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I'd Better Stick With Turkeys

BlackduckOne of the bad things about being a writer is that when you screw up, it's there for all the world to see. Nick Wansha of Rochester, N.Y. was quick to jump on my case following an article I wrote for the Dec/Jan Outdoor Life where I recounted a trip I took to Alaska.

Nick wrote (the bolded words are his): "That has to be the biggest pile bull scat that I ever read! That article had to been fabricated. First, the author indicates that "Besides old-squaw and other diving sea ducks (are there any puddler sea ducks?), we also experienced prime shooting at mallards, black ducks, and other large dabblers. There are no black ducks in Kodiak, Alaska let alone prime shooting of them! The black duck resides in Atlantic and to a lesser extent, the Mississippi flyways. Obviously, this article is a farce and the author just shot down his and your magazine's credibility."

Wow, I did all of that with one mistaken identification! What a burden to shoulder. Nick is right, there are no black ducks in Alaska, but ease up dude! You're going to blow out a ventricle getting so worked up over one error.

I did screw up. Hell, I'm a turkey hunter, not an expert waterfowler. I duck hunt like I golf. I love it, but if I get a chance to do it more than a couple of times a year, I'm really doing something. And I miscalled that one instead of double checking with my expert sources. I should have stuck with what we actually shot, which (if I recall correctly, I don't have my notes with me Nick) were some mallards and a few old squaw. What I do know is that there were a lot of freakin' ducks flying around out there!

Growing up doing the occassional mill pond duck hunt along the sucky Atlantic flyway, about all I ever saw were mallards, teal and woodducks. Beyond that, my identification is hit or miss and I rely on the more experienced hunters I'm with to be sure.

Oh, and I apologize, Nick, for the redundancy of diving and sea duck. I guess it's like your refusal to use proper articles and prepositions in conjunction with some nouns (and one missed helping verb, too). One mistake does not a farce make! Shakespeare said that, or was it Moe from the Three Stooges or did I just make it up. I can't remember...



If you see a duck with a beard hanging, SHOOT IT, you can identify it later.
I liked your story, one horned dear and all.


At least you weren't shooting turkey vultures.

Jeff Hoefen


Do us all a favor and stick with turkey hunting and proper English until you can properly identify waterfowl. I'm not sure about Alaska, but here in NY, there are specific rules and regulations you must follow while hunting waterfowl. For example, you may only harvest one black duck per day here in NY. If you pull the trigger on a second one, you will be over your limit and in violation of the NYS Consvation Law.

My point is, ignorance is no excuse exspecially when you write for a prestigious magazine like OUTDOOR LIFE. Thousands of readers believe that articles in this magazine are of non-fiction value unless otherwise stated. How would you feel if you witnessed a hunter blasting away at hen turkeys in the springtime. To some uneducated hunter, a turkey is a turkey, beard or no beard.

Have you ever considered taking a Waterfowl ID course? I bet you didn't know that Nick W from Rochester, NY teaches Waterfowl ID courses. I'm sure he'd be more than welcome to have you in his class.

As far as I'm concerned in the attempt to persue waterfowl, you must be educated in the specifics of the sport. If you don't know what your'e shooting, how can you be sure your'e not imposing on laws pertaining to the formentioned above?

Doug, this response was never intended to "bash" you, although it may be interpreted that way by some. I do think you should of just stepped up to the plate without bashing Nick W. for his grammar and improper English. I'm sure you can pick me apart on that also. My editor happens to be out of town on a waterfowl trip for black ducks in Alaska right now.

We simpletons aren't too good when it comes to English, but we sure can ID waterfowl. I've never ever heard of anybody getting a citation for improper English. Have you Doug?

Best regards,

Jeff Hoefen
Rochester, NY

Larry aLeidelmeyer

I can understand your frustration, but at the same time, you need to understand ours. Ours, being that of the readers of the magazine in which you write for. As a writer, most of the people that read the columns respect what you say. Because you are supposed to be a paid professional. The average Joe who knows nothing about guns or hunting can be easily influenced by what you say. So, in the future, please don't respond to reader’s comments in the way that you did. Take it with a grain of salt. If you have trouble recognizing species of waterfowl, get a bird I.D. book from Ducks Unlimited.

Larry L-

Ben M.

Hey Doug, maybe Nick and many other hunters are upset because we expect writers in 'outdoor magazines' to know WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT! Gimme a break dude. It seems to me that about 50% of the outdoor articles I read are littered with mistakes and ficticious crap...nice to see you're doing your part, bwahaha.

Please don't make fun of my poor grammer because I make no excuses, but at least I don't get paid to write for an outdoor magazine and make BASIC mistakes and then call people out by name who are criticle of my work and THEN make fun of their grammer. good times!

Bill Reed

Why so defensive? Why post the personal information about a simple E-Mail? Why the need to lash out at someone you don't even know?

Mistakes happen, especially with small game. Sure, we all know the difference between a Whitetail and a Mule Deer (don't we?), but ducks can be a little different. So he pointed out a minor mistake. No need to lash out.

It would have been much nicer for you to come on here and mention that a reader pointed out a mistake, correctly, and to commend him for his waterfowling knowledge. Then say how you will strive to become a better duck hunter, and thus, a better writer. Your response just makes you seem petty.

Bill R

Nick Wansha


You are a classless outdoor writer. Did you even bother to respond to the e-mail that I sent to Outdoor Life? No, you just slam my e-mail, name, city and state on a public blog. As a professional, you should have realized that you made a serious error, corrected it and improved your writing. Instead, you take your blog to bash me and my grammar.

Jim Zumbo had a real nice article on his blog the other day about "assault rifles" the other day. Perhaps you need to learn from his mistakes too before you go spouting your crap on the Internet.

Now you and your editor know why my subscription to Outdoor Life magazine has lapsed.


damn, outdoor life where do you find these douche bags, first Jim and now this tool....looks like you guys need to clean house and start over

Dave D

I really expect better from a pro.

"Growing up doing the occasional mill pond duck hunt along the sucky Atlantic flyway"

Obviously you never hunted the Atlantic Flyway, or at least not for waterfowl to make such a ridiculous statement.

No man who has ever seen......

* 10k snows circling a field and dropping in.
* 20 Canada's w/feet down over the dekes
and another 100 over head dying to get in.
* The cold crisp air on a January morning
in a corn field watching a flight of mallards coming into geese decoys.
* Brodies laying into a spread on
Barnegat Bay.
* 20 woodies @ first light flying into flooded timber on opening day / with
2 buddies you've started every season with
for 15 yrs.

...would say the Atlantic Flyway sucked!!!

Something sucked but it wasn't the Flyway.


Gary Albertson

I can't believe you are bashing a paying reader for simply correcting something in one of your articles. I read many outdoor based magazines, and have found several editors notes thanking a reader for correcting something they wrote. Not once have I come across a public calling out and bashing of a paying customer/reader for correcting facts.

This is just about as unprofessional as it gets!

After the past few days, I am to the point I do not think I will be picking up another Outdoor Life magazine to read. No company that is willing to stand behind writers who do not have the utmost respect for their readers deserve another penny of mine.


You boys only hire fools these days?


Wait... I get it!!!

You make up a bunch of stuff in an article and then bash one of your readers for calling your bluff.



Wow, how professional of you to post a persons personal information on the net after he simply corrected your incorrect information. Maybe to you it was a little mistake, but YOU'RE the "professional" (and I put that in quotes for a reason) and should know what you're talking about. You sounded like a fool in your article and proved you were a fool in this blog. And, by stating "I guess it's like your refusal to use proper articles and prepositions in conjunction with some nouns (and one missed helping verb, too)." just makes you look like a bigger jerk. This guy might not be a "professional" write like yourself, but he obviously knows ducks. If you didn't like what he had to say or the way he said it this form of addressing it certainly wasn't the way to go about it. I wonder where OL is getting all of these "writers" from?


Clowning a reader for correcting your mistake is one thing, but putting his full name and where he lives is taking it too far.

Not being able to identify birds in the air or in the hand is unacceptable. Limits are so restrictive now in regards to species and sex that if you don't know what it is, don't shoot it. Kind of like hunting 101, right?

Your comments were out of line on this one...


good grief......outdoor life...are trying to run off customers....someone better tell ol Doug....piss off too many people and he will end up like ol Jimbo.....what a bunch of bastards


Doug "doth protest too much, methinks", since we're into throwing around Shakespeare. . .

A blog is a blog, but geez Doug, shouldn't you at least consider WHY you have this blog? Regardless of whether you're a professional duck hunter, you are a professional writer. How about acting like. . . a professional?

come on, fess up, you never really went to Alaska did you?


It's a shame you don't know what you are talking about and you are a "professional". I hunt in the "sucky" atlantic flyway and one hunt we saw about 25k canada's and a few snows.

Taking someone's name and putting it on the web for all to see is taking it way to far. You should have admitted your mistake and thanked him for letting him know. I see it all of the time in my deer hunting mags.

Stick to your turkey hunting if you still have a job after all of this mess. I guess you enjoy putting other people down. Get a life.


Get a real job,


Maybe you should go to work for Martha Stuart.



Your article was questioned because of a impossibility noticed by a careful reader and when it's brought to your attention all you can do is beat him down about grammar. Please tell me sir you have more integrity than that. The reason he and others get upset at stories like yours is when you don't get your facts straight before going to print your misinformation hits the desks and coffee tables of many readers who take your profressional word as gospel. As a reader of outdoor life it appauls me to think that you would trash Nick as you did for pointing out your mistakes, when in fact you should have thanked him for noting the misinformation thus allowing you to make a repeal in your blog. As a writer you should take serious caution to make sure your facts are set before going to print because it is your job to do so. Another thing I found unjust is once given the opportunity to shed light on your errs you chose to take another route and continue with your lack of knowledge regarding waterfowling with comments such as " Growing up doing the occassional mill pond duck hunt along the sucky Atlantic flyway, about all I ever saw were mallards, teal and woodducks."

The "Sucky" Atlantic flyway. I guess you've never hunted sea ducks on Coastal New England or Diver ducks on the Raritan Bay, Barneget Bay, Great Bay, Delaware Bay, or The Chesapeake Bay just to name a few. Never hunted Atlantic Brant in Coastal New Jersey or Maryland. Never seen huge rafts of divers and sea ducks that frequent these bays. Never hunted Canada geese in the fields of Pennsylvania or Maryland (two of the top three Canada Goose harvesting states in this great Country). Never hunted a swan in North Carolina. Never hunted wood ducks in Georgia. Never hunted mottled ducks in Florida. Your right Doug the Atlantic Flyway does suck. Please sir get your facts straight. Not only does the Atlantic Flyway not suck it also boosts an extremely rich history in waterfowling. Places like Tuckerton, NJ and Havre de Grace Maryland are so rich in waterfowling history it's amazing. So before you go digging your hole any deeper why don't you check with your experts and get your facts straight. Next time you should try the high road it's usually safer.


another former reader of Outdoor Life (thanks to you and Zumbo)


I am absolutely appalled by the lack of thought process portrayed by first Zumbo and now you Doug on a public blog. With infighting and such, the two of you this week are doing more for the anti crowd than they could hope to do with paid commercials. If a so-called professional is mis-identifying species even after editing etc.. then he deserves to be called on it.

Grow a pair, accept your mistakes as your own and move on. Don't post up personal info on the person who politely pointed out your mistake. Taking money for a story without researching the details you write is the next best thing to fraud.

OL will never get another subscription dollar from me if you two are the best they can come up with...

No wonder the banner at the bottom of the page represents a 79% off the cover price promotion. Seems the writers can only produce 21% of the facts.

Andy Larson

Real classy Doug calling out a guy that corrected you on a public blog.


Hey guys, thanks for all of the comments. If you read my initial statement, I did accept my mistake and I do appreciate any time a reader—all of you included—call me out on them. I don't know many outdoorsmen who know every single thing about every type of game, me included. Like I said, I'm not a huge waterfowler and only shoot those ducks that I can readily identify or preferably, hunt with more experienced waterfowlers who can help me become better. I believe I wrote that in the first post.

Most of my time growing up has been spent hunting deer, turkey and small game, so I know more about those pursuits. But even there, I'm still learning. That's part of the enjoyment.

As for the tone of my response to Nick, I was just having a little fun. In fact, the tone of my response matched the tone of his letter if you really read it. Nick sent the letter to our Letters to the Editor email where if used in the magazine, run with the submitters name and hometown. It's always been done that way and in any magazine.

I merely did the same thing here since the letter didn't make the mag, but I did want to give Nick his due while poking a little fun at myself for the blunder. In fact, the intent of the entire post was meant to call out my own screw up, while having a little fun with Nick. Most of the people who read it at the time took it in that vein. As for my tone, I simply responded to Nick in the tone in which he wrote me in. Correct me if I'm wrong on that one.

I typed his letter word for word and no where did it say, "Hey Doug, I just wanted to let you know that you made a mistake in your recent article..." Let's practice what we preach guys, and I'll do the same.

Hope the duck hunting was good for all of you this year. And seriously, thanks for all of your comments, especially Nick, who was the only one to point out my misidentification out of more than a million readers. BTW, Nick, if I ever make it up to Rochester, I'd love to take Jeff's advice and do a waterfowl identification course with you. We both know I could use it!!