Bill Sniffin: The Duck Whisperer’s Take On Wyoming’s Political Situation

Publisher Bill Sniffin says: That tag Dead Duck may very well describe Ms. Cheney in about six months. Or sooner if Republicans continue to bail on her. Her actions on the committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol will continue to sour Wyoming voters, we predict.

Bill Sniffin

December 13, 20215 min read

Sniffin 1
(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

By Bill Sniffin, publisher

By Bill Sniffin, Publisher 

What possible connection could a bunch of ducks have with Wyoming’s current political situation? Well, let me explain.

My relatives refer to me as “The Duck Whisperer,” since we have tame ducks that qualify as our pets. No dogs. No cats. No parakeets. No hamsters. Just ducks. 

And we have odd ducks, sitting ducks, lame ducks and we even have daffy ducks. Here are some thoughts on the current political situation, duck-wise:

• Sitting Duck – Although she is far from being a lame duck, U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney is obviously being viewed as a sitting duck by the gal who wants to replace her, Harriet Hageman. She may find out Liz is not as much of a sitting duck as she thinks.

Of course, all this is moot if Liz hangs around until the filing deadline in May and then announces she is not running. 

With the flak she has had to deal with in Wyoming, it would be easy to believe that her staff’s advice for their boss might be “duck!”

• Cold Duck – This is the aforementioned Harriet Hageman, who seeks to revise her role in the pecking order and move to the head of the line. She thinks it is her turn because the former President Donald Trump told her so.  

A word of caution, though, is be careful of Cold Duck. It can give you a headache. Criticism washes off like water off a duck’s back. 

• Daffy Duck – Here in Wyoming, could this possibly be State Sen. Anthony Bouchard (R-Cheyenne)? With the some of the bumps along the way during his campaign for Congress . . . well, it has not been a smooth ride.   

• Dead duck – that tag may very well describe Ms. Cheney in about six months. Or sooner if Republicans continue to bail on her. Her actions on the committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol will continue to sour Wyoming voters, we predict. 

But enough about politics. Back to the ducks. 

I have learned a lot from our ducks, which go by the names of Pearl (a twin to the Aflac duck on TV ads), New Stud, Studley, Blackhead, Greenhead, Paint, Speckledbill, Greenbill and Whitey Too.

For the longest time, we had four males and a lone female, nicknamed T. P. which stood for the old expression “Town Pump” referring to, well, you know . . . 

Then one day, T.P. laid a nest full of eggs and became a “sitting duck.”  That was the end of her. All we found were some feathers and broken eggshells. Truth be known, she was probably too exhausted from all her amorous adventures to flee her attacking owl, osprey,  mink, fox, or coyote.

Then a fifth male who had been driven away by the others returned home. He soon got along fine with the other boys because there were no ducks of the female persuasion to fight over at the time.

We also once had a rooster. We seem to attract male birds. 

We have ponds and a creek on our property. The ducks are able to fend off predators by staying in the water  (unless they are sitting ducks) but this did not help the rooster. All we found were some feathers. He was only on the job three days.

Having all these ducks has caused me to pay attention to how many “duck expressions” we use in normal conversation. For example, these ducks really do have a “pecking order.”  Now I understand the expression “having your ducks in a row.”   We also have several “odd ducks.” 

Not sure why a bad doctor is called a quack but I think I now know where the expression “like a wounded duck” came from.

The ducks are terrific fertilizer spreaders. Nancy calls them “quacking crappers.”

The following note came from an old friend who previewed this column: “I found your column just ducky. You certainly didn’t duck your responsibilities to put out a great piece, nothing foul in any of it (or maybe fowl in all of it!) signed: Jeff (Quacker) Wacker.

Our biggest problem is that Nancy insists on feeding the ducks corn.  They love that stuff. I call it duck candy.

When she starts out the door with a big pitcher of corn, they come running. Did you know that only female ducks quack? A very demanding quack, at that.  

The guys? Well, they just mutter a lot. Just like home.

My sister-in-law Tamara offers the following: There was a duck that went in the store to buy some chap stick. 

The storekeeper said, “That will be $2.” 

The duck, said, “That’s ok. Just put it on my bill.” Groan.

As I write this, there is a storm predicted from over the mountains. Not sure how the ducks will handle it. 

Probably the snow will just fall off a duck’s back.

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Bill Sniffin

Wyoming Life Columnist

Columnist, author, and journalist Bill Sniffin writes about Wyoming life on Cowboy State Daily -- the state's most-read news publication.