Antique shop treasure revives hunting memories

(Above) A sociable hen wood duck attempts to strike up a conversation with a Don Humburg decoy.-Photo by Lowell Washburn.

by Lowell Washburn

Clear Lake’s Don Humburg was an outdoor legend.  Hunter, trapper, master angler, boat builder, decoy maker, you name it -- if it happened in the great out-of-doors, Humburg could do it.  When the fall weather turned brisk and ducks were on the move, Don could be found at the Ventura Marsh, monitoring the migration from the cockpit of one of his lightweight, hand crafted duck boats.  Located at the western edge of Clear Lake, the sprawling Ventura Marsh was home to a collection of 10 weathered hunting shacks.  Humburg’s cabin – The Ventura Hilton -- became a central focal point for outdoor discussions and roundtable debate.  Once winter arrived and duck hunters returned home, Don stuck to the marsh, gathering prime muskrat pelts by chiseling through and trapping under the ice.  Although it’s been nearly 15 years since his passing in December of 2002, Humburg remains a frequent topic of conversation among outdoor enthusiasts.

Humburg was a downright pleasure to spend time with.  Rain or shine, his outdoor wisdom and humorous observations never failed to keep duck blind conversations rolling.  Speaking of rain, Humburg and I were hunting

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