Duck Hunting photo

What is the effect of Duck Dynasty’s runaway popularity on hunting? On a few of the waterfowl boards I lurk, people are quick to point a finger at all the new DD-inspired hunters who have just now taken up the sport. They are the ones to blame for skyblasting, bad calling, poor manners in the marsh, and long lines at the boat ramp. Me, I wonder if that’s true. It’s not as if those aggravations didn’t exist before the show went on the air in 2012. There has been a slight uptick in duck stamp sales lately, I’m told, but I’m not sure how much credit Duck Dynasty can take.

I also read that Duck Dynasty is bad for our image because it makes people think all duck hunters are rednecks. I don’t think so. Since I don’t have a real job I’ve been mistaken for a lot of things–“college professor” is the most common–but no one looks at me and thinks “redneck.” Besides which, from what very little I have seen of the show (our cable is so basic we call it “Amish cable” and we don’t get A&E) it’s obvious that while the Robertsons are being themselves, they’re also playing a part, and the show is as much sitcom as it is reality, and the family is in on the joke.

I think the popularity of Duck Dynasty helps improve our image a little bit, or at least, it gives non-hunters a better understanding of what we do and why. It gives them a way to relate to us.

Take this conversation I had with my mechanic last week. When the door latch on my Jeep broke the other day I dropped it at the shop and Dave gave me a ride home. Dave doesn’t hunt at all but he knows I do. He asked me how my season was going.

I said dove hunting had been very good. Since dove hunting is new to Iowa, when you mention it to non-hunters, a lot of the time you have to field questions like “Do you eat those?” or, “What do you want to shoot those little things for? There’s no meat on them.” What I didn’t count on was that Dave has become a Duck Dynasty fan.

Dave said: “Doves? Those are hard to hit. They talked about it on Duck Dynasty. Do you watch that?”

“Uh, no. I’ve seen part of it once. I know who the Robertsons are.”

“Well, Jase, that’s Willie’s brother, you know, Willie is the one that runs the company, anyway, Jase says doves are the filet mignon of the sky.”

I said Jase was right, they are good eating, then we talked for a while about how I cook doves. We wouldn’t have had that talk if it weren’t for Duck Dynasty, so based on that, I’m saying the show is a net positive for hunting’s image.