DUTV headed west to California just prior to Christmas, joining long-time DU supporter Dennis Campini and his son, Logan, for a great exposure to the Grasslands in the northern San Joaquin Valley. Dennis is the president of the Grassland Resource Conservation District and the Stillbow Duck Club, which has a long history of waterfowl tradition and waterfowl characters. The club was originally formed around the 1900s by Henry Miller Bowles and a Dr. Stills, thus the name “Stillbow.” One of the first families of the American West, the Fleishhackers, owned the club when it was only possible to reach the shooting grounds by train and wagon, and famed actor Clark Gable was a regular visitor.
DUTV host and WAT Board member, J.P. Morris, led the two-day hunt along with DU biologist Dr. Fritz Reid. The morning started with heavy fog and shifted into rain as the group shot out of a stand-up blind with a rich mix of species roaring through from three different sloughs. Green-winged Teal and American wigeon made up most of the targets for the day in Stillbow’s very shallow, moist-soil habitat, which is dominated by swamp timothy and bulrush. After a fun morning, shooters and crew gathered for lunch and chatted about the challenges of drought, alternative uses of water, and urban expansion into the afternoon.
Keep an eye out for Stillbow’s spotlight on future episodes of DUTV.