Duck Season Somewhere Podcast

Duck Season Somewhere Podcast

A Noah’s Ark for World Waterfowl Species: Pinola Conservancy

Meaningful waterfowl conservation comes in many forms. A life-long Louisiana duck hunter, Paul Dickson’s backyard waterfowl aviary seems like a naturally compatible hobby, but eventually evolved into something more. Much, much more. Pinola Conservancy is the largest waterfowl aviary in the United States. Privately owned and closed to the public, this aviary is home to hundreds of bird species from all corners of the globe, from critically endangered to common.  Myriad ongoing research projects are the tip of the iceberg. Surplus birds are distributed to qualified institutions and zoological parks where in the future some species, such as Baer’s Pochard, might only exist due to habitat loss.  How’d Dickson get started? When did it become more than a hobby, and what greater purposes does it now facilitate? How many waterfowl species are at Pinola Conservancy? What species are among the rarest or most endangered? Is it difficult raising all of these species in Louisiana, and how does he ensure they breed during Louisiana’s winter months? Does he have any personal favorites? What research projects are ongoing? What are some other cool things Ramsey learned during a brief tour?  Pinola Conservancy is a beacon of hope in a rapidly changing global landscape. Your inner bird-nerd is going to be unleashed listening. Afterwards, visit Pinola Conservancy’s website for live streams and social media accounts for updates.


Related Links:

Pinola Conservancy Website

Pinola Conservancy Instagram

Pinola Conservancy Facebook

“And God Blessed Him With a Cannon”

I mean seriously, what little boy hasn’t dreamed of owning a real cannon?!  Originally from Wisconsin, Duffy Neubauer took it absolutely next level. His Starkville (Mississippi) Civil War Arsenal is a private collection of various artillery, rolling stock and carriages comprising an artillery battery; the only of its kind in the US. After bantering about nuanced differences among the terms Yankee, Damned Yankee and Northerner, Nuebauer takes Ramsey on an absolutely amazing tour.  How’d Neubauer develop an interest in Civil War field artillery, why’s the South such fertile grounds for his interests? In what ways are Civil War reenactments way bigger than the Super Bowl? What makes his collection the only of its kind in the US? How did artillery bring dignity to the battlefield, what different projectile types used? Necessity is the of invention invention, but what creative use of what natural, on-site material led decisively ended the siege of Vicksburg, ultimately ending the Civil War? And besides the obvious, what are 2 enduring legacies of the Civil War? Forget dull high school history lessons. Neubauer’s version is highly entertaining, absolutely full of riveting surprises. BOOM!


Related Links:

Starkville Civil War Arsenal

Shooting a Sweetgum Mortar

Who–or What–Eats Wood Ducks?

It’s been a long while since Ramsey and today’s guest, Brian Davis, attended Mississippi State University together. Davis earned master’s and PhD degrees studying breeding and brood rearing wood ducks and other aspects of wood duck ecology.  Now an Associate Professor of Wildlife Ecology at MSU, Davis describes his duck hunting origins before pitching into wood duck predation (you ain’t going to believe it), other interesting findings such as “legacy lead” in various habitats and how the wildlife-related student body has evolved since Ramsey roamed his alma mater’s hallways. Davis is an extremely entertaining and well-informed storyteller. Y’all are absolutely going to love this episode—and will be left wondering how in the world wood ducks continue to even exist with so many different mouths to feed!


Related Links:

Mississippi State University, James C. Kennedy Endowed Chair in Waterfowl and Wetlands Conservation


Snake?! Just Grab You One!!!

Somewhere along the way the question arises – have you ever seen someone get snake bitten in the scrotum?! Can’t make this stuff up, folks! Like other places in the Deep South, Mr. No-Shoulders is just a part of everyday life in Mississippi. Where many folks have a wholesome fear of them, some do not. There’s even a snake hand-grabbing, catch-and-release rodeo in the Great State of Mississippi! Ramsey meets with Jimmie Nichols of Grab U One Outfitters, discussing snake experiences, snake identification, snake “meanness,” snake bites and close calls, and then talking about how and why the annual snake rodeo round up got started. Make your palms sweat?  Give it this episode a listen and then come grab yourself one!


Related Links:
Grab U One Outfitters Annual Snake Rodeo Round Up in Mississippi

The Duck Farmer, Shane Olson

Born and raised in Oklahoma, Shane Olson graduated with a degree in wildlife, soon becoming caretaker for Big Lake Duck Club just outside Tulsa. Located among one of the largest waterbodies in Oklahoma, Big Lake Duck Club was established in 1916. After sharing some of it’s amazing history, Olson goes into full-blown Duck Farmer mode, plowing deeply into learned habitat practices implemented to ensure quality waterfowl hunting. Covering all the bases of moist-soil management, hot-crop agriculture, flooded green timber reservoirs and refuge, he makes the case that great duck hunting habitat doesn’t just happen by accident. Fantastically interesting and useful information for both regular hunters and habitat tinkerers alike.

Best-Dressed Biologist for Good Reason

Ed Penny spent years mucking through wetlands as a field biologist, plying his learned know-how to improve waterfowl habitat from Mississippi to California. Nowadays his work attire is oftentimes suit and tie, but for damned good reasons. As southern regional Director of Public Policy for Ducks Unlimited, Penny spends many long days across the table from legislators, championing the preservation of remaining wetlands habitat without which we duck hunters are S.O.L. He and Ramsey catch up, learning they cut their duck hunting teeth in the same river bottom, discussing changes since those days and on-going challenges.

28-Gauge Super Black Eagle and Other Benelli Topics

A sub-gauge revolution is sweeping across the country as more waterfowl hunters are reinventing their game, swinging 20- and 28-gauge shotguns instead of their trusty ol’ 12. George Thompson, Director of Product Management for Benelli, tells Ramsey about adding 28-gauge to the successful Super Black Eagle platform, covering a range of other Benelli-related innovations. Where’d the philosophy “carry a 20-gauge but shoulder a 12-gauge” originate? Why’d they choose 28-gauge and what were some of the challenges–and will there be a .410? What are some of the subtle differences between SBE and Ethos shotguns, and how has the 28-gauge been received by customers?  Will the proprietary Benelli Surface Treatment be available in other colors? What makes the 828 U Over-under shotgun unique? How have “performance shop” Benelli shotguns been modified, and why? Whether you’re a long-time Benelli shooter or just looking to make a well-informed decision about your next shotgun purchase, you’ll enjoy this highly informative episode.

Her Recipe for Connecting Food, Nature and Life

Lured to Ramsey’s Mississippi hunting camp by the prospect of cooking black bear venison for her first time–and it was absolutely amazing–The Gatherin’ Girl, Chef Tori Loomis, takes a break from the kitchen to visit. After describing the several ways she’s preparing venison heart, tenderloins, backstrap and shank, Loomis tells Ramsey about recent life happenings stretching from Florida to Utah and all points in between during her 35th journey around the sun. Loomis’s recipe philosophy is like a pathway connecting her to people, places, nature and ultimately, a life well-lived. Always full bellies and full hearts when she’s around.


Related Links:


Waterfowl Habitat Management: Planting Agricultural Hot Crops

There’s a time and place everything. Kevin Nelms and Ramsey discuss planting agricultural hot crops such as corn, rice, and various millets to provide high-energy food sources for wintering waterfowl, complimenting natural moist-soil habitat to form a waterfowl complex.  What are the pros and cons? How do site limitations affect crop selection, what excellent online resources are available to landowners for determining your property’s soil type limitations? What is chiwapa millet and where’s it available? What about “grassy corn”?  But wait-there’s more! Much more! As USDA NRCS Wildlife Biologist in the Mississippi Delta, Nelms has spent decades designing and developing numerous private-lands waterfowl impoundments. He’s worked extensively with private landowners throughout the region, improving desirable waterfowl habitat conditions, enhancing duck utilization, even putting together a handbook that Ramsey considers must-have essential for managing waterfowl habitat (refer to related links in the episode description for your own PDF copy). This is the third episode of a 4-part series that duck habitat nerds both new and old will appreciate.



Related Links:

Wetlands Management for Waterfowl Handbook (PDF)

Managing Moist-Soil Impoundments (YouTube)

Connecting Animal Planet Influences to Duck Hunting

The times they are a-changin’. Hook-and-bullet waterfowl managers are becoming replaced by a new generation inspired into wildlife management more by watching nature channels than by formative hunting experiences. But isn’t it kind of important that they recognize hunting’s importance–the real dollars-and-cents support that we duck hunters bring to agency budgets? Joel Brice and Cyrus Baird explain why Delta Waterfowl thought it was very important and what they did about it. Describing why hand-me-down hunting traditions are declining, they tell Ramsey about getting Delta’s University Hunting Program into many universities, recruiting students to participate, immersing them into the entire field-to-table experience.  Coming from a place very few listeners can understand, some student feedback underscores this program’s vital importance.


Related Links:

Delta Waterfowl University Hunt Program

Delta Waterfowl Duck Hunters Expo July 29-31, 2023

Mojo OutdoorsTom BeckbeFlashBack DecoysVoormiTetra HearingBOSS SHOTSHELLSKanati Elite Taxidermy StudioBenelli

As strong advocates of conservation, supports the following organizations:

Ducks Unlimited Dallas Safari Club National Rifle Association Delta Waterfowl SCI