Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Reason For Duck Junkies

When I was 14 years old, my Dad introduced me to the great sport of duck hunting. We had a cabin in NW Wisconsin, not too far from where he spent his weekends during his childhood years. It was not in or around any major flyway, but there were some ducks around. Our decoy spread consisted of 8 mallards, 6 bluebills and 12 goose decoys. I had a 20 Mossberg pump, he a 12 gauge. We had a 10 foot boat, that we were able to get on a trade, and a roll of camo netting. It may not seem like much, but I know how hard my dad worked to give me the opportunity, the same opportunity his dad gave him many years earlier, to experience the great sport of duck hunting.
The second day of the season, was a day I can still picture in my minds eye. It is so memorable that I can still smell that early fall morning. I can remember the way the sun rose and kissed my face, and how still the water was still on the lake. But my first duck I remember the most. A drake wood duck darted across the decoys and with a few quacks on a mallard call he turned around for a second pass. I stood up and on the third shot he fell. I was so excited I couldn't believe it. My dad rowed us out to pick him up, my heart racing the whole way. When I picked him up out of the water and saw his beautiful full colors, I became a Junkie.
Ever since that day there was almost nothing that could keep me out of the blind. When the season was good I would write notes for myself to get out of school, just to get an extra hunt in on the weekend. And as the years progressed and the internet grew, I found myself looking for places to learn more about bird locations, bird movements and techniques that would make me a better hunter. The problem I would always run into is that everyone made all kinds of great promises about their site, only to fall short. Many sites bragged about all the connections you would make in your area, but there was no one to be found. Other sites claimed to have experienced hunters on staff that would help you become a better hunter, but when you asked a "stupid question" you would be ridiculed. No matter how much you put in, you always felt left out. All things that made me frustrated, especially when some sites you had to buy a membership.
After years of my wife listening to my complaints, she finally asked me why I don't start my own site. I had great hesitation when I thought about it, and I am not quite sure what it was that finally made me do it, But I knew that there were others out there like me, asking the same questions.
Last September I started Duck Junkies with this blog page. After a few weeks I had enough money put together to start a web site, and in the 3rd week of October in 2009, Duck Junkies started. The focus was to create a place, a community, where hunters could go to connect with other hunters, give and share advice, and feel like they were part of more than a "site". A web site that was built around the members, by the members. This is why in January we introduce the "Junkie Of The Month". It was my way of showing appreciation to the members for being involved. In this month we also started to do monthly contests, as a way for the members to get involved and have fun, but also reward them for their efforts. In recent months we started to offer special discounts in the forum and to new members that fill out the online membership form, as a way to say thank you.
Another big part for me, was the ability to give back. I formed a partnership with Hunters Helping Soldiers and Hunters With Disabilities, to give someone else an opportunity that they may not otherwise have, to get out and enjoy the great sport we all love. We also made the commitment to donate not only to these charities, but to conservation as well. We have been able to donate to many conservation chapters, and look forward to doing so in the future.
Having a great prostaff team in place is also an important part. We hand pick each prostaff members with different talents, abilities, and experience to better serve our members needs and questions. I am very fortunate to have not only a great team, but a great group of members. With out YOU, there would be no Duck Junkies. This is something I remind myself of everyday, and can promise you, I will never forget. We have come a long ways in 7 months, and I smile to think what the future hold for us here at Duck Junkies.

I am Ryan, and I am a Duck Junkie!

No comments: