805 Storm Wigeon
By Curt Stewart
Simply put, the storm wigeon is an American wigeon with a white head. That may not sound too exciting to you, and if it doesn’t, you might want to trade in your hunting license. As duck hunters, we live to take in the beauty and diversity of the different waterfowl species. When we come across a rare bird that defies convention, we should get excited.
Leucism, albinism, hybrids, non-natives, bands; there’s a laundry list of variations that get our blood pumping. Storm, or white cheeked wigeon, get their pigment from a rare color variant that doesn’t quite fit into any of those categories. It’s difficult to find much information on them since only about 1 in 500 American wigeon fit that color profile. That’s not enough to classify them as a subspecies.
What is known about these unicorns of the sky is that Beau Brooks is crazy for them. In Beau’s back yard of western Washington, he sees a lot of wigeon. He’s even bagged a European wigeon, but the storm always eluded him. On one of his latest hunts at home with Ira McCauley and Brook Richard, his opportunity finally presented itself. Beau had been the perfect host to Ira and Brook, making sure they got to pull the trigger more than himself. However, when two wigeon lit beautifully in the decoys (one with a white head) there was no shot call. Beau raised up, calmly shot the white-cheeked bird on the left and then the bird on the right. The HEVI-12 did its job, and Beau Brooks shook his fist while excitedly informing the group that the first bird was a storm wigeon.
Holding up the storm next to another wigeon they shot that morning, the difference was clear. While both birds had the distinctive white patch on top of their head, the storm was a much lighter cream color on the cheeks. There are certainly storm wigeon with more pronounced white on their faces, but this one was stormy enough. Beau got to check another box on his bucket list and gained another trophy for the wall.
Most of us will never even see a storm wigeon, but we should all have our own unicorn to chase. Whether it’s a cinnamon teal, blonde mallard, mottled duck, or a Quill Lake goose, find something special to add to your bucket list. It may never end up on your wall, but it’s guaranteed to add a little excitement to your hunt.
WHAT WE USED ON THE HUNT
- 2 dozenMagnum Mallard Foam Filled Flocked Heads
- 1 Battleship Puddle Pack (dozen wigeon, pintail, gadwall)
- 1 dozen standard Coot Decoys
Blind: Versa-Blind and Invisi-lab
- Brook – Power Calls prototype
- Beau – Power Calls Ignition and Impulse
Shells: HEVI-12 3” #4