The end of this year’s spring snow goose season also marks the end of Ralph Kohler’s career as a Missouri River waterfowl guide. At 96, the Tekamah, Neb., guide is a living legend among Midwestern waterfowlers. Kohler began guiding hunters near Omaha when he was 16 years old, often hunting every day of Nebraska’s duck and goose seasons. He is retiring to move to California to be closer to his family.
Kohler spent more than 45,000 hours in a blind and kept records of every hunt he made over the years. He is credited with making the first full-body goose decoy, the now-collectible K and W, which he made out of paper mache in his garage. Kohler and Dorothy, his wife of 79 years, were the only husband and wife to earn All American honors in trapshooting. They also competed successfully in ballroom dance competition throughout the country.
Kohler’s decoys, including 20 signed K and W geese, will be auctioned in Tekamah on April 6. Kohler will not be attending the auction, omaho.com reports.
“I couldn’t stand to see it go,” he said.