GUEST BLOG: David Drewry, Sea Duck Hunting the Pacific Northwest
Captain David Drewry is on the water more than he is land. As the owner and operator of Peninsula Sportsman, David shares his love for waterfowl hunting in the Northwest with others for a living.
Waterfowl hunting is a passion that only those that are drawn to it will truly understand. What often comes to mind is a secluded lake or pond chock full of mallards, a dairy field flooded with teal, wigeon and pintail or a vast prairie wheatfield deafening loud with thousands of geese. When my crew thinks of waterfowl hunting, something a bit different comes to mind. For the past couple decades, we have arrived at boat launches pre-dawn and headed offshore into the vast saltwater Bays and Straits of the Northern Puget Sound. Our rides are tough seaworthy boats loaded to the hilt with hand carved custom decoys and gear including lengths of leadcore rope longlines and stainless snaps that are typically reserved for commercial fishing gear. Various species of sea ducks is what we’re after – there’s over a dozen of them that confine themselves strictly to the saltwater this time of year, unique and tough is what these sea ducks are all about. From the elegant beauty of the harlequin ducks, strikingly handsome oldsquaw to the solid bruisers known as scoters these ducks are used to being pounded by the rough elements and surf of the North Pacific, conditions to which a mallard would perish at the thought. Migrating into our waters from Northern Canada, Coastal Alaska and the Arctic Circle these species come to spend the winter in the Pacific Northwest and much like the market hunters of days past we are driven to seek them when they do. This isn’t a game for the faint of heart as the Salish Sea is fickle this time of year and can change from calm to deadly in the blink of an eye. Filson gear is built much the same as these tough birds and seems to be the only thing that holds up as well as my pump shotgun. Drenching rain and 30 knot winds won’t deter the wool Outfitter Sweater and my insulated Shelter Cloth hat is the standard gear I reach for each morning as both keep me snug in the worst of it. This isn’t an environment for that rookie nylon hiking gear with the fancy camo pattern of the month. Our gear needs to be waterproof, warm and tough. Wool, well-oiled shelter cloth with brass zippers that don’t rust. That’s what we need and Filson delivers. Then we can focus on keeping warm, comfortable, alive and seeking those incredible ducks !