The Oregon Duck Hunters Association was born of the Northwest’s grand tradition of duck calling. In 1952, the Oregon Journal sponsored a duck calling exhibition that featured the state’s premier callers. Four hundred and fifty duck hunters were in attendance. There was so much enthusiasm generated that evening that a group gathered afterwards to put in motion an “Oregon Duck Hunters Association” in Portland. Those first organizers included Don Fields, A.L. ‘Chic” Douglas, David and Jess Sill, Allen Zupo, Sam Holmes, Major H.C. Tobin, Rod Banks, Don Brown and Fred Schillinger.
In 1954, the Oregon Journal sponsored waterfowl hunting clinics that were put on by the new “Oregon Duck Hunters Association”. Those clinics were conducted at the casting ponds of Westmoreland Park in S.E. Portland. That first year consisted of three weekly programs that included blind building, decoy placement, shotgun patterning and ballistics, calling, gunsmithing and dog training. It was truly Oregon’s first “Waterfowl Festival”.
As the ODHA continued to grow, concerns of habitat loss and the encroachment of urban development began to change the focus of our organization. Through fundraising efforts, our group began to make its mark as a local, grassroots leader in wetland conservation. Great care was taken to embrace projects that would benefit all of Oregon’s waterfowl hunting community. In fact, one longtime requirement for all of our projects is that they must benefit the duck hunting public.
Throughout our history, great emphasis has been put on the future of our sport, our youth. The ODHA has sent hundreds of children to outdoor camps. We have taught conservation by building wood duck boxes at youth events. We’ve taken scores of children on their first hunting adventures and shared in their first outdoor triumphs.
We have partnered with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Oregon Wetlands Joint Venture to provide funding and equipment at nearly every duck hunting refuge complex in the state. From Sauvie Island to Summer Lake and the Lewis and Clark to Ladd Marsh the ODHA has been providing vital nesting habitat for ducks and providing quality hunting blinds for sportsmen for over sixty years.
What does the future hold for us? Our bylaws foreshadow our future with the following words…
“To assist and promote the perpetuation of migratory
birds and their habitat to provide for more and better bird
hunting and recreation for Oregon hunters”.
Our task is already set. We look to the future with an eagerness to preserve this way of life. The life of an Oregon Duck Hunter!