Real Ducks & Imaginary Panthers

Posted on April 3, 2013

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Modern-day tall tales are called ‘Urban Legends’ but despite that moniker modern folklore often originates far from urban areas.

Such is the case with Louisiana black panthers.

Country folks from Mansfield to Mandeville swear black panthers roam our woods while Louisiana wildlife experts say there are no, none, zero, zip, zilch – black panthers in the Bayou State.

Guess which side of the fence Uncle Si from Duck Dynasty falls on?

I grew up in a little community called Puckettville, about 15 miles north of Monroe, Louisiana. Today it has an official name; Loch Arbor, after the Baptist church on Highway 139 which the old timers still refer to as the ‘Old Monroe Road’. But when I was a kid we called it Puckettville because the Puckett family was the oldest and largest clan thereabouts.

When my family moved there in 1974 I remember my grandfather relating a tale told to him by a neighbor of a black panther roaming the nearby woods.

When I got older I realized the Louisiana black panther story is a legendary urban legend and one that varies little from state-to-state, there is a New York Black Panther legend, a Texas Black Panther legend and so on and so on and scooby-dooby-doo.

On a recent episode Duck Dynasty embraced the Louisiana panther legend. According to the everyone’s favorite redneck uncle, a black panther roams his property regularly.

This leads to a bizarre experiment involving Duck Commander employee and philosopher extraordinaire Godwin, he of the snowy goatee.

Per usual, instead of making duck calls the fellas, led as always by Jase, are screwing off, this time checking their duck blinds (anything to avoid actual work).

When Uncle Si makes his dubious panther claim Jase and the guys are skeptical, this is where Godwin’s part in this tale comes front and center.

Sending the burly duck call builder several hundred yards up a dirt road, Jase has poor Godwin, who seems to be… lets say, a few bricks shy of a full load, get down on all fours and pretend to be a panther. Shirtless.

So we have a bare-chested, barrel-bellied redneck with a flowing white beard crawling back and forth across a dirt road pretending he is a black panther while 3 other rednecks analyze the visual date as they pretend a shirtless fat redneck is actually a black panther.

Speaking of slow, the Duck Commander-N-Chief himself, Phil Roberstson is getting some free labor courtesy of one of his grandsons and a friend. Phil, once a starting quarterback at Louisiana Tech (as he is contractually obligated to remind us at least once per episode) tricks the two high school footballers by claiming his gridiron skills were honed off the field working around the house, repairing fishing nets, moving a boat from one end of the property to the other – assorted chores that these two strapping teenage boys replicate to the Duck Commander’s delight.

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