Dokken: New book chronicles a lifetime of waterfowl hunting experiences – Grand Forks Herald

Brad Docken

Brad Docken

“The wind blew from the northwest at a speed of 40 m/s. It is snowing heavily. The scales are horizontal. End of October. The North Dakota prairies may freeze. It’s the kind of weather that I love to go DIY hunting while sitting in a DIY duck boat. A reliable black lab for a partner.”

– Harold F. Dubbert, writes in the foreword to “My Life Among the Waterfowlers,” a memoir about his duck hunting experiences in North Dakota.

In Prairie Pothole Region Waterfowl Management, Harold F. One could say Dubbert was a pioneer. As a hunter, he specialized in old-school waterfowl hunting in its purest form without the high-tech trapping available to modern hunters.

A native of Missouri, Dubbert moved to North Dakota in the late 1950s and settled in Devils Lake, J.C. Clark worked as a field biologist near Bottineau at Salyer National Wildlife Refuge and spent the last 21 years of his career at the North Prairie Wildlife Research Center. Jamestown.

North Dakota was a paradise for Dubbert, and he spent hundreds of hours in prairie swamps and duck meadows, sometimes with friends, sometimes without.

“I confess, I like to hunt alone,” he once wrote.

Dubbert kept a journal of his hunting experiences — a total of 650 trips from 1954 to 2002 — noting waterfowl excursions in North Dakota, Oregon and Saskatchewan. He was compiling excerpts from many of those stories into a book and had just completed the manuscript when he died in January 2022 at the age of 92.

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With the support of friends and family, My Life among Waterfowl was published in November.

The book’s executive editor, Gary Pearson Dubbert, “did an incredible amount of work collecting photos and journal entries to include in the book after Dubbert’s death,” said his daughter, Julie Nelson Wanzek of Jamestown, who sent me a copy of the book.

“She lived with me in Jamestown for about six weeks before she died, and Gary Pearson and she were able to consult several times,” Nelson Wanzek said in an email.

A coffee table-style book, over 240 pages in all, a collection of Dubbert’s 56 years of waterfowling adventures and photographs. The glossy book is a must for anyone who appreciates North Dakota’s rich waterfowl hunting tradition.

“My Life Among Waterfowl” is a follow-up to Dubbert’s 2003 book, “Wildfowl in the Dakotas: 1873-1903,” which recounts the glory days of waterfowl hunting in the late 19th century, when “the fall skis were filled with waterfowl and hunters drove by railroad cars was able to reach remote areas such as the northern steppes”.


Harold Dubbert shot with a pair of white-fronted geese, also known as blue bellies, during a hunting trip in Saskatchewan in September 2004.

Contributed by/Ross Hier

Dubbert’s love of waterfowl hunting dates back to his childhood growing up in Missouri and hunting ducks on the Missouri River bottom. A trusty vintage 1913 LC Smith with a side-by-side 12-gauge shotgun and old-school brown khaki hunting gear – he donated a Gore-Tex camo hunting jacket he once bought at Cabela’s because it didn’t match the vintage color. Swamp – Dubbert was a traditionalist, friends say.

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“Harold did not adapt well to the changes in new hunting gear, including very light, lifelike decoys and especially battery-operated ‘robo’ ducks,” writes Jerry Seery, a retired US Fish and Wildlife Service biologist and a Dubbert contemporary, in his in the preface. to the book. “Harold didn’t care that his equipment was out of date; he perfected his style and he lived with his nostalgia.”

The “My Life Among Waterfowl” pages include chapters titled “Missouri 1940-1957,” “North Dakota 1955-1964,” “Oregon 1964-1966,” “North Dakota 1967-2009,” and “Bowerman 1919-1919.” 2005″, “Saskatchewan 2001-2008”, “Sanding Crane Hunting 1968-2008”, “Waterfowl”, and “Summaries of Selected Professional Publications”.

“Beginning in 1954, I kept a diary of every hunt for ducks, geese and sandhill cranes,” Dubbert writes in the book’s introduction. “These diaries formed the basis for much of this book. Every hunt was a special experience for me and I thought it was too important to remember. …

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“I hope to write in a way that provides interesting reading for other hunters who like to learn about my hunts.”

I’ve only had a chance to skim through the book so far, but the stories within the pages of My Life Among the Waterfowl are, as you’d expect, written in the first person and make you feel like you’re there. Right there with Dubbert in the blinds. The stories can be said to be as refreshing as the prairie wind that is the backdrop for many of them.

The book also includes more than 150 photographs of Dubbert’s hunting trips, along with pictures of his homemade decoys and duck boats.

My Life Among Waterfowl is the story of a life well lived both as a professional waterfowl biologist and as a waterfowl hunter and conservationist. What a value and privilege this Dubbert memoir is to those who delve into its pages, allowing them to mark and share memorable field moments together.

“My Life Among Waterfowl” is published by Windfeather Press in Bismarck and retails for $49.95. More information on ordering the book online or by check is available at


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