MIA: Where have all the duck experts gone?

Wild quail still to be had in La.

Louisianasportsman.com is missing something this year.

An entire group of people who have dominated the posting board on our magazine’s website the last few winters have mysteriously disappeared.Where they have gone, no one can tell.

Perhaps those aliens that make crop circles in the corn fields of the Midwest and Plains got a taste for sweet Louisiana cane and sucked these people into their flying saucers.

Perhaps this entire group was displaced to other states by the dual disasters of Katrina and Rita.

Perhaps there’s something more nefarious at play, and we need to alert the authorities.

Although all of those are possibilities, I suggest we wait a few years. These people are bound to show up again, and they’ll once again dominate louisianasportsman.com to blast Ducks Unlimited as if it were a lone greenhead hovering over a decoy spread.

In recent years, duck hunting in Louisiana has been about as much fun as, well, a crochet convention. The feed in our verdant marshes and stubbly rice fields has gone to waste, providing wintertime nourishment and sustenance to far too few waterfowl.

The skies of our crisp autumn nights, normally alive with the honks of distant geese and the staccato quacks of grey ducks, have been library quiet.

Each year, the lack of action followed assurances from biologists and management officials that duck numbers were high and liberal limits were in order.

When the ducks didn’t fulfill their end of the deal — by getting off their derieres and flying across the continent — those same biologists and management officials were left scratching their heads.

But not the group who’s now turned up missing. Their heads didn’t itch at all. They knew exactly whose fault it was the ducks were staying up north — DU’s.

Every one of them had a brother-in-law who had a friend whose uncle had pictures of giant green trucks with DU logos on the doors dumping corn in fields from Iowa to Idaho.

Where that didn’t work — in wetter areas — DU had brought in huge heaters and blown them onto lake beds to keep their surfaces from freezing.

The ducks weren’t coming south because DU was doing all it could to make the Northland as habitable as possible for ducks throughout the winter.

No one could produce evidence this was occurring, nor could anyone give a plausible motivation for DU wanting to alter migration patterns, but apparently evidence and logic weren’t necessary. DU was doing these things, it was just a fact.

But this year, with Louisiana’s skies once again filled with a wonderful cacophony, with wetlands so thick with ducks they look like flies over a city dump, DU’s detractors have vanished.

Believe me, I’m certainly not DU’s greatest apologist. I think the organization took for granted the generosity of hunters in Louisiana — which ranked in DU’s top five revenue-producing states — and for too long ignored the dire situation with our coast.

That appears to be changing now, perhaps with the horse out of the barn.

But DU was certainly no accessory in an attempt to alter migration patterns. They couldn’t have done it if they wanted to.

About Todd Masson 647 Articles
Todd Masson has covered outdoors in Louisiana for a quarter century, and is host of the Marsh Man Masson channel on YouTube.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply