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This was no ordinary duck hunt

Article and photos by Susan Hergesell
01/24/14 -- Last weekend the Becoming an Outdoors-Woman, California organization sponsored a waterfowl hunt in conjunction with the Wilderness Unlimited Foundation. Seventeen women and one young man converged on the Wilderness Unlimited Duck Club in Williams to learn all about waterfowl hunting.

Becoming an Outdoor Woman Duck Hunt Sunrise, Susan Hergesell, Wilderness Unlimited Duck Club
There was no wind or rain but what a gorgeous sunrise!

It was a record turnout but we certainly missed the wind and rain. Saturday tuned out to be a “bluebird” day and hit highs of 70+ degrees. It was the first time we handed out sunscreen instead of hand warmers! Although Mother Nature didn’t cooperate, there was plenty of opportunity to experience the beauty of the early morning sights and sounds of the area and several hunters came back with birds. One of the women, Tonya Linares, had her own secret weapon (a big yellow rubber ducky).

Kristen, Becoming an Outdoor Woman, Susan Hergesell, Wilderness Unlimited Duck Hunt
Kristen with her pintail hen.

We all met on Friday afternoon for a little shooting practice. Several of the women had never shot before and were new hunters and were a little nervous about shooting for the first time. Dennis Corvello of Wilderness Unlimited set up a clay thrower so we shot clays before dinner to get them familiar with the guns and the feeling of shooting. Definitely something we want to do at all of the duck hunts. The shooters had a “blast”.

Becoming an Outdoor Woman Duck Hunt, Susan Hergesell, Wilderness Unlimited Duck Club
Our group had a great dinner and learned a lot about waterfowl hunting, too.

Later, we were treated to appetizers of smoked salmon, smoked pheasant, grilled artichokes, and chips and salsa. After a lively social time, dinner was served. The simple lasagna, green salad, garlic bread and a splash of red wine was a hit. After dinner the hunters were paired with their mentors and got fitted for their guns, waders, and boots. This is one of my favorite times of the evening – watching the mentors help the hunters get ready. It’s a bonding time.

The mentors called rise and shine around 4:30 am and the hunters shared a continental breakfast of bagels, cream cheese, muffins and fruit…and of course, coffee. The mentors made sure their charges had everything they needed and off to the blinds they went. Some came back by 11:30 and others stayed until mid-afternoon. Everyone commented about the great experience they had. We are so happy we could introduce these hunters to waterfowl hunting and give them a great experience.

Becoming an Outdoor Woman, Susan Hergesell, Wilderness Unlimited Duck Hunt
Christy with her Baldpate Male Widgeon

On that note I’d like to thank the Wilderness Unlimited Foundation and the WU members who volunteered to mentor the hunters. We were honored to have Cory Craver, Mike Herrman, Joe Pate, Gene Texierra, Dwight Ortman past president of SF Bay Chapter of Safari Club International, Ed Migale-recent inductee into California Outdoor Hall of Fame, Dennis Corvello-Wilderness Unlimited Foundation Board Member, Bridget Maloney-Krips-BOW and WUF Board Member and Rick Copeland-CEO of Wilderness Unlimited treat the women to a very special hunt.

On a side note, Shelby Chamberlain from Arcata stayed over Saturday night to hunt with Mike Herman on Sunday but had car trouble (starter problems and battery charging issues) so she was not able to hunt. She asked Cory Craver and Timmy Smith, both WU members, for help and they took her into Colusa to buy a car part and they even installed it. Cory also gave her a couple of birds he shot and cleaned since she didn’t get to hunt that day. What a nice gesture of sportsmanship. Thanks Cory and Timmy!

For more information about the Becoming an Outdoors-Woman, California organization or about upcoming events, go to or mel at 530-347-0227. Happy Hunting!

Susan Herrgesell is President of (BOW) Becoming an Outdoors-Woman, California

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