In The Ducks Came Back, published in 1945, author, S. Kip Farrington Jr. described the mood of duck hunters in 1936:
Duck hunters all over the United States were putting their fowling pieces in mothballs or attempting to sell them. Many devotees of the sport who were in moderate circumstances refused to buy even a federal duck stamp or a license, let alone a box of shells. They claimed that it was not worth the trouble ... From all corners of the United States, the same old cry was sounded—"It just isn't worthwhile to go duck hunting these days—having to get up early in the morning or sit out in hard weather for a shot or two all day. I wouldn't want my son to pursue a sport that I love so well that has sunk to such a low level after the way I have known it."
Drought, financial depression, the lack of ducks in the air—one might suppose that given all of these depressing and hugely difficult problems, everyone would throw up their hands in despair.
But not everyone did. Not everyone had lost faith in the resiliency of nature, given a helping hand.
Disasters have a way of spawning ideas. In the face of such challenges, some people buckle, but others simply roll up their sleeves to repair and protect, creating the tools to do so, creating organizations to respond. It was the dual disasters of drought and drainage that had wrought the duck depression. And it was the disaster of drought and drainage that gave birth to Ducks Unlimited, an idea whose time had come, and an organization for which the need is still as great today as it was at the beginning.
Excerpted from The Ducks Unlimited Story, Chapter 1: "Habitat loss and drought"