Tribute to Dr. Dave Ankney

Dr. Dave Ankney, a highly respect scientist, educator, hunting advocate, mentor and dear friend passed away on Thursday, February 28th 2013 following a battle with cancer.  The Celebration of Dave’s life was hosted at Long Point Waterfowl’s Research and Education Centre over the May long weekend, pictures are seen below.

Article from Port Rowan Good News about event

Ankney Johnson Scholarship with Terms of Reference

2014 Ankney Award Recipients

Cincopa WordPress plugin

The Waterfowl Community would like to announce the development of two scholarships in honour of Dave and his wife Sandi, which will be awarded to one M.Sc. and one Ph.D. student each year. Dave has also been awarded the Kirchoffer Back Porch Award in recognition and appreciation for his great and many contibutions, which are briefly summarized in the attached award
write-up. The Back Porch was a very special place to Dave and many others that had opportunity to visit the Kirchoffer Lodge on Delta Marsh and participate in waterfowl and wetland discussions there. On the right you will find one of Dave’s favorite personal photos of his two black labs looking out over the marsh on the back porch. As part of the Award, Dave and his wife Sandi will be presented the original art work of the Kirchoffer Back Porch (on left).



Before he retired, Dave was a Professor of Zoology at the University of Western Ontario where he taught Ecological Adaptations of Birds and Wildlife Ecology and Management. He and his graduate and honours students have published approximately 150 peer-reviewed papers on birds, primarily waterfowl.


Dave is a Fellow of the American Ornithologist’s Union, Past-President of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunter’s, former member of the Long Point Biosphere Board, and currently chairs the Scientific Advisory Committee of Long Point Waterfowl. He was instrumental in the successful reintroduction of Wild Turkeys to Ontario and a
driving force behind attempts to deal with the problem of over-abundant white goose populations in North America, the latter resulting in him receiving the Ducks Unlimited “Wetland Conservation Achievement Award” in 1997.


Dave, his wife Sandi, and their Labrador Retrievers live on Long Point, but spend the winter in Rockport, Texas, where they enjoy duck hunting, birding, and fishing.

Dave Ankney continues to have a long-standing interest in the questions behind the decline of Black Ducks in North America.  During the 1980s and 1990s, there were a number of people besides Dave, in both Canada and the US, trying to find out whether the main driver behind the Black Duck Decline was harvest, hybridization with Mallards, factors other than these two main hypotheses, or some combination of all of these.  In 1997, with contributions from his wife, Sandi Johnson, Dave Ankney anonymously penned a fictitious interview about Wisconsin Black Duck Militia, a light-hearted synthesis about the Black Duck issue, using pseudonyms for the main players involved in the “Black Duck Intrigue” .  He attributed the synthesis to a certain Barry Shortmantle, Executive Vice President of Favoring Anas Rubripes Today, aka FART.  Referring to The Wisconsin Black Duck Militia, Dave Ankney is known to have stated with reverent modesty “This was my one and only attempt to be Johnny Lynch”, who Dave regarded with the highest esteem as a visionary, capable of seeing The Big Picture.  Dave wrote The Wisconsin Black Duck Militia before he began to use the quotation “For those who understand, no explanation is necessary and for those who do not, none is possible.” to end all of his correspondence.

Please click here to read the Dave Ankney Retirement Symposium proceedings, here to read an essay by Dave about the Kirchhoffer’s Porch and here to read correspondence between Dave (as a PhD student) and John Lynch in 1972.

If you are interested, click here to view a video of Dave’s new dependent, “Bug” – quite funny!

Check out an interview with Dave on Delta Waterfowl’s website.

Cincopa WordPress plugin

65 Responses to Tribute to Dr. Dave Ankney

  1. Rick Morgan says:

    Hi Dave and Sandi:

    Words cannot express the sadness which Sandy and I feel over the situations you both now face. We are incredibly sorry that, this time, our prayers don’t seem to have been enough. (Or perhaps they have helped; perhaps they were part of what made possible the last few years of Dave’s life.)

    I think you know, Dave, the incredible impression you made on my life and, therefore, Sandy’s. I will never forget the many conversations we had…mostly in agreement, but occasionally from different perspectives. I will always remember my first turkey and how easy you made it look, how you introduced me to USC, our television filming for ducks, sandhill cranes, snow geese, and wild turkeys. (I wish we had done the perch and opening day smallmouth fishing which you advocated.)

    I am most appreciative of the fact that we became friends, in my opinion very good friends, after you offered to assist the OFAH. The dinners at your home, a couple of overnights, even the Federation’s first fundraising dinner (which you guys vowed to only do once…without letting me in on that fact).

    Over the years our countless conversations about personal things, Federation matters, USC, biology, were definitely valuable and appreciated at my end.

    You lived life to the fullest, Dave, and you did it your own way. You should be proud of the huge number of people you have influenced…students, colleagues, and friends. Your impact will continue long after you have left us.

    In closing, as you reflect on your life, in addition to the kinds of things I have mentioned above, I hope you will remember many of the funny things too. Perhaps recall the memo I sent you, accidentally saying that I felt suits and ties were necessary at your first CWF meeting, the time our audio guy stepped out of your aluminum boat into water too deep to touch, Russ Colosi’s world record wild turkey gag, or you falling in the lake off our dock on Chemong Lake, and a whole bunch of others.

    You have made the world a better place, my friend, as well as each of us. We all thank you for that, from the very bottoms of our hearts.

    And to you, Sandi, we sure are hoping your surgery (when the weather lets you get to it) goes well and you continue to enjoy your wonderful home on Ankney’s Pond at Long Point. We have wonderful memories of you with Dave, and we hope to continue having you in our lives. Your special talents have made you and Dave a terrific team, and you will personally do well in the future, just as Dave, and all of us, would want and hope for.

    And please, Sandi, let us do whatever we can to help, now and in the future. We value our friends, and you have both been ours for over thirty years.

    Mushy as it sounds, we love you both.

    Sandy & Rick Morgan

  2. Doug Johnson says:


    Thanks for all your years of contributions, especially your continual questioning of the “generally accepted” dogma. Whether you were right or wrong–OK, you were always right–you challenged each of us to think a little harder and longer about what we believed. Your contributions as a teacher extend well beyond your students and your students’ students. Thanks for that.


  3. Todd Arnold says:

    Where to begin…?

    I came to Delta as a student assistant in 1983, and had never felt so intimidated in my life. That first summer I went to seminars in Kirchoffer Lodge and listened to “mere students” ask questions that would take the wind out of the sails of visiting professors. And in and amongst everyone who made me feel unworthy, there were the Ankney students, who made absolutely everyone feel inferior. I wanted to be one almost from the get-go.

    I formally met Dave later that winter at the 1983 AOU in New York City. Dave had pretended to be Dennis Raveling and got his room key from the front desk, and he and his students invaded Rav’s room while he was out to dinner. I was there as little more than a groupie. Pat Kehoe introduced me to Dave and told him I was interested in working on mink predation, and I remember Dave exclaimed “Well, it’s about time!” Five simple words and I was on Cloud 9.

    After finishing my Master’s on mink, I applied two places for a Ph.D., with Bob Ricklefs at University of Pennsylvania, and with Dave at UWO. I remember lots of people telling me I was a fool not to go to Penn to work with Ricklefs, but I’ve never regretted going to UWO to work with Dave. He expected his students to work hard, but he also expected them to play hard. I blossomed as a scientist in Dave’s lab. I also reconnected with duck hunting while I was a UWO student, and like many of Dave’s students, I had virtually no equipment of my own to start with, but was given free access to decoys and boats, and gradually acquired my own.

    Like Tom Nudds (but honestly, nobody is like Tom Nudds), I didn’t entirely fit into the Ankney camp. I didn’t buy into nutrient limitation, and I sometimes thought that passion for hunting got in the way of questioning the potential impacts of hunting. But Dave didn’t expect you to be like him. He expected you to care about your beliefs and articulate and defend them with gusto (and discard them when you were proved to be full of shit). I was a pariah, but a welcome pariah.

    There is a dogmatic and argumentative side to Dave that everyone from Delta or Afton’s list-serve knows, but there is a sensitive and caring side to Dave that far fewer know. A man who could be moved to tears when your mom died, or when simple people did amazing things.

    This is a legacy that I hope to be worthy to carry on. Thank you Dave, for everything you helped me to become.


  4. Todd Merendino says:

    If you could look up the definition of true friend in the dictionary, it would not have any words, just a picture of Dave and Sandi. I have known both for nearly 25 years and they are two of the finest folks I have ever known. Without Dave I wouldn’t be where I am today and I want to thank him for the opportunity to be one of his grad students. That opportunity has been the fuel that has allowed me to be part of the waterfowling community and become friends with so many folks that I would have never known. Dave and Sandi have been a big part of my families life and we are better for knowing both of them. My words won’t do justice to what I am trying to write, so hopefully he understands. I will think of him when the first September bluewings buzz a Texas Coastal marsh, I will think of him when the first redheads of the fall roar through a decoy spread on Matagorda Bay, I will think of him when the yelp of a snow goose signals the return of winter in Texas, I will think of him when the yodel of a sandhill crane spreads across the Texas coastal prairie, and I will think of him when a wet labrador shakes water on me as it delivers a fallen bird. I will miss my friend. Knowing Dave, when we seem him on the other side , he will have convinced the good lord that we should have liberal waterfowl seasons in heaven, and I expect him to have #1 reservation. Godspeed my good friend.

  5. Brad Bortner says:


    Let me throw my voice into the chorus about your impact to the field of natural resources management. The Back Porch Award is a fitting tribute to your contributions to not only to our understanding of waterfowl biology but to our practice of science. As you remember, I was a young student when I first got to see some of the infamous debates between you, Afton and Rowher among others on the back porch. Not only were the debates enlightening in terms of the topics of the day (or night more typically) but the free interchange of ideas demonstrated to all of us that clarity of thought and a deep understanding of the issues were necessary as an integral part of the scientific process. In fact, I learned and remember more about how science works and how thought moves forward by watching and listening to your debates than I did any of the topics. You always challenged people to critically think about “what they know” and “what it means”, but this didn’t just apply to just to some small aspect of waterfowl biology but also the management of our resources. While your challenges may have been feared by some, I know you motivated many to make sure they had thought through all aspects of biology, policy and management and all the assumptions they had made along the way. Your lasting legacy will not only be the original research that you conducted but the generations of students, peers and policy makers you challenged to “think about it”. Thank you for everything you have done for waterfowl, wetlands, and the folks who cherish these resources.

  6. Rick Kaminski says:

    Dave (8 February 2013)
    Thank you and Sandi for all your contributions to waterfowl and the people who endear these birds and their habitats. I wish I could say these words in person but that’s not possible. I’m copying Kehoe and Ray so they can read this email to you if you’re not on the ‘confuser.’ I had a few mentors in life; i.e., Harold, Bruce, Leigh, and you. I add Matt to that list now, because I keep learning from my son as we both age. Loretta and I are grateful to you and Sandi for befriending Matt, Labrador Bailey, the phantom Weber grill, and Matt’s skill in culinary arts and hunting. Afton called me moments ago to chat about something else; indeed, we agreed your contributions to science, conservation, hunting, conflict resolution (and initiation), and the waterfowl human community are unparalleled and unique. You are one of a kind! Enjoy this weekend with your ‘brood’ as much as possible and know that the Kaminski’s love and admire you. Sandi will be okay because of her strength to endure you all these decades. Look 360 degrees and relish all your contributions locally and globally. Uncle Dave, we love, admire, and thank you. Rick Kaminski

  7. Bill Hohman says:

    Dear Dave,

    Congratulations on this most deserved recognition! Of course, I love the name of the award but I am wondering if the award shouldn’t have been called something like the “Ultimate Debate Championship” (UDC)? That title could be awarded to you in many venues across North America.

    I am immensely grateful to have been a Delta student in the late 70s and early 80s with the opportunity to interact with you and your students. I was more of an observer than a full combatant in the UDC on Kirchoffer Porch, but the experience left a deep and lasting mark just-the-same. I greatly value our collaborations. The chapter that we wrote for the Delta book is probably one of my most important contributions to the waterfowl literature. We still have a few data sets and analyses that need to be written up. I will eventually get to these unfinished projects, Dave, even if I have to do it in retirement.

    Say, Dave, I’ve been telling a story about you for years that you need to set straight. I think that I have the honor of being the only author to have ever received a journal review signed by Dave Ankney. Now this was a while ago, but very early in my career I submitted a manuscript to CJZ describing indices of fat and protein for Ring-necked Ducks. The reviews came back mixed. The anonymous first reviewer was strongly (albeit politely) critical of the manuscript, while the second reviewer had mostly positive comments. So, the editor didn’t reject the paper outright. Being inexperienced with the publication process and convinced the first reviewer didn’t know what the hell he/she was talking about, I made a few minor revisions and aggressively rebutted the reviewer’s criticisms. I almost suggested to the editor that the revised manuscript be sent to a real expert on the subject, someone like Dave Ankney. Well, the editor sent the revised manuscript with my rebuttal back to the first reviewer whose comments the second go-around were much more to the point. The paper was rejected. The review remained unsigned but in the upper righthand corner of the review was a neat round cigarette burn hole in the paper. Ok, Dave, come clean. That was you wasn’t it!

    Sorry that I missed connecting with you again this winter in Texas. Thanks for your inspiration and mentorship, Dave. You will be missed.

    Best, Bill

  8. Frank Wick says:

    Dave and Sandi:
    I was more than shocked and disapointed to hear of both of you having such serious health issues.
    Dave I was because of both you and Rick Morgan that I became and are still on the Board of Directors of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, I have learned so much and have spent so many hours with you talking about all types of Ontario’s wildlife.
    Every time now and in the past 20 years that I have met with the office Fish and Wildlife staff and or Board members I think back on the good times we had together.
    I wish that we could have gotten together more but the times we had enjoying a adult beverage & talking about wildlife issues and or doing some urban wildlife viewing will be forevery in my thoughts.

    All my best to both of you.
    Frank Wick

  9. Rich Crawford says:

    Congrats on the award, Dave. My best to you, and my thanks. Thanks for help with grad students, with paper reviews, good conversation, and lots more. Hope you can beat this and come back even stronger. Take care. –Rich Crawford

  10. Mark Petrie says:

    By pure luck, I happened to land at Delta the same summer Dave and Sandi were there in residence. It didn’t matter if you had spent 8 hours in the MERP grinding shed, or counting cladocera, you could always look forward to world’s finest cocktail hour at the end of the day. More often than not, it was hosted by Dave on the now famous back porch. I recall one evening when Dave’s sense of humor was on full display. Now, there had been a paper published that argued that breeding wood ducks were “protein limited.” Apparently, Dave hadn’t fully bought into this thesis. Because as we sat there consuming our Delta pay, a wood duck actually landed in a five-gallon bucket of corn used to feed those long-departed swans. To which Dave replied…”there’s one of those protein limited wood ducks.” It was uttered by the one person in the one place where it could truly be appreciated.

    Dave, I have always admired your visceral distrust of conventional wisdom. I t has served you, your students, and our profession extremely well. No one has contributed more. John Coluccy sent me a photograph of that grouse hunt you took us on back in 1988. A 22-year old doesn’t always appreciate those he crosses paths with, but I certainly do now.

    Best wishes to both you and Sandi


  11. Dave Messmer says:

    Dear Dave,
    I didn’t have the opportunity to know you at a very personal level, but nonetheless I’m fortunate that you have been quick to share your thoughts and encouraged me to clarify my own. I’ve distilled down a few ideas that, although you may not have invented, I’ve come to associate with you and your way of thinking. I hope I’m not too far off the mark and that their simplicity doesn’t obscure their depth.

    Science (wildlife biology) can tells us “what is” and even “what might be”, but not “what ought to be”

    Beware of impeccable rigorous reasoning from faulty premises

    A preference for wildlife should not be the only factor dictating one’s political philosophy

    You’ll be fondly remembered. Thanks for everything,

  12. JM DeVink says:

    Dear Dave,
    Unfortunately, few of our younger generation have had the experience of refreshments and thoughtful deliberation on the back porch of Kirchoffer. It is a place that will always stay near and dear to my heart for the week each of the four summers I got to spend there with some very knowledgeable and thoughtful folks, many of whom I delight in calling close friends. I only wish our time there could have overlapped. While you and I have had some fairly heated debates in the past, our very regular communication about conservation, hunting, fishing and trapping in the past few years has fostered a great appreciation for your passion about science, policy and unabated and open challenge of conventional beliefs. I’m honoured to have been referred to as your friend.

    If there is one page of your storied career that my generation of wildlife professionals and conservationists can take to heart, it’s the approach of not being afraid to ask questions and to challenge things that just don’t seem right to us. At the end of the day, our waterfowl community is small, but very close and no matter the differences of opinion it’s rare we can’t sit down and share a beer at the end of the day because no matter the topic of debate we’re all connected by our passion for the waterfowl and wildlife that fuel our internal fires. Debate is not only healthy, it’s the foundation of what we do and I dare say that none has mastered the art so well as you.

    There is no doubt that our community has many challenges ahead of us, but know that we’re all better at what we do and how we approach problems because of your involvement. To the many I’ve spoken with in the past two weeks, no award or tribute seems to adequately capture our respect and appreciation.


  13. Mike Eichholz says:

    There are 2 stories I would like to share with you and others.

    The first, one that I’m sure we can all relate to, occurred while I was working on brant for my MS with Sedinger (about 1993). I don’t remember exactly why, but I wanted to compare my brant body condition data to some brant data you had collected. I finally worked up the nerve ask and am pretty certain I e-mailed you the request, expecting an e-mail in reply. What I received was a fax of a hand written note followed by 2 pages of hand written data (I still have it in my files somewhere). My 1st thought was, will this old geezer ever figure how to use a computer and e-mail. I was later told you refused to use e-mail (maybe it was against your religion). It appears from the thousands of e-mails I have received, however, you realized you can send e-mails out over list-serves and debate hundreds of people at a time, instead of the one at a time you can debate using pen and paper. Maybe it is more fair for the rest of us that way. I thank you for stepping out of the dark ages and embracing a little technology (and man did you ever embrace it with a passion). Your numerous e-mails have vastly enriched (at least in most cases) numerous discussions regarding waterfowl ecology.

    The 2nd event is a little more personal and took place at the Arctic Goose Symposium in Albuquerque, NM (1995). It was where I gave my first presentation in front of the waterfowl experts I worshipped. I was terrified to give the presentation and when I finally finished stumbling through it, all I could think was ”what is this dumb farm boy doing giving a presentation in front of this group and I hope I didn’t just embarrass myself”. After the session Sedinger came up and told me you had invited me up to your room with some folks for a drink. It was at that point that I realized I was being accepted into this community and maybe this dumb farm boy could contribute something worthwhile to the field of waterfowl ecology after all. Hopefully I eventually will. I’m guessing you impacted numerous individuals such as me without ever being aware of your impact.

    Unfortunately you retired before I began attending Delta Student Symposiums in 2001 so I missed the opportunity to interact with you on the porch, but whether the discussion takes place in a hotel room late in the evening, on Kirchoffer’s back porch over beers, or with e-mails via cyberspace, your presence will be sorely missed.


  14. Dave Duncan says:

    Dave and Sandi

    My thoughts and wishes are with you both.

    I was one of the lucky ones who got to observe you, Dave…..the master-debater… action at Delta. My recollection is that much of the most animated discussion happended in the Kirchhoffer kitchen, even moreso than the back porch. Kitchen parties are so often the best aren’t they? In my memory I recall the most liveliest “performances” were in the kitchen….likely because the beer fridge was closer I suspect!! Good debates often lead to buliding synergies among opposed views.

    Fast forward abut 5-6 years and I’m informed that you Dave were to be my external examiner for my PhD thesis defense. I thought to myself…”Oh good…Dave….a friendly face” but as I walked to the examination room, my supervisor, the very conservative Dr. Boag, forewarned me that I should be prepared that you might give me a bit of a rough ride. The next thing I recall is halfway through the examination, you raising your voice, louder and louder regarding some point in my thesis, and eventually hitting your fist on the table to emphasize your contradictory point, much the surprise of both me and other committee memebers . Your behaviour caused my own blood pressure to rise and for me to take a similarly aggresive posture….something I seldom do. So I raised my voice too and also pounded the table for emphasis and responded “Oh yeah, well I disgaree……and at least I’ve got data to back up MY point!!”. In hindsight, this was perhaps not necessarily the smartest move for a student looking to get his thesis approved. But then cool as a cucumber you replied “Good response, next question”. And I’m left thinking “You son of a gun… got me good!!”. Thank god you did that because if it wasn’t for that I don’t think I’d remember a single thing from my defense. Years later you took me for a nice tour of the Longpoint marshes. Your friendly smiling face always made me smile.

    I wish you the best. Tight lines and straight shooting!!

    Dave Duncan

  15. Allan Aubin says:

    Dave, I only knew you as a grad student. But even then it was obvious you were going places! Man, did you ever! What a wonderful contribution you made to ecology, waterfowl research…science!

    Allan aubin

  16. Dana Smith says:

    Congrats on the award, you deserve it very much. I wish we had more time together, I really would like the scientific deductions about waterfowl that I just guess at from my redneck observations! My friend, it has been so much of a pleasure to have known you and Sandi, I will never forget y’all as long as I live. I’m sure my daughter Rachel will never forget the “debate” you had on my porch at Thanksgiving this year, good times EH? LOL!!! To our times together in the Southbay Marsh Aransas Pass, Texas my friend….. cheers!!!!! God speed and clear us a path, we’ll all be there with you in the blink of an eye Dave!!!


  17. Charles Alexander says:

    Dave and Sandi

    Thinking of you both as you go through these trying times.

    I first met you Dave about 1986 when you came on the OFAH Board and Sandi shortly after. At that time I never would have thought that we would end up 28 years later still staying in regular contact via email and what a treat it has been. The OFAH Board was mainly made up of people like me, non-professional, but you came to help and to teach and at the Board you did so in a quiet manner. For sure in the evenings after the meeting you became more forceful when needed and so many of us learned so much. I recall commenting how someone as knowledgeable as you must shake your head when you hear some of the things I and Board members would say around the table. Your reply was something like, “I am not so concerned about their smarts or what they say, I only care if their commitment and heart is in the right place.” A lesson I have never forgot.

    You and I had some wonderful years together with the OFAH and the CWF along with the Government Committees we both were part of. Those days were fun days and we made a difference, you much more then I. But my fondest days were the times that we and our wives went fishing, in B.C. and on beautiful Lac Seul. Man did we catch a pile of Walleye. On one of your trips to Lac Seul while we were fishing I recall us having a chance encounter with a trapper who just happened to have a Black Lab in his boat and he was doing some early duck hunting. You immediately forgot about fishing and started petting the dog and talking about hunting. You may recall how our new friend talked about how good the hunting gets a little later when the Bluebills show up. It was plain to see your real love was Ducks and labs but after he left you did settle back into the fishing. While I don’t recall, you likely said something to the trapper that still sticks with him, for you have that ability.

    Perhaps in another world we will meet again and perhaps again make a difference?

    From a song by Randy Travis “I found only two things that last till the end, one is your heroes the other your friends”. You were both to me.


  18. Michael Bradstreet says:

    7 February

    Dave, you have been one of the great mentors of my life. I think that in ways perhaps unbeknownst to you, you have matured me and made me a better scientist, a better conservationist, and a more tolerant human being. You more than anyone has helped me bridge an unnecessary divide between hunters and naturalists and your impact in that regard has made Long Point and Norfolk a better place to live for all who love nature, including me. And your energy and tenacity have awed me. Man, when you got the bit between your teeth on any issue, and especially where you saw faulty logic or thought the truth was being hidden, opponents saw the force that is Dave Ankney.

    I’ll miss you Dave, but as long as I live I’ll remember you and look to that memory for inspiration. Whether perchin in the Bay, or watching ducks cloud a November sky, I’ll recall that my world is a better place because of you and I’ll work hard to keep it that way.

    Michael Bradstreet, Vice President Conservation
    Nature Conservancy of Canada

  19. Mark Forbes says:

    I am very saddened to hear of your health woes Dave.

    I have had the extreme pleasure of hunting with both you and Sandi and your friends on too few occasions and seeing first hand your passion for “the hunt” as well as for “the debate” that others have alluded to, the latter reverberating within so many venues (from the porch to any pub to an ‘occupied’ hotel room).

    I had several immediate thoughts when I got the email trail from Pat Weatherhead via Ray. Not life’s lessons per se, just thoughts and happy memories. But somehow there’s a lesson in just that. Just hanging on to the memories.

    My first remembrance was being in line for security at an airport in Syracuse and you were ahead of me. We were on our way to that famed AOU conference in 1983. After setting off the alarm and surrendering all sorts of metal objects, you were finally allowed to go through. I say surrendering, but you demanded everything back ~ from belt buckles to penknives ~ as nothing was illegal or contraband, at least in those days. Hell, you canna’ even get through with 200 mL of shampoo these days! You just shrugged his shoulders… 15 minutes of in-fame that really didn’t matter.

    I remember one Wednesday night (seminar night), we drank and argued and laughed and argued some more and I left that night with your boots on, mistaking them for my own. I thought my poor navigating of the London wintry night had more to do with the blood alcohol than wearing boots a size and a half too large. You just shrugged. Frobs!, I am sure you said the next day. I had to return your boots (and retrieve my own) scared shitless that you and Sandi had somewhere else to be that day ~ like hunting. Luckily it was a Thursday morning.

    Then there were the Turkey re-introduction seminars, sometime after my Masters was finished. I remember thinking about your hopes of reintroducing wild turkey in Ontario and now I always think of you and Sandi (in camo) whenever I see a turkey (which is quite often). The very fact I see them often and my friends now hunt them is testament to your conviction.

    I also remember you asking me if I would give a seminar on wildlife in Ontario to a group of retirees, I felt quite stricken with angst. Surely to god, these retirees forgot more than I knew? I must have spent 10-15 hours preparing on everything from deer natural history to waterfowl migrations. It was quite fun though. You are like that. Not one to immediately shrug of engagements you couldn’t make, but rather to pass them on to others who might learn.

    These and many more memories. I learned and had a lot of fun for the short time I was at Western, even though you wondered if I’d ever finish my M.Sc. My heart goes out to you both.

  20. Greg Kelly says:

    Dave, you were there when I was a junior professor and I needed your advice. I’ll never forget what you did to help out and I’ll always remember your kindness; you too Sandi. I wish you folk all the best in these hard times and congratulations on a well deserved award. Cheers, Greg Kelly.

    P.S. Dave I’ve bagged almost every animal in Canada, but those damn turkeys you helped introduce here in Ontario have been my nemesis! What’s your secret?

  21. I had the pleasure to meet Dave and Sandi about 7 years ago, I knew they were special people from the start. I really admired the passion they had for hunting, a passion that would bring them to all the way to Texas every Duck season! This is the funny part, after several years of hunting with them and discussing ducks, Dave hosted a several groups of DW and DU guys, one of the guys sent out a tribute email about him! That tribute shocked me, Dave had NEVER explained his background over the first few years of our hunting, he just sat and took in all the babblings of a guy who was on the water everyday using that data to form his own opinions and like a good scientist knowing all the time he would probably get information that way! I was truly amazed at what Dave had accomplished in his field and was even more amazed at how unassumingly grounded he was about it! Once I knew he was “Famous” we had a lot of fun talking too…LOL!
    Dave and Sandi have been so kind to me and Trigger, they would even pick him up from doggie jail (boarding) for playtime at my pond during several of my long yacht delivery trips to Florida, “Thanks Y’all” from me and Trigger…they picked him up almost everyday when I was gone! That just goes to show you the type of people they are and I know they have touched everyone who is reading this right now too! I kind of adopted them as my Grandparents and think the world of them!

    Missing Y’all!
    Scott McCune
    “The Saltwater Cowboy”

  22. Steve Johnson says:

    Dave and Sandy
    I can not write much that has not already been written. At the cost of a “time out” I have thrown the review flag. Without any delays under the replay viewer the judges say “That upon further review Mr. Ankney it its truly you that is Mr. Remarkable!”
    I have never been so moved and impacted by anyone such has you.
    God speed and leave me a sign at “The Crybaby”.
    Jean and I love you both.

  23. Michael Hutchins says:

    Dave and Sandi;

    We who love the outdoors, especially those of us who cherish the thoughts and happy memories, shared with friends, of a cold northwest November wind while looking out over a spread of diver decoys at Long Point; or, those who have vivid memories of seeing the open tailfans of Ontario eastern gobblers, backlighted by the rays of a rising orange sun on a lovely spring morning, have nothing but gratitude for the work and effort you have made, with Sandi’s support, to preserve these for us.

    I fondly remember when Arnold on my behalf asked about a problem I was having with a particular spring gobbler and your answer was “Love ‘em one minute, hate ‘em the next”; and your tale from Ernie concerning ” Good Morning Buford” stilll brings a tear of joy and laughter to me.

    All we can say Dave, is thanks you.


  24. David J. Schummer says:


    While I do not know you and have never met you, I am well aware of your significant influence on a dear and close family member of mine – my brother. Unlike wealth, – knowledge, experience, and wisdom do trickle down. I know more today about game birds, migration, and duck and bird behavior than I could have ever thought possible. From you, No. From your student, Yes.

    So what, you might ask. I teach philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh Bradford. We have a strong Environmental Studies program and I teach Environmental Ethics. And therein lies the connection.

    My bother (Michael Schummer) and I frequently discuss rather contentious issues that overlap ethics, use, and resources. We often disagree, but each of us always comes away a touch more informed, insightful, and careful in our thinking about these matters.

    I have my mentors to thank for my side, and Michael has his. Yet, people share their experiences and their knowledge. I guess my point is that I’d like to extend a “thank you” to someone who I do not know – and who does not know me – yet has played a roll in my academic life, and consequently the lives of my students.

    All the best,
    David J. Schummer

  25. Bob (UWO) Bailey says:


    I know you are in a bad place right now and if there was anything I could do to get you out of it, I would. But I also wanted to remind you of the gist of what I said at your retirement celebration. We have argued, not always in a friendly way, through our many years as biologists. But when I think back at what made me whatever the hell I have become that’s worth more than a piece of shit, you are at the top of the list, bar none. You had faith in me at a couple of critical points when few else did, and challenged me enough to make sure I had my story straight before I challenged you back and won the argument!

    I hope you won’t cringe too much when I say…



  26. Mike Johnson says:

    Dave: I have been watching all the email exchanges and postings to this website and you have been in my thoughts a lot for a long time. I am so sorry to hear that you are fighting the big battle and that Sandi is also facing serious health issues. I have been keeping abreast of your status regularly – mostly thru Alisauskas, who is a great mutual friend.

    My heartfelt thanks to you and Sandi for all your help, friendship, guidance and great times over the years. I was never a Delta student, but I first met you on the back porch at Delta, probably in the early 80’s. It was a memorable beer drinking event. We first got to know each other thru the light goose issue – about 18 years ago. I sent a letter to you responding to your open letter to Steve Curtis, CWS regarding the overabundance of geese. Your letter was the first salvo in this battle and the ONE and FIRST event that really stirred the pot and got action underway. My letter to you, several weeks later, contained a long list of potential management actions, that eventually turned into the management section in the Perils report – largely because of your efforts. Your clear thinking and guidance and the encouragement you gave me and others on this issue was extraordinary.

    I will never forget our great times together in producing the Direct Control report. The week-long visits to your place on Long Point in each of 2 years have left me with great memories. Not only because they just happened to be timed with the bass opener, and the great fishing you and Sandi treated me to, but also because of the long days we spent sitting at your table talking, debating and writing the Direct Control Report – and drinking beer – and the great dinners! It was a significant piece of work and one that many people hoped that we would not attack or complete and one that many people thought that we would never complete. Your diligence and guidance on these issues, again, were extraordinary.

    Dave, I am not sure what else I can say. You have lead a remarkable career and you have made a huge impact on waterfowl and natural resource conservation, management and research across North America. I thank you for all you have done, and especially for educating great students that will follow in your footsteps and carry on long after you. In the big picture, that is all any of us can do – make the biggest mark we can, while we are here, and try to instill knowledge and values in the younger “biological urges” so that they can do the same.

    My sincerest best to you and Sandi and thank you from the bottom of my heart. Mike

  27. Dan Elliott says:


    It has been 20 years or more since we first met and in every discussion we had I always walked away a little wiser. Whether business or just enjoying a cocktail together our visits left me with a positive feeling and looking forward to the next time our paths crossed.

    For those of us who so enjoy the natural world no words can express the feelings we share.

    All the Best my friend!

    Dan Elliott

  28. Steve Timmermans says:


    I’m sure you understand, but perhaps don’t realize, the full extent that your positive, logical, caring, and friendly influence and accomplishments has and will continue to have on the many students, colleagues, friends & family with whom you’ve shared many experiences throughout your much fulfilled life.

    You mentored us to write. You inspired us to think logically, analytically, and creatively. You encouraged us to stand up for what we know and believe. You taught us that hunting, fishing, and nature comes first. You taught us that those inexpensive Weber charcoal barbecues are one of man’s greatest inventions, and that shagbark hickory bark is one of nature’s best seasoning inventions. You always managed to do all of these things incredibly well, and impeccably on time I might add.

    You did it Dave. You “gave ‘em hell”. You did it all to the fullest. And for that I will always admire you in ways that I really cannot adequately express in writing. You are and always will, not only be important aspects of several chapters of my life, but also a major aspect of the bibliography, prologue and epilogue in my life. I’m certain that your influences will live on through many, and speaking personally, these will live on through the values, skills, critical thinking and passion and love for all things naturally outdoors that I am passing on to my children. Thank-you for everything you’ve done for us Dave. Cathy and I love both you and Sandy dearly.

    A few sayings of yours that will guide me to the end of my days:

    “The good ‘ole days are now” (you proved that day-in and day-out)

    “Don’t look for logic where there isn’t any”

    “You rarely regret what you did, but you almost always regret what you didn’t do”

    And, last but not least:

    “Dammit Timmermans, since when did before dawn mean as the sun is rising??!!” (in reference to being late for bass opener at Long Point – highly not recommended)

    Steve and Cathy Timmermans

  29. Graham Hickling says:

    Hi Dave — Jack Millar gave me a heads-up about your health problems, so it’s great to have this website to leave you a brief message. One of the best lessons I learned while doing my PhD at UWO came from the Wednesday(?) evening pizza sessions, where each week a graduate student would present their research ideas. You would be at the back of the room with your beer, biding your time. After 10 minutes, if you hadn’t heard what you needed to hear, there would come a great booming voice: “What’s the #@$$*$ question?!?” Thirty years on, I’m still asking my graduate students that same thing, after their first 10 minutes …

    You’ve made a big impression on my and many others’ lives, Dave – our thoughts are with you and your family! Cheers, mate! Kiwi.

  30. Michael L. Schummer says:

    Dear Dave,

    To Long Point Waterfowl you have been a steadfast guide. We could not have asked for a more unwavering voice for our organization, the Long Point region, and the waterfowl and wetlands resources in the Great Lakes region and beyond.

    In the waterfowl world you are a giant and on your home turf (Long Point) the respect you garner is like no other person I’ve known. In regard to my early meetings with you, a colleague once expressed, “You know Dave’s not a God and you can disagree with him…right?” As a young buck, I was not certain this was true at first, but slowly I realized how (appropriate) disagreement yielded results. I also realized that you were sometimes “wrong”, but that you were most definitely filled with challenges to contemporary thinking.

    Dave, you are a master of thinking outside the box and breaking dogmas, you have challenged us (no made us!) to think critically and at lengths greater than we would like, you have shared hunts and hunting stories, and you have shared in the loses of our 4-pawed companions as you have shared the loses of your own. In a single person I have never seen such fervor and logic at once; your capacity to balance life’s challenges is something we should all strive for.

    “And he owns Chessies too!” you shouted after I was introduced at the Long Point Waterfowlers’ Association Spring General Meeting in 2012. I noted this and smiled.

    Early in my years at Long Point, you and I debated about the qualities of Chesapeake Bay Retrievers relative to Labs. Most notably, you favour Labs. Nonetheless, I’ve always seen you as a Chessie…strong, dedicated, and always ready to do “the right thing”…..but only when you decided the thing to be done was right. You took hand signals, but were always ready to tell your handler (insert USFWS, DUC, UWO Administration, etc. here) when they were wrong and go the opposite way, barging through thick cattails and coming out the other side with a BULL SPRIG in mouth, wagging your tail and delivering the product.

    In an age with many cripples, you were a beacon of truth.

    I’ve also seen the Labrador side of you, the dedication and never leave your side attitude that we all need and respect, the focus and love we all need and respect, the love for man and the wetlands that we all need and respect.

    We will never reproduce the days at Kirchoffer Lodge, and there will never be another Dave Ankney, but we will do our best to honour the traditions and we will continue to learn.

    Dave, you live forever in all of us. Thank you.

    With highest regard–


    Michael L. Schummer

  31. Xuhua Xia says:

    Dave is my mentor and my elder brother, without whom I would probably have been so disheartened as to quit my graduate studies at UWO, especially after I got a mark of 36 for my first exam in 1984. In spite of all empirical evidence pointing to the contrary, Dave thought that I would be fine and offered me constant encouragement throughout my study at UWO. On the day when Dave learned of my application for permanent resident status, he gave me a huge bear hug, although his gigantic tommy somewhat got in the way. I felt spiritually exalted knowing that I was on my way to become his fellow Canadian.

    Dave had been extremely kind to students and generous with his time. He served as a member of my advisory committee. Every time when I wrote something with my broken English, I would hand it to him, knowing fully well that it would come back with his detailed and insightful “poison dart review”.

    It is professors like Dave who had created the unique academic atmosphere in Collip, where professors would share venison and garden vegetables with their students and have a bear with students as if all were brothers. It was a true academic Garden of Eden for me. How I wish to relive my Collip years!


  32. Jeff Helsdon says:

    Unlike many who have posted here, I am not a scientist, but that doesn’t mean I don’t recognize and appreciate the great scientific minds of our time.

    While Dave is known as a waterfowl biologist, Ontario hunters and naturalists owe him immensely for his role in the reintroduction of the wild turkey in Ontario. Without Dave as one of the driving forces and his determination there is a good chance we still wouldn’t have wild turkeys here. I only hunted turkeys with Dave once but it was one of those hunts where I felt honoured to have spent time with Dave and I came away enriched by his knowledge and having spent time with him.

    Jeff Helsdon

  33. Ken Maronets says:

    Dave and Sandi,
    I just wanted to thank both of you for your positive influences you’ve provided me during my life especially the years at UWO and the field season spent on Southampton Island. You guys are not alone (as you can see by these postings of your amazing lives well lived!). Think of you often.

  34. Arnold Freitag says:

    Hi Dave,

    We first met in about 1981 or 1982. You were checking mallard gizzards for what I assume was lead poisoning. You and Sandi routinely selected blind 33 ahead of Dave Kennedy and I. #33 was the best access to the celery beds and the canvasback that staged in Coletta Bay at the Long Point Waterfowl Unit. Our paths crossed often because of our mutual love for Long Point, waterfowl, wild turkey and perch. We even participated in an Ontario Federation of Anglers & Hunters TV show on perch fishing several years ago.
    However, this testimonial is about your contribution to Long Point waterfowlers. By 1987 the Waterfowl Unit was struggling and consequently the Long Point Waterfowlers’ Association (LPWA) was born. You were a founding member. In 1991, as President of of the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH), you were instrumental in negociating a self -financing agreement for the Unit with the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) whereby the three organizations were partnered and Waterfowl Unit user fees were redirected from General Revenue to Unit operations through the OFAH. That agreement made the future of the Unit possible.
    By the turn of the century the Units most significant issue had become the survival of the Long Point Crown Marsh itself. It was aging at accelerating rates because of agricultural nutriant and silt deposits from Big Creek. Even though the LPWA was maintaining some existing ponds and channels the marsh was quickly being transformed to a monoculture of invasive phragmites and cattails. In 2006 the waterfowlers elected Jim Malcolm as their President. Jim’s vision was to save the marsh and again we turned to Dr. Dave, his friends and students in the scientific community for help. The LPWA decided to spend its dwindling financial resources on a marsh evaluation performed by Dr. Shannon Badzinski of LPW (Scott Petrie). Dave Ankney hosted a scientific review meeting of Shannon’s findings and recommendations that included a tour of the marsh by many of the most respected experts in this country and beyond. The result was instant credibility, funding and permits to proceed with marsh rehabilitation. In 2011 the LPWA recognized Dr. Dave with a “Founders” award and named a rehabed pond closest to his and Sandi’s cattage “Ankney Pond”. I heard that last Friday, February 8th, Rick Thompson (our recently retired and important MNR contact person) erected a large Canadian flag in the middle of the pond for Dave and Sandi to see.
    On behalf of the LPWA, me and local waterfowlers, Thank You!

  35. Monika Havelka says:

    Dear Dave,

    I’m so sorry to hear of your health troubles. You were a huge part of my graduate years at Western — years that were tremendously important to me in so many ways. Your extremely sharp mind and willingness to share your opinion definitely kept me on my toes during many a Wednesday nighter (every grad student needs to develop the ability to answer a well-deserved “Bullsh*t!!” yelled from the back of the room!). You helped me to think like a scientist, you challenged and encouraged me, and you were a warm and generous mentor. You and Sandi were great hosts in London and at Long Point (loved those decoy-tying parties). Reading through the messages above, I know how very many people look back on your influence with the same admiration and deep gratitude. Lee and I are thinking of you both.

  36. Felix Barbetti says:

    Dear Dave
    In your formative years you ceratinly fit the Bill as someone that MSU would accept and graduate and graduate. Clearly you rose to every challeneg and conrtibuted immesurably to Conservation and our enjoyment of fish and wildlife.
    As you look out over your favourite marshlands please accept our heartfelt apprecaition for everything that you’ve taught and fought for .
    Felix Barbetti

  37. Eldon Hawton says:

    Dear Dave,

    It saddens me to hear the troubling & shocking news about your current health situation. I had no idea and expected that you would be off trapping this winter as usual.

    Thank you for all your support, encouragement and sound advice over the years. One instance in particular stands out… can’t thank you enough when you alone took my side and turned the tide during a critical OMBAAC/MNR moose management meeting in Ottawa back in year 2000.

    You certainly deserve all the good things that are said here on your behalf.

    Going forward … I sincerely wish both you and Sandi all the very best.

    Your friend, Eldon

  38. Mark Holmes says:

    Dave and Sandi:

    Although it has been a few years since we last spoke, please know that you are both part of many fond memories indelibly etched in my mind.

    Filming episodes of The Angler and Hunter with Rick Morgan and the hospitality suites at OFAH Conference where most of the world’s problems were resolved ( at least temporarily) were formative in my life. Bass fishing with you and Sandi, was only surpassed by the terrific conversations around your kitchen table.

    Your clearspeak and logic that , even though seemingly brutal at times, always led to the right decisions.
    An ecyclopedic knowledge of waterfowl and an unwaving passion for the outdoors is a legacy that will never be forgotten.

    Thank you Dave and Sandi. God bless and know that our thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Mark Holmes

  39. Albrecht Schulte-Hostedde says:

    Dave – I am so sorry to hear about your failing health. I hope you find peace at this time.
    As an undergraduate at Western, you scared the crap out of me. My first real memory of you was when I came to your office to ask you a question about potential grad school advisors (Jack thought you might have some ideas). I knocked on your door, someone barked from within, I opened the door, only to have 2 black labs try and escape. I was trying to not let them out and ask you a question while you seemed to glower at me from behind that desk with the huge pile of cigarette ashes. I felt like an idiot. Nonetheless, you did answer my questions, and I was relieved when I took your 4th year courses that you were easy to talk to, if not a bit cantankerous.
    Collip was a special place in those days – Those Wedn nighters that the 4th year and students used to have to go through were trial by fire. The expletives you threw, forcing us to get to the heart of the matter were so important. The need to clearly and succinctly explain an hypothesis is something I emphasise with my own students now, in no small part because of your example.
    As a PhD student, I found your insight about my thesis to be exceptionally important, and I appreciated all of your input as a committee member. I still credit you for forcing me to do the survival analysis that led one of my early papers to be published in Evolution. Your blunt manner and obvious intelligence made a big impression on me. I’ll always remember you, your dogs in the office, and the geese and ducks.

  40. Tom Bradstreet says:


    You and I have only had a chance to get to know each other over the past two years. I’ve enjoyed our conversations about hunting, fishing, and conservation land management. I especially enjoyed the day I got to spend perchin’ off Pottohawk last Spring with you and Sandi, Bay, and little Bug (who I’m sure is a much larger Bug by now!).

    My father, who always refers to you as simply ‘Ankney’, developed a relationship with you that I know he valued immensely. It took me a while to catch on to what references to ‘Ankney’ really meant when I’d hear your name brought up in conversations Dad would have with colleagues and friends. Over time I figured out that he was referring to discussions he’d had with you when he was facing challenges he couldn’t quite figure out the solution too. In short, when things got really tough, Dad would come and seek your opinion. As an accomplished biologist and successful leader in the conservation community in his own right, his attempts to seek out your views on various issues speak to the level of influence you had with him and with many others. I remember thinking on a number of occasions growing up…man, this Ankney guy must really know what he’s talking about, usually Dad thinks he already knows all the answers!

    Finally a couple of years ago I made it a point to show up at your door and say ‘Hi Dave, I think you know my old man…wanna go fishin’?’ I’m really glad I did.

    Your new friend,


  41. Paul Handford says:

    Just heard of your troubles, Dave.

    It is sobering and saddening to hear of such afflictions in one so young (well, younger than me) but I know you are facing it all with customary ‘true grit’, just like that character in the picture frame on your office wall.

    Just wanted you to know that, regardless of our differences here and there through the years, there are many things I always valued, and continue to value, from our Collip days together:

    I hugely admired the way you ran your research group— it was a large and often— well, pretty much always— boisterous crew who contributed great life to our little community— you asked them to work hard, but invited them to play hard too;

    your often tough & gruff, but always concerned & supportive questioning of students at our Wednesday Nighters was an institution in itself— everyone learned how to growl “Bullshit!” or “well, what’s your goddam hypothesis!?”; but none of us got it quite right;

    you were a great guy to have on an advisory committee: you were very tough, and insistent on clear thinking and statement, but what struck me was that you were always positive, making constructive suggestions as needed, and providing friendly encouragement to all; despite your curmudgeonly manner, it was obvious you truly gave a damn about the students and the training they received;

    you were a great ally in our efforts to develop and defend our E&E program against all-comers, whether in faculty meetings or wherever;

    you love dogs; ’nuff said;

    you gave me great advice and support at the time of my appointment renewal; you knew the games likely being played and you helped me figure out how to play the hand some were trying to deal me; I’ll always be grateful to you for that

    You’ve got a great deal to be proud of, Dave: a diverse mass of students, colleagues and friends have many good reasons to wish you the very best, and very few of us have much more than that.

    Thanks for everything, Dave.


  42. Al Hanson says:

    I was saddened to hear about your health problems. I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciated your efforts as a grad student supervisor and our times hunting together. Your influence on the cohorts of grad students cannot be underestimated. The other day I found myself muttering: “For those who understand, no explanation is necessary, for those who do not, no explanation is possible”.

    Congratulations on the ‘Kirchoffer Back Porch Award’ it is well deserved, and a fitting tribute to a man who always brought passion and facts in the appropriate ratios to the discussion at hand.
    As a background, I first met Dave in person at Kirchoffer Lodge in the summer of 1986, prior to starting my M.Sc. that fall. I remember flying back to London with Dave in August. He had some excess baggage…… a dozen burlap bags of frozen whole ducks to go to the lab at Western for analysis. So the adventure began. Over the next couple of years at Western I learned a lot about ‘science’ and waterfowl conservation from Dave (and Daryl Dennis). The experience was so good for me that I came back for a second helping by doing my Ph.D. with Dave and Bob Bailey as co-supervisors in1995. Others have commented that Dave had a rather ‘gruff’ manner with students, but Dr. Dave was just practicing ‘tough love’ long before Dr. Phil hit the airwaves. Dave doesn’t suffer fools lightly so his solution was to make sure the grad students didn’t stay foolish long. Between Dave shouting “What’s your question?” and Roger Green redoing your stats on a pocket calculator at Wednesday Niters you wised up pretty quick.

    I also remember Dave when you gave a welcome speech to the new grad students and you encouraged them to enjoy their research and time at Western. It was fun at Western, and Dave’s grad students benefited from his passion for waterfowl and his genuine interest in the well-being of his students.

    I must also highlight the generosity of Dave and Sandi showed their grad students in sharing their hunting experiences. Whether it be hunting turkeys in Missouri (you boys are driving way too slow), or divers at Long Point (is that our boat floating away?) we always had great hunts with some funny stories afterwards. And this time of year who can forget hunting eiders in February in New Brunswick and the three hour tour on the WB Scott). Thanks Dave and Sandi for sharing and for your friendship. To borrow your line Dave, “You’re good People”.

    I hope our collective words can help bring you some smiles.

    Dave and Sandi, we wish you the best. Al and Laurann Hanson

  43. Dr. Jerome Katchin says:

    Hello Dave and Sandi,

    I just read about your health issues in the recent Long Point Waterfowl update this evening.

    Although we only met a few short years ago I have had the pleasure to benefit from your waterfowl management experience, knowledge and wisdom. Through our many e-mails you have either provided me with the information or have guided me as to where I could find the information that I was searching for.

    Your initial support for me to continue with my Tundra Swan proposal (although you did express some concerns about it) was greatly appreciated. As a result I eventually established The Dr. Jerome Katchin Waterfowl Foundation which will soon be able to financially support the implementation of a Tundra Swan harvest in Canada as well as other waterfowl related projects … be they habitat restoration, research or preserving our waterfowling (hunting of ducks. geese and swans) heritage.

    I read in the Delta Waterfowl Anniversary Edition last fall about the criticism that you previously had endured (many years ago) regarding your initial proposal for a spring snow goose season long before it was eventually accepted by waterfowlers, waterfowl managers and the general public. This historical account only served to reinforce my determination to pursue my Tundra Swan proposal with the Canadian Wildlife Service.

    You have no doubt left a favourable impression on the face of the waterfowling world which waterfowlers will not forget any time soon … if ever.

    I wish you and Sandi all the best with your respective health issues.


  44. Dave,
    I was not in your lab nor a hunter but as a grad student in Collip I nevertheless benefitted hugely from your influence on the research culture there. You brought incredible acumen and honesty to the “Wednesday Nighters” and held all of us to a high standard. You taught us to think before speaking, think on our feet during a presentation and to be quick and critical listeners. i may not literally point my beer bottle at the screen and boom “that’s bullshit!” as you often did, but I do so figuratively every day in my life as an editor. Thank you so much for caring so passionately about science, about individual students in Collip and life in general. You gave so much for which I will always be grateful.
    Best regards,

  45. Erik Osnas says:

    Hi Dave,

    I just wanted to let you know that I’ve been thinking of you and our time together. You may not know this, but you have been a very important influence on my life and career since my time at Western. It’s not every adviser that makes his students such a priority, both professionally and personally. Even though I was only at Western for two short years, they were very influential, and for that I thank you.

    Some of the highlights:

    1. Diver hunting from a layout boat at Long Point. Big water, boats, and fun. I have never looked at a point into a bay the same since my time at LP.

    2. My first turkey in MO. You called it in, and just after it gave a warning cluck and started looking nervous, I pulled the trigger. This has led to several more turkeys and a lot of time spent in the spring at the base of a tree in CA, IN, and WI.

    3. Saskatchewan! Not only has this led to a yearly pilgrimage to what I and my friends call the “Promised Land” each fall since you first invited me, it has forever changed my expectations of duck and goose shooting. I am forever indebted for you sharing this with me. Last year was year 16. I haven’t missed a fall on the prairies since 1997. This has been my connection to waterfowl and waterfowling even when I have been working elsewhere.

    4. Related to the last point, you have forever changed my wingshooting and my expectations of what a shotgun can do. This has come in handy and vastly improved my shooting.

    5. Cooking waterfowl on the grill. I have used this technique since 1997, and it is still the best way to enjoy a fat goose or duck. Although I always enjoyed the cooking and eating what I killed, you really helped add to my skills on this front. Related to this, all those dinners at Sandi and yours where a real highlight of mine.

    6. You gave me the freedom and encouragement to develop research on my own. Maybe it didn’t lead in the most productive efforts, but it did lead me to be confident to follow my own path and my own mind.

    There are many, many more memories I have in mind, I just wanted to share a few.

    Take care Dave. I’m thinking of you and Sandi now and forever,


  46. Jeff Barrows says:

    Dear Dave,
    After reading all the other letters I feel a little like a rookie Ankney fan here having only met you I’m thinking 6 short springs ago.
    Its obvious here that you have had a terrific and positive impact on everyone youve associated with over your life.
    I’m certainly grateful to be one of those. From the morning I walked up the steps into the kitchen at Unionville, a lone Turkey Hunter 900 miles from home, hunting and camping out of my truck you immediatly gave me a chance to belong to a special group, and place, then stuck by me and mentored that chance.
    Thats a trait I see you lived your life by and I’m never going to forget.
    Doing the right thing for the right reason isnt always popular or easy but its a quality of a leader and that is how you live your life.
    Turkey hunting, Perch and Walleye fishing, Trapping, Long Point, the many emails and questions answered back and forth have been an important source of connection for me. ( THANK YOU )
    Im choosing to remember you, smiling, sitting at the kitchen table, checking in our turkeys, drinking coffee and laughing as we all came back with our morning stories.
    Friend, mentor, enthusiast, I,m really hoping to see you again in a better place.
    Dave, its not enough but,THANKS FOR EVERYTHING!
    My Best

  47. Mike Malhiot says:


    I’m deeply saddened to learn of your current health condition, and wish you and Sandi all the best to find the strength to endure the gales ahead.

    It was just a few months ago at my retirement event that I shared my thoughts on the impact you had on my early interests in biology and the choice of a career in wildlife management. I am grateful for the influence you imparted at Western and to the role you’ve played as a mentor and friend through all these years.

    I always admired your passion, work hard-play hard approach to life, and of course your ever-insightful views on science, ecology and resource management. You stand alone as a person who said what needed to be said despite the repercussions. You’ve made incredible contributions here in Ontario and further afield, and I’ve been very honored for the privilege to spend some of this time working by your side.

    We’ve shared some wonderful days together, from St. Andrews to Chadron, Edgefield to Noelville, and a great number of spots in between. And what rich memories from roving turkey meetings, hunting and fishing escapes, live off the land BBQ’s and fish fries, late-night debates, all you can eat quail/catfish huts, foot-long morels and tales of chicken-necking and wolf howls. I’ve cherished every encounter Dave, and have enjoyed a richer life because of them.

    Here’s hoping we reunite some day, because Spook, Bay and a host of other very dear friends are waiting.

    Gobble, gobble,

    Mike Malhiot

  48. Paul Gregoire says:

    Dear Dave and Sandy.

    Yes it is “AJ”. This is quite unpleasant news. It seems that I have the memories of UWO and the Anknoids in a time warp of some 20 odd years ago, but time catches up with us all. I now too have to peer out the bottom of my glasses! Dave, to me you were the blue collar scientist, and I mean that in a good way. No pomp and circumstance, just a keen mind and always ready for a good discussion. I remember in the early years in your office you had a black lab curled up under your feet. I quite enjoyed my stay at UWO and the Delta Waterfowl Research Station. I think those were the good old days, with a pile of graduate students. I remember the likes of Barb Beasley, Mark Forbes (Zoltan), David Kremmentz, Sue ?, Xi square, Keith Sommers, and so on. Quite a bunch of characters. I remember the roach infested Collip Building…ugh! But who could forget the Wednesday night seminars and our trip to the AOU meeting in New York City! I also admired that you were so active in the community and with associations, long after I left. I well remember the reintroduction of wild turkeys in southern Ontario. And that black ducks are eventually going to eliminate those mallards! Your name kept coming up here and there over the years along with some another characters like Tom Nudds and Fred Cooke. Nice to see you finally got rid of that comb over!

    I wish you all the best, and hope there will be a speedy recovery.

    Best Regards,

    Paul (AJ)

  49. Dave
    Our paths crossed only infrequently at various waterfowl meetings. However, I have greatly admired your career and fondly remember the few brief contacts we had. You have been a great influence on many folks in the waterfowl community, but also in the broader wildlife community. You set a standard that most of us can only dream of accomplishing.
    Hang in there!!!!!!!!
    Matt Perry

  50. Jim Fisher says:

    Hi Dave,

    I don’t think any of us can thank you enough for all you’ve done to influence our world of ducks, both on the biological as well as the hunting side. I think I have a similar note as Bill’s from you with a hole in the corner as a rejection letter back when I was trying to get into grad school. All the good folks at Delta recommended you as the best, so I had to try! Your influence certainly has made us all better, no doubt. Thanks to a visit with Dave Reid last October, I too have an old school Weber grill out at Tin Town that we’ll use to cook up our precious bluebills. We’re in the midst of cleaning things up at the station after the flood and fortunately the lodge remains intact. We’ll have to name the porch in your honour and keep a few cold ones handy for visiting duck debaters!

    No doubt you legacy will live on in all of us,


  51. Jonathan Thompson says:

    Dear Dave,

    I don’t know where to start given how much you mean to me and my family……..

    Like so many others, we met at Delta where your genius and generosity quickly became obvious to me. It also became clear that we shared a deep and abiding passion for diving ducks. Little did I know that this passion would lead to the opportunity to do my Ph.D. with you several years later! I can well remember my joy the day you gave me the opportunity to return to Canada and chase Barrow’s Goldeneyes and Buffleheads around the Intermountain of British Columbia. I can honestly say that those four years were among the very best in my life – spring and early summers in BC, late summers with you, Michael and Shannon up on Akimiski Island, and the remainder of the year in southern Ontario. We had the greatest of times, for which I can never adequately thank you for. However, I think you know how much it meant to me.

    During those years, you constantly challenged us to do the best we could and gave us all true insight into what “work hard, play hard” really meant. Most importantly, I came to realize that you exemplified the advice of an early Moravian leader when he provided this timeless direction to those who understand, “Seek the truth, listen to the truth, learn the truth, love the truth, speak the truth, abide by the truth, defend the truth, unto death”.

    Dave, thank you for helping me and many others in our pursuit for truth. You and Sandi will always be an integral part of our lives. In my heart, I will always think of better days sitting at the picnic table in the front yard of a little cabin at Riske Creek and listening to your advice and laughter as we discussed life and most importantly – ducks.

    Your friend and student always,


  52. Scott Petrie says:


    As you can see, countless people are currently reflecting on your immense contributions to waterfowl ecology, wildlife management and the career development of literally hundreds of biologists and scientists that are now leaders in the field that you hold so near and dear. As I said at you retirement symposium, you have had a substantial contribution to my career development and thought processes and I am forever indebted to you for that. I am particularly thankful for your dedication to Long Point Waterfowl. You have been the Chair of our Scientific Advisory Committee and a member of the Board of Directors since the beginning and your contributions (and opinions of course) have helped to steer our organization and have contributed substantially to our growth and development. We at Long Point Waterfowl will continue to follow your lead by producing science that is relevant to the management of our waterfowl and wetlands and by assisting in the development of quality biologists and scientists that will continue to carry the baton.

    You should be extremely proud for what you have done for so many!

    I plan to salute you in early April by shooting a big ol’ gobbler (which you were instrumental in the reintroduction to Ontario), cooking it on a Weber BBQ (which you introduced to the masses) and then washing it down with a few Blues.

    Your friend – Scott

  53. Scott Gilliland says:


    Like many others I met you at Deta, not the main station, but at the Minnedosa field station. You invited me to go out for drive around the study area to do some collecting – it’s where I found out how much fun the “bump” was in bump & grind. Later that summer you accepted me into you lab, and I arrived in London early that September. At the time, Western had a reputation as being the “Country Club” of Canadian universities. That kind of set my expectation. What I found was not a country club at all.

    I arrived on campus late on a Friday afternoon and when I finally found the Collip building the front door was locked, but there seemed to be a party inside. I think Ray let me in, and there was a party of sorts – it was the first Friday Filosophical of the year, which along with the Wednesday Nighter, was one of the two weekly forums for argument and debate among the students and supervisors. You, Jack, Roger, Paul, Bob, Miles, Terrence and Dr. Scott – it was quite a crowd. Although many of use feared these events, the debates were lively and you love a good argument … they were not to be missed. As Brian pointed out, you usually opened with a pointed beer yelling “That’s Bullshit; ….” (thanks for that memory Brian). Everyone feared the pointy end of that beer, but benefited greatly from the keen insights that followed. Anyway, the Collip with its cockroaches, dogs and smells of Jamile cook’n in the lab was home for many Collipers.

    You were more than just a supervisor as you and Sandi made us part of a bigger family. The door was always open at Long Point, and you cabin was always full of duck hunters and dogs. Very full – often the only room left was to share some floor space with the dogs. But who slept. At the cabin you argued all night and there was little time to sleep before Clang went off to remind you that it was time for hunting (for those who have not been to Dave and Sandi’s – Clang was Dave’s old wind-up and alarm clock – it as very loud). I don’t know how you two put up with all of us.

    It was Long Point where you introduced me, and many others, to diver hunting, dogs and the Weber BBQ. My most memorable meal ever was a Hickory smoked Canvasback with wild rice and some kind of shelf fungus that Sandi prepared. I’m sure there is hardly a Shag Bark Hickory tree within 100 miles of London whose bark has not been picked smooth by one of your students trying to replicate one of those meals. I’ve burned though four Weber’s and several large flocks of ducks since, but have never quit been able to duplicate that meal – I’m sure the difference was the company. I’m at our chalet on the Lac St. Pierre, and we will be putting a duck on the BBQ tonight and be thinking about you and Sandi.

    I am very proud be an “Anknoid”; one of many Anknoids who work on waterfowl at NGOs, Universities and Governments on both sides of the border.

    Thanks Dave & Sandi.


  54. Bruce Batt says:

    Hey Dave

    We’ve known each other and have been friends for a long time although never buddies and often, of late, on opposite sides of issues that were close to both of our hearts. Nevertheless, we got to share some pretty great experiences. Probably nothing was more important than the graduate students that you and we supported at Delta in what are now, I guess, the old days. A lot of those folks are today’s leaders themselves and are continuing to build on your legacy while building their own. As a “bottom line”, there’s not much more that any of us could ever hope to accomplish in our professional lives than to have created such a powerful force affecting something we felt so strongly about.

    One of my stories, rarely told, has been about you being one of three of my friends while at Delta putting me in the really tough position of deciding how to handle some mischief that they had perpetrated (all separate events). They were the only three that were almost asked to leave. We resolved things in each case and they have proven to be the right calls as all of you are undisputed leaders in waterfowl science and conservation. Maybe only a few will know what I’m referring to – but I guess that will be between us. (If I wouldn’t have been in the role I was in, I might have been part of the mischief. It was actually pretty funny.)

    Another big Delta thing we shared with other leaders in our field was the development of Delta’s 40th Anniversary symposium and the resulting book Ecology and Management of Breeding Waterfowl. That has proven to have been a major contribution to our field to which you were a central player.

    The other great experience with you that I relate to was the development of the Arctic Ecosystems in Peril report and the recommendations on how management should deal with what we concluded were overabundant mid-continent lesser snow geese. You were the central provocateur of the JV forming the working group which was an exceptional collection of highly motivated waterfowl and habitat guys. We were tough on each other in challenging just about every major issue. You were clearly in your element – both as an expert in goose ecology and as a veteran challenger of ideas. Some of your students are the new leaders of that issue. The most fun we ever have professionally, I think, is when we get to tackle paradigms such as existed with harvest management before we got started. We built a new one in those days and now these young guys are rebuilding it – as it should be.

    I must say I have been very touched by the great relationships you have sustained with so many people and with your continuing to cultivate new connections with young professionals in this field. One of the most satisfying must surely be your role on helping to advance the Long Point Waterfowl program which I have always thought was very much “on the right track”.

    Congratulations on that along with your huge list of other lifetime accomplishments.

    Sincere best wishes to you and Sandy. I know you’ve both got your hands full – we’re thinking of you.


  55. Jim Leafloor says:

    Dear Dave,

    Our first meeting occurred on the porch of Kirchoffer Lodge in the fall of 1986, a necessary pre-requisite to being accepted as your graduate student for my M.Sc. You were on your way to Saskatchewan for a crane hunt with ‘da Quahog’. I’m sure that you had been ‘softened up’ a bit by Bruce Batt, who might have described me as a local kid, maybe a bit too cocky, passionate about waterfowl, with a particular interest in timing of wing molt in female ducks, a hunter, beer drinker, badly in need of guidance. We talked for a while over beers, mostly about hunting, and I enjoyed the conversation so much that I forgot to ask if you’d be my supervisor before I left (the main reason for our meeting). I was several miles down the highway before I realized this, and turned back to ask you. The answer, with a handshake, was ‘Let’s do it.’. That meeting changed my life.

    There are so many ways that you have positively influenced my life, my career, and my way of thinking about things, that it is difficult to summarize. “For those who understand, no explanation is necessary..”. I got my first job as a waterfowl biologist in Moosonee, Ontario because you were a shared reference for all 3 finalists, and convinced my future boss that despite my limited experience with geese, I was the best candidate. That opportunity changed the direction of my life and my career.

    Notwithstanding all of the important discussions/debates with you that have shaped my way of thinking, and all of your guidance and advice, perhaps the most important aspect of our association for which I am most grateful has been your inclusiveness. Even as a ‘snot-nosed’ graduate student, you and Sandi always included me in your life, as you did with so many others. We drove to the Predator Symposium together in North Dakota (I recall a late night skinny-dipping incident in the hotel pool, in which neither of us participated, but were there to ‘hide’ the perpetrators when security arrived); we went to a Northeast Wildlife Conference in Columbus, Ohio (remember visiting all the High Street bars with Corn Cobber (Craig Davis), when I didn’t have a photo ID? I had to use a student ID from CC’s friend (who happened to be a black guy), and if I held my thumb over the photo, it worked!); we hunted together many times, and I was always honored to be among the group; ducks at Long Point; chickens around Delta; ducks and geese in Saskatchewan; bluebills at Erickson; cranes in Saskatchewan and at Big Grass; we collaborated together on many research projects with your graduate students, including my own Ph.D. research under the late Don Rusch; the duck symposiums; the goose symposiums; the Wednesday nighters; the Phriday afternoon philosophicals; the beer-ups at Kirchoffer; the wild game dinners at your place; a memorable evening at Olson’s cottage with my life-long hunting partner included.

    Dave, for a man of so many remarkable accomplishments, you’ve always been a ‘regular guy’ who treated me as an equal, and at the same time someone who could fit in with any company, at any level. My world is a better place because of you. You will never be forgotten.


  56. John Devney says:

    Dave and Sandi,

    I have to admit it has taken me some time to sit down and write-firstly because there is so much to be said and secondly, I am saddened by the fact that I am doing it. Dave, we didn’t get to have our discussions, debates, rants and the like on the Back Porch, but I like to think are regular visits via phone calls served a similar purpose. I learned a great deal, got rebuked frankly when I should have and added a dear, dear friend as a result-all the outcomes that we have seen come from the “Porch.”

    Dave, your contributions to waterfowl and waterfowl hunting are peerless and I can’t think of a more genuine contribution to the field you loved so much. From your academic pedigree, to your passion, to your mentorship, to your no nonsense take on management and policy, most of us will only dream to have the impact that you did. And all of us in your wake will have to work for the resource and the gunners every bit as hard as you did-and you set the bar damned high!

    I will forever wish that we could have had this chat in the Texas marshes you loved so much. With skeins of redheads racing towards the blocks and bull sprig circling warily and black dogs shaking in eager anticipation of the retrieve to come. I would have given you crap to just take drakes and you and Sandi would have filled on a hen just to put me in my place! Duck dinner and cold beverages would have made it complete. But, I wouldn’t go to bed for the next morning without you knowing how much I appreciate everything you have done for the resource, for the hunters and how much our friendship means to me.

    Thank you Dave and Sandi.

    John Devney

  57. Jim Nichols says:

    Congratulations on your award – well-deserved for sure. Your contributions to the waterfowl world, in terms of both students and ideas, have been invaluable. As a scientist, your ideas and insights always demand and deserve attention. My only negative thoughts about a couple of rare evenings that I spent in your company (at Puxico, and then at Western) entailed my trying to match you beer for beer. Big mistake – only lasted a couple of hours each time. Very best wishes to you and Sandi.
    Jim Nichols

    PS Hey, you educated me yet again. I have long been a proud member of FART (Florida Alligator Research Team), and now recognize that the acronym has an alternative meaning, so I will have to be specific in future references.

  58. Evan Cooch says:

    Dave, although you might not remember, I first met you in the hallway outside one of the conference rooms in Winnipeg at the 50th Delta Symposium, in 1987. I was just about to go in and give my talk when this really intense guy (*really* intense) grabbed me by arm (literally), and said in a loud voice “Are you that son of bitch Gus Cooch’s son?”. That intense guy was, of course, you. Completely destroyed my train of thought, and my first major scientific presentation at a conference did not go as well as planned. I believe you told me afterward that what I was talking about was crap anyway, so the talk was bound to be lousy.

    And so it began. I’d ‘known’ (of) you – vicariously – for many years. I knew you as a student of Charlie MacInnes (and I’d known Charlie for years through his long association with Cooch Sr.). I knew you at the time as the standard-bearer of an approach to waterfowl ecology which was critically important, and yet very different from anyone else I was working with. While my focus (coloured heavily by my work with Fred Cooke and Rocky Rockwell) tended to be at sort of a meta-level, there were always these damned ‘nutrient’ papers that you and your students kept pumping out, forcing us to occasionally be reminded that physiological issues were critical.

    What I’ve always appreciated about you in the years since our first meeting has been your no BS approach to things. I recall with amusement, and fondness, the way you went after Fred, Charles Francis, Alisauskas and I when we had the temerity (we prefer ‘deep insight’) to suggest that ‘sport harvest’ was unlikely to be able to control overabundant snow geese. There was absolutely no fear on your part, nor any accommodation for our feelings. Nor should there have been. It was (and remains) an important issue, and your approach served as a very blunt mechanism to keep us honest, thinking clearly, and being as thorough as possible.

    No award is sufficient. No testimonial enough to thank you for you contributions to science, and just life in general.

  59. Susan & Jim Malcolm says:

    Putting my thoughts about something very personal like this on-line is not my style. I’d rather a personal note but in this case, I know that Dave likes things held up to a clear bright light, tested to see if it is real or BS. This is personal. Arnie has already posted the LPWA tribute to Dave so here goes my own thoughts and recollections.
    I ran into Dave & Sandi what seems like a million years ago at the LPWMU. Back then, my partner and I scruffed around most of Ontario and shot lots of ducks but not often enough, were cans among the bag. Sandi & Dave were the penultimate can killers and my partner & I were somewhat in awe as we were new to Lake Erie and Long Point.
    Unfortunately we saw little of this great couple until we moved to Long Point in 2005. I discovered Sandi & Dave lived there too although they spent much of the year elsewhere. I began to run into Dave in various forums and came to learn and respect who this guy was in North America’s waterfowl hunting and science communit.
    Then we came across and fell in love with a small community in Texas and found our Long Point neighbours had been there for years. They were equally smitten with the place. As is often the case with folk from one place meeting others on a vacation, we really began to enjoy Sandi & Dave’s company.
    We didn’t arrive early enough to hunt with them but their generosity with their venison & duck “400 mi.” sausage meant we had a taste. The four of us fished and enjoyed the bounty of the Gulf together. They taught us how to cook Louisiana crayfish. One night, I’m ashamed to admit, Dave cooked 37 lb. of those sweet redbugs and six of us ate every one! Our dogs enjoyed this fellowship too.
    Because the four of us are passionate about dogs, (particularly black labs) hunting, fishing & special places on the planet, we truly enjoy Dave’s and Sandi’s company. They are great people to be with. They are wise and generous with their humour, their wisdom, their experiences, and materially. When my Dad wanted to confer his highest regard for folk, he would simply say, “these are very fine people”. Dad’s expression works perfectly in this situation. Susan & Jim Malcolm

  60. Jim Abbey says:

    Dave was always a highly respected wildlife advocate. We served on a few committees together and I was always impressed with his willingness to “cut to the chase” , take a position and work on a resolution. I admired his advocacy and his astute understanding of the issues at hand. He will be greatly missed but I am confident that his steerage on the day-to-day issues will stay on course. Others will follow but few will rise to his legacy. Gonna miss you big guy!

  61. Phil Morlock says:

    Two examples in my personal experience speak to Dave’s dedication to the principles of science based conservation, personal integrity and a unique willingness to challenge government policy and agencies that does not adhere to these tenets.

    The first was his strong stand against a CWS publication on the supposed impacts of lead fishing tackle on waterfowl – published without going through the CWS science panel peer review process of which Dave was a part. Dave was so outspoken it cost him his position on the science review panel , and his principled stand called attention to the bogus science on this issue on a North American stage. He articulated better than anyone how the ‘devil was in the details’ and conclusions without supporting evidence are nothing more than hot air – even when being advanced by CWS. Dave’s well founded criticism of unfounded opinions in lieu of scientific evidence earned him the respect of the entire North American recreational fishing industry.

    The second includes his involvement up to a couple days before he had to leave us, in providing thoughtful input and suggestions to me about the regressive fish and wildlife harvesting policies being advanced by Ontario MNR in the Algonquin First Nation Land Claim. The recently released ‘Agreement in Principle’ entrenches the 19th century ‘anything goes’ harvest methods for fishing and hunting of all fish and wildlife species (other than an exception for moose and elk )over 1/7th of Eastern Ontario. No bag or creel limits, no closed seasons, no gear restrictions and no law enforcement because there are no rules to enforce – even for the magnificent interior brook trout and lake trout lakes in Algonquin Park. Even in the very last days of his life , Dave stood by his principles and the foundations of conservation to be actively engaged by e-mail to help us better inform the public about the violation of ethics and conservation principles Ontario MNR and Canada have entrenched in the Algonquin Land Claim process and now the formal Agreement.

    I will miss the fish and duck photos from Texas and Dave’s witty one liners. Most significantly I will miss his ‘no holds barred’ approach to placing science based conservation and sustainable use first – even when standing for and speaking out on these important principles went contrary to others in academic circles or government natural resource agencies. Dave understood so very well how fish and wildlife pay the price when agendas and political rhetoric replace science and conservation. His directness and willingness to be involved providing me his thoughts and suggestions on important issues right up to the very end of his life, say more about the qualities of Dave as a man , as a friend and as a personal and professional conservation advocate than any tribute I can think of.

    As his e-mail by-line says so well, for those who understand no explanation is needed. For those who do not, no explanation is possible.

    Phil Morlock
    Director, Environmental Affairs
    Shimano Canada Ltd. / Shimano American Corp.

    Everyone who holds a fishing rod, a deer rifle , a duck gun or a pair of binoculars to watch a critter in the wild owes Dr. Dave a debt of thanks.

  62. Craig Davis (aka Corn Cobber0 says:

    I was lucky to have been at Delta in the summer of 1988 when Dave was also there. I was even more lucky to have participated in many an evening on the Kirchoffer Back Porch debating with Dave on science, waterfowl, and whatever topic came to mind–of course, always over a few Labatt Blue–well, maybe not just a few. I don’t recall ever winning a debate with Dave, but I always felt I came away from the debate having learned something and more importantly gaining Dave’s respect. That summer was truly a special summer for me, and Dave was one of the reasons along with Jim Leafloor, Tex, John Coluccy, Dave Howerter, and others that I fondly remember Delta. What a wonderful place Delta was in the summer 1988!! I felt especially privileged to have spent several days hunting ducks with Dave, Tex, and Jim at Long Point–some truly wonderful times–even if I did have a little problem with the boat and almost tossed Jim out. Waking up early in the morning to have some duck sausages and after a successful day of hunting to have a few beers along with grilled Cans–life doesn’t get any better than that. Dave will be sorely missed for his intellect, passion, and humor. I am certainly glad that I had the chance to spend a summer and a hunt with Dave–Thanks Dave.

  63. George Fritz says:

    I have just read about Dr. Ankney’s passing through the OFAH. I read it with great sadness. Dr. Ankney most likely may not have remembered me, but, I certainly remember him.

    I was a student who took his course offerings while an undergrad at Western over 20 years ago. I remember well his no nonsense external demeanour which made many of us a little nervous around him. However, after I spoke with him in his office, on several occasions regarding course matters, I found him to be very personable, approachable, and above all, a man of excellent character. Eventually we spoke about a common interest (waterfowling), and I learned a great deal about that which I would never learn in a classroom.

    I have maintained an interest in waterfowl ecology and wildlife management over the years and often use what I learned from him when teaching students in my high school science classes. At one point a number of years ago, prior to entering a faculty of education, I was working on a CWS project related to the ban on lead shot and was glad to be armed with data and information that Dr. Ankney had provided me with much earlier.

    I debated with myself for hours over whether or not I should post here today, given that my association with Dr. Ankney was peripheral at best when compared with others here. But in the end, I decided I would, given that he had a very long lasting and positive influence on my life and interests. He will be missed by many.

  64. Susan Holroyd says:

    Sandi – I’m so sorry to hear about Dave’s passing. Shocked really – he was far to young to leave us. Jamile passed on the message to me – we still keep in touch and are both out west.

    I love that he got this award – it was Dave’s letter of recommendation that got me into the MERPie program. I spent a summer living in Kirchoffer – I loved the painting in the article with Dave’s essay. I could see my old bedroom window! And the trumpeters! You never slept in at Kirchoffer Lodge! It was an amazing summer – great people – many who have left messages here and all of them influenced by Dave in some way!

    One of my favourite sayings of his is still “Don’t look for logic when there isn’t any!” which I remember him repeatedly hollering at someone at a Wednesday nighter at UWO. He had such a way of taking a long-winded argument and summarizing it into a one-liner that he would use smack you up-side the head. It was startling but very educational. I still remember him yelling at one of the fourth year students who was looking at lead shot ingestion by swans “But Fred”, he said, “there’s more than one way to get lead into a bird!” and I still remember him at Rich Moses Wednesday nighter for his PhD – Rich had a number of questions that he wanted to pose for his project (he was very ambitious), Dave quickly came up with “Moses and the ten hypotheses!” Classic.

    Seriously though – he affected all of his students, not just his grad students – to think critically and to speak up. I suspect most of us in life have gone on to be considered somewhat of a bunch of “shit-disturbers” sitting at meeting tables with no one giving any input or opinion – I know I’ve always been compelled to speak up and sometimes ask the hard questions. I think Dave gave me some of that. I think he gave that to all of us.

    I spent part of my fourth year working in the lab with Jamile – the Collip was not a place easily forgotten! Despite the daily roach killing sessions, I remember lots of laughing with the work.
    I remember being out at Long Point helping with Al Hanson’s thesis project (the glamorous job of pulling the insides out of freshly blasted ducks) and then being treated to an amazing dinner at your place by the lake. Roasted black bear, turtle soup and sandhill crane pate. You don’t forget meals like that! You guys were really good at making memories, really good memories. Thanks for that.

    I didn’t go on to study ducks but did do an MSc on bats – Dave helped me out on that one too, writing me a letter of reference. He was always supportive. He may be remembered as a fierce debater, but he had a big heart too. My thoughts are with you Sandi – I hope you are doing okay.