Duck Season Somewhere Podcast

Duck Season Somewhere Podcast

100 Years Texas Waterfowl Hunting

Thinking Texas during the mid- to late-1800s more likely conjures images of tough cowboys, fierce comanches, and dusty cattle drives than epic turn-of-the-century waterfowl hunting. Today’s guest forever changes that. Rob Sawyer has authored 3 incredible books on the Lone Star State’s colorful waterfowling history. Even in the halcyon days of waterfowling, sport hunters began emerging as conservationists.  Saying “everything’s bigger in Texas,” Sawyer describes events that are truly hard to fathom by today’s standard. What were the Canvasback Wars?  Prize hunts? Ox hunts? What other migratory bird species were hunted for food and sport? What attracted so many sharks along Matagorda Island? What Texas town began when an out-of-state visitor shot 1000 ducks? When did snow geese begin using the Texas prairie? Many Texas listeners asked us to feature Rob Sawyer and for excellent reason. Sawyer’s anecdotes range from humorous to jaw dropping, all so extremely interesting that you’ll not want the episode to end. But we barely even scratched the surface!

Related Links:

A Hundred Years of Texas Waterfowling Book

Texas Market Hunting Book

Images of the Hunt: A Photographic History of Texas Waterfowling Book

Wood Ducks

Houston Havens, Waterfowl Program Coordinator for Mississippi, has learned lots of very interesting things about wood ducks pursuant to ongoing banding programs in Mississippi. He and Ramsey discuss a variety of related topics pertaining to this ubiquitous species. How do they band woodies, what valuable information is gained, and how important is this to management? How widely do Mississippi’s wood ducks disperse and what’s the furtherest away one has been reported? How important is this waterfowl species to Deep South hunters? All of this and more in today’s episode!

Related Links:

Waterfowl Program, Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks

Doe’s Eat Place

Gaining proper cultural insight anywhere worldwide is as simple as putting your feet under a table at the right restaurant. Doe’s Eat Place is the most iconic restaurant in the State of Mississippi, is among countless Top-10 lists nationwide, has served countless luminaries and celebrities right alongside duck hunters fresh off the river for decades. It even received the prestigious James Beard Foundation Award.  But don’t ask for a menu because they’ve never had one.  From across a red checkered table cloth, Ramsey Russell joins 3rd-generation owner, Dominic “Baby Doe” Signa, plus life-long patron and Mississippi Delta hunter-historian, Hank Burdine, for a lively round-table discussion of this legendary restaurant’s colorful history. Of course, they end up talking Mississippi Delta duck hunting, too!  How and when did this restaurant get started? What Doe’s Eat Place specialty was named Number 1 Must-Eat item in America? What’s the hot tamale connection to Mississippi? How many salads did Aunt Florence prepare during her 75-year career – and why’s that number only the half of it?  How has the nearby Mississippi River influenced Doe’s and regional duck hunting? This is an absolutely delicious episode you’ll really sink your teeth into.

Related Links:

Doe’s Eat Place

Iowa Goose Poppers

Kicking off this season’s North American Tour, Ramsey goes Iowa goose hunting with Trent Sinclair. While the two hunters are rolling Canada goose poppers and snacking on andouille and cheese, they discuss hunting in Iowa and some favorite recipes. About mid-way through the recording, Sinclair makes a move that Ramsey later wishes he’d photographed!

Best Texas Blue-winged Teal Hunts

Steve Biggers of Rocky Creek Retrievers runs the best blue-winged teal hunts in Texas, maybe even on earth. But it doesn’t happen by accident. Far from it. Biggers explains professional retriever training and duck guiding, often using baseball concepts to effectively get his points across home plate. Straightforward and deliberate, his approach to both are similar – he wants to produce the best potential results and to maximize customers’ enjoyment. How’d Biggers get started down the path of become Texas’s best and who were his earliest influences? What makes this region a funnel for blue-winged teal migrating through Central and Mississippi flyways? If he “doesn’t buy caps and t-shirts,” what does he instead buy? How does he manage water, and how does he hold blue-winged teal for the entire hunting season in the absence of any nearby state or federal refuges?  Like a hard line drive over centerfield fence, Biggers knocks this episode clear out of the park.

Related Links:

Texas Blue-winged Teal Hunts

Team Waterfowl Rocky Creek Retrievers

The General’s Habitat Managemen‪t‬

Warren Coco is a fury of boundless can-do energy. Large and in charge, with nearly a half-century of personal and professional achievements roiling in his wake, fellow hunt camp members affectionately refer to him as “The General.”  It even says so on the gold-starred military helmet they hung above the entrance to his camp house room. The conversation begins with Coco explaining Go Devil’s customer service, demonstrating his buck-stops-here philosophy. It then shifts to habitat management. A combination of art, science, experience and luck, it’s a persistent roll-up-your-sleeves and make-it-happen challenge, especially on a property once described as “a show dog with fleas.”  Sweat equity pays huge dividends when greenheads start pouring into the decoys, though. Why does Coco personally assist customers?  Why doesn’t he plant hot crops such as corn or milo in his camp’s duck holes?  What’re his thoughts on flooded soybeans? How does he rate certain “weeds,” and what advantages do natural, moist-soil plants have over planted millets?  What was his long-term solution for improving hunter concealment that also benefited wildlife?  In this fantastic episode, General Coco shares hard-earned life lessons that business owners and duck camp habitat managers will appreciate, but that everyone will enjoy greatly.

September Quadfecta

Ramsey Russell connects with Ira McCauley to discuss September happenings. Ira tells about the September blue-winged teal opener in Missouri’s north zone, which has become a long-standing family tradition. They hunt, for sure, but they eat right and even have fun in a variety of ways. He describes his youngest son making an important connection with hunting last weekend. Beyond blue-wingeds, Ira traditionally chases what he calls the September Quadfecta. Besides mourning doves and blue-winged teal, can you guess which other birds they’re chasing at Locust Grove this time of year? And why does he use sub-gauge shotguns? What habitat management activities kept him busy preceding the season? How do he and his sons “make applesauce”? How’d Ira come up with the new Momarsh Versavest, and what’s new in the world of Habitat Flats? Another great September blue-winged teal season discussion.

Gators and Garfish

In this episode of Duck Season Somewhere, waterfowl hunting hunting legend, Warren Coco, and Ramsey continue visiting at the confluence of the Red and Black rivers in central Louisiana, but their conversation turns from feathered fowl to the big lizards for which is state is famous. Coco describes hunting alligators and collecting their eggs in great detail, and then talks about traditional gar fishing. The episode ends dramatically with the tale of 14-feet worth of mad, muddy gator being hand-grabbed in the good ol’ days of Maurepas Swamp! How do they catch alligators and what do they do with them? How do they collect alligator eggs in south Louisiana? What do those momma gators think about the practice?  How are garfish caught and what the heck are “garfish balls”? What became of that massive gator they hand-grabbed?! This fun episode rips through a slice of colorful Louisiana culture like a Go Devil motor through the swamp and like only Warren Coco can tell it!

Waterfowl Habitat and Blue-Winged Teal Hunting with Terry Denmon

Great waterfowl habitat doesn’t happen by accident. Terry Denmon and Ramsey Russell assessed duck habitat conditions on a central Louisiana property about a decade ago. Waterfowl habitat utilization left something to be desired. Management was sorely needed. Denmon has since tirelessly implemented moist-soil management practices, transforming the property, and rolling out the red carpet for overwintering ducks. What is moist-soil plant management and why does Denmon prefer this to row crop agricultural crops? What are the plant species he tries to produce, and how are problematic plant species controlled?  Blue-winged teal season opens in September but big ducks don’t show up until late-November. How does he manage duck habitat conditions for both? Blue-winged teal hunting season is in full swing nationwide as Denmon and Ramsey talk common-sense habitat management and, of course, duck hunting in this informative episode of Duck Season Somewhere.

Pancakes and Sausage

Warren Coco’s epic story resumes with his first telling about his Avoyelles Parish ancestry stretching clear back to a Revolutionary War veteran from whom the Coco name was derived. And speaking of origins, before going back to Hackberry, we briefly revisit Go Devil. How’d the company name come about? How have their product line has since evolved? Why are there size limitations? Returning to the once-in-a-million lifetimes opportunity that soon became marsh camp, Coco describes what makes the landscape a true sportsman’s paradise. Why is the Louisiana marsh described as “sinking land”? What were some of the daunting challenges to maintaining critical marsh habitat? How’d the property fare during back-to-back hurricanes Katrina and Rita? How do corn impoundments up north really affect the duck migration to Louisiana? The episode concludes with a heart rendering story about how pancakes and sausage became a Coco family duck blind breakfast staple. Another fantastic Duck Season Somewhere episode you’ll not want to end!

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As strong advocates of conservation, supports the following organizations:

Ducks Unlimited Dallas Safari Club National Rifle Association Delta Waterfowl SCI