Long-time friends Mike Morgan and Ramsey Russell meet across the table to talk teal hunting. Spending a little time to talk about teal worldwide, they quickly transition to blue-winged teal hunting in the Deep South, a favorite of theirs. Mike then remembers an incredible Peru cinnamon teal hunt they filmed together for Mojo. What other teal species are there worldwide? What’s the real relationship among blue-winged teal, cinnamon teal, green-winged teal and shovelers? What’s so special about blue-winged teal, how are they hunted and what habitats do they prefer? Why is cinnamon teal hunting in Peru so incredible, and what did Mike and Ramsey discover while there that ranks foremost on their lists of “craziest thing ever encountered while hunting?!” This recording is from the very last time these two buddies visited and was provided courtesy of Mojo Outdoors.
As described in last week’s episode, Warren Coco spent over a decade hunting ducks in the enchanted Maurepas Swamp. Some years were better than others. Countless memorable times were spent with family and friends in the then-magical place – nights spent in floating camphouse in middle of swamp, mornings spent in tight, 30 yard-wide holes among towering, Spanish moss veiled cypress trees. The paradise vanished abruptly, because nature is always changing, and Coco found himself “on the outside looking in” where duck hunting was concerned. But not for long. Because people like Coco are doers. How’d Coco move a floating duck camp that had been given back to its original owner? What befell Maurepas Swamp duck hunting? What was it about hunting “Frank’s Blind” in southwestern Louisiana that Coco never forgot? Why was it so hard to become a landowner in Hackberry, and what “once-in-a-million-lifetimes event” transpired? All of this and a lot more as we continue the Warren Coco Got Devil series in this week’s Duck Season Somewhere.
September is finally here. The thermometer still reads warm, especially down south, but already faint hints of fall are in the air. Or maybe that’s just the smell of spent powder, musty waders, fresh feathers. Our time has finally arrived. Migratory bird hunting season is ushered in on the wings of resident Canada geese, mourning doves and blue-winged teal. What’s not to love about it?! In this episode of Duck Season Somewhere, Ramsey meets with Bigwater over hot biscuits and deer sausage following an eventful resident Canada goose hunt in Mississippi. Then, with the pungent smell of gun solvent still lingering in the kitchen, he and his son, Forrest, recall past hunts and talk about Mississippi creepy crawlies and a memorable senior prank.
Warren Coco is an American duck hunting icon. Conceived in his Baton Rouge, Louisiana shop over 4 decades ago, the legendary Go Devil longtail engine very literally transformed the face of duck hunting. But who is Warren Coco, and where’d he initially get the idea for the longtail motor design? What are his duck hunting origins? Many of us old salts were introduced to Coco and associates back in the late-80’s via a VCR production simply entitled “Duckmen.” Never before had we witnessed such kick-them-in-the-beak duck killing footage! Where’d that legendary production take place and how did it come to be? What was the name of that famous blind that looked like an ancient cypress stump? And memorable stories there?! Hang on to your camo caps, boys and girls! This exciting Duck Season Somewhere podcast series “goes like the devil” through Louisiana’s fabled swamplands. Coco is an extremely gifted and articulate storyteller. This series is about way more than a place named Louisiana; it’s also an illuminating story about times both past and present.
Today’s special guest hails from Louisiana, where for decades he lurked in the shadows as a game warden. Extremely good at it, he wrote 365 violations one particular year – an average of one per day! Louisiana’s unique cultural history involves hunting for certain migratory birds species other than ducks, too. What are gros becs and bec croches? And did anyone really hunt American robins? Why was he once sent to “guard a bridge” during season opener, and why did he eventually choose to work for the US Fish and Wildlife Service? While secretly observing duck hunters over the years, what encouraging behavioral change did he perceive? For reasons that’ll become plainly evident in listening to these interesting stories, he prefers speaking in strict anonymity. And that’s ok. He’s a great storyteller and we really hope to have him back in the near future.
During their high school years, Rod Haydel and his brother joined their father, the iconic Eli Haydel, in the garage where they mixed sometimes imperfect compound resins to cast clear polymer duck calls that were marketed as “Blows When Wet.” At the time, when only about 20 duck calls were being plied in hunting catalogs, it seemed like a great way for the boys to offset their upcoming college expenses. Looking back decades later, it transformed the duck call manufacturing industry, becoming a hugely successful family-owned business. It also became the late Eli Haydel’s – and the Haydel family’s – endearing legacy. But how’d Eli Haydel get the idea for producing these calls and what’d his mother think when he quit a steady job to pursue the dream? What are some of Rod’s fondest memories growing up duck hunting among family? When did he realize that his father was different, maybe more famous in the duck hunting world, than other dads? How has Haydel’s Game Calls grown since the earlier days, what new product got Ramsey fired up, and why do they remain Made in America? It’s another great Duck Season Somewhere episode from deep in Louisiana.
Louisiana’s fabled waterfowl hunting history stretches back centuries to the first French inhabitants, that thrived among its Spanish moss adorned swamplands like fish in water. Their tools of the trade were by necessity hand-crafted from locally abundant materials as a practical way of feeding families, but became in that sense a true art form. For Dale Bordelon, collecting natural materials from the Avoyelles Parish landscape near home then making his traditional cane calls, cypress dugouts and paddles, moss pirogue seats, and cypress root decoys completely by hand and without power tools is more about “connections to the old ways” than anything else. What were Dale’s earliest influences and how did he become interested in practicing this lost art? What’s the distinction between creole, cajun, and coonass? How is cane selected and made into duck calls? And why is it important to him that everything be made completely by hand? Dale is a gifted storyteller. He answers these questions and much more in the first of this 2-part series.
Matthew Piehl, Dirty Bird Outfitters, was born and raised in North Dakota. He tells Ramsey about growing up hunting in the region and why waterfowl hunting affected him differently than hunting upland gamebirds. They recount Mexico duck hunting together, talk about Matt’s lucky horseshoe, and dive into hunting ducks, geese and swans in North Dakota. What are habitat conditions like in North Dakota this year and how might if effect hunting? How’d Matt get into the outfitting business? And why does DBO’s staff believe Ramsey’s yellow lab, Coop, possess magical powers? These answers and more in today’s episode of Duck Season Somewhere.
Paul Link is Louisiana Department Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks’s North American Waterfowl Management Plan Coordinator. Number of mid-continental white-fronted geese overwintering in southwestern Louisiana has declined drastically in recent years, and Link’s real-time telemetry studies has enabled a greater understanding of Louisiana specklebellies’ life habits and migrational patterns. What is the scope of this research and what does it entail? What factors could be contributing to decline of overwintering white-fronted geese in southwestern Louisiana? How are concerned hunter-conservationists becoming involved? Link shares a wealth of interesting information with Ramsey Russell about a fascinating topic.
From the Raggio Custom Calls studio in Raymond, Mississippi, Josh Raggio tells Ramsey about his getting into duck call making, about his walking away from a comfortable job in corporate America to chase his dreams. What is it about Raggio’s shop that seems more like an art studio than a typical shop? What are some of the most interesting materials he’s used to make duck calls? Why is each of his duck calls individually unique? And why doesn’t he yet sell CNC versions of his duck calls in catalogs?