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SITKA Team | Photos by Jeff Simpson | 10.23.2020

Duck Heaven

  • Pursuit: Waterfowl

For Ira McCauley, duck hunting is about more than just the ducks. It’s about time spent with family, dogs included, and it’s about food. His favorite mornings of the year are spent in a Missouri duck blind known affectionately by the family as “Heaven.” The blind’s most distinctive feature is a ceiling mural of a mallard drake descending through the clouds, painted by Ira’s father and brother.

“It’s a great place to go if you want to focus on fellowship and cook breakfast,” he says. “It’s big and comfortable, and the hunting is almost always really good. When we just want to visit and relax and have a good time, that’s where we go. It’s our family blind, grandparents and everybody. Because you’re usually always going to get your ducks and you can cook and enjoy each other’s company.”

When Ira says cook, he means cook. His favorite meal to have fresh off the blind’s four burner stove is pepper jack boudin, a Cajun dish of rice and pork sausage. The more traditional breakfast of bacon and eggs is a crowd favorite too.

For Ira and his brother/business partner, Aaron, hunting time is all the more special in recent years, because it’s carved out of a busy and hectic schedule practicing veterinary medicine, operating two veterinary practices, running one of the most successful waterfowl outfits in the country encompassing thousands of acres of prime habitat, and being a dedicated father and family man.

“We just pushed the gas pedal and never looked back,” he says of the family businesses he’s worked so hard at building. “If there was ever an American Dream, where you have good ideas and you work hard, and when you start you don’t have anything, and then you end up with these successful businesses that you’re super passionate about, things I’ve always loved like waterfowl and dogs, that is really truly the American Dream.”

After spending days hunting from the blind called Heaven, it seems that nothing could be better. But that’s not to say that every hunting day Ira spends is in a big blind with elaborate meals. He also has a passion for getting out there and finding the ducks up close in their aquatic environment.

“I love to just watch what those ducks are doing, figure out a game plan, be quick, be nimble,” he says. “There’s nothing more gratifying than going right to where they’re living.”