There are few activities that create a stronger father-son bond than duck hunting. Frigid mornings spent together in the blind, the joy of taking that first greenhead, and the triumphant ride home with the day's spoils all leave lasting memories. This is especially true for President's Council member Eric Foraker and his son, Andrew.
Erik is a commercial real estate investor in the San Francisco Bay Area. He was born and raised in Chico, California, as part of an agricultural family that has maintained a 2,500-acre rice ranch since 1908. Erik grew up hunting on the family's property, which today is known as Murdock Gun Club. He manages the rice crop there each year and then helps transition the land to seasonal hunting grounds during the winter.
Despite Erik's long history with duck hunting, it was actually Andrew who got involved with Ducks Unlimited first. "I ended up going to college on the East Coast, and I joined DU as a volunteer in 2011," said Andrew, who tagged along with his dad on hunts before receiving his first hunting license at age nine. "I really like how DU turns the dirt. Habitat is the key, and Ducks Unlimited has the ability and willingness to engage in and complete large-scale projects that benefit all of North America."
Erik soon followed his son's lead after witnessing DU's work in their home state of California. "As Andrew became involved with DU and I got to know my neighbor [DU President] Paul Bonderson, I really started thinking about what the organization was doing for California as well as the rest of the continent," Erik explained. "It became clear that I needed to support those efforts."
As the years have passed, the Forakers have seen their roles switch when it comes to duck hunting. Andrew, now vice president at Farm Credit West in Yuba City, California, and a member of DU's recently reborn Yolo County chapter, is the one asking his dad to join him in the blind. Their respect for Ducks Unlimited, however, remains equally strong.
"DU has such a great organizational structure, with staff and volunteers who go above and beyond to make sure North America's resources are around for decades to come," Andrew said. "It's great having such vocal advocates for the ducks hosting events that I enjoy."