Back in August, one of Manhattan’s swankiest and most celebrity-friendly hotels (Trump International) mistook one of America’s biggest celebrities (Duck Dynasty’s Jase Robertson) for a wino and shooed him from their lobby.
The following day, in a story on the huge popularity of TV show Duck Dynasty, one of Manhattan’s most media-obsessed publications (The New York Post) wrote that a product (Duck Commander duck calls) featured on America’s most-watched TV cable show consists of a “whistle” used by duck hunters to “roust the feathered birds out of their hiding places.”
“Their hiding places.” Got that? But, a duck that’s flying is not exactly hiding, New York Post. The duck hunter is the one who’s hiding, usually in a blind or in brush or against a tree with decoys in front of him. This hunter blows a duck call (more a kazoo than a whistle, actually) not to “roust” a duck that’s hiding, but to beckon a duck that’s flying, out of the sky and into range of his shotgun.
Webster’s defines “roust” as: “to cause to get up or start moving.” In fact, the purpose of a duck call is to entice a moving (flying) duck to land in your decoys–in other words, to stop moving. So the New York Post TV specialist had it exactly a**-backwards.
Granted, the duck is not (usually) shot after he lands. Ideally he’s blasted while hovering over the decoys contemplating whether landing is wise.
What we have here, amigos, is some serious failure to communicate. The disconnect between Manhattan and the heartland has rarely been showcased as dramatically, or as hilariously. Jase Robertson, after all, laughed the wino incident off with no hard feelings whatsoever.
And for duck hunters, the image of us bumbling around “whistling” into bushes in hopes of “rousting” out hiding ducks is not without an element of humor.
But even with the best calls, duck hunting usually consists of maybe 99 percent bird –watching, the rest shooting. Sometimes the watching gets old. One way to keep alert (if not exactly vigilant at the decoys) is texting, as my son and favorite hunting chum Robbie can attest. But some duck-blinds are quite warm and comfy, allowing a hunter who’s been up since 3 AM and left his iPhone in the truck …. to…briefly…doze..and…even dream:
“This is Bill Mathews reporting from Thibodaux, Louisiana. President Obama declared a state of emergency in the Bayou State where PETA was staging a demonstration on opening day of the duck season in the state notorious for having the most and most fanatical duck hunters in the nation. PETA’s activists followed some of these hunters into the local wetlands and employed bullhorns to broadcast the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi.
“This serves to enlighten the hunters in the ways of vegetarianism and non-violence,” explained PETA spokesperson Paul McCartney, “and to frighten off, and thus save, the hapless and otherwise deluded ducks.”
With his right eye swollen shut and 21 stitches in his mouth, the ex-Beatle’s appearance horrified his fans in the press.
“These blokes certainly take hunting seriously,” Paul sputtered painfully into a spittle-flecked microphone held by a snuffling Joy Behar. “Nothing like this happened in Maryland or California. Remember, friends, All You Need Is Love!”
“We came in the spirit of Gandhi!” blubbered PETA board member Bill Maher, who nursed a grapefruit-sized ear and several facial welts. “And were met by that of George Patton!” Mr. Maher then collapsed in sobs into the arms of his friend Alec Baldwin, who tottered at his side on crutches.
“Get up – UP!” Ellen DeGeneres and chum Rachel Maddow yelled while yanking Maher up by the collar and seizing Alec roughly by the shoulders. “You’re lucky we ran those yahoos off! They’d a killed ya–ya wussies!”
“Meanwhile, at a local tavern, PETA activists Joaquin Phoenix and Woody Harrelson attempted to disrupt a cockfight (this barbarity remains legal in this peculiar state of Louisiana) by stepping into the ring itself.”The roosters immediately pounced on us!” stammered a still shaken Woody. “And I don’t even eat chicken! And their owners incited them with bloodcurdling whoops and cheers!”
“Joaquin and Woody’s flailing arms and wild screams were scant protection against the birds’ sharp spurs and vicious beaks. Observers report that rather than attempting to help the frantic and terrified victims, the few beer-crazed spectators who hadn’t collapsed in hysterics quickly set several more roosters on the hapless celebrities, whose screams “sounded like Lady Gaga sitting on a sea urchin,” according to one howling and badly convulsed bar patron….”
I awoke to the trumpeting blast (not whistle) of Robbie’s Duck call. “Here they come, Dad!” He whispered while elbowing me. Indeed! A trio of mallards, wings cupped…starting to hover—NOW!