Common Ground: Quack psychology — Know the mind of your quarry

By Christine Cunningham, for the Redoubt Reporter

It’s good for a duck hunter to know what ducks are thinking, I was told. What I needed to do was, “Be where they wanted to be,” and, “Know where they wanted to go.” To do that, I would need to think like a duck.

Not knowing how to go about thinking like a duck, I took an online personality test and answered the questions the way a duck would. One of the statements on the test was, “Some say I have my head in the clouds,” to which I strongly agreed. After answering 58 questions, I learned that ducks would be well-suited to a career in home economics or nursing.

Famous people with duck personalities include Tyra Banks, Victoria Beckham and Jessica Alba. It makes sense that the personality type is more common in women than in men, because I modeled my answers after a hen mallard instead of a drake. The more I learned about duck personalities, the more I realized that they were not the greatest at relationships. According to an online personality type forum, it turns out that ducks can be backstabbers and have an irrational fear of vaccinating their children.

The Internet is full of great information that is helpful to hunters. You never know when it will benefit you to know whether the particular duck species you are hunting is best represented by a pirate, ninja or cowboy, but you can take a five-question quiz to find out. It just might be helpful in the field to have an in-depth understanding of which 1980s rock ballad best portrays the state of mind of your quarry. Although ducks do not read, there is no reason that they cannot be characterized by great novelists of the Western Canon, or have been Joan of Arc in a past life.

Some of the information was clearly not reliable, however. I steered clear of any anthropomorphic characterizations of ducks, for instance. Daffy Duck started out as a real duck in his first feature with Porky Pig, but it is unclear to biologists and hunters alike what exact species he is supposed to represent. His lisp is the only real ducklike quality he possesses, and this is said to be because a duck’s mandible would cause a lisp should one attempt to speak as a human. Donald Duck also is questionable. Just because ducks and sailors both like water doesn’t mean a duck would wear a sailor suit.

Although it was interesting to learn about duck personalities through social media apps, there were some obvious flaws there, too. The tests are not bimodal, for instance. The results may vary based on duck species, gender and age. It also does not indicate biological habits of the species or seasonal behavioral changes. If I was going to figure out anything about ducks, I was going to have to do it the old-fashioned way. I was going to have to go to a bar and offer to buy one a drink.

Christine Cunningham was born in Alaska and has lived on the Kenai Peninsula for the last 20 years, where she enjoys fishing, hunting and outdoors recreation. Her book, “Women Hunting Alaska,” was released by Northern Publishing in January 2013. She can be reached at christineemal@hotmail.com. For up-to-date information on the “Women Hunting Alaska” book, visit Northern Publishing online or Women Hunting Alaska on Facebook.

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