Trucks lined up at the Grizzly Island check station, decoys were meticulously positioned, duck calls rang out and shotguns blasted away.
This past Saturday was about as close as you could get to duck season in June as CWA hosted the annual Suisun Marsh Field Day at the Grizzly Island Wildlife Area.
Nearly 500 people attended the event to check out the vendors with the latest and greatest in duck calls, blinds and other hunting accessories. There was good food, good friends and plenty of raffle and auction items to bid on.
The Pacific Flyway Decoy Association was on hand showing off this year’s entrants in the Hunting Heritage Three-Bird Rig competition. Judges, including CWA biologist Brian Huber, narrowed down the field to five sets that will head to the PFDA Wildfowl Art Festival July 20-21 in Sacramento for final judging. This year’s bird was the mallard.
As always, the focus of the Field Day was on the kids. With bounce houses, shotgun and pellet gun ranges, and famous kids’ duck calling contest, there were plenty of activities to keep the young ones entertained. Any kid who got on stage and tried calling was entered into a drawing, with two lucky kids winning lifetime hunting licenses and two more winning shotguns that were graciously donated by Don Springer and Dave Colclough.
This year’s celebration was dedicated to Frank Johnson, who passed away in April after serving as chair for the event since 1987. Instead of a moment of silence, CWA President John Carlson got the kids to give a loud chorus of duck calls up to the sky to honor Johnson and Bill Brush, the late owner of the Greenhead Duck Club in the Suisun Marsh, who died just a day before Johnson.
Though the marsh won’t be the same without Frank or Bill, we know their spirits will live on when we spend time together helping the next generation learn to enjoy and appreciate our wetlands and waterfowl.