose sight of. Really and truly my job, I’m marketing and selling, and building brand, and it really doesn’t matter that it’s duck hunts or automobiles or dog training services or whatever, it’s all the same, it’s a job. You’ve got to take it seriously or you’re not going to be taken seriously and that’s just in a nutshell. I said I know exactly what is going about – you go to NWTF, there’s a whole lot of Instafame want-to-bes, walking around the show, am I right? There’s a lot of them.
Rocky Leflore: One of the things that – well we’ve talked about this a million times, all people see are the pictures and video and hear you on the podcast talk about this and that, but we’ve covered it so many times. Let me just let you into it, open the window, open the door just a little bit to Ramsay’s world. One of the main reasons Ramsey is the success that he is, I’m looking at it from an internet marketing perspective. This guy’s good, Good Lord. Do you know what? The details that he goes into to build these pages out for his website for SEO purposes to be at the top of the game, it’s unreal to me. What Ramsey Russell from Brandon, Mississippi knows when we’re offline, just talking, it’s unbelievable the knowledge that you have in your head and you’re doing a lot of this by yourself, you and Miss Anita. That’s the stuff that you never see or ever hear about but it takes a ton of time.
Ramsey Russell: Yeah, it’s a lot. It’s a never-ending treadmill. It just never ends.
Rocky Leflore: I’ll end with this. You think it’s going to be a 5 in the morning to 6 at night job and be at the top? You may want to keep that plumbing job.
Ramsey Russell: Rocky, I remember, I’m going to tell you as a business owner and somebody that works, gosh, I’m telling to any of your podcasters, any of your podcast guests, man I think back to those days I was working 40, 50 hours with the Federal Government, what a grind that was. Now, I look back at it, go, yeah, that was in part time days. Those were the good old days when I just worked part time. If you’re in the business, you feel what I do in Instagram and social media sales, and again, it doesn’t matter if it’s plumbing or fitness gear or whatever it is, you create sizzle. Now if you want to sell hamburgers, park the grill up wind and light them off and throw them patties on, people are going to come flocking to buy hamburgers. That’s what a lot of social media is, it’s just putting a lot of hamburger smoked down on the crowd. That’s what it looks like, that’s all we do, but there’s a lot that goes into even being here with this hosted hunts. You’ve got a lot of folks, got 12 people in the house including myself. Every night we meet and we talk, who’s going where, trying to get the guys that, for whatever reason didn’t shoot as good today, into a better opportunity tomorrow and matching personalities. Gosh Rocky, you just see it all in hunting camp. Guys that are just happy, no matter what, the guys that are unhappy, no matter what, you just got to manage people. I still say, man, going back to those days when I bussed tables at Shoney’s, that was a way out experience. It was a real learning curve just dealing with people. You got to have – life is interpersonal – you’ve got to have relationships and you can’t just judge a guy at camp because he talked at dinner for two minutes. You got to kind of get to know him, so you can deliver better service. When people call the first timer we’re getting e-mails, getting telephone call, you got to spend time with them and I can talk your head off telling about these hunts. At the same time I can listen, it’s very important. You’re telling me why you want to go on this hunt that I listed because what you want out of Mexico duck hunt and what he wants out of Mexico duck hunt, what he wants out of Mexico duck hunt can be entirely different things possible on the same place, but entirely different things. We don’t just send checks to outfitters and list a name, we got a little sheet, a little spreadsheet and then print off and make a very nice platform. We call it that, we send the outfitters about private rooms, the mobility limitations, just all kinds of – little boats that we know are important that the outfitter know that when a person shows up with dietary restrictions. We had a guy here a couple of weeks ago, got bit by a tick or something. He can’t eat any mammal meat. It’s very important to note, that this guy can’t eat animal flesh. Birds, no problem, animals are the problems. You just need to know that and better communicate it. So, it’s a job like any other but I really do like what I do. Somebody asked me last night what I like about it, other than a hunting and fishing of course, but my personality is such – maybe a little bit ADD. The web page, the sales of this and that, putting out fires, to travel, it’s like I’m always shifting gears, I’m always doing something else. I’ve got 50 irons in the fire. I’m a guy that likes to put my hand on different ones. I get bored holding the same iron, I like to move around and do different things and I’m always engaged in doing that kind of stuff. And last little quick about the young people who want to get into business. I’ve been asking public reading tastes and things like that before, how do I do what you do? My advice to a young man of Forrest’s age or younger: go to school, build a business, become very successful, create large disposable income, and then call people like me to do the non-sexy stuff so you can have all the fun. That’d be my advice for somebody wanted to travel like Ramsey, is hire Ramsey and Anita to take care of all the busy work and you get to go to camp and be the guest, that’s what you want to be. You want to be the guest. A lot of people I think – a lot of young people that wants to be in the industry what they really want to do is be the guy with the camera drawn back up the boat and be oh yeah, we got him. That’s what they really want to do. They don’t think about what that guy is doing the other 360 days a year in a middle management type position. Take a business, any product, that could be anything, be restaurant equipment and that could be hunting equipment, the restaurant equipment, that’s just life, you got to work. So, I’d say really examine what it is. What is leading you into that and why do you want to do that? And be good at it, that’s just my thoughts on it.
Hunting the Teal Trio in Mexico
Number one thing people go home with down here is the teal trio. Green wing, Blue wings and Cinnamons.
Rocky Leflore: All right. Let’s discuss Mexico just a minute. And man, I thought the best picture came out of Mexico the past few days was the teal trio. You know, that Cinnamon teal is on my hit list. Oh man. I mean, you all had a Green wing, a Blue wing and a Cinnamon teal in a picture.
Ramsey Russell: Yeah, we did Rocky. I went to Mazatlán over a few days, down to Obregon and let’s just say the last month, I’ve not seen the preponderance of Cinnamon teal maybe ever that I’ve seen this year. I’ve seen them nearly everywhere. And shooting quite a few of them and it’s just, they’re everywhere. Green wing, Blue wing, Cinnamon. Every area we’ve hunted down here – now, you’ve got to understand Rocky, this outfitter, we may get up and drive two hours to get to a bay from where I’m sitting right now and so just figure he got a geographical area about an hour drive 2, 3 hours long. That’s a big geography of potholes, estuaries and bays and creeks, rivers and streams all throughout Mexico agricultural land, whatever. All the areas we’ve hunted this year, we’ve been shooting Cinnamons. I’ve never seen as many Cinnamons. My favorite thing about hunting down here in Obregon are the Mexican duck which is a part of the whole mallard complex. One biologist was telling me they’re closely related to a mottled duck but they’re still part of the Mallard complex and they quack, they’ll decoy, non-migratory primarily greatest densities right here to Yaqui Valley. To me, I think they represent one of the greatest most underexploited Mallard-like resources in the North American continent. The Mexican biologist – because to operate in Mexico, you have to pay a Mexican biologist, a government biologist to fill out your paper and make biological recommendations in terms of limits and things of that nature. And he said – the other day while we’re fishing, he said that for whatever reason Mexican duck had the greatest population explosion, the most breeding they’ve ever had in 15 years. I’ve seen that too. Man, I mean these things are everywhere and we have called them in with Mallard calls and they act like you want Mallards to act. They quack to them and they don’t take all the nonsense and finishing that we put into Mallards, right or wrong. I mean really and truly what I’ve learned in the last 7, 8 years is call to them, when they turn, shut up. Everybody tries to bend a little bit, you need to quack to them one more time but let them just come out, come here. They don’t like a lot of chattering and feed chuckling and don’t do that – they’re able to slip away from you if you do all that. It’s just quack and let them know you’re there and then be still. And boy, it has been fun. But yeah, we’ve been shooting duck. Number one thing people go home with down here is the teal trio. Green wing, Blue wings and Cinnamons. Pat Pitt, with all the birds he’s called over his career, head on his table over the count of years, he’s done taxidermy, he pointed out to me one time, how and why Green wings are so much better. Look at a time down here than what we’ll see back home and you see that in a lot of the birds. They start to cover up on the wintering grounds like say in Mississippi in December, January, but they’re still molting, they’re still growing feathers and by the time you put your hands on down here late February Rocky, they’re spectacular. Adult birds are nothing short of just spectacular. I brought my yellow dog out here, Cooper chicken dog. She’s been down here every year of her life and I never get walking through the airport. Man, that poor old dog, she’s old, she’s got to go with us, this is her last big trip, farewell. I leave a dog crate down here and I just walked her through the airport, lay down on the plane, all that good stuff. She’s got a very, very nice disposition for that kind of travel. If you act like an old dog, load her up back in the truck the first morning and we got to where we were going. And yeah, she probably been there a dozen times and when I drop the tailgate let her out, she hit the ground like a spring chicken, handle it up. I mean that dog was in her element. She is a duck fetcher poll down here. Now let me tell you, she’s all 5 years just coming down here. She’s a young dog again, not really because she gets tired and she’s an old dog, but she gets tired and sleeps good and everything else. But it’s been just a joy to have her down here and she’s picking up birds and hunting hard. We’re just having a good time Rocky. And I’m going to say this, everybody go down and shoot a Cinnamon teal.
The Best Place to Shoot Cinnamon Teal: Mexico
So Mexico is the place to go get your Cinnamon teal.
Rocky Leflore: Hold on. And if you haven’t heard the story of Coop the chicken dog, go back and find it. It’s in the older podcast where we tell a story about her. Go ahead.
Ramsey Russell: I’m telling pretty often, I had some practice telling, I tell a lot about my chicken dog. Coop’s a – I like a dog – oh man, she’s just a $250 chicken dog. I could tell that story in a blind or something. But you can shoot Cinnamon teal in places that, I know the shot on the Salt Lake City, Utah another shot, part of California. I’m sure, now and again in Arizona, probably in New Mexico if you hunt there. I hear once in a blue moon, somebody getting them in Texas, parts of Texas. But at the end of the day if Cinnamon teal is your thing? Mexico to shoot Cinnamon teal. Mazatlán, I’ve never sent a client and Obregon I’ve never had a client leave this operation without a Cinnamon teal, ever. Sometimes they’re just dime – I’ve shot dozens of them in the last few weeks. With the clients and camp-wise we shot many dozens of them lots and lots of them. So Mexico is the place to go get your Cinnamon teal. A lot of Shovelers get taken home too because they’re very pretty good looking birds here.
Rocky Leflore: So, it’s tomorrow? Coop the chicken dog’s last hunt for real ever?
Ramsey Russell: It’s her last trip. It’s her last day in Mexico and once she goes back home she’ll get to be a potato soldier in the backyard. I’m sure I’ll take her out some to hunt but not much now. I’ve got that little black lab Char and she’s at the trainer up in Indiana right now and fingers crossed. Hopefully, I think she’s going to be a force of nature to be reckoned with every time I let her go. She’s just a ball of fire. And so yeah, she’ll be my full time retriever if everything goes right next year and Coop’s willing just be a couch pet. A sofa turtle I call them, lay on an old sofa and stretch out like a turtle on the log. She’s 9 years old and some dogs last longer than others.
Rocky Leflore: Ramsey, you got to do that story.
Ramsey Russell: Which story is that?
Rocky Leflore: On her. You’ve got to do that story in a Get Ducks story webisode.
All About Coop Chicken Dog & Her Last Trip
She’s a real well behaved and mellow dog like that. Until the gun goes off, then she’s a hunting dog.
Ramsey Russell: Yeah, I will. I may have better dogs than Cooper was but I’ll never have a sweeter dog. Her deposition is the sweetest personality I’ve ever seen. And look, she’s got some bad habits too, son, don’t get me lying, she’s a lab. But she’s a good dog. And since I had her, I never had a dog that would root a duck out of cover if you just stick with it. Back when she was younger, set her off into – to get a Mallard into a thick to get something, there was no calling her back. I mean, you just weren’t gonna call it, especially if you had a nose full of it. You might not think she did. One time, one of my favorite memories of her down in Mexico, we had shot some ducks in a canal and she went picked up some and came back. I tried to call her, we continued on and she wouldn’t come out of there and just would not come out, 2 or 3 of it was shots. I thought we had a bird mark down, she would not come out of there and I was getting angry trying to call her. About that time, I’m talking 5 minutes into it, a freaking Mexican duck, I mean she had finally routed it out. And it kind of flew down bank about 10 yards and jumped back into mud cover and I just sat down. I said, “Ya’ll might go find a seat, we’re not going nowhere that I’ll find, she ain’t coming back and I ain’t going to get her.” It was just like when a lion dog retreats, the lion ain’t one way, that story’s going to end this with a deadline. You don’t lead a dog to retreive a coon or retreive something without honoring it. She wasn’t going to come out – it’s one of my favorite – took her probably about 15-20 minutes. That bird had one little BB – had one in a very difficult joint of his wing, had one little BB break on it. Probably would’ve healed up and lived and but she wasn’t going to come out that creek without that duck. And she’s always been that way. But if you get her on a plane Rocky, she just lays down and disappears. Even meal service comes through. She just disappears. People sitting next to me don’t even realize she’s laying there. She’s quiet, she’s stable. I literally have a leash is just like a slip, you make a little lose on end and I put it over. She doesn’t wear a collar, I just lay a little leash on and she doesn’t pull on you, she doesn’t tug on you, we’re just a subtle pressure left and right, steer. She’s a real well behaved and mellow dog like that. Until the gun goes off, then she’s a hunting dog. Even at 9 years old, she was hard charging this last couple of weeks. I’m proud of her. This is the last big trip. I’ve had just good, maybe bad luck with dogs, I’ve had dogs literally till 13 years old, but they’re really good hunting performance starts to fade somewhere around 9-10 years old. I’ve had some dogs that will go much harder, much longer, but at the same time they suffered for it, the off rides and joints. I don’t want to do that her, she’s been a good dog and one of my favorite dog ever and I’m just going to let her retire, and be my buddy, and sleep on couch sofa somewhere.
Rocky Leflore: Yeah. She’s been such a big part of your business for so long. What a great story and it connects with so many people.
Ramsey Russell: Let me tell you this, and I have said this before she’s a band magnet. She has brought in more bands than any dog I ever met. Brant migration has been weak the last three years, but it sure would be a nice ending for her to bring in some brant bands tomorrow. My fingers are crossed and I hope it happens. That’s all the time I got today. Rocky, I enjoyed it, good to be back on the show with you.
Rocky Leflore: Oh man. I really enjoyed. I’m glad we closed it out talking about Cooper, that is awesome. Last trip. Ramsey, be careful on your way back home. You’ll be on US soil on Friday night, right? Sometime in Friday night.
Ramsey Russell: Yeah, Friday night, 10:30.
Rocky Leflore: All right brother, well have fun in the morning, thank you again. We want to thank all of you that listened to this edition of The End of The Line podcast powered by ducksouth.com.