Duck, Duck, Goose!……That was one of my favorite childhood games. Maybe that’s why I have had a life-long fascination with Waterfowl! I love listening to people’s stories of how they are chasing the birds! I have been a member of Ducks Unlimited for 25 years (mostly, just attended banquets or helped sell raffle tickets to raise money for conservation of wetlands). I have wanted to hunt duck, geese, and other waterfowl, but have never had someone to show me how or where to begin.
Last year, about the time our Wildlife Women group started growing, hunting events started popping up left and right, and I was anxious to try them out! A perfect way to “get my feet wet” in the hunting world. I attended deer hunting classes (and soon realized, I am not a deer hunter), I went turkey hunting (and fell in love with it), and decided to bypass the rabbit hunt (because I’m a dog lover and afraid I would shoot one of the dogs…lol). However, I really wanted to know how to duck hunt and none of the girls in our group had duck hunted before.
The Lake Cumberland Chapter of Ducks Unlimited is one of the largest grossing Chapters in the state, if not, region. I have several male friends that are avid duck hunters and Ducks Unlimited members. They agreed to help me teach a duck hunt class to Wildlife Women. My close personal friend, Dr. Kyle Stewart, jumped at the chance to teach this class. He had a passion for ducks and wanted to pass that along to our girls. He spent several weeks planning and organizing the class. He owned a piece of property that he duck hunted and intended to take us on a short beginner hunt at the end of the class. He was ready for a full weekend ALL ABOUT DUCKS! Just a week before the scheduled class, Kyle and 7 other duck hunting friends embarked on the annual trip to Reelfoot Lake in Tennessee. They spent a week in the blinds. Tragically, on Kyle’s return home, the personal aircraft they were flying, crashed in Bowling Green, KY. All four occupants passed away on impact. Our little town of Somerset, KY continues to feel this great loss to our community. They contributed so much and are missed by many.
Getting over the loss of a friend is hard, but I wanted to remember him by scheduling a duck hunt training for Wildlife Women. He would have loved to be there and see all that we learned. Our training was conducted by Brent Thompson of Pine Ridge British Labradors. They are located in Princeton, KY. He did a fabulous job! I learned more that day, than I ever thought I could learn. We learned about guns, ammo, ducks, camo, environmental challenges, shooting from a blind, calling ducks, were given free equipment, and so much more!! We had a duck calling contest. The great thing about the duck calling contest was that we were able to use the duck calls from Ducks Unlimited that Kyle had planned to give us to use. It felt like he was there watching us make fools of ourselves. I know he would have gotten a kick out of it. I won the most beautiful duck call made by Deadshot Custom calls. During our duck blind shoot off, we awarded a hand- made, 175 year old maple grunt and bleat. This beautiful piece was made by Lawrence Bubeck of Bubeck Custom Calls. I cannot say enough about Brent Thompson! I am so grateful for all he did to help teach a bunch of women about duck hunting. He put together a wonderful duck hunt training and I for one, am so excited about our upcoming duck hunt! I am ready to play a DIFFERENT kind of DUCK, DUCK, GOOSE game! Let’s shoot some birds!
———Kelly Crow, Lake Cumberland Chapter Leader