Ramsey Russell and Rocky Leflore get together for another edition Life’s Short, Get Ducks. They go in-depth about the story behind the episode “Life’s Short GetDucks Argentina: The Path” released by today. How did two guys that were worlds apart have similar trying life stories in life, but end up duck hunting in Argentina together? Those stories led them to the great successful people they are today and to a special friendship.

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Telling the Story Behind “The Path”

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Rocky Leflore: Welcome to The End of the Line podcast, I’m Rocky Leflore sitting in the mobile Duck South studios while the rain comes pouring down and I just asked Ramsey if he could hear it. Maybe you can, out there in podcast land. Of course it is Thursday, Ramsey Russell is joining us. Ramsey, you’ve got a big night ahead of you tonight.

Hear What…?

Ramsey Russell: Yeah, we’re finally going to put this Argentina short film out on the air tonight. But asking me, can I hear something, Rocky? That’s like asking Ray Charles to check your fine print on your contract or something, to read your prescription or something man. Look, my ears are still ringing after Saturday night. I almost didn’t go, I can’t believe I almost didn’t go – I talked my wife into going to Birmingham to watch Kiss. I haven’t been to a concert forever and I used to go to concerts when I was young. We went to see Kiss, the hottest band in the world, they went through that whole disco BS unmasked phase back then. I watched them when I was a child – probably about your little girl’s age – I was a fan. I can remember the first time I ever saw them, they came on some Halloween special on TV and I couldn’t have been but 10 or 11 years old. It scared me to death so I turned the channel and then I flipped them back on, they had a slow song going. Later that year on my birthday I got an album “Destroyer” and I became a huge Kiss fan, I thought it was cool. What I’ve since learned is they are the original showmen. Just for, I don’t know, nostalgia or just something to do, I said, “Man, I want to go see them.” I went and saw them in Jackson, Mississippi in 1979. I just can’t imagine dropping my 12-year-old child off at a rock concert but times were different then, it was the 70s and me and one of my buddies got dropped off. Now look, I was telling somebody in line in Birmingham the other night, “Boy times sure have changed.” He said, “I bet these concerts are still the same.” I said, “I don’t know, last time I saw Kiss, they were $9 or $10 to go to a concert and now they’re way more than that.” My wife wouldn’t tell me how much the tickets were and I know they were way more. 

Rocky Leflore: I’ve heard that they put on a heck of a show. 

Ramsey Russell: Oh my God, it was – I laughed the whole time and just like every other redneck in the crowd sang half of the songs. But they had this big old massive curtain, I mean big, huge curtain hanging over the stage and they don’t do little B-roll bands, like they used to, leading up to the show, so it’s just piped in music to kind of fit that demographic. All of a sudden, lights got down. Now nobody even flips the lighters no more in the concerts, they’re all showing their cell phones. It’s just totally different from the last time I saw Kiss, but let me tell you this, they dropped that curtain and you hear the voices saying, “Oh you asked for us?” You got us the hottest band in the world and when they drop that curtain, the fireworks went off, the lights went off, you hear these guys come down in a cloud of smoke from up top, just jamming on Detroit rock city and I busted out laughing. It was the best concert I’ve ever seen. I don’t care if you like the music or hate it, buddy, they put on a show. To be in their late 60s or 70 years old, still rocking like that, my wife couldn’t hear nothing. I mean she about went deaf. Of course you also see these people walking around nowadays, these modern folks walking to a rock concert with earplugs and hearing muffs. I’m like, man, that’s crazy, it’s a rock concert. But it was awesome. I laughed so hard and had such a good time watching those guys and it was good, the whole show. I mean it was just amazing. Nobody puts on a show like that, but my ears are still ringing between shot gunning since 1979 and going to the rock concerts like last Saturday. You’re asking me, can I hear it raining on that truck over the phone, is crazy. I can’t hear nothing, but life is good. 

Rocky Leflore: I’m laughing so hard about you can’t hear anything – but anyway, my buddy went to the Kiss concert in Memphis and he said it was awesome. Says that’s one of the best shows he’s ever been to.

Ramsey Russell: I didn’t realize when I went that this was their last show in the United States and I’m glad I went because my wife had never seen them. She wasn’t a Kiss fan growing up, but her big brother was, so the only songs she kind of sort of knew was from listening to him growing up. But it was a really good show, I just couldn’t believe it man, those guys put on a heck of a show. I had a bust man.

Rocky Leflore: But the reason I’m laughing so hard you’re talking about you can’t hear, well the biggest laugh that Forrest and I had turkey hunting last week was talking about you not being able to hear.

Ramsey Russell: I hate to say it.

Rocky Leflore: Thank you Forrest. Man, he had me cracking up, we were sitting in the spot waiting on some turkeys and God, he was sitting there telling me stories about how you can’t hear and then you’re trying to make sound effects of things you’ve never heard before.

Ramsey Russell: Well, I’ve got to admit it.

One Downside of Hunting: Hearing Loss Stories

You have to hear the ducks to call to them and you have got to hear yourself call.

Rocky Leflore: I asked Forrest, did you hear make the gobbling sound effect a couple of weeks back? He said yeah, it was an awful one.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah, well I hate to say it, I have heard a turkey gobble but not many of them. I remember, like a lot of guys today, we all know better, remember back when we were all children in the 70s and 80s? Heck when I was a baby, I stood up on the front seat of the car right next to my daddy or my mother and they were both smoking in the car. Who does that anymore? They don’t even smoke in rock concerts no more. That’s crazy. The only smoke hanging over at the whole colosseum where the fireworks and pyrotechnics going off at the concert there was nothing being smoked other than that, that I’m aware. Times have just change but now we put hearing protection on our children, and Forrest and Duncan are prime examples. They don’t have to wear them anymore so they’re going to be the same way I am. He doesn’t believe it yet because he’s a young man. But boy, all that shooting unprotected hazards takes its toll on a guy. I’ll tell you, some medication they gave me back in the burn unit, way back when, they’ve since taken off the market because it caused tinnitus, which is not hearing thunder, or hearing it rain in your car, or hearing a turkey gobble. It’s a high pitch buzzing in my ear and I can hear a really high pitch. One of the funniest things about not being able to hear, I was taking algebra, which I hated anyway and wasn’t any good at, but I went because the teacher was fairly attractive. I went and paid attention best I could, at least to her whether I understood the subject matter or not. This was back in the old chalkboard days when she was writing formulas or something, I was taking notes and about that time, she slammed down the chalk and started scolding the class. “Who is that? What is that?” Blah-blah. I’m looking left, I’m looking right, looking at everybody else and finally the girl behind me tugged on my shirt, said “Turn your watch off, it’s your alarm.” I had that watch for years and I just quit wearing that watch about a year ago. I never heard the alarm go off, it so high pitched I couldn’t hear the chime. But that’s just a case of bad hearing and it’s only gotten worse after decades of shooting. The downside of duck hunting versus anything else you might hunt and need a gun, shoot a lot for target practice, is you’ve got to hear the ducks. You have to hear the ducks to call to them and you have got to hear yourself call. I do, I can’t call through hearing protection, plugs in my ear. I’ve got a pair of those Wild Ears now and I have got to tell you they were truly game changers. They’re very expensive, I admit, but I wish I had afforded myself that kind of hearing protection way back when because it’s like wearing old man hearing aids. Fits in your ear, customized, and you can hear things. I was in a dove field not long after getting them and could hear a conversation going on 2 or 3 blinds down, hear them talking. I have never heard that in the past. Sometimes you have to turn down the volume so you don’t hear other conversations you don’t want to hear. But when I shoot it protects my hearing, it’s like wearing hearing protection, and when I call, I can hear myself call and when ducks are above me. How that whole thing started was being in a duck blind up in North Mississippi and my host handed me some hearing protection down, I turned them on. Hell, I could hear stuff I hadn’t heard in a while and the next day he handed them down again and just being a smart-alecky, I go, “Were you trying to tell me something?” Well, the whole blind’s trying to tell you, son of a gun, you’re deaf, you need to wear this stuff. Well, okay and it’s true. Yeah man, my hearing’s terrible unless I’m at a rock concert. Heck, I believe I could have heard them 4 blocks away, that’s how loud that music was.

A Touch of Politics Thrown In

Rocky Leflore: You don’t hear it, but couple of years from now, this is the day and Ramsey and I already talked about this today and I don’t want to go in really in depth about it but the Mueller Report was released today and I pose this question to Ramsey. No matter your political stance, I don’t care if you’re a DER in the middle, whatever you are, if we found out that our president is not guilty of colluding with Russians, shouldn’t we all be happy? Shouldn’t that be a good thing? 

Ramsey Russell: Oh, we should all be happy. We should be celebrating in the streets. But no.

Rocky Leflore: I turned it on CNN right before Ramsey and I got on the phone today. Dude, they’re going nuts, their heads are about to explode because he’s not guilty.

Ramsey Russell: They’ve been making mountains out of mole hills since the day after he was elected and now that the mole hill isn’t really a mount, now they’re going around digging and digging, shovel holes of dirt, throwing on the ground and still trying to make it a mole hill. The truth the matter is, if all I could think when they came out with this whole accusation against our President – not their President, our President – all I could think is this is like the Spy Who Shagged Me. If Russia is influencing the American elections, we have got a whole lot bigger problems than who is the figurehead in this country. Where in American history has a special investigative team ever come out to just scrutinize every single thing this person has done, I guess for his entire life, trying to find something. I mean, come looking at my past, I can tell you after seeing this whole thing blow up, I just realized I’m not destined to be president whether I chopped down my daddy’s cherry tree or not, it’s just ain’t going to happen. God, what a crazy situation.

Rocky Leflore: What I find interesting, you said, “Well Rocky, there’s a thing out there called Trump Derangement Syndrome.”

Ramsey Russell: Yeah.

Rocky Leflore: TDS is what it’s called. So, I looked it up and did a little bit of reading on it. And I mean, it’s a real thing. Listen, I know that people disliked Obama that were Conservative or Republican, but man this is the thing I want to ask you, I’ll give you a fine example. Robert De Niro, one of my favorite actors in the world, he has gone psycho since Trump got elected. I’m just asking you personally, would you stop going to somebody’s movies because of just how wacko they’re acting over Trump? 

Ramsey Russell: No.

Rocky Leflore: Should actors just stay in their lane and dance like a monkey like they’re paid to do?

Lucky to Live in America

I’m thankful that I live in such a great country.

Ramsey Russell: You know, that’s just it. Back in the old ancient Roman days when Caesar came to give a speech to the public, something important society should hear, prostitutes and actors were excluded. Gladiators too, those 3 categories of people were excluded because they really weren’t human enough or important enough to even come and listen to Caesar speak. My how things have changed. Who cares? Seriously what’s your political views Rocky? I mean really and truly I live my life through my political views and I sure don’t care what an overpaid actor’s views are. I could care less. I mean, yeah, dance, clap, he’s like a little monkey with cymbals just get up there. Dance and entertain me, and I’ll pay you too much money to come see your movie if I like it, and otherwise I don’t care. But Rocky, I told you my wife and I get up every morning and see Parker off the school and turn on the TV for 30 minutes to an hour. We watch – she loves the Today Show – the highlights and what’s going on and I kind of like the CBS BirdNote, but they’re all the same. I guess since college I’ve gotten up to drink a cup of coffee or two every morning just to wake up – that ain’t nothing compared to an hour of shouting at the TV and I shouted every one of them. I mean it’s all just lunacy, it’s just make something up and running with it. It’s not news, it’s some kind of entertainment. I just like to shout at the TV hour and boy, Anita, it drives her crazy. Somebody’s going to get shouted out on the TV for being an idiot every time I turn on the news, every morning, but it’s just nuts, it’s just crazy. Here’s the deal, I didn’t like Obama but I met with a Secret Service agent one time. It was a really interesting conversation and he said something I’ve never forgotten. He said, “The office is bigger than the person.” It’s the office, it’s the President of the United States America. Just today I read something, it was a pretty interesting little article or a blog. Somebody wrote – I don’t know what the title was, something like Live from Seattle Coffee Shop, hipster coffee shop, or something. She’s a millennial but apparently she’s conservative. One statistic that jumped out of my mind is here’s all these millennials calling for an end to capitalism, end the American way, I mean who is this little lady that’s all over the new from the Bronx? What an idiot. So many people are piping into this whole Socialist thing and her whole point of the article was, that’s because you’ve never known anything else. Our poverty level in America is 31 times greater in monetary value than the world average of poverty. And still we’re just one click away from having Amazon deliver anything you want to the door because of credit availability. I mean, we’re not a poor country. We have first world problems, and capitalism, thank you, has done it to where we can all go out and chase opportunities, chase the American dream, which is not guaranteed success, it’s the opportunity to chase it. What a great country to live in that we can all talk freely about corn in the Midwest or crocs or anything we want to. I thought that was a really good article she made.

Rocky Leflore: I’ll say this Ramsey, look there were Conservatives and Republicans that disliked Obama, I agree with that. But they follow the office, not the person.

Ramsey Russell: That’s right. 

Rocky Leflore: Here’s the difference between – because we’ve got a long way to go turn into this today – but the difference between the liberals and conservatives, there were churches around the nation praying for Obama to be successful. Liberals do nothing but scream as loud as they can for Trump to fail because they know if the President succeeds, that’s right, if he succeeds, the country succeeds.

Ramsey Russell: The truth to matter is, in the land of opportunity, what we want is for every person in America to be successful, which is not to say they’re going to be worth $50 billion but to be successful, to find something they like and to productively contribute to society. If you’re in a little old zip code, if your zip code is contributing positively to the local economy, you live in a very good zip code. You follow what I’m saying? Expand that to America, expand it to the States, expand it to everybody, I want everybody to succeed because it’s good for my business, it’s good for your business, money circulates around the way the economy works. Why do we want anybody to fail? Why do we want our country to fail? We’re the greatest country on Earth and man if somebody gets to travel around and see – there’s a lot of places I’d love to visit, there’s a lot of places I love to hunt, I love interesting cultures, I love different foods – but at the end of the day, when I walk on to into my driveway, I want to just kneel down and kiss the ground. I’m thankful that I live in such a great country. Very thankful. I just don’t understand it. I guess, I’m getting old Rocky.

Rocky Leflore: Here’s the thing that I think that those little people that are screaming the loudest that hate Trump it’s because Trump is the first Republican President that has used the Democrat playbook in how he operates every day. He works on people’s emotions. That’s what Democrats have been doing forever. So you know what? He pokes the bear all the time.

Ramsey Russell: All the time.  

Rocky Leflore: I’ve been in at least the sanctuary city. 

Ramsey Russell: Everybody gives him grief about his tweets. Oh, that was such a great – 

Rocky Leflore: Smartest thing ever.

Ramsey Russell: I mean, who wouldn’t have done it? Yeah. You want to be a sanctuary city? Well hey look, I’ve got a bunch of them down here I’m going to send you. No, not really. I want to be a sanctuary city to stick my middle finger at you, but not really a sanctuary city, and it’s crazy, it’s nuts. Isn’t it funny how much we talk politics in a duck blind or duck camp and never can solve the program? I love during election years and election times – I think they’re staged when the public raises their hand, stands up and ask the Presidential candidate, the political candidate a question. The question I’ve always wanted to stand up and say, “Could you tell me what a loaf of bread cost or what a gallon of gas or what a pound of beef costs?” Guarantee you that none of those politicians up there could tell you. But that’s what affected my life. Gas prices double, that affects everybody I know. No, let a gallon of milk go through the roof back when I had a house full of teenagers – that affects me in the back pocket. So yeah, that’s a question I’d like to ask them. But man, one thing true is that I really don’t know how much those folks up there really truly represent me personally, but the system works. 

Rocky Leflore: I’ll close it out by saying this. I long for the days of the Ted Williams, the Jimmy Stewarts, the Kirk Douglas, the Clark Gables of the world that had pride in their country. They weren’t going around the world apologizing for the United States being superior. It is superior. I long for those days. I watched a documentary on Ted Williams this past weekend, awesome. It’s on Netflix. If you haven’t seen it you need to see it. The man loved his country, put his life on hold to go fight in World War 2 and the Korean War, the greatest hitter ever to play major league baseball. If he would have stayed for those 4 or 6 years, he would have broken every record there was but he put his life on hold because he loved his country. That’s the days I long for.

Part 2 of Ramsey Russell’s Story: Life’s Short Get Ducks

We all duck hunt, but you just think of how much sitting in a duck blind really isn’t pulling the trigger and shooting ducks, it’s that people component.

Ramsey Russell: Yeah. Well, I love my country and everybody I know does – I really don’t associate with a lot of folks. I wonder who they are. It’s like, watching television and seeing those kinds of people on TV anymore just makes me – it’s like watching an alien movie or just arriving on Mars or something – like who are these people? Speaking of which, we owe our soldiers a lot – we owe our military a lot. Talking about Ted Williams going to military and all those guys in the world’s greatest generation did this. But I’ll give you an update on Duncan. Duncan’s of course in the US Marine Corps, you all know that, and he’s been out in Oklahoma because he wanted to be infantry like all of them kids. Well, he’s artillery. The artillery, they’re instructed by the Army, the Army teaches Marines artillery and he will graduate artillery school on May 8th. Ships out to his duties in days which is going to be Okinawa, Japan. He’s going to Okinawa and where he goes from there is anybody’s guess. He vacillates between careers and my career, and I’m proud for him for just being in there and sticking to it and doing it. We’ll get to see him here and then see him off. One thing he wants when he comes home – the nut doesn’t fall far from the tree. I said, “What do you want when you come home?” He says “Crawfish – there’s no crawfish in Oklahoma – I want crawfish when I come home.” So, we’re going to cook some crawfish when he comes home.

Rocky Leflore: Well, speaking of successful careers, Part 2 of Life’s Short, Get Ducks is coming out tonight and what a great story.

Ramsey Russell: I’m proud of it.

Rocky Leflore: Yeah, I want to say that I’m one of the few lucky ones that has got a sneak preview of what’s coming up and it is really good, I’ll say that, really good.

Bonding Across Borders and Stories of Argentina Duck Hunting

Even though we’ve been friends and we’ve been working together, in that afternoon over a couple of beers, talking about real human stuff, we became like fox hole brothers and that’s kind of where this story comes out.

Ramsey Russell: I hope everybody enjoyed it. Because everybody knows or I hope you all know what we’re trying to do – notice we haven’t got any sponsors. This is a thing about Get Ducks. It’s important to me to tell the story just in the same sense I love listening to your guests tell their stories online. We all duck hunt, but you just think of how much sitting in a duck blind really isn’t pulling the trigger and shooting ducks, it’s that people component. Talking politics, picking world problems, talking recipes, talking kids, talking dogs. I mean we spend so much time in the whole event from the time we leave home, the time we get back going to duck camp for the weekend, just among people among, fellow hunters. That’s one thing I really did well signing Jake and working with Jake on this project, because he gets it. He really gets this story I’m trying to tell, which is just duck hunting. If you’re coming on there looking for just an absolute slaughter fest, you probably ain’t going to like it. We shoot ducks of course because we’re duck hunting, but we’re doing 7-8 minutes, that’s our target attention spans and time. We decided we wanted to hit that 7–8 minute mark, we wanted to tell a story in 7-8 minutes. Last year I spent a long time down in Argentina, we did some remote podcast from down there last year, I spent a lot of time in this big remote marsh that we call Río Salado – it’s a massive wetland. It was in drought last year, it’s not this year, that’s for sure. It’s going to be a totally different season down there this year than last, but I tell you, I found this place through a partner of mine down there, a lady we hired named Martha Ciaffoni. She had told me about it and we were down there scouting in early spring, right when the season had opened. It was still hot, it was still warm there and we drove up way back when I had a few adventure clients, I called them, they just wanted to go kick around and explore with me. We all showed up. It was hot man. I mean, it started off in the morning 70 degrees, 74 degrees and warmed up into the high 80s and 90s during the day. It was hot for duck hunting but we, by God, shoot ducks. I mean we shot ducks like I never saw, I shot ducks. Raw, pure duck hunting by yourself with your guide. The first hunt I ever did there I know I walked a half mile about in ankle deep water. I mean, I walked through 5 places that looked exactly like the one we stopped at, and started shooting ducks. Man, it was just amazing. At times he would pat me on the back, “Senor Pato” and I was just sitting there, slack jaw like a calf looking at a new gate, watching all these ducks, thinking “My gosh, wow this is a crazy wild place unlike anything I’ve ever been to,” and I fell in love with it. I told Martha, you’ll hear me say it every time we ever talk about this place, I want my ashes scattered there. It’s just that kind of place. I love just being that remote with that kind of duck hunting, hunting by yourself with calls and decoys and no bait piles. Just hunting, I love that. Of course it was so hot, so I had packed some shorts and T-shirts because it was hot and I guess because the operator saw me wearing shorts and T-shirt, he saw my scars. I guess for whatever reason, one afternoon right after the hunt, he and I were talking via interpreter Martha. He just started telling me this story about a traumatic event he had in his past. I’ve never heard him say it again but I just assumed everybody knew. Knowing Jake was going to come down here and film this incredible wild hunt, following me here because I’ve never walked a half mile into a marsh to go hunt ducks in Argentina. They always just kind of drop you off and you walk 10, 15 yards and into a little old blind and shoot ducks. I just remember thinking about how I’ve been down to Argentina so many times and it culminated right here on this set of footprints into a marsh to where I’m standing right now. It’s like all those hunts and everything just culminated right here in this special place. Like I was on this path to get here and that’s just how I felt. That’s what I remember thinking when I was watching all these ducks for as far as I can see. It’s like the Louisiana marsh and these ducks flying here there and yonder. He told me this story. So, I thought last year when Jake comes down and knowing his story, it was kind of like parallel past and his traumatic event put him on a path that led him here and our paths crossed. We’re real friends but you don’t have time to really get into depth. It’s not a documentary about that. It’s a documentary about duck hunting and this wild place and this adventure and this waterfowl odyssey around the world. So, I texted Martha for Jake and I said, “Hey tell David I want him to tell the story.” She goes back, “No.” She said, “No I asked him and he said no.” I said, “What?” He told me this years ago. So, we got down there last year at dinner for a long time and I just kind of broke the subject with him and he said something to the effect of “No Senor, it makes me uncomfortable.” That’s what he says. So I let it lay, and we hunted a couple of groups and for a couple of gentlemen. There are little group there one week and they didn’t want to go out that afternoon. They were tired. So we hunted that morning and then that afternoon we stayed in, beautiful day outside. We were watching, I don’t know what we were watching on TV, just talking, carrying on like you do mid-afternoon, nothing’s going on. And one of his guides, I can’t remember the little boy’s name, he kept running with the drink cooler and loading his shirt with beers and disappearing. The third time he comes in, I said, “Hey the boys must have taken it off today. They’re probably just hanging out drinking beer.” I went and got me a beer and went back there. Now look, it’s a little boy, looked like a child. I mean he was probably 5-ft and looked like just a little teen, like he wasn’t even old enough to drive a truck. Some of us have been asking him at dinner like “Hey how old are you?” 21. We call BS and he pulled out his ID. Sure enough, there was his face and it said 21 years old, if you add up the birthdates and all. I feel that that’s fake, and sure enough, we’re going to find out this kid’s only 15, 16 years old. So he was at the bottom of the totem pole. That’s why he’d been sent in to fetch beer. I walked back around the complex, bumped into Martha and she walked back here with me and sure enough, there was my guide, the operator and several other folks, just sitting there taking the afternoon off, drinking a few beers, telling stories, listening to a little music on the radio, just hanging out. So, I started drinking beer and hanging out with them too and we started talking. Understand that I need a translator, I know a few words but I can’t sit there and just rattle off a conversation. So my translator and I talked to carry on a conversation about ducks, plans for next week, what we’re going to do, this, that, and the other, hunting despite that bad drought, it really wasn’t a bad hunt. I mean, there’s a lot of operators down there that shoot what we were shooting on just an average year. That was not a bad year. I mean, we were doing okay, that’s what I felt like. I just said to myself, I’m going to make another pass because Jake is showing up next week to film and I’m going to make another pass. I can be persuasive Rocky. So, I’m going to take another pass at this guy. So, with the translator, we were all sitting there talking, I said, “David can you tell the story?” We started talking about it back and forth, and the first thing that became apparent was old deaf Ramsey blundered into something. Apparently nobody on his staff knew this story and he hadn’t told anybody. Well, they knew now! I said well, “Here’s what I want to tell, here’s why it’s important to me because but I think it’s just a great story.” I can’t remember exactly what he said, but it was something to the effect that it was very traumatic. It was a very emotionally traumatic experience and you’re over it. Now, understand Hispanics don’t talk really quiet and deliberate like I’m talking now. He was animated, he was getting after it and not being ugly, just he was excited about it. What he said was, “You’re over it. You’re over your event but I’m not.” We had just done this podcast, Rocky, and I was still getting texts from high school people I hadn’t seen in 30 years, telling my story on The End of the Line Podcast. I remember the discussion we had, and I’ll tell you all this, talking through on the podcast kind of really helped me sort out the cobwebs and sort everything out about my own event, just to speak it out loud, and say it, and think through it. So I was looking at my feet so I could think while I was speaking deliberately to him and telling him my story, telling him, “Hey, great you think I’m over mine but as recently as a year and a half ago I’d wake up with night terrors screaming, wake up my Children, wake up my wife, hollering at something, swinging at something, demons.” I told him about how trauma is like when the egg drops, it’s like Humpty Dumpty, you can pick him up and you can glue him back together again, but it ain’t the same, it’s just not the same. So we’re in the same boat and maybe just letting the world have a glimpse of this would – and Martha kind of bumped me in the shins with her boot under the table. She says, “Look up at him,” and I looked up and he had these tears just streaming down his face and this is a very strong and macho kind of guy. The last thing on God’s Earth I expect to see him was cry and weep. He stood up and held his arms open. He said, “Mi hermano,” my brother. He hugged me and he said, “I’ll tell that story, not in detail but I’ll tell that story like you want.” You’ll see the story on this podcast, very briefly. He showed up and we sat down, and we had a translator there, translated by sentence. Jake did a very good job of putting it together about 70-80 seconds of his story very quickly. What had happened was, and you’ve got to understand parts of Argentina. I don’t know the exact numbers, but let’s say if Argentina, which is a big country – Argentina is a big country, I don’t know how it compares to the United States, but I bet landmass is fairly comparable to the United States, it’s a big country. At least 2/3 as big as the United States of America. If there’s 15 million Argentines, 5 or 6 million of them lived just in Buenos Aires. That’s a massive, that’s like the 4th largest city in the world. When you get way out in the country, I’m not going to say they’re poor but they’re simple people and when this person, let him be a laborer or something like that, he actually became a policeman. I think his family was very proud of him because that’s a noble job. That’s a very good and respected job for just regular folks. So, he became a policeman and one day he was providing security for a drug store and just a guy walked in the door and pulls a gun out. He’s there to rob the place, and he shot, and David shot back and the guy left through the front door. About that time, a bullet goes whizzing by, so there’s another one in the store somewhere else, two of them. When he exits the building and the guy shoots him, he rolls over a car. The guy comes around the car to finish him off, he has to kill the guy in self-defense. You can see – where number one, that would be pretty traumatic for anybody to have to do that. You can see where number two, I’ve seen his scar where he got shot. He said he decided there might be another line of work I want to pursue now and he got into the duck guiding business with some outfits along the river. Later he started his own operation. My guide – who was one of the best guides down there, I love this guy Checho – was explaining to me one morning. Even though I don’t speak Spanish, he doesn’t speak English, we can have these kinds of conversations. You learn that while you’re down there you can have these kinds of conversations without speaking each other’s language. But what he was explaining to me is that, nearly everybody Checho knows in that part of the world that is a duck guide wants to become this person’s duck guide. They want to work with David because they see wherever they are now near the river or somewhere else, that once they elevate to a skill set, that this guy will hire them and teach them. Then they’ve made it, they’re successful. He pays them good, he treats them good but you know, he’s very respected, that’s what I’m trying to say, is he’s very well respected in that community. Anyway, that’s kind of just where parallel path and the converging path and in that moment in that conversation. We’ve been friends, I heard his story, he kind of knew mine, but he didn’t hear the full story until that afternoon. Even though we’ve been friends and we’ve been working together, in that afternoon over a couple of beers, talking about real human stuff, we became like fox hole brothers and that’s kind of where this story comes out. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great film about Argentina duck hunting in a very wild place. It’s not the kind of place that everybody wants to go and hunt. It is not for everybody, it’s very remote, it’s a long drive, hard to get to, you’ve got to have a little mobility to get out of those duck blinds. That first time I ever visited him, I so loved it and I liked him. I like the staff and I just liked that real duck hunting and I said, well I’m going to represent this, but nobody is ever going to come, nobody is ever going to fly overnight to get the Buenos Aires and then turn around and drive this far, it will never happen. Never, ever will it happen, but I owed it to the guy because I really liked this hunt. I couldn’t believe it. I published the hunt, boom, it comes up online. An old client of mine from out in Montana or Wyoming, I can’t remember which, called me up a week or day later says, you finally got the hunt I want to go on. He put a team of 6 or 7 together. Next year that group had fractionalized into 2 groups of 6 the following year, 3 groups of 6, we tried to run just 6 a week, sometimes 8. And the rest is history. Still, not for everybody. I don’t think it was selling the guy because it takes a lot of wherewithal, takes a lot of gumption to want to go that far, that extra, and to hunt like that. But it is for a lot of us. Going to Argentina as compared to hunting in Southern Warren County, Mississippi is like going to Disneyland, but this is the real duck hunt, it’s Argentina. It’s hunting in a blind by yourself with skilled guides, dedicated guides, and a dedicated operator. That’s what we try to convey and we’re very excited for this film, Rocky. I am absolutely in complete and utter awe of Jake, his eye for detail. Jake kind of freaks me out, and you all know, I like to talk a lot. Jake doesn’t talk with the tongue. He’s a quiet guy because he’s always thinking, always tinkering, always doing something with cameras and all that kind of stuff, so it made me a little uneasy when we first started working together, he’s so quiet. I have become a little quiet but Jake, it’s how he processes and he sees things and he can record things that just leaves me in awe. It’s good how he just gets what I’m saying in a sentence, “Hey, here’s what I’m thinking this story has ought to be, here’s the sub story, here’s the subplot and here’s the big picture,” that’s all you’ve got to say. That’s all I have to say. Just step back and let Jake be Jake and make greatness.

Proudly Presenting “The Path”

I think at the end of the day, I enjoy the people component as much as anything else.

Rocky Leflore: I want to say this, for those of you that is listening to this and about to see it, we’re recording this at about 06:00 PM right now on Thursday afternoon, you’re about to see this in a couple of hours. I want you to pay attention to the B-roll. Just the detail and the B-roll that Jake put in this video. It’s unbelievable. A lot of things that people just don’t pay attention to – I’ll give you one, the chicken. Just kitchen and chicken, using that. You’re going to see that. I mean, simple things like that that just regular old video camera guys don’t think of. Just capturing that moment. 

Ramsey Russell: The features on people’s faces. It’s just those little bitty nuggets, just those little hot coals glowing the reflection of the guide in the rear-view mirror. It’s those little bitty details. I mean, Jake sees that and I tell the story, but Jake gives it life at a level that far surpasses anything I’ve ever done. We’re not under some kind of corporate sponsor metric to turn something out, so our goal is to turn one out every couple of months – this will be number 2 of 6. We’ve got a good line-up for the coming year and we’re just going to keep on going and you’ll see, for those that don’t know me well enough, this is not a run through the list of GetDucks hunts, it is not. We did Australia, very good story, just coincided with an anniversary that I was there and it really gave us a bearing in the direction for the series. Great hunt, new hunt. We’re doing Argentina this time with this story, “The Path.” Next up is Mexico. One of a really nice Mexico hunt we’ve got, a little bit different angle than probably what a lot are expecting because it’s Mexico but it was a very good hunt. Then following up with Azerbaijan and which is way off the beaten path in the world of duck hunting, but it’s a very interesting hunt. After that, in no particular order is going to come Nebraska, which is part of our US hunt list, there’s going to be Wyoming. Both of those take place in the North Platte River, both a ways apart but still very good hunting adventures for mallards and Canada geese. The last I believe, if I’ve got my timing right, I think this is going to come out in December, it’s going to be Alaska and it’s totally a self-hunt. Because believe it or not guys, I do hunt on my own and not just these far-flung guided places and these things we do. It was a kind of a personal quest for mine. I worked through a friend, rented boat taxis and hit the shore with a sack of decoys, walked miles to find the ducks, and played the ties and got my golden eye. Next up we’ve got a nice combination of very similar. So I hope it’s something that will relate to everybody. I hope it leaves everybody feeling good. I hope everybody enjoys it. What compels me so much about what we do is that people component. It is the birds, the resource, the hunt, the hunters and the hunted, that’s just kind of what gets me. But the people – I never get tired of hearing people’s stories of different things, to different observations. I think at the end of the day, I enjoy the people component as much as anything else. So anyway, it’s going to air tonight. We were going to turn it out Sunday, but there was another release coming out, I didn’t want to crowd them. I delayed it till today. Jake’s got a few more little nuggets, I don’t know what you call them, a little accessory piece to come out after that to kind of fill it in. But I wanted to tell the story because I just want to tell this story about this particular operator, why it’s “The Path.” I want to talk about ‘the path’ because our paths converge in this really nice place. This year we’re going back down to the same place in a wet year. Now a dry year’d be a little bit different story, totally different story, and then we’re going to another, probably one of our top hunts down in Argentina. It is suited for every single person that doesn’t want to drive off in the middle of the boondocks. But they’re totally two different stories. So anyway, I hope you all enjoy it. 

Rocky Leflore: And what time did you say, 7 or 6 o’clock?

Ramsey Russell: I think it’s going to go off, we’re going to drop it at about 8 o’clock. I don’t know what, I’m not smart enough to figure out a good time – I don’t know when you should put stuff online, but it’ll be everywhere. We’re publishing it on our Getducks Facebook page, it will also be on Instagram TV, it will also be on YouTube and by this time tomorrow it’ll be throughout our website. Just with that respective hunt and then in the video gallery of Life’s Short, Get Ducks where we catalog everything, it’ll be everywhere. Believe it or not, we’ve got a lot of clients, thousands of clients that, I don’t care how old they are, they don’t play on social media at all. Always within a month we’ll send out an email blast and kind of a lot of them are looking forward to it just because they’ve been there, or they’ve booked a hunt there, or they were there when this was being filmed and they’ve asked us a lot about it. They saw Jake and kind of got the gist of the project we were working on. It will be at about 8 o’clock tonight.

Rocky Leflore: Well, I know it will do well, but Ramsey, thank you for giving us a little bit of back story, a little more depth to what people are going to be seeing tonight and I’m sure everybody that’s going to see this tonight. Go ahead and share it yourself when you see it.

Ramsey Russell: Oh, please do, yeah. I’d appreciate it. If you like it, share it. 

Rocky Leflore: Let me ask you this. Ramsey gives a lot to be on here once a week and I’m asking you, he’s not asking you, I’m asking you – a man of a wealth, of knowledge, spends time on here every week with us – just do that for him. Share that video when you see it. Ramsey, thank you again, I appreciate it, and we want to thank all of you that listened to this edition of The End of the Line Podcast, powered by