And he was an upland bird man, especially later in life when the desire to hunt surpassed the need to hunt. That doesn't mean, however, that he didn't hunt other game. His hunting licenses (which are still all filed away at home) all have a duck stamp, and an entire section of his last book, the Ted Trueblood Hunting Treasury, is devoted to duck hunting.
More than an upland hunter, or a waterfowler, though, he was a hunter, and enjoyed it, and believed that every American should have the opportunity to hunt if he or she wished, that public land should be open, and that there should be a place to go. Thinking about it in this light, it is altogether fitting that any memorial to him should be for someone else. He has no grave (his ashes are scattered over the Owyhee County that he loved) and no marker, but the District Grazing Advisory Board of the Boise District Bureau of Land Management has done something along those lines that even he couldn't have argued with: They set aside a public hunting area in his name.
Alan Sands, Wildlife Biologist for the district, made a tour of the area recently, about the time of the last snow in February. Alan, in fact, brought to fruition a plan devised by past Resource Chief Alan Trip. The idea was something like this: "Ted did a lot of work on the advisory board and helped create a lot of agreements. We should do something in his honor." Mr. Trip died before he could finalize the plan, and Sands is quick to give him credit. The Boise District Grazing Advisory Board deserves as much credit as anyone, since they not only set aside range betterment funds to pay for the project, but paid for planting waterfowl habitat species on islands built in ponds in the area with funds earmarked for their own use.
The Trueblood Wildlife Area is just north of the Snake River at Grandview on the west side of the road. It has been known as the Grandview Ponds, and there is a private inholding of forty acres with a pond. There are seventy acres of wetlands with three ponds open to the public, and a total of three hundred acres.
When the Board started paying out money, there were barren areas, dry areas, no waterfowl feed, no upland cover; just a couple of ponds. Now there is an established water right, with each pond filling the next. Dense winter scrub cover for the pheasants and quail, a canal, parking areas around the perimeter, and birds. And birds. And birds.
When Sands led his tour of the area in late February, there were probably upwards of 2,000 ducks on the ponds, in the cattails and channels. Geese were (if Fish and Game signs telling us to stay away were right) beginning to seek territories around the nesting platforms, and numbers of geese totalled somewhere around 1,000. Three swans rested on the first pond when we arrived, and in the dead snowy calm of the winter morning we could hear their feet run across the surface as they made away. We saw something I have never seen in Idaho, enough snipe arising from the same place to be called a flight, or flock, or herd, or something. We are not, in Idaho, accustomed to using the word for a multiplicity of snipe, and whatever it is, I needed it then.
Alan's biological terms for the shrubs and grasses planted by Boy Scouts, Fish and Game, or BLM folks were lost on me, though with repetition I could learn them. I do know what they look like, though, and that they will hide pheasants that come seeking the dry ground underneath, a pleasant place to roost, a shelter from wind and weather. I know they are a cover for quail, cover you need a dog to flush birds from.
In the spring, resident waterfowl will come from the area, as will upland birds; and photographers will come to it. In the fall, hunters will come to it, to hide in the reeds, spread out their decoys, and wait for first light. And if we're all real lucky, and things are done to suit what my old man would have wanted, you will always be able to come to this place and hear the magical whistling of wings.
And you can hunt upland birds there, too, if you want.
Ted Trueblood Wildlife Area
C. J. Strike Wildlife Management Area (WMA)
Idaho Eagle Rock Chapter - Ducks Unlimited
Idaho Wetlands Conservation Projects
USGS - Wildbirds' Top 50 Birding Hotspots
Snake River Valley - Idaho
Idaho Conservation League
Nature Conservancy - Idaho Chapter