Billy Campbell is a well-respected waterfowl hunter who is known for his dedication to hunting public lands. Campbell is as avid a duck hunter as it gets, and he and Dennis Loosier are the team that make up Dr Duck. Campbell recently sat down to interview with Fowl Hound:
Why do you love to hunt where you do?
The thrill of the chase is obviously a big draw for hunters of any game but I would be confident in suggesting that what keeps anyone in the outdoors is the simple fact of being outside. Slowing down, spending time in God’s great creation, clearing what few brain cells I have left, provides an experience that helps us improve in many aspects of life. We talk about “enjoying the Journey” pretty often on the Dr Duck Podcast and that would certainly include not only where you are but also who you are sharing that time with.
We are almost exclusively public land hunters. Watching videos throughout the years on waterfowl, everyone killing ducks on private lands that our families didn’t have access to, we were challenged to be “as successful” on public. On public, you aren’t only competing against the ducks but other passionate water fowlers and the opportunity to meet these folks, hunt together, share experiences is another big part of why we love hunting where we do. Now having the opportunity to share those experiences with our friends at Realtree is absolutely a blessing.
What is your favorite aspect about duck hunting?
For me it’s calling. Tricking a live animal in to thinking it needs to come see you. I’m not a great caller by any standard but knowing when to blow is much more important than how. Many newcomers to the sport over think it and get worried about “how” to blow. That will come with experience and listening to birds, knowing “when” to blow is much more important when wanting to pull birds in to a spread. I mean honestly, if you did the proper homework scouting and you are on the X, the birds should be coming in regardless. With all that said, hearing a mallard hen holler back at me when I hit a lick is no doubt my favorite part of the game.
What is the most memorable trip you’ve had and why?
We talked about this on the Dr Duck podcast as being probably one of the most difficult questions to answer as each hunt gives you such a different, unique situation. I can certainly share one of those many memories with you. We were in Arkansas and driving in the night to get to a popular WMA. A pretty significant snowstorm, for us southerners at least, had blown through; the roads were becoming slick and hard to see. We came across someone that had slid in to a ditch and while the reality was it would put us behind, we knew we needed to stop and help out. We unhooked the boat, were able to get them out and back moving, hooked back up and got back on the road. Unfortunately, the short delay accompanied with the slow drive in poor conditions proved to be more than we head accounted for when heading out and were right at shooting time when we finally arrived at the ramp. Not expecting weather, we had neglected to cover the boat engine the night before and accumulated a significant amount of ice on everything from the tiller handle back and couldn’t get the boat cranked. The game warden was hanging at the ramp with us while we listened to a WMA filled with early morning shots ringing out at what seemed to be the numbers we had envisioned on seeing during this beautiful sun rise, unfortunately while we were sitting at the ramp. I’m still fighting the fact that we aren’t in the hole and trying to thaw the engine when Dennis points out to the game warden a group of mallards landing in the trees just a couple hundred yards from the ramp and says “ watch this, boom” but no shots. Not a minute or two later Dennis grabs me too and says “hey, watch!” as another group angel wings in to the nearby trees. After telling Denis to shut up and help he says you can stay here and get it running if you want but one more group does that and I’m heading in. I stop and watch and just a few short moments later, despite the shots ringing around the public area, another group sneaks in, right near us at the ramp. We leave the boat in the parking area, grab a handful of decoys, our guns and take off for a short morning sprint. We find the hole, nothing in it but some thick brush and a ton of green, set up and gat a limit back to the truck and to town for an early lunch and boat thawing.
What makes a day of duck hunting great for you?
Like anything else, I believe its gratitude. As long as we are thankful for the situation we are in, we are going to have a solid day. If we depended on anyone or anything else to create a “great” situation, odds are we are going to be let down.
Do you have any dream hunts yourself?
Every hunt I get to be on is one I am thankful for. Even the bad hunts provide an experience that allows us to learn something and maybe be a little better next time. There are certainly some locations I have yet to hunt and look forward to those experiences.
We have shot many effective guns over the years but are super thankful to finally be shooting a RetayUSA. The inertia driven system is a favorite of ours and these guys’ ability to put it in a lightweight, dependable, affordable package is very exciting to us.
Oh man, great question, so many great guys doing solid work. I learned on a Haydel, listening to Buck Gardner and have enjoyed trying to blow everything from KM to RNT but relationships with guys who spend time out there are what probably gets me and Dustin and Kyle at 737 Duck Calls are certainly a couple of my favorite dudes. Great guys and if you follow any of their pages you know they kill birds. Justin Martin at Duck Commander has been such a solid man too, willing to offer insight and obviously has a ton of experience in the field with such a positive impact on people. We also have a couple close to home guys in veteran Shannon Smith who makes you a beautiful call with a quick turn around over at Flying Aces and Cody Johnson who may or may not build you one at all because he’s beusy chasing them haha but also makes a great sounding call.
Do you have any other passions?
Big fan of baseball and was fortunate enough to still be playing in a local adult league until they couldn’t find enough old guys; still enjoy lofting a softball around every week in rec ball. Always fished a good bit and sharing that with my kids over the years has certainly been one of the biggest passions. Now that they are older, I think working with Dr Duck to chase his dream of making public waterfowl a better experience is probably moving very quickly to the top of that list.
To learn more about Billy Campbell and Dr Duck, please click here.
And to check out Billy Campbell on Instagram, please click here.