Thousands of people in Oklahoma look forward to duck hunting each year.
To a family, it means much more than just enjoying the outdoors and the challenge of calling the ducks. Every fall, alarm clocks go off, duck hunters charge into the dark with decoys and a dog on board. They head for land, become one with nature, and wait for the waterfowl.
“It’s a family thing. I learned it from my dad. He actually took me rabbit and squirrel hunting when I was probably old enough to walk alongside him,” Chris Kaiser said.
Kaiser said he has documented every hunt since the early 1980s. His first hunts were with his father and his football teammates. Now, he wakes up early with four children of his own.
“The things we see outside are amazing and we love doing it together. My kids love seeing that and it’s not just about the hunt. It’s not just about the hunt. It’s not just about the harvest, it’s about the outside time doing that. together and just seeing what God has created and how all of that plays a role,” Kaiser said.
Kaiser said that hunting in Oklahoma is like finding gold.
“You can go to western Oklahoma. You can hunt dry fields. You can hunt watersheds and ponds and you can come here and hunt river systems, swamps, flooded trees, if there are any,” Kaiser said. “You can be in a blind, you can be in some trees, you can be in some bushes, you can be in water, you can be on the edge of a pond.”
He said duck hunting is also great for the economy.
“If you look at how duck hunting is funded, it’s funded outdoors, it’s funded by the guys who are hunting. The taxes that we pay to create the habitat to conserve the birds. To provide a habitat for them to live their entire life cycle Kaiser said.
James Morel with him Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation He said each season is unique, depending on current water levels and weather patterns. He said that success is driven by exploration.
“Go out and find out what the ducks are doing. Find out where they lounge, where they roost, where they feed. Get an idea of how they follow their patterns. What fields are they using in the afternoons, what fields are they using in the mornings,” Morel said. .
The Kaisers have an empty nest now, but when their kids come home for the holidays, duck will be duck on the menu.
“We dry it. We turn it into summer sausage. There are all kinds of other recipes that we use. Shish skewers. We smoke it for an hour or two. We wrap it in bacon. It’s phenomenal,” Kaiser said. “My guys, my kids love it. So my guys, as soon as I can get it off the grill, they’re eating it.”
Kaiser said this season has a lot to be thankful for.