A Hundred Years of Texas Waterfowl Hunting
The Decoys, Guides, Clubs, and Places, 1870s to 1970s
Texas History - Sports - Natural History
8.5 x 11, 288 pp.
26 color, 175 b&w photos. 13 maps. 32 figures. Index.
Pub Date: 07/13/2012
Gulf Coast Books, sponsored by Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
  cloth
Price:        $35.00

978-1-60344-763-8
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A Hundred Years of Texas Waterfowl Hunting

The Decoys, Guides, Clubs, and Places, 1870s to 1970s

R. K. Sawyer

Foreword by Matt Kaminski

The days are gone when seemingly limitless numbers of canvasbacks, mallards, and Canada geese filled the skies above the Texas coast. Gone too are the days when, in a single morning, hunters often harvested ducks, shorebirds, and other waterfowl by the hundreds. The hundred-year period from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries brought momentous changes in attitudes and game laws: changes initially prompted by sportsmen who witnessed the disappearance of both the birds and their spectacular habitat. These changes forever affected the state’s storied hunting culture. Yet, as R. K. Sawyer discovered, the rich lore and reminiscences of the era’s hunters and guides who plied the marshy haunts from Beaumont to Brownsville, though fading, remain a colorful and essential part of the Texas outdoor heritage.

Gleaned from interviews with sportsmen and guides of decades past as well as meticulous research in news archives, Sawyer’s vivid documentation of Texas’ deep-rooted waterfowl hunting tradition is accompanied by a superb collection of historical and modern photographs. He showcases the hunting clubs, the decoys, the duck and goose calls, the equipment, and the unique hunting practices of the period. By preserving this account of a way of life and a coastal environment that have both mostly vanished, A Hundred Years of Texas Waterfowl Hunting also pays tribute to the efforts of all those who fought to ensure that Texas’ waterfowl legacy would endure. This book will aid their efforts, along with those of coastal residents, birders, wildlife biologists, conservationists, and all who are interested in the state’s natural history and in championing the preservation of waterfowl and wetland resources for the benefit of future generations.

For more information, visit the author's website at www.robertksawyer.com

R. K. (ROB) SAWYER, a petroleum geologist in Houston, is also on the staff of the Thunderbird Hunting Club in Matagorda County.

What Readers Are Saying:

“I would recommend this book to waterfowlers anywhere, and would tell anyone who has ever hunted or wanted to hunt Texas waterfowl that it is required reading. . . I could not help but want more. . . There is a hard core of waterfowling enthusiasts that will absolutely consume this book. . . The more avid the Texas waterfowl hunter, the more they will want this book. . .This book is a treasure trove of highly abstracted information and reference to source material.”--Rudolph Rosen, former director of Fisheries and Wildlife, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and former director, western regional office, Ducks Unlimited
 


"Having witnessed about a third of those hundred years firsthand, I'm thrilled that R.K. found so many of the men who pioneered waterfowling in Texas and told their colorful stories. Waterfowl hunters are as interesting and unique as the birds they pursue. A Hundred Years of Texas Waterfowl Hunting exposes Texas's duck and goose hunters for the characters they were (and are), and it provides an amazingly detailed look into the sport's remarkable history."--Doug Pike, outdoor writer and radio host


". . . very enjoyable read . . . an excellent reference source for additional research . . . most comprehensive, geographically and biographically, that I am aware of . . . a real contribution to the field . . . landmark work."--Michael E. Berger, former director, Wildlife Division, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department


"A Hundred Years of Texas Waterfowl Hunting brings back so many wonderful memories from the short era that I have lived during this book. The people and the stories are legendary in the Texas waterfowling community and Rob Sawyer does an outstanding job bringing this history to life! Rob paints a picture of the evolution of waterfowling in the Lone Star State that allows the reader to envision themselves living in each era. As Senior Regional Director for Ducks Unlimited in Southeast Texas, I live and breathe waterfowl and I would recommend this book to everyone that steps outdoors."--Tim Soderquist, Southeast Texas Ducks Unlimited Senior Regional Director


“If you are a fan of waterfowl hunting in Texas, this book needs to be on your coffee table at home or in the office. The photographs are what really set this book apart. Sawyer gives great first-hand accounts of great stories from the people who were there. I recommend this book as an addition to any serious waterfowler or history buff that wants to see what the past really looked like. It is worth the cost with all of the photos and work that went into comprising the book.”—Conor Harrison, Lone-Star Outdoor News

“If you love old history about our native lands, their stewards and our hunting heritage, the book is an entertaining read.”—Russell Smith, San Angelo Standard-Times

“. . . thorough and highly interesting 100-year history of waterfowl hunting in Texas.  The easy-to-read text is greatly enhanced by scores of vintage b&w photos that bring back to life an era forever gone.  Wonderful and detailed coverage is given to the decoys used by hunters, the hunters themselves, the guides, the hunt clubs, and the places. . . . A bonus for the reader is an 8-page section of color photos of decoys and duck calls. . . . excellent book. . . .” --Hunting and Fishing Collectibles Magazine

“. . . remarkable piece of work—a 400-page volume covering the history of waterfowl hunting in Texas and illustrated with more than 200 photographs. . . . the personal stories of more than 150 people Sawyer interviewed over the five years he spent researching the subject . . . make the book a priceless treasure for any Texan who has ever watched dawn break over a wetland and wondered what kind of waterfowl wonderland this state must have been.”—Shannon Tompkins, Houston Chronicle

“Ducks, hundreds of them, wings locked and feet extended, became silhouetted by the [Aransas Pass High School] stadium lights.  Play stopped as they stumbled onto the playing field drenched and disoriented.  This may be the only football game in history canceled because of pintails and redheads. . . . Thanks to Rob Sawyer, the most meticulous and enthusiastic researcher I’ve known, this and many other amusing, touching and surprising anecdotes are recorded in his book.”—David Sikes, Corpus Christi Caller Times

“This new hardcover, 402-page book published by Texas A&M University Press offers readers a thorough and highly interesting 100-year history of waterfowl hunting in Texas. The easy-to-read text is greatly enhanced by scores of vintage B&W photos that bring back to life an era forever gone. Wonderful and detailed coverage is given to the decoys used by hunters, the hunters themselves, the guides, the hunt clubs, and the places where the hunting was done – all of these things are presented to the reader through interesting and compelling text and illustrative old-time photos. A bonus for the reader is an 8-page section of color photos of decoys and duck calls.”—SVE, Hunting & Fishing Collectibles Magazine

"The discussion is broad and deep, ranging from changing habitats and regulations to duck clubs and gear. The well-written text is complemented by an intriguing collection of photographs."--Ducks Unlimited

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