'Legends of the Outdoors' Media Waterfowl Hunt Held in SEMO Bill Cooper Garry Mason leaned into a stiff wind to pick up a duck decoy. Thirty-five mile an hour winds during the night had toppled dozens of decoys. Mason, the owner of the Outdoor Legends Hall of Fame was hosting his first 'Legends of the Outdoors' Media Waterfowl Hunt in southeast Missouri near Kennett. Attendees included Ray Eye of 'Eye on the Outdoors Radio,' 590 The Fan, out of St. Louis, Jerry Antley owner of Cedar Hills Game Calls, from Louisiana, Tommy Garner, Legends board member, of northwest Arkansas, Scott Davis, of 'The Urban Sportsman TV Show,' out of Nashville and Bill Cooper, host of 'Outside Again Adventures TV - Online,' from St. James, Missouri. Unusual weather for December, 70 degrees, and high winds greeted our hunting party as we rode through the flooded rice fields on Mason's UTV in the dark. Mason delivered us to the blind and we quickly unloaded our mountain of waterfowl hunting gear and camera gear. Our party had convened to enjoy a duck hunt together and to promote Mason's 'Outdoor Legends Hall of Fame.' Mason established the 'Legends of the Outdoors Hall of Fame' to recognize those outdoorsmen and sportswomen who, through countless hours of hard work and devotion to the outdoors, in both hunting and fishing, have played an integral part in setting the standards and guidelines for the rest of the world to follow. Bill Dance, Rowland Martin, Jimmy Holt, Harold Knight, David Hale, Eli Haydel, Earl Bentz and Charlie Brewer were the first inductees in 2002. Inductees for 2016 included Lucy Mize, Fred Bear, W.R. Sauey, Mark and Terry Drury, George Thornton, Fred Bear and Colorado Buck. The chatter of tens of thousands of ducks and snow geese filled the dark skies as we maneuvered to get set up in the pit blind before legal shooting hours began. Although temperatures hovered in the seventies, an Arctic blast bore down us pushing waterfowl southward by the thousands. Temperatures would plummet to single digits by the next morning. Hundreds of thousands of ducks had staged in the area over the previous few weeks. Southeast Missouri has become a Mecca for waterfowl over the last 30-40 years as agricultural practices have changed. Rice was unheard of as an agricultural commodity in the Missouri bootheel when I grew up in nearby Mississippi County in the 1950's and 60's. Currently, waterfowl stop over to feed on the abundant supply of waste grain in the thousands of acres of rice fields available. Mason finished his decoy straightening chores and climbed into the blind with us. His yellow Lab sat next to him. mason immediately began warming up on his Cedar Hills duck call. It was obvious that this was not his first time in a duck blind. Although he had been involved in competition calling at one time, Mason knew how to communicate with ducks. The occasional raindrop kept our crew honest about flashing faces towards the lightening sky. Ominous looking clouds streamed by in high tail fashion, combined with a loud cacophony of fast flying birds, with beaks pointed to the south, created an unusual scene in the wide open rice county of the Mississippi River delta. 'Ducks dropping in from your side, Scott,' Mason instructed. 'Shoot em!' Scott Davis is a big boy. He struggled up through the overhanging rice stubble and grass covering the lid of the blind. 'Where are they?' he yelled. Jerry Antley fired to the front of the blind redirecting Davis 's attention. A mallard hen crumbled at the report of Antley's shotgun. Davis fired twice but had fallen behind the action. Laughter filled the blind as Davis offered up his best excuses for the misses. The 'Geritol Gang,' as we were fondly referred to, collectively held over 300 years of hunting experience. 'No new excuses in that speech, Scott,' Ray Eye chuckled. Mason blew his duck call with all the wind he could muster. 'I'm sure those ducks are not hearing me,' he mumbled. 'They are so high and the wind is gruesome.' Despite the wind and high flying birds, Mason continued to coax birds into the set. Two mallards broke into view over Davis's shoulder. On his third shot, a fat greenhead tumbled to the choppy water. Mason's Lab mesmerized us all as he danced through the frigid water on the retrieve. Ducks and dogs hold a special place in a waterfowler 's heart. Ray Eye, Tommy Garner and I wielded cameras while the other trio of Mason, Antley, and Davis brandished shotguns. I felt fortunate after watching those guys trying to hit ducks with the fierce tailwind behind them. They gave new meaning to the term speedy ducks. People seldom laugh at cameramen. We three cameramen, however, enjoyed plenty of laughs at those guys shooting abilities. Plans called for us to enjoy two days of hunting in the Missouri Bootheel, then travel to Reelfoot Lake in Tennessee for a repeat performance. The 70-degree temperatures began clashing with the rapidly dropping temperatures closing in from the north. Tornado warnings were being issued. We voted unanimously to abandon the blind and regroup at another time. We retreated to the comfort of the lodge and enjoyed a sumptuous meal of barbecued chicken and ribs prepared by Brian Clark of Ray Ray's Smoke House BBQ. Our party gathered enough material for articles, videos, and TV shows. Garry Mason is an unusual outdoor talent. My initial hunt with him proved a huge success. I can't wait until we meet again.