The Duck Whistle
Like chalk on a black-board, the words screed to a halt
in mid-brain, mine. "Look sweety, they even have a cute
little Duck Whistle," she purred to her boy friend. Ten
years have passed from that moment when I was visiting a
local tackle-shop. Not a fly shop, a full tackle type place
where I would lurk and skulk about so as not to be recognized
by my more noble peers. I never thought as much of the place
after that un-nerving episode.
By James Castwell
Now, I was raised in Michigan and fall found me slogging the
marshes of Saginaw Bay, (Lake Huron) for any sign of a Mallard,
Black, Teal or most any other 'duck-type' bird. My collection
of decoys was harvested from several years of painting and
re-painting (Herter's paints only) the very best economy ones
I could somewhat afford. It was supplemented with a few heavy
wooden hand-me-downs.) Custom made duck-boat (tippy thing,
pitched me out once in a gentle roll), Model 12, 16ga Winchester
(damn, I loved that gun, re-finished the stock with a secret
formula stolen directly out the back-door of Winchester, custom
deep checkering on the grip too, even put a beaver-tail forearm
And duck calls. Boy, I had them. The best I could find, one
a very special hand-made job that really was the envy of all
my hunting buddies. My father soon gave up on calling and
it became my duty to 'bring 'em in.' And I could, mostly.
We shot ducks from the time I was 12 until I married and
moved out of the region. I found, much to my delight, my
duck call worked very well on the unsuspecting and often
seemingly stupid ducks of Montana.
A pleasant surprise was finding out the Mississippi flyway
which runs through Michigan is not the only source of ducks,
the one covering Montana has even more. Called the Pacific
flyway. We ate a lot of ducks in Montana. I did ruin one
opening day once when my buddy and my wife put out a set
of decoys and had a flock of Mallards drop straight into
the blocks without us being able to get a round off.
"Hello ducks," he yelled and the sky filled with wings. One
volley from our three weapons and we had our limits, 26
dead ducks and one cripple which our labs quickly snatched.
Yes, duck hunting was and still is a fond part of who I am,
and so it was especially aggravating to hear the blasphemous
We don't hunt ducks though anymore, in fact while in Montana,
we even raised the things. Hatched the eggs on the kitchen
counter, incubated the chicks in the utility room, and raised
the birds in a very large 'duck-house' and enclosed wire fenced
'duck yard.' Oh yes, two geese too, Pilgrims.
I was reminded of this today when I got a notice in the mail
about a 'New' duck call. Made out of PLASTIC! Now, when things
get to this point I need to change something. If you can't
beat them, join them, so I am going to, enough is enough.
I am here to tell the world that from this point on my 'Famous
J Castwell Trout Call' will, in the future, that is, from now
on, be called, "The Famous J Castwell Trout Whistle," and it
will be made of PLASTIC! So there. ~ JC
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