Back to Oyster Bayou Hunting Club in Chambers County, Texas, Ramsey meets with Gene Campbell during an annual blue-winged teal hunting visit. Gene has been hunting the region since back in the 60s and is a treasure trove of entertaining information. Following a great hunt together, the couple hunting buddies discuss migrating blue-winged teal–and hummingbirds–alligators, long-time guide-staff, unique habitat management strategies.
D.I.’s Cajun Restaurant is an unassuming building out in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by Tee Mamou Prairie rice fields in Acadia Parish, Louisiana. You know you’re in the right place because the gravel-and-beer-cap parking lot is filled with locals that have eaten here for generations, enjoying live cajun music 3-4 nights weekly. Owner Sherry Fruge tells why and how she and her late husband, D.I., started the restaurant when farming got tough back in the ’70s. Never dreaming that D.I.’s “special way of boiling crawfish” would become a local cultural icon that’s since been inducted into the Cajun Music Hall of Fame, she describes hands-on involvement, memorable events, and why restaurant and community are one in the same.
In 1868, in the remote backwater reaches of south Louisiana’s Avery Island, Edmund Mcllhenny invented Tabasco Sauce. While no one is sure how or why he came up with his proprietary elixir, the iconic company is now in its 6th generation of family ownership. Taking us down dark Louisiana bayous, historian Shane Bernard colorfully describes the Mcllehennys as businessmen, hunters and conservationists, telling amazing stories about the remote region; nutria rats, bears, plume hunting, duck hunting, bird sanctuaries, bird banding and much more. You’d have never thought so much goodness could fit into a tiny condiment bottle!
While chasing September blue-winged teal through coastal Louisiana and Texas, Ramsey meets hunters that take this special time of year very seriously. For most, it’s as much real duck season as any other. Who are they? Where and how do they hunt? What does blue-winged teal season mean to them? Listen to find out.
For Jared Serigne, returning home to Chalmette, Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina was an awakening. He didn’t grow up duck hunting, but newfound awareness of the vast wetlands resource outside the levees eventually lead him into it. It was then that he began understanding that the land outside the levees was an imperiled part of Sportsman’s Paradise. And that by using his professional film background he could do something about it.
Southeast Louisiana duck hunting spawned some of the most collectible decoy folk art in America. Fashioned from nearby natural materials, they were originally made to feed families, communities, and an entire culture. Brian Cheramie grew up on the banks of Bayou Lafourche, where at a young age he developed through his grandfather an interest in old wooden decoys and the legendary duck hunters who made them. But this fascinating story is about way more than decoys. In its telling, Cheramie colorfully describes old school duck hunters from a bygone era, what became of them and their ways, and the immense void that was created.
Back in the day, describes Billy Johnson, Leland, Mississippi swelled to 4x its present population on Saturday nights. Live music and food carts on every corner down by the tracks. That was way back when a national magazine described this little Mississippi delta hamlet as “The Hell Hole of America.” Things like blind tiger booze, chitlin circuit clubs, skin balls, cathouses and card games abounded. But real history was being made, too. Even a teenage delivery boy from Memphis later made a big name for himself. “It was the most amazing thing, so much talent coming from such a small area,” B.B. King later said. Funny where a conversation about hot tamales will go!
Albertine Kimble has lived in Carlisle, Louisiana (population 1) for her entire life. From her stilted home a lofty 23 feet above the ground (for good reason), she remembers growing up nearby, what duck hunting was like back in her grandfather’s day, hunting “French ducks” with her dad and brothers, earning the Duck Queen moniker. She describes how and why things have since changed in this vanishing paradise, suggesting possible remedies. With a limit of fresh, whole-picked blue-winged teal soaking in her kitchen sink, she shares a special family recipe and other thoughts.
Now 80 years old, Sid “Boweevil” Laws has only been away from his Lake Washington home in the Mississippi Delta home for 8 years of his life. The river is integral to Boweevil’s life and lifestyle. “Nowadays, it’s about just being there,” he says emotionally about duck hunting after first describing memorable times on the river, the few years spent away from home, “masacrating ’em” back in the day, finding out his name was number 3 on a list you don’t want to be on, and more.
There’s more to South Africa than ducks, geese and guineafowl. Way more. Way bigger. Following an action-packed wingshooting spree in South Africa, Ramsey joins long-time friends and associates to scratch off a few non-feathered bucket-list biggies that have stalked his dreams during the years he first met the husband-wife team. Great conversation about the stuff most folks associate with South Africa.