James MacDonald | Mossy Oak ProStaff
I don’t just introduce youth to the outdoors. I took a 45-year-old fellow on his first duck hunt in December, 2017. He was a computer enthusiast and had never duck hunted a day in his life.
He had just started bowhunting two years earlier but hadn’t been successful at all. He went on a guided hunt with me and brought a buddy of his with him. They both harvested a limit of ducks. He was so excited about the ducks he’d taken and couldn’t wait to get those cleaned birds back to his house. He told me about all the different recipes he planned to try with the ducks he had taken. Finally, he had been successful as a hunter, although he hadn’t been successful as a bowhunter.
I guide for Columbia River Decoys Guide Service. This is my fifth year of guiding and calling for this group. About 10 years ago, I decided that harvesting ducks wasn’t all that duck hunting was about, and I finally realized that taking hunters who had never duck hunted before or very little provided me an opportunity to share my love of the sport.
Being able to watch these hunters get excited and take ducks was more fun for me than taking a limit for myself. The guide service gets many first-time duck hunters, as well as hunters who have only been marginally successful. We also get hunters who have hunted ducks often. I enjoy spending time with them, sharing the resource and explaining why duck hunting is more than just about shooting ducks.
I also volunteer as the treasurer for the largest Ducks Unlimited club in the State of Oregon. I’m the president of our retriever club and the Oregon Waterfowl Festival Association, too. After my term is over, I’ll still be on the board of the festival. I enjoy working with a group of people to reach goals that are greater than any of my personal goals. The Oregon Waterfowl Festival promotes and funds many youth activities. All the blinds we use for youth waterfowl hunts have been purchased by this organization and DU.
If outdoors men and women don’t support conservation organizations, then we won’t have ducks to hunt. For me, conservation and hunting go hand in hand. Hunting for all wild species is very dependent on the conservation organizations that help protect and acquire habitat, fund lobbyists to make sure the rights of hunters and wildlife are protected and develop programs for future generations of hunters. I guess you can say that we’re all in this program together for the betterment of everyone. Mossy Oak plays a major role in hunting, conservation and encouragement of youth participating in the outdoors.
James MacDonald of Cornelius, Oregon, has been a Mossy Oak ProStaffer for almost 10 years. He was recently named 2017 Mossy Oak ProStaffer of the Year for his philanthropy work and volunteerism. MacDonald enjoys hunting waterfowl, teaching others to hunt and training retrievers.