Longtime Ducks Unlimited member John Goddard has hunted waterfowl in almost every part of California during his lifetime, from the duck clubs of the Grasslands to the refuges of Sacramento Valley. His deep connection to the state's land and wildlife has led him to support DU for more than 30 years and to become a Diamond Sponsor in Perpetuity.
"DU is a great organization. They've done such a tremendous job of restoring wetlands throughout North America," says John, who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area town of Danville with his wife, Joan. "I really appreciate how efficient DU is—the fact that such a high percentage of the organization's revenue goes to project activities instead of overhead costs."
John's love of duck hunting began in western Washington. He still fondly recalls early hunts with his father near his hometown of Aberdeen. After attending college in California, he chose to put down roots in the Bay Area following graduation. The state's pleasant climate factored into his decision, and the public waterfowl hunting opportunities at refuges such as Delevan, Sacramento, and Gray Lodge bolstered his sense that he had made the right choice.
In 1988, John purchased a 220-acre duck club in the Grasslands area southeast of Los Banos. True to his love of the sport, he renamed the club Liatnip Inc., which is "pintail" spelled backwards. He still owns and maintains the club, using it to share his passion for waterfowl and wetlands with his guests, including his son and grandson.
Having lived through several years of devastating drought, followed by one of the wettest winters in the state's history, John is acutely aware of the water conservation issues that California continues to face. He appreciates Ducks Unlimited's forward-thinking approach to water-infrastructure improvement, and hopes to help waterfowl hunting thrive while passing down its rich history and traditions to future Californians through his duck club and his work with DU.
"With the growth of our state's population, there are large numbers of urbanites who have never been exposed to the outdoors," John says. "They've never seen the brilliant sunrises over the marsh with great flocks of ducks and geese in the air at one time. I'd like to foster more interest in the sport, and have more resources and land dedicated to wetlands and water conservation."