Holly A. Heyser

Holly A. Heyser

Holly A. Heyser is a hunter, forager, writer, food photographer and college journalism lecturer. She writes a blog about hunting at http://norcalcazadora.blogspot.com.and shoots food photos for boyfriend Hank Shaw, who writes a blog about wild food at http://honest-food.net.

Hunting Unleaded

I live in Ground Zero for lead bans. First, California banned much – but not all – hunting with lead in the California condor range, which is about a fifth of the state, effective in 2008.

My Bird of Regret: the Pukeko

When you hunt strange birds in a foreign country, there’s this inescapable regret that accompanies your departure: As you pack your shotgun, you wish you would’ve tried to hunt that one beguiling bird just one more time. At the airport, you search for overpriced souvenirs with the bird’s likeness. And before you even land at LAX, you’re no longer confident you can remember what the bird sounded like, much less imitate it for the friends eagerly awaiting your tales.

The boyfriend and I just got back from one of those hunting trips of a lifetime: We spent 11 days in New Zealand on an exchange program hunting lovely paradise shelducks, a beautiful shrieking rail called a pukeko, and alarmingly large black swans.

Counting My Ducks

Last duck season was my best ever: I was a pretty good shot most days, and I got to hunt in some great locations on some great days, so I killed 120 ducks and geese.

Holly and the Ninja

“You’re gonna hate this part,” I warned Ninja.

It had been a very good duck hunt. Clear, bright December day. Sky swept clean by a raging north wind. And at this particular spot in a small marsh surrounded by grazing cattle, we were where the birds wanted to be.

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

Oh, no. It was happening again.
When I first started getting the hang of duck hunting, it never failed: If Hank was having a good day of shooting, I would be shooting atrociously. And if I was having a good day, he couldn’t hit a damn thing.

This is my ninth season of duck hunting, and while the number of women duck hunters here in the Sacramento Valley has grown a lot since I got started, I’ve realized this season that we, as a class of hunters, have some work to do.

My boyfriend was skeptical.
I was about to go on a hunt where I was told to expect to shoot nothing but greenheads flaps down over decoys.

Hunting the Drought: The Opening Act

In the days and weeks leading up to the California duck hunting opener, the reports from my buddy Charlie were good. The lake we hunted in his neck of the woods was filthy with puddle ducks. That would’ve been a head-scratcher in any normal year, because this was strictly a diver lake.

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