Ducks (copy)

Ducks feed and wander on Bobby and Brian Sims’ property Friday, Feb. 15, 2019, near Cayuse Lane in Moxee, Wash. Sims and her husband Brian have fed a flock of over two hundred ducks every winter for the past ten years.

YAKIMA, Wash. — Longtime Yakima Herald-Republic readers will remember Jim Gosney. He was an excellent writer who enjoyed many pursuits, including some hunting during his younger days. Occasionally his columns would venture into the outdoor world and more than once he would get into the nomenclature used for a male and female ducks.

He would remind us that a male duck is known as a drake, and a female duck is correctly called a duck. From there he would discuss the legalities of duck hunting where the game laws would read that a hunter could shoot seven ducks a day.

Now, any duck hunter knows that the laws, depending on the year, allow hunters to take seven ducks, but only two may be females, or hens, as they are more commonly called.

Gosney would argue that a hunter could actually take seven female ducks, because the laws said you could and he felt like any hunter who did, and got a ticket, could argue the fact that it says so right in the hunting laws.

Of course, he was having fun with the obscure fact about male and female duck names.

With that in mind I wondered what other little known, and possibly useless facts might be found out about our outdoor world. Here are a few that interested me:

Ducks can sleep with one eye open. They have the ability to turn half their brain off while keeping the other half alert for predators. Ducks will usually only fully rest both halves if they are feeling safe and protected in a large flock.

I don’t know about you, but I know a couple people who have this ability too. Except, instead of predators, they are keeping one eye open for the boss coming down the hall.

For every human on earth, there are an estimated 200 million insects. The question is, why do they have to show up all at once while I am walking up the trail to one of the high mountain lakes?

Most mosquito repellents don’t repel, they actually hide you. I don’t care how they do it but if the stuff keeps the blood suckers at bay I’m all in. I hate ‘em.

Speaking of bugs, the average human will accidentally eat a pound of insects per year. Hey, how many insects in a pound? If we step up our game a bit we could whittle away at the 200 million in my life.

Cheetahs can go from zero to 45 mph in two seconds. Ever sat down next to a ground hornet’s nest? I’ve seen a couple of hunting buddies that might give a cheetah a run for their money after doing just that.

Almost 80 percent of the earth’s animals have six legs. And at this moment I can’t think of a one, can you?

Tigers have striped skin as well as fur. I’ll take their word for it.

Polar bears are actually black. Comb their fur backwards and you will see. If you can get by the polar bear maybe you can check out the tiger too.

How about some funky state hunting and fishing laws?

Montana forbids an unmarried woman to go fishing alone. Not sure what this one is all about other than they might be afraid they’ll catch all the fish. Most of the women I fish with catch way more than the men do.

In Nebraska it is illegal to hunt whales. Okay. Do we really need to waste the ink and paper to put that in the hunting regulations?

Connecticut states that you may not hunt grey squirrels, rabbits or any other fur bearing animal with dynamite, fire, smoke, brimstone, sulfur, gas or chemical. Dynamite I understand, but no fire? No brimstone? Come on, what can a little fire and brimstone hurt?

Our own beautiful state of Washington does not allow fishing by rock throwing. Again, why? Is there anyone in our state who can actually throw a rock hard enough to hit a fish underwater? I mean Randy Johnson maybe, in his heyday, but he lives in Arizona or someplace now.

Speaking of Arizona, in Arizona you may not hunt camels. What? Get outta here. Arizona and Nebraska should get together and just issue a blank statement about not hunting any land or sea creature that is not native to their state. Problem solved.

You may not fish in Illinois in your pajamas. Okay, I can see this as necessary, maybe. But hey, while you’re at it Illinois (and 49 other states) can we extend the law to include shopping at Wal-Mart and flying Delta to Phoenix. I mean come on people, what is our world coming to? Is it really that hard to put some street clothes on?

And in Ohio, it is illegal to get a fish drunk. And maybe we should keep the booze out of the lawmakers reach too.

So, you learned something new today didn’t you? I know I did. Totally useless facts. Sorry to have wasted the last seven minutes of your time. Just one question. Did you ever come up with a six-legged animal?

Rob Phillips is an award-winning freelance outdoor writer who has written the Northwest Sportsman column for over 25 years. He can be reached at