The Outdoor Cameraman team, Jake Latendresse and Jess Delorenzo, discuss creating an upcoming worldwide video series with Ramsey Russell, of GetDucks.com and USHuntList.com. We dive into a traumatic life-altering injury that shaped him as a teenager but later inspired him to take his passion for waterfowl hunting to an unprecedented level.
Finding Direction and Purpose in Duck Hunting
Ramsey is a duck hunter, and he found purpose and direction in the waterfowl world…
Jessica DeLorenzo: Good morning everybody. It is the Outdoor Cameraman Experience. I am Jessica DeLorenzo with my co-host Jake Latendresse and we are Latendresse Media Collective. It is episode 19. We have a great guest on today. We’re going to go a little bit different direction than we normally do. But just to catch up Jake, how have you been?
Jake Latendresse: I’ve been well. I’ve been up in Nebraska again. This time I switched gears and the last time you and I were there, we were bow hunting. This time I was up there leading a group of sponsors on a duck hunt on the Platte River with Prairie Rock Outfitters and it went really, really well. We had guys from Sitka, and Tangle Free, and Purina Pro Plan dog food, and Mow Marsh, and Winchester Shotguns. We had some good people in camp and we did really well with the ducks.
Jessica DeLorenzo: Awesome. The photos you guys are putting out were great. You guys crushed it duck-wise and photo-wise. So, I’m excited to see the rest of the stuff from that trip looks like you guys had a good time.
Jake Latendresse: Yeah, it was. It’s always cool when you get together with the right group of guys, they take it seriously, but not too seriously, and we shared a group experience. I mean, duck hunting’s a social event as it is and having the right guys in camp like Jim Rosenquist, and Blake Fisher, and all the guys at RNT that were there, sort of leading the way as well just made it a cool experience. I’m getting back into the duck hunting scene all of a sudden and I’m looking forward to it.
Jessica DeLorenzo: You’re going to move up to Nebraska. I feel like you should at this point.
Jake Latendresse: Well I have to move back, I lived there. A lot of people don’t know, but I lived there for 10 years, and ran a duck hunting and goose hunting outfitting service on the Platte River near Lake McCaughey for many years. Then I went through a little transition in life and sold my business out there, came back to Four Cons but found a new fresh start with Prairie Rock and Ryan Livingston, so I’m thinking about buying a cabin or renting a cabin up there. I have to take my kids and family up there too.
Jessica DeLorenzo: Awesome. Well, so you want to go into a little bit about our guest today?
Jake Latendresse: Yeah. So today we have, like you said, we’re changing directions a little bit. We’re still going to talk about the purpose of this project that I’m working on with Ramsey Russell, the owner of Getducks.com, and we’re going to talk about a project that he and I are working on together. Ramsey went through an especially dramatic event in his life. He was in an explosion, a propane explosion, when he was 15 years old, and it changed his life forever. It was a very dramatic scene. He was almost killed. In fact the doctors told his family, his parents that he probably wouldn’t survive, and if he did, he was going to lose some limbs, and lots of mobility. Somehow he toughed through that, came out of that event, but went into a deep dark hole in his life emotionally, physically, all those things, things that we can’t even imagine as people that haven’t experienced something like that. But then growing up in the South of Mississippi, Ramsey is a duck hunter, and he found purpose and direction in the waterfowl world, and we’re going to talk more about this. He had a job with the US Fish and Wildlife service working for the Feds, and he quit his job, he left all that behind because he felt this passion and pull towards the waterfowl and duck hunting. Especially to start something. So, he started Getducks.com and the US hunt list. He has built a brand and a business around booking hunts all over the world. That gave us an opportunity to work on a special project that he and I are working on, which we’re going to talk about once we bring him on the show. This is going to be a really cool life story. We’re going to implement the Outdoor Cameraman experience into this, but this is really more about life story and what Ramsey’s direction and goals are now.
Jessica DeLorenzo: Awesome. Well, without further ado, let’s bring in Ramsey Russell, the owner of Getducks.com and hunt list?
Jake Latendresse: US hunt list.
Ramsey Russell: Hey guys, how’s it going?
Jessica DeLorenzo: Hey, Ramsey.
Ramsey Russell: How you all?
Jessica DeLorenzo: Good. Thanks for joining us this morning and spending some time with us.
Ramsey Russell: Yeah. To hear Jake explain, I think I’m feeling go house shopping in Nebraska too.
Jake Latendresse: I’m telling you. Ramsey and I are going to be getting together, I think December 14th through the 20th, something like that, up in Nebraska and on the Wyoming border. We’re going to be doing some duck hunting and it’s going to be integrated into this project that we’re working on together. But I’m really looking forward to it because I just got back from there, as I just said, and we had a big time with the ducks, I think it’s going to be good.
The Origins of Getducks.com
“The past isn’t dead. In fact it’s not even past.” – William Faulkner
Ramsey Russell: Well, I’m leaving Friday for Alaska, going to scratch out some lifeless birds and get to go revisit one of my favorite places on earth. We’re going to shoot – we’re going to target Borrel’s golden eyes, and hopefully kill a few harlequins and other seabirds, and puddle ducks, and whatever comes along. And then I’m going to jump in a truck – I’m going to sleep in my bed about 8 hours and jump in the truck and drive to meet you over in Nebraska and Wyoming. Then on the way back home after that, Forrest and I are going to stop by Kansas and pick up our Kansas outfitter. I told my wife I’ll be here hopefully before Santa Claus.
Jake Latendresse: Well, we should open this discussion up because you live to duck hunt. Your whole life now, professionally and personally, revolves around duck hunting and not just on a small scale. You’re not pigeonholed down on some small marsh in Mississippi on the Delta down there, you have opened this thing up on a worldly international planet Earth scale, which is as massive as you can get without hunting on the moon or on another planet. And you’ve really turned this into a direction in your life. But moving back I’d really like to talk about your life history, how this all occurred, and why you got into this in the first place.
Ramsey Russell: I’ve got to give credit to you, and also to Rocky Leflore for this project we’re working on, but also kind of tying in the past with the present. I’ve got to give you all both credit for that, just the whole storytelling concept, and everything else. You all inspired me to tell some of my past history. I’ve been doing a weekly podcast on The End of The Line podcast with Rocky and it’s really been a therapeutic, and it’s helped me find my bearings in my direction with this project. It led to the project you and I are really working on, it gave the final push that it needed. And I’ll say this, William Faulkner, who I used to read – a great Southern author from Mississippi, from Oxford, Mississippi of all places, the home of Old Miss. – but he once said, “The past isn’t dead. In fact it’s not even past.” And I think that’s really important for everybody. We are a product of our past, and so pursuant to telling this story on The End of The Line podcast, I took a part of my life that I had compartmentalized and put away in a box on a shelf in a dark room that we never go into it, and it brought it all out. It made me realize how that set me on this path of where I’ve ended up. We duck hunt on 6 continents. Our company motto is Duck Season Somewhere. And to me it is geographical, it’s special, because somewhere right now today in North America, anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere, duck season is going in full swing, goose season. It’s started even wind down up in Canada and the northern tier right now, as the weather comes, but then it opens up into the whole Southern Hemisphere 365 days a year, when you wake up, and that brings in the temporal part. You get up in the morning, you put on your shoes to go the office and you think yourself, man, somebody’s duck hunting today. And the great part is being in the Deep South – I was born and raised in the Deep South, hot weather is part of it, but I’ve spent 150-200 days a year in nice duck season weather, and I love that part of it. But you never know the next phone call, you never know what the next trip’s going to bring.
International Duck Hunting with Getducks.com
It’s duck season every single day of our lives.
Jake Latendresse: What’s interesting about that is, as a duck hunter, if you’re truly emerged in the duck hunting culture ever since the very first day you went duck hunting, whether you were 3 years old or 23 years old or whatever it was, the last day of duck season brings on this true sense of depression. We’ve always talked about, people talk about duck season, depression, it starts today on the last season. When you coined the “#it’s duck season somewhere” that brought back memories for me and it really sort of lit this light in my head. It’s like, hey man – I mean not to say you can just jump on a plane because it’s not something you just do – just jump on a plane and fly to Australia, Argentina, Azerbaijan, or whatever to go duck hunting, you may have to save a little, but there’s a sense of savior there because it is duck season somewhere. It doesn’t have to end. You can go somewhere and duck hunt year round, 365 days a year, and I think that’s pretty cool – that’s a pretty cool concept. So, that’s your antidepressant for duck season guys.
Ramsey Russell: It is. And one thing we like to say, “the good old days are now.” Everybody talks about the good old days, back during your pawpaw’s time. My granddaddy could not have imagined getting on a plane and 8 hours later waking up in duck season. You couldn’t have fathomed that back then. I don’t think that it even existed back then, but it does, and the good old days are now. I mean we’ve got general limits back in the 60s and 70s, my dad and granddad were shooting one or two mallards, depending on how it fell, maybe 4 mallards. Man, the seasons are generous. The limits are generous and it’s a whole great big world out there. And it’s crazy the number of people we attract in the building of a brand. We’ve got different types of clients. We’ve got the clients that want to go trigger-pull on vacation, down to Argentina, or Mexico, and just get to really just enjoy something different, pull the trigger a lot more than they can here. And then we’ve got guys that are real serious and we start talking about going to Azerbaijan red crested pochards and tufted ducks. More Eurasian wigeons, you’ve ever seen. All these Eurasian species, to include mallards, and pintails, and shovelers, and gadwalls, and king eiders up on the Barren Sea, or go down to Australia and shoot pink eared ducks. There’s a list going around of 41 species, and myself and several others disagree. There’s really 50-51 species in North America if you start getting into the subspecies. But I warn people like, well I’m collecting the North American collect. I say, be careful because it’s a real big world after that. It sucks you down like the deep mud in the marsh, it just pulls you in and once you’re in, you can’t stop. In Mississippi, duck season ends here the last Sunday. Usually within 3 or 4 days or a week of that season, I’m on a plane to Mexico to join a month of clients down in Mexico. After that comes Azerbaijan, after that comes a little break for Russia, or for turkeys, and after that comes the whole South American, Southern Pacific season. It never ends. It’s duck season every single day of our lives.
Jessica DeLorenzo: I’m picturing a box of shells in one hand and a Pina Colada in the other.
Jake Latendresse: Hey man, it’s not far from that, like some of those places, like in Rio Salado, when we went down to Argentina together – let me back up before I say that because one of the things that I found very interesting about traveling the world with you Ramsey is that while we don’t speak the same language, and there’s some communication barrier perhaps in some countries and cultures around. When you find the duck hunters in these areas, there’s a common denominator that occurs. Like all the guys, Glenn Falla, and Trent Leen, and Paul Sharpe in Australia, or the people you work with in Argentina, they’re duck hunters and they have the same exact passion that we have in North America. And one of the things that people might say is, well I’m not really into hunting teals, I’m not really into going and shooting shovelers or whatever it is. But when you get down to it, and you go out into the marsh, and you duck hunt wherever you are – show up in Argentina, Azerbaijan or whatever it is – when you get out, the ducks respond to your calls, they come into your decoys, it’s all the same. And as a photographer or a filmmaker, I’m into all the new colors that I get to see on these ducks because they’re freaking beautiful. I was totally mesmerized by all the duck species, particularly the pink eared duck in Australia, and the Pacific black duck in Australia, those were like, I was sucked into it.
Ramsey Russell: One of my ambitions for this particular project, I’ve hunted with feudal lords in Pakistan, I’ve hunted with diesel mechanic down in Argentina, and one thing I really think we’re going to demonstrate is the universal truth of duck hunting. Because the scale of this project is Getducks.com hunting 6 continents. You find the universal truth in duck hunting is you can put a billionaire and a Firestone tire flipper, and a good old boy and a billionaire, you can put them in a duck blind and in that moment race, politics, religion, money, it doesn’t matter. In those moments, for those hours, we’re all just duck hunters. I think as this storyline evolves – Life’s Short Get Ducks, this series we’re working on – I think there’s going to be more surprising similarities than expected dissimilarities. That’s what I think you’re going to see is that duck hunting is duck hunting. It’s the fundamentals of guys going out and interacting with the resource to shoot them, but also the happiness and joy in the food. Take the duck camp experience, and break it into ducks and food, and laughs and good times, and a few cocktails, and you can take that experience and mimic it all over the world. It’s different, but it’s not. And that’s kind of the ambition, is to show that we duck hunters here in America I believe are the best and the most avid. We’ve elevated all aspects of duck hunting to an art form. Our ammo, our camo, our equipment, our decoys, every single aspect of it is top of the food chain, but we’re no more passionate about it than anybody else in the world that duck hunts. And it’s going to be a real interesting story as it unfolds, I think.
Jake Latendresse: That’s a really good point.
Starting the Life’s Short, Get Ducks Series
When you get there, it’s a 130 square mile marsh in the middle of nowhere, and it’s just there, and it’s in a part of the world that you never would know existed. And that’s the kind of experiences we specialize in.
Jessica DeLorenzo: So, let’s dive in a little bit to how you guys are developing this. You’re developing a series about traveling all over duck hunting with the Getducks.com what’s going into this logistic wise? How long, and how did you guys develop this worldwide series?
Ramsey Russell: When Jake and I first met, we were talking about what we’re going to do, and I could tell from having heard his own podcast testimonials and from seeing his work that he reflected kind of the value that I wanted to put into this project. The brand value, the appearance, the production value, he kind of got that. But I don’t think Jake was expecting once we kind of said, okay, let’s do this, I don’t think you’re expecting, “We’re going to Australia in three weeks, I got tickets coming to you.”
Jake Latendresse: And that’s pretty much how it happened.
Ramsey Russell: I spend as many as 150 or 200 days out in the field and the logistics of it is, it’s what my business does. It’s the travel, and the flights, and the details, and the visas, and the gun permits, and yada-yada.
Jessica DeLorenzo: It’s essentially an all-inclusive booking agency to hunt worldwide.
Ramsey Russell: That’s exactly what we do. We’re going to fall Jake into it and the timeline is going to be just as we come to it, the upcoming schedule. For this year, we started with Australia, then we went to Argentina. Understand, anybody listening there that cares, that this isn’t just a Getducks hunt type hunt, because we’re also going to utilize our US hunt list partners like Prairie Rock and several others around the United States to look at the United States. There is such a diversity of hunting, and hunting types, and hunting habitats and conditions in America. I mean we’re blessed with it beyond the pale. But then we’re also going to do some public land hunts. Alaska is going to be 100% do-it-yourself public land hunt. Coming to Mississippi, it’s a non-commercial hunt, we’re going to be on private property, that’s not commercial. So, there’s going to be something for everybody, it’s going to be something as close to home, or remote, that everybody can relate to. I mean, right now there’s one company that has got places like Azerbaijan, and Pakistan, and Australia, and Sweden, and we’re going to show that. Even when we get down to the more familiar destinations such as Argentina, we’ve been down there for 17 years, and we realized real quick 10 years ago, the path most traveled is not what our clients wanted. They wanted a genuine high-quality duck hunting experience that the average guy advertising in the Ducks Unlimited magazine was not delivering. So, we went down there for months at a time, and explored, and the place Jake and I went to Argentina this past year is – you can’t hardly get there from here. When you get there, it’s a 130 square mile marsh in the middle of nowhere, and it’s just there, and it’s in a part of the world that you never would know existed. And that’s the kind of experiences we specialize in. For the upcoming year so far, we’ve got Australia, Argentina, Nebraska, Wyoming, Mississippi, Mexico, Azerbaijan, and I think I’m missing one. We’ve got that kind of laid out in a process for the year. We’ve all seen the outdoor television shows, and one thing I expressed to Jake that it is very important to me, is to kind of tell a true story of duck hunting. Not a NASCAR sponsor affected story, but a true story, an honest story of duck hunting. And I believe when you go to Australia, and you go to the Netherlands, and you start really seeing the impact of anti-hunting, and how the decline in hunting has led to a political irrelevance and the anti’s have gotten a strong foothold. Then you begin seeing hunters apologize for what they do – for what we do – and my philosophy is we shouldn’t apologize, we shouldn’t have to apologize. It is legal, is ethical, but some of the things that maybe some hunter would say are, “Oh you shouldn’t do that.” I believe if it’s legal and ethical, it’s okay to do, and I believe that we as hunters should just own it. That’s what I wanted to pick is just an honesty of hunting and the value of hunting. The truth value of hunting. Trying to explain to a non-hunter how it is that we can go out and shoot something and eat it or not, but shoot it, primarily for recreational value is what we do as hunters, just recreationally something we do for fun. But trying to explain that to, not an anti-hunter, but a non-hunter, of how we are emotionally connected, and love this resource, and how it gives our life that profound values. What I really hope to depict through this series with Jake.
Given a Second Chance
I mean, I understand how fragile life is, short, in the blink of an eye, boom.
Jake Latendresse: I think as a story, as you said, what we do as filmmakers and photographers is tell the story. I think we have to go back in time, and I hate to beat a dead horse Ramsey, but I think it’s really important for the viewers that are watching this, and that are going to watch our productions, should understand that you went through a life – you went through a very deep life changing experience when you were 15. You were in a propane explosion. I think you were in the garden shed, there is a hot water heater in there. You were rinsing your brushes off with some gas, the door blew shut, and it filled the room up, and eventually got to the pilot light and exploded.
Ramsey Russell: That’s pretty much it. It was like the combustion of a carburetor when you turn the ignition and that arc of flame hits the gas vapors. I had come home from school, my mother had been on me, I had a bird dog that it just scratched the door to the pieces, and I had to paint it. So, I went painted it, and it’s a metal door (oil based paint), and I went to clean the brushes, and I don’t know if the door blew shut, don’t know if it was shut, don’t know if it was too close, whatever the fact was, the vapor was collected when the pilot light came on, it was an explosion. I was lucid. I can remember my neighbor coming in his eyes getting this big when he saw me. I can remember the smoke. I can remember my mama’s hysteria. I can remember walking down the driveway and I can remember my neighbors collecting. I can remember him putting me in an ambulance and trying to cover my face with a wet sheet, that wasn’t going to happen. I can remember the ride to the ambulance all the way. I can remember my mama crying. I can remember telling my mother to call my boss, I was bussing tables at Shoney’s at the time, and I told her to call him and tell him I wouldn’t be in for work that day. I remember being pushed into the emergency room, and I can remember a nurse. I can remember telling her I was thirsty. There was all this this action going on around me, nurses, and lights, and doctors, and people flurry, it’s a flurry of humanity around me. And I remember taking a piece of ice and putting it in my mouth and I can remember the last lucid thought – I can remember them cutting my clothes off. I had on shorts and a T-shirt. I remember them cutting them off with scissors. And then everything else just drops off into this real dream-like experience for the next 6 months, it seems like. It wasn’t medically induced because they couldn’t – I was 75% 2nd 3rd degree and they needed what skin wasn’t burned to grow so they could use skin grafts. They couldn’t retard that growth with painkillers or anything, so it was just full-on tough it out, man. And I can remember, I told my mother maybe 6 months after I got out. She and I were drinking a cup of coffee, and talking, and I was sorting through these memories. I remember describing to her lot of lights and doctors rushing in and putting those paddles on my body, and I remember, like I was looking down the bed, seeing my body burnt and it just must have been a bad dream. And when I looked up at her, she was crying. And she said, I don’t know how you remember that, that’s the night they brought you in. You died. I don’t think she ever would have told me that had I not remembered it. I spent 6 months in the burn center. I think my parents put a down payment on the casket. They said if he lives, he’s going to lose his right arm and both his legs. It was an 8% chance of survivability and it was just a long road to recovery. That’s really what it boiled down to. But it was the kind of changing experience that when you’re in that spot and you’re getting out – and I mean, just when you lay in bed for six months, you can’t physically stand, you can’t physically lift a 2 pound weight over your head when you’re immobile for that duration of time. I think I lost count with in the 80-something of surgeries over the years. Nothing beautification, all just mobility type issues and general health issues, but I did get back, and it leaves you hungry. It’s like being given a second chance this time. I mean, I understand how fragile life is, short, in the blink of an eye, boom. Just last week, I came home from Thanksgiving, had a pile of packages in the foyer. I was going through some mail, sitting in my office, and I was here by myself, and about that time somebody started beating my front door down, and ringing the doorbell like crazy. All my kids will tell you, because I’ll tell their friends, don’t beat on my front door like the house is on fire, come up and ring the doorbell and ask to speak to one of the children. Well, somebody was beating my door down, and I opened it up and the lady goes, “Your house is on fire.” I go, “Ma’am?” she goes, “There’s a fire by your garage and some combustion or something, and one of the great big city trash cans, it caught fire.” I go out to the front door and there’s 8-foot flames leaping feet from my house. We put it out. But my point is life’s short, just in the blink of an eye, boom, something.
What Life’s Short, Get Ducks is All About
So much of our life experience can be summed in one word: people.
Jake Latendresse: And that really leads us into the title of our project. Man, every time I see it, type it into a title on a video, or a photo or a copy on a post, or something on social media, I get soft Ramsey. I mean, your story is very inspiring to me and I hope that it is to everyone else. I hope that the productions that we put out there are inspiring to other people because we’re talking about a situation where you come out of this, and like you said, duck hunting gave you purpose and direction, which gave you confidence. And you started to build this brand, and all of a sudden you and I are talking about a video project. What our goal was to take this story, your life history – man, I get goose bumps thinking about it. You take this life history to begin with, which you’ve already released the trailer to our video project, and the name of the video project is Life’s Short, Get Ducks. And that really encompasses, under one umbrella, how you feel about all this, how everyone should feel about this because most of us take life for granted Ramsey. We haven’t been as unfortunate as that was for you. Fortunately you survived that that event, and I hate to say this, but you had an opportunity to look at life from a completely different perspective than most of us ever have, or ever will because we haven’t, we haven’t faced that kind of adversity before. And when you look at it from that standpoint, when you’re us on the outside looking in, looking at life like that because life is short, whether it’s get ducks, or get trucks, or get whatever, life is short, take advantage of it.
Ramsey Russell: Get ducks, get trucks, whatever. It is very important. The trailer really – it’s our brand Getducks.com. 100% organic. I mean, it’s literally, I don’t have a marketing degree, I’m a forester and biologist. When I evolved out of this system and ended up in a roundabout way going to college, and majoring in Wildlife Management and Forestry, and the doors that opened it up. I just wanted to work in refuges. I just wanted to be on a piece of property and wear a uniform, and make the world a better place. This opportunity, a couple of job changes, it took a life of its own, we moved on. Life is short and when we ended up going down to Australia, I had not told the story like, we told the story even then, let alone on The End of The Line podcast over 3 series, I’ve never said that. My wife and children never had heard parts of the – I’ve been married for 25 years, she never heard part of that story. My oldest son is 21. He’d never heard parts of that story. They were hanging on the edge of their seat, hearing parts, and it was good to tell that kind of stuff. But then we moved on. You and I were in Australia, and man, we got some great footage, we’ve gone to several different places, it was an awesome hunt and it just happened to coincide, I remembered the night before the last day. I can’t forget it. Tomorrow’s that day, I think you and I may have talked about it, and you were boxing up all your camera gear and said, “Ramsey is there anything else?” But once this stuff is boxed up, man. I said, “Yeah, if you don’t mind, let me do a little interview. It was fully candid. I’ve learned in a couple of other places we’ve been Jake, I don’t read script card – I’m a non-scripted guy. So, we’re going to make this series completely unscripted, and raw, and I think that’s really kind of how the message came out so good. It was the fact that it was just setting it up and you’re saying, okay, well what do you want to say? And me just going into it 36 years ago today. That’s pretty profound for me. That because 36 years ago preceding that man, nobody in my whole world would have dreamed 36 years later, nearly 4 decades later, I’d be sitting waist deep in the marsh shooting hardheads in Australia.
Jake Latendresse: And we were literally standing by red gum in a marsh in Australia and when we did this. It was literally, just so the viewers know, 36 years ago to the day that the explosion had occurred. So we’re standing there, you’re getting choked up, I’m like, on the other side of the camera, I’m in tears. It was hard. It was very hard to listen to you, not because – probably just because it was so inspiring Ramsey for me. I mean when you roll that out and I captured that on my red, I was so inspired, like God man, this is this project is meant to be. I didn’t look at it like this is just a job, this is a passion project, and it became that for me, and I want to make sure that everything that I do with you, that it comes out that way, because that’s what the purpose of this is. Like you said, this isn’t just another duck hunting show on the Outdoor channel or Sportsman’s channel. This is a life story. There’s a man in Argentina, David that you work with, that had a very similar story, not exactly, but there’s enough trauma in the story that he went through that we match these things up, and I’m just like, man, this is a truly, this is a gift for me, and it’s a gift and a pleasure for me to be a part of this man. I really want you to know that.
Ramsey Russell: So much of our life experience can be summed in one word: people. You know what I’m saying? I think duck hunting for me, and I think for a lot of other people, whether you’re shooting ducks or not, it’s just a fact, the greatest people in your life you meet, you meet because of hunting. I think, it’s an ideal time to tell the story, not of duck hunting, but really of people. And not just Ramsey, but other people, other hunters, the people we’re going to meet along the way, and I think it’s just a great opportunity to connect with people and tell this story. I’m really pleased to see it come about and I’ve read a real clear vision of how I wanted it to be. I wanted it to be just an honest to picture of duck hunting. I think that’ll be a real nice story. My own story of getting hurt, telling that story, they’re on year 36, I had been asked dozens of times, what happened? Oh, I got hurt, blah- blah, but I moved on, but it’s just something you kind of put away. That was the first time that I ever said it out loud in that kind of detail, and it did choke me up, and I was surprised that I became choked up. I started thinking about all the love and prayers, and people that have supported me, and helped me, and that are important in my life now in that context. It did choke me up a little bit and I’m not that kind of – I’ve cried too many tears back when I was a kid in the burn center to cry anymore – but it did choke me up. I’ve been in this business a long time and I’ll tell you, we organized hunts around the world for people and I’ve got clients that will buy a dozen hunts a year, and I’ve got clients that’ll buy one in a lifetime. But each hunt, no matter what the person’s respective situation is, it is a trip of a lifetime of sorts. It really truly is. I’ve got clients plural, a half dozen or more, some have just gone to bed one night and never woke up. They have a blessed life, and they went to sleep, and I’ve got clients that have ended in tragedy, and I’m surprised some of them very young. When you walk into my camp house, I’ve got this little short hall, and it’s just full of 8 by 10 photos. Me and the kids in different places, but a lot of times there’s some of these faces, and certainly throughout the hard drive of my own pictures and stuff. When I see those people smiling, holding their ducks, and sitting in that duck blind around the world, it just occurred to me one day that I get to be a part of the happiest times of their lives. Because a lot of people have trouble, a lot of people have baggage, and things going on behind the scenes. We’re all as adults – Santa Claus, we all know the children’s myth. Now we’re grownups and we are our Santa Claus. And we have to go to work, we have to pay bills, we’ve got bosses we don’t like, we’ve got situations in our life that add stress, and what I see a lot of times is people plan these trips with us, it’s kind of like the conversion of a child at Christmas. It’s not the actual hunt, I just imagine a guy in a high stress job, sitting at a boring desk or something, in his life is a barking dog and nagging wife, a bad boss, a horrible job, a mortgage too big. Times are tough but every now and again he gets to think, I’m going to be in Argentina in 8 weeks, or 12 weeks, or whatever and it gives him a response, it gives him something to look forward to. To look at some of those pictures of clients that are no longer with us and just realize, wow, I got to be a part of one of the highlights, the funniest things he ever did. That’s a little bit of responsibility, it’s a little scary at times.
Jake Latendresse: That’s a lot of bit of responsibility.
Jessica DeLorenzo: It’s really awesome to see you guys debut these episodes because part of our responsibility, at least that I feel as a photographer or a cinematographer in this industry, is to parlay the stories behind the scenes. So, to be able to see these people go out and like you said, it’s not just a duck hunt, this is an experience, so to be able to have Jake show that to the world, that what you’re doing isn’t just a booking agency. You’re helping people either through some sort of therapeutic trip or just to be able to check a bucket list item of for them is going to be really special. And I think those are the types of things that anybody getting into this industry should look to do because that’s going to help revolutionize the perception of the outdoors, and help solidify the future of sportsmanship. So, these are the types of projects that really need to be harnessed, and taken advantage of right now, because it’s going to pay back dividends in the future.
Ramsey Russell: I’ve got a face for radio. I told Jake that I’m not meant to be on TV, but one thing I made clear to Jake, I said Jake, I don’t want to be the star of a show. I’ll be the voice. I’ll be the constant because I’m going to be on these hunts. But to me, the stars of the show are the guides, and the hunters, and the species, and the habitats, and the wetlands of the world. That is what’s important to show. I’m just a guy.
Jake Latendresse: Well, I think, from my perspective, from a filmmaker and a photographer’s perspective, I want to show people. I want to be able to tell a story, but I also want to be able to take you there. Like if you’ve never been anywhere and you’ve duck hunted in Arkansas, or Mississippi, or West Tennessee your whole life, and you watch one of these episodes, I want you, again not to be just immersed in the story line, but also I want you to feel like you’re there on the hunt with us so that you can imagine what it’s like to be in waist deep water in Australia hunting hard heads, or pink eared ducks, or in a marsh on a dry year in Argentina, or wherever we are. I want the experience to come out so that you understand this is very common. It’s a common denominator. If you’re a waterfowl hunter, you might be in a different place and you might have a certain perception about Pakistan that you don’t like because you watch the news, and they’re always talking about terrorists, and bombings, and how bad these people are. But then when you get into wherever you waterfowl hunt in Pakistan and you meet up with these people, all of a sudden you’re completely blown away by the fact that you’re getting along with these people. I’m getting soft here, man, because when you look at life like that, that’s when you understand that life is short and that and you’re not taking advantage of the things out there that the world has to offer. We get along with people that you thought were your enemies in the world, and you sit down and you go roast a duck over an open fire in Argentina like we did in Brazil – I mean that was unbelievable. We were on this old beat down ranch with a wooden picnic table and fold out chairs. They brought a tablecloth out. They set bottles of Argentinian wine, which we all know what that means, and they bring these wooden cutting boards. Yeah, they bring these wooden wooden cutting boards out for everyone as plates. We have a fork and a knife and then you walk over to – what’s that fire pit thing called that kiln looking thing that where they cook those ducks, Ramsey?
Ramsey Russell: I have no idea. It’s like a homemade mud oven.
Jake Latendresse: Yeah, it’s like a kiln, this mud brick. That’s how it would cook your food and it looked like a muddy glue on stilts and they had these metal grades in there. I walked over there and Ramsey’s like, man, you got to come get pictures of this. So, I walk over there and there’s like 36 or 40 Brazil ducks all plucked, and butterflied, open split in half, orange feet still on and sticking up. Oh my gosh, I walked over there and my mouth just started watering. The Pavlov’s theory just went into effect immediately. But it’s also beautiful. And man, I’m telling you, I almost started crying because I’m standing there going, dude, I’m out in the middle of nowhere –
Jessica DeLorenzo: You better pack few tissues.
Jake Latendresse: I’m telling you the older I get, the softer I am because I realize hanging out with people like Ramsey, I get to realize how short life really is, and what the value of these experiences are. I go back to my 3 year-old days when my dad started taking me duck hunt. When I was 3 years old dreaming about how am I going to create a life to where I can duck hunt the rest of my life. I wasn’t thinking about Australia, or Argentina, or Azerbaijan, or Netherlands, or wherever in the world, I was thinking about West Tennessee flooded cornfields, and flooded timber in Arkansas. Now here I am, many decades later traveling with a guy like Ramsey, going to these places, and I’m just going, I mean this is insane. I’m duck hunting in Australia and it is an experience that if you spent – it doesn’t, it’s really not that expensive when you start counting the nuts and bolts of these things and the logistics – but you save your money and you go on a trip like this, you come back going, now that was one of the most memorable things I’ve ever done in my life, and you’ll carry that to your grave.
People are Just People
Ramsey Russell: But isn’t it crazy – you touched on this. Isn’t it crazy how the world over, people are just people, what I’ve seen in my travels is 90%. The news and the media concentrates on the 10% to 5% each side outlier. 90% of people are just people like us. They’re just regular people that like people, and share, and eat, and drink, and have a good time, and love to do the same thing. Like my bird boy in Azerbaijan last year, he’s very poor by American standards, even by Azerbaijani standards, he’s very poor but he was so friendly. Every morning he had a teacup, he stopped and his sister or somebody had made cookies and somewhere during the hunt, he would break out his teacup and pour a cup of tea for me, and let me have my tea first. He just insisted we didn’t want to share a cup. He just would pour mine first, and give me some cookies, and even Google Translate failed us. We could have one and two word sentence conversations. Yes, no, hungry, that’s all we could do. But yet we bonded in a way that you never would have dreamed, and I can say that about every country I’ve been in. 90% of everybody I’ve ever met in fact, everybody I’ve ever met, I think represents that 90%. They’re just people. You go to Pakistan – when I was in Pakistan, one of the craziest things that ever happened – I’m in Pakistan and I’m pour myself a drink or something and somebody says, where are you from? Of course, they all spoke great English, never a big crowd of guests in there that day. I said, I’m from Mississippi and he goes, oh, that’s near Louisiana. Do you know Duck Commander? And I go – and they didn’t care what I knew because the minute somebody said Duck Dynasty, the whole crowd comes around and they start telling Uncle Cyrus stories in Pakistan. As your guest on the Outdoor Camera Experience, to kind of bring this thing back home, I’ve got this vision, I’ve got this experience, but the platform of video – especially video we can put on social media like this – it’s a platform that can really communicate where you can feel it. Words are very good in a book if you’re imaginative, but it’s not real. You can’t really envision that red duckweed over that Australian swamp until you see it and video walking through it. That’s where guys, you all can give real creative life. The fact that Jake is a duck hunter and has hunted, he anticipates. I’m just out there doing duck hunting stuff but Jake, he’s duck hunted, he’s duck guided, he’s a capable photographer, but he anticipates those true moments that give this project real spotted life, that people can really sink their teeth into and get it. That’s what so good about having talented, good videographers and photographers like yourself.
Jake Latendresse: Thank you. Well, thank you. That means a lot coming from you, Ramsey, and that is our goal. At the end of the day, and Jess covering whatever she does with her cameras, and what I cover what I do with my cameras, that is our purpose. I mean, our purpose is to find those moments and capture them because those are the ones that really stick out. When you can capture a moment that happens spontaneously, or if you see it coming and you capture it, and people don’t know that you’re doing it, you’re just a fly on the wall and something miraculous happens, and you capture it and then you show it to whoever is there that you want to show it to, that’s when it all comes out. That’s when emotionally, that’s when it comes out. So, I’m very, very proud of this whole thing. Let’s talk about the first episode. How deep do you want to get into that before you release the first episode? It’s no secret. Well, I’ll let you tell.
The First Episode of Life’s Short, Get Ducks
It gives you a very good insight of the people, and the food, and the camaraderie, and the habitats, and the birds.
Jessica DeLorenzo: But for everybody know when to expect it first. When are you anticipating the release of this?
Ramsey Russell: Probably sometime around the Christmas break. I’ve been thinking I would work with when the kids are out of school and everybody can see it. Jake and I’ve had to go back. One of the most discouraging aspects of this whole project that I did not anticipate were the algorithms. Folks, if you don’t know this, mainstream media to include social media, doesn’t like this thing about it – they don’t like guns. Our story doesn’t conform to their narrative.
Jessica DeLorenzo: There’s Big Brother. Somebody’s watching every single thing.
Jake Latendresse: Hold on, let’s soften that a little bit. They’re scared of it. Some people may or may not like it – they’re scared of exposing it to people that don’t like it, in my opinion, because they’re still allowing us to show certain things. But they are scared of the repercussions of getting it out there. The best thing, if everyone listening right now can understand this, I know you can hit your share button because that overrides the algorithms and takes it to another level, if you share it, no one can stop it. So share.
Ramsey Russell: That’s an interesting that – and it hurt. It hurt my feelings. Because we went live with this little two minute trailer that was my personal testimony. And we head on there, Getducks.com Presents, and in the first 24 hours, it was 50,000. I mean it was going through the roof and all of a sudden, it’s like the brake’s on the train sparks flying, it just came to a grinding halt. I received a message that I was in the time out box. They didn’t delete it, they didn’t do this, but they made it clear that they had put the screws to the algorithm for this thing, and I asked why? I went back and forth very politely on the appeal and it had to do with a landing page. That landing page was the fact that when you went from the video saying Getducks.com, it compels people to go to a website that when you went to it, promoted by way of an advertisement, or a Benelli logo promoting the sale of guns, and that’s not good. So now Jake and I’ve had to go back and take the .com portions out and everything. And that’s true, we don’t need that, we don’t need the .com, we need Ramsey Russell presents Life’s Short, Get Ducks. And I think we’re going to probably come back one day and redo the trailer that way, and release it because it is not just applicable to the first installment, it could be keep on going in perpetuity. That’s right, that was very disappointing that Big Brother cranked the algorithm down on the first trailer when it was just taking on a life of its own. It’s still doing pretty good, but nothing like it would have done. But the first episode will be Australia. It runs about 8 minutes. It gives you a very good insight of the people, and the food, and the camaraderie, and the habitats, and the birds. Probably over the Christmas break, when I know all the kids are out of school is probably one more time when we’ll release that.
Jessica DeLorenzo: Awesome. We will be looking forward to it for sure. I got a few little sneak peeks in and I get to share some of the content, so I already know it’s going to be spectacular.
Ramsey Russell: Oh, I’m proud of it. Jake did a really good job. I couldn’t be prouder.
Jake Latendresse: Well, I really appreciate the opportunity to be a part of all this because it allows me to – I get to experience these things. I don’t shoot when I’m there – although I did get to shoot a few doves while I was there – but I don’t shoot while I’m there, but I have the opportunity to capture all this and it’s very captivating for me. Like we talked about before, we have little shorts, we have little out takes that we do where you might sit there, we’ll take like, say, the main 4 or 5 species that we shoot in Australia, and you’ll do a little out take on each species. What they do, how they react? What’s special about them? You display the colors, the wings all that stuff. And those things are very captivating for me because you get tunnel vision when you’re hunting mallards, and because they react the way that they do, and they live in the environments that they do, and we all love that and that’s great. But when you look at these other species, like the pacific black duck, these ducks react to quacks, they act just like mallards, they sound just like mallards and they hunt just like mallards. I found that to be – again, I’m sort of tunnel vision into that – but I found that a special experience that I had. I encourage – I guess we can talk about this – we’ll see if the algorithms kill us on this show, but watch for these trailers, the short out takes, the main episodes – Ramsey, where are you going to post them? How are you going to show this thing?
Ramsey Russell: Right now, I’ve got them on Instagram TV and Facebook, YouTube, and I’ve built a gallery.
Jessica DeLorenzo: What’s your handle for these, is it just Getducks.com?
Ramsey Russell: Life’s Short, Get Ducks. Instagram is Ramsey Russellgetducks. Facebook is Getducks.com. YouTube, I think its Getducks.com. And then Getducks.com is the website. I’ve built an actual module where I’m going to load them up as we go post them. I put them on Getducks.com, and on a mobile site because 80% of our traffic is coming in mobile now. You can scroll down, you’ll be able to see the videos right on your phone from there. There are many ways to get to it, and we’ll be email blasting these things because we’ve got a lot of clients that loved the story that don’t play on the internet. They just don’t.
Jessica DeLorenzo: You have a newsletter sign up on your site, people go and sign up for your emails?
Ramsey Russell: They can. They should so that we can send it to them. If they want those updates.
Jessica DeLorenzo: If you guys want to know right away, go to Getducks.com, sign up for the newsletter, and you will be some of the first people to see links when these episodes and the shorts that come out.
Life’s Short, Get Ducks is Not Just for Hunters
Doesn’t matter if they’re from Pakistan, Argentina, Australia, Alaska, whatever, we’re all in this together and I think it brings the world together in the hunting community.
Ramsey Russell: But I’m going to warn you, don’t freak out if you don’t get a lot of emails because we don’t send but about maybe a 1/2 dozen to 10 a year. I can’t stand getting one every week. They end up in my trash box, we sent them a year.
Jake Latendresse: And we’re shooting everything in red and everything is cinematic. It looks great. We’re in these really cool environments and you’re going to see photos pop up while we’re on these trips. Like as soon as we get into a Wi-Fi, everyone’s on their phones. We’ll take a handful of photos we’re sharing with the group that we’re in and these things start coming out. One of the fascinating things, the first trip we did was Australia, one of the fascinating things that I found in terms of a reaction was how quickly that spread throughout the duck hunting and the hunting community while we were in Australia. Holy moly. It was like, we took over the internet and it was fascinating. That told me right there that people were interested in this. They were fascinated by the species we were hunting. They could clearly see that there was common denominators. I mean, there’s guys in Australia running excel boats.
Ramsey Russell: Mud motors.
Jake Latendresse: Mud motors. I mean they had badass trucks, badass trailers. I mean, they were ready to roll man, and there was an immediate connection because of that. Every place we’ve gone since then, every place we’re going to go, I anticipate that common denominator. I can’t say that enough, how we have to look at this on a worldly scale. Like man, we’re all in this together. Doesn’t matter if they’re from Pakistan, Argentina, Australia, Alaska, whatever, we’re all in this together and I think it brings the world together in the hunting community. Like nothing ever has. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen. And I think that, it’s important, it’s not just an entertainment value. I think this is important to the world. I really do.
Jessica DeLorenzo: Think what people are going to benefit the most from is, obviously everyone’s going to connect on this waterfowl common denominator, like you’re saying. Everyone’s going to see things that they recognize, or see things that they can connect with. But on the flip side, there’s going to be individual stories throughout all of these episodes, it’s going to be the deeper thing that you’re going to be able to pull from this. So, that’s going to be cool. Everybody watch.
Ramsey Russell: And my wife has seen, she has seen some of the footage and she’s in the hunting business, she’s my partner, she’s the brains of the operation. I’m just the good looks. As a non-hunter – and she has shot a little bit hunting – but really as a non-hunter, she’s enjoyed the cinematic aspect of it. She’s enjoyed it. I mean, I think it’s something not just for hunters, I think other people might enjoy it. It’s not heavy to the boom, strap them part of it, it’s a lot more B roll and just the moments in hunting, not just the hunt itself that I think is so important. Jake, I got to give you credit, man, we were down in Argentina, Jess, shooting doves one afternoon and I was tired of shooting. I said, here you go, Jake why don’t you shoot a few? I didn’t know Jake was a hunter. I didn’t know he’d been a duck guide, I know he’s a hunter, but I didn’t know he’s been a duck guide, and done all this stuff, and I give him my gun, he’s like 20 doves with 21 shots. I’m like, give me my gun back. I hired the right camera man.
Jake Latendresse: I remember as a kid, like I said earlier, thinking about how am I going to direct my life and purpose in life so that I can duck hunt or not just duck hunt, deer hunt and hunt as a professional, and do what I do and do this for the rest of my life. Fortunately for me, there are people like you out there that have situations that require photography and cinematography, and I think all these guys like, Rock House Motion, Rock Road, Creative Kana, Outdoors with Ben Potter, all these brands that are using these filmmakers and producers that have taken this to the next level. They’re telling the right stories. It’s not just a bunch of blood and guts, and piles of birds, and piled up deer. They’re life stories. Yeti has done a great job. Sitka and Tangle Free are starting to do it now. It goes on and on. I think, it’s taken this to another level and there are people that appreciate what we do now, unlike what it used to be, even five years ago when the production values weren’t as high as they are now. I’m going to say it again, thank you Ramsey, I really appreciate you. You could have picked a lot of people to do this and it was a gift to me that you chose me. I feel very fortunate that I’m a part of this is. This is going to be cool man.
Ramsey Russell: Good.
Jessica DeLorenzo: Well, we’re running low on time. So, everybody again, if you want to follow Ramsey Russell on Instagram, it is – give us your handle again.
Ramsey Russell: RamseyRussellgetducks.
Jessica DeLorenzo: Ramsey Russellgetducks. You can go to his website, Getducks.com. He’s got a YouTube channel. Keep an eye out for these, I think he said sometime around Christmas they’re going to start debuting the series and the trailers. Definitely share. There’s going to be a lot of value in this, not just as – if you’re not a hardcore duck hunter doesn’t matter, you’re going to get something out of these.
Jake Latendresse: That’s right. Life’s Short, Get Ducks, this is Ramsey Russell’s waterfowl odyssey, man.
Jessica DeLorenzo: Well, thank you so much for spending the morning with us and sharing your story with us. I know it’s personal, but it’s important for people to see where you come from, and where you’re going, and it’s awesome that you shared that with us.
Jake Latendresse: Thank you Ramsey.
Ramsey Russell: Yes sir.
Jake Latendresse: Thank you for coming on. That went by really fast.
Jessica DeLorenzo: It did. I guess we will say goodbye to you Ramsey, and we’ll close out the show, but again, thank you so much. And hopefully we can have you back on as your series or your episodes are developing and we can dive into a little further.
Ramsey Russell: Thank you all very much I enjoyed it.
Jake Latendresse: Catch you later, bud.
Jessica DeLorenzo: All right, Jake, we are at the end.
Jake Latendresse: What’d you get out of that Jess? Tell me as a – you’re not an outsider looking in because you and I are close, and I share content with you because I always like to get your approval. Can you comment or something?
Jessica DeLorenzo: Incredible.
Jake Latendresse: Yeah, heck yeah. You do high quality work, girl. So what do you get out of this conversation?
Jessica DeLorenzo: I’m really excited to see the reactions to these, just because I know there’s the waterfowl, so anyone who’s interested in waterfowl is going to enjoy this, but it’s going to be the underlying messages. And I just really think that as a photographer cinematographer, if you’re able to share the imagery but share in a way that you can interact with it – not just like put the video camera and take what’s happening – but to be able to sequence it together, and to find the details to share the story, and those moments that really stick inside your soul when you’re out there, that’s what people need to see. So, I know that that’s going to happen and that’s important to me. Sometimes you might or you may not feel, but you feel misunderstood sometimes as a hunter, and just like Ramsey said, there’s no reason we should have to apologize for what we love. But it’s hard to convey why we love it to someone who hasn’t experienced it. These types of productions can kind of open up the door to get people to lean in and maybe want to understand a little better. And that’s going to be just beneficial in so many ways. So, that’s what I’m going to get out of it. It’s just helping along that path.
Jake Latendresse: Yeah, I think, elaborating on what you said, I think that’s what makes me so proud of this. Because this is one of those things that the story lives on forever. It has human element to it. I think as a producer and an executive producer that Ramsey is on this, we worry about sponsorship, we want people to just see it for what it is, and come in and offer a sponsorships because we believe in this. It has a story unlike anything else, and sometimes I have to sit back and go, this really isn’t just about sponsorships, I think I do believe in it. I believe those things are going to come, but I also think that – like I said, this is a passion project, it’s turned into a story that really it’s a dot connector. It goes from one location to the next, and it connects these dots between humans that have had similar experiences or share common denominators. And I think Ramsey and I are on the same page with that, that’s what we think is the attractant to it, and I can’t wait for – I’ve been chomping at the bit, I’ve had this Australia video done for a while now and he’s a very detail oriented guy. Ramsey is one of my favorite people, we’ve just really become friends over the last year. We’ve gained a lot of trust with each other. When you travel internationally, those kinds of things happen, they either go right or they go wrong, and things have gone right for Ramsey and I. So I trust him on the timing of all this, but I’m really looking forward to the first one coming out and starting this series, and rolling it out for everyone to see.
Jessica DeLorenzo: Definitely. Well, you will be traveling heavily coming up, so we might be having some breaks here and there over the holidays as well. But we will keep you guys posted on the next episode to the next happenings. Get in touch with us, let us know what you want to see. We’ve been getting some messages and some suggestions from you guys, which is really cool. Make sure you’re subscribing to the YouTube channel and you’ll be able to see all of our archived episodes. And I’m going to say it online, so that I definitely do it. We will be looking into getting this up on a podcast because there have been more than a few who just want the audio. We will get it up there soon and I’ll let you know when it happens.
Jake Latendresse: And they want the audio so they can listen to it while they’re in their vehicles driving or at any time.
Jessica DeLorenzo: I mean, I know you all want to see these faces.
Jake Latendresse: Yeah. And thank you everyone. We’ve had a lot of really positive comments. We’ve had lots of praise and all those, and kudos. And if we didn’t have viewers, and the number of viewers that are watching this show, on here watching it the way you guys are, we wouldn’t have that kind of traction. So, thank you guys very much and tell your friends – keep bringing people here. We really want to build this. That’s right.
Jessica DeLorenzo: All right. Well, Jake have a good one and I’ll catch you next time.
Jake Latendresse: Bye Jess.
Jessica DeLorenzo: Bye Jake.