Dokken: New Book Narrates Lifetime Waterfowl Hunting Experiences – Grand Forks Herald

Brad Duquesne

Brad Duquesne

“The wind was blowing 40 mph from the northwest. Snowing hard. Horizontal flakes. Late October. A freeze might have been coming to the prairies of North Dakota. That’s the kind of weather I loved hunting while sitting in my handmade duck boat.” Over a set of snares I made with my own hands. A faithful black Lab of a comrade.”

– Harold F. Duebbert, writing about a North Dakota duck hunt in the preface to My Life Among Waterfowl, a memoir of his hunting experiences.

In the field of waterfowl management in the Prairie Pothole area, Harold F. Duebbert was a pioneer. As a hunter, he was an old-school practitioner of waterfowl hunting in its purest form, without the high-tech trappings available to hunters today.

A native of Missouri, Diaubert moved to North Dakota in the late 1950s and worked as a field biologist at Devils Lake, at the J. Clark Salere National Wildlife Refuge near Botino and for the last 21 years of his career at the Northern Wildlife Research Center in Jamestown.

North Dakota was heaven for Daubert, and he logged hundreds of hours in prairie swamps and duck runs, sometimes with friends, sometimes not.

He once wrote, “I confess, I enjoy hunting alone.”

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

Through the efforts of friends and family, My Life Among Waterfowl was published in November.

His daughter, Julie Nelson Wanzick of Jamestown, who sent me a copy of the book, said that Gary Pearson, the book’s executive editor, did an “incredible amount of work” in gathering photos and journal entries for inclusion in the book after Dubert’s death.

“He lived with me in Jamestown for six weeks before his death, and Gary Pearson and he were able to consult several times,” Nelson Wanzick said in an email.

The coffee-table-style book, at over 240 pages long, is a collection of stories and photos from 56 years of waterfowl hunting adventures as lived by Dieuppert. The brilliant book is a must-have for anyone with an appreciation for the rich waterfowl traditions of North Dakota.

“My Life Among Waterfowl” is a follow-up of sorts to Dauberte’s 2003 book, “Wildfowling in Dakota: 1873-1903,” which highlights the glory days of waterfowl hunting near the end of the 19th century, “when the fall skies were full of waterfowl and Hunters can reach remote areas like the northern prairies via rail cars.”


Harold Duabert with a pair of white-faced geese, also known as “spotted bellies”, shot in September 2004 while on a hunting trip to Saskatchewan.

Contributed / Ross Hare

Diaubert’s love of hunting waterfowl dates back to his childhood days growing up in Missouri and hunting ducks along the bottoms of the Missouri River. With his trusty L.C. Smith 12-gauge side-by-side 1913 rifle, and old-school brown khaki hunting clothes—he once gave away a Gore-Tex camouflage hunting jacket he bought at Cabela’s because it didn’t match the Marsh’s colors—friends say Diaubert was a traditionalist. .

Jerry Seery, a retired US Fish and Wildlife Service biologist and a contemporary of Dubert, writes in his foreword: “Harold did not adapt well to changes in the new hunting equipment, including very light, life-like decoys and especially battery-powered ‘robot’ ducks.” For the book.” Harold didn’t care that his equipment was outdated; He perfected his style and was living his nostalgia.”

Pages of My Life Among Waterfowl include chapters titled “Missouri 1940-1957,” “North Dakota 1955-1964,” “Oregon 1964-1966,” “North Dakota 1967-2009,” “The Bowerman House 1991-2005,” “Saskatchewan.” 2001-2008,” “Hunting the Sandhill Crane 1968-2008,” “Waterfowl Decoy” and “Abstracts from Selected Professional Publications.”

“Since 1954, I have recorded in my diary every hunt for ducks, geese, and hill cranes,” wrote d’Auberte in the foreword to the book. These diaries have provided the basis for much of what is contained in this book. For me, each hunt was a special experience and I thought it was very important to trust my memory. …

“I hope to write in such a way as to provide interesting reading for other hunters who might enjoy learning about my catch.”

I’ve only had a chance to skim through the book up to this point, but the stories in the pages of My Life Among the Waterfowl are written in first person, as you’d expect, and make you feel like you’re right there in the blind with Diaubert. The stories are arguably as refreshing as the prairie winds that are the backdrop to many of them.

The book also features more than 150 photos of Daubert’s hunts, along with photos of his hand decoys and duck boat.

My Life Among Waterfowl is the story of life well lived, whether as a waterfowl biologist or waterfowl hunter and conservationist. What a treasure, what a privilege, for those who immerse themselves in its pages, Duabert’s diary allows them to connect and share unforgettable wilderness moments.

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

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