Cher Wada Koenig
Although the Bronco Chapter of Ducks Unlimited is now inactive, duck hunters still have a presence on campus. Tyson Summers, a current Boise State student who enjoys the sport of duck hunting, recently took the Idaho state title of champion duck caller. Summers explained that he usually practices about 15-20 minutes a day, but said “when I’m getting ready for a competition, (practice is) more like three hours every day. I try to build my lungs up for calling, and then I just practice routines,” he said.
There are multiple annual competitions for the sport and in 2010 Summers took third in Idaho state duck and Idaho state goose.
“Duck calling competitions are when you’re on a stage and have five judges behind you, (behind a screen) and they all judge you off of that blueprinted routine. They drop your high score and they drop your low score and they take those three judges in the middle and they total that score, that’s how they determine who gets cut from the next round,”
Rex Harding, chairman of the Bronco chapter of Ducks Unlimited, doesn’t participate in the competition side of the sport but said that he’s hooked on the hunting
He described his hunting trips by saying it’s “getting up way too early, spending way too much money to be (warm and) comfortable and going out and playing,” said Harding, who recently graduated Boise State with a degree in biology and an emphasis in ecology.
“It’s more of a hobby for me. It’s just the challenge of being able to fool a bird. And a lot of it is getting out there with friends and family. I love going out with my dad and brothers.”
Harding explained what happens after the hunt, by stating that he eats what
“I treat it a lot like beef. I cook it medium-rare, anything beyond that, it starts to get really gamey and quite a bit tougher. I love making duck fajitas, or duck enchiladas and duck jerky,” Harding said.
But duck hunters say there’s more to it than just the hunt. There’s tradition and conservation too.
Harding went on to talk about the tradition of the sport.
“Duck hunters are the ones that are the most passionate about making sure that the tradition they’ve got in duck hunting can be passed on and there will be birds around for their grandkids or great grandkids,” Harding said.
This tradition plays well with the conservation aspect of Ducks Unlimited. Mond Warren, the regional director of Idaho, explained the conservation side of Ducks Unlimited in further detail.
“Ducks Unlimited is a conservation organization, a lot of people think that it’s a hunting club, but it’s really not. A lot of the confusion I think is because Ducks Unlimited was started by hunters and hunters are the biggest conservationists out there. They give back to the resource,” Warren said.
“We’re real fortunate here in Idaho, for being a smaller state, we’re doing quite a bit of work here. At any given time we have 11-15 active projects going on. We’ve conserved over 27,500 acres of ground in Idaho. I think that’s great for Idaho, it’s good for the heritage we have here.”
To get involved, become a member, or learn more about the sport, Warren suggests that students search Idaho Ducks Unlimited on YouTube or on Facebook, visit Ducks.org, or email Warren directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Because according to Warren “we (still) have a lot more work to do,” Warren said.