Tim Boyle and Linda Baker duck hunting on Sauvie Island.
// Photos by Anthony Pidgeon
I am not a duck hunter. That much was obvious to anyone who saw me on Sauvie Island one day last November when I accompanied Tim Boyle, CEO of Columbia Sportswear and the subject of this month’s cover story, on a duck hunt.
At one point I became very excited about seeing a raft of ducks sitting placidly on the water, only to be told, gently but firmly, that they were decoys, not live waterfowl. “I don’t understand; they looked so real,” I said to photographer Anthony Pidgeon, who was trekking in the swamp alongside me.
For this urban Portlander, duck hunting with Boyle was more than an opportunity to witness the head of Oregon’s seventh-largest public company engaged in one of his favorite pastimes. It was also a chance to expand my limited knowledge of things ornithological, as in when I mistook the collective roar of geese overhead for an airplane, or when I learned different species of duck have different calls.
Some, like the pintail, whistle instead of quack. Who knew?
After years of uncertainty, I was also hugely relieved to finally learn what a duck blind was. For those city folk who are still in the dark, it’s a cover for hunters — in this case, a series of benches hidden by cornstalks.
I myself was dressed in camouflage, though suffice it to say I’m not expecting to be hired as a catalog model for Columbia Sportswear waders or hunting jackets anytime soon. To find out how Boyle’s hunting trip turned out and what it’s like to helm one of Oregon’s iconic homegrown companies, read this month’s cover story.
If you’ve never seen Sauvie Island at sunrise — with the fog rising from the wetlands, Mount St. Helens in the distance and thousands of birds overhead — do that, too. It’s quite possibly one of the most spectacular outdoor experiences you can have so close to the city.
Even if you’re not a duck hunter.