Tracking quackers

Josh Grigg

Photo By Tom Angel

Josh Grigg has been hunting ducks in the Butte Sink since he was a little boy. A couple of months ago, with the season still on the horizon, an idea crept into his duck-starved head. Grigg, 25, has taken a leave of absence from his job as a Fish and Wildlife Service biologist (a fisheries biologist—go figure) to create, an online community in which for $10.95 a month hunters can track their takes. There are chat rooms, photo galleries, weather reports and elaborate charts that let hunters, blinds and clubs nationwide see how many ducks were shot in their area according to wind condition, species and other conditions. They can even track how well their dogs are doing. Last weekend, as the season opened on public lands, the Chico State graduate went to the refuges to distribute 5,000 fliers promoting Ducklog.

How’s the response been so far?

The ads just came out last week, in California Waterfowl and [this week in] Ducks Unlimited, which will go out to 700,000 people. I’ve got about 50 members so far, and they’ve come in “clusters": Arkansas, Illinois, Texas and Red Bluff, of all places. It’s the first online waterfowl log.

Why keep track? Is it an ego thing?

We’ve always had a log book in the blinds. We’re kind of neurotic about that. You can see how different areas shot in different weather conditions. But [] is more about building a community with friends.

Are you good?

It’s been really hit-and-miss for the last few years. It’s nature, they’re wild birds, there’s no telling what they’re going to do. Last season, I probably shot 100, [more than usual], but I don’t know for sure because the very last weekend of the season a rat ate the corner off the log book that had all the counts.

And you’ve got to have a hunting dog.

Yes, her name is Coogie. She’s a yellow lab and named after a place in Australia, like all our family dogs. She knows when I cruise up at 4:30 or 5:30 in the morning that it’s hunting time.

Any good duck recipes?

I usually have half of them made up into sausage, and we jerky some of them.