The two oldest Duck Dynasty stars don’t think much of gun control.
In the flesh, Si seems somewhat more reserved than he does on the show, and he often defers to big brother Phil. When Phil takes off on a long spiel about the pitiful state of the world, Si waits until the very end to offer his two cents.
“It ain’t gun control we need; it’s sin control,” he says.
“Self-control,” Phil says.
“Self-control,” Si repeats.
“Self-control and sin control,” Phil says, getting the last word.
The Robertsons are not your normal rednecks, what with $200,000 per show per star. Selling 800,000 duck calls a year is not too bad, either, when some of them cost $200. It’s bad news for ducks, but good news for Duck Commander.
“We go down every morning starting mid-August, waiting to see the first ones cut the air,” Phil says. “When they do, I say, ‘Boys, that’s the first arrivals from the prairies of Canada. They got Saskatchewan written all over them.’ ” Willie, Jase, Jep, and Si are chewing and nodding, all of them lit up with happiness over what is yet to come and what has caused so many changes in their lives. “I long for that first sighting,” Phil says, and all of them nod just a little bit more.
Phil was an entrepreneur. He has a master’s degree in education, but he preferred hunting. So, he started a business: making duck calls. He combined business with pleasure. Then came money. Lots and lots of money.
“See, what we’re doing is the old thing where you can be smart but act pretty dumb,” he says. “When I started out in the duck-call business, my college buddies would come in and say, ‘Robertson, you have a college degree. What are you doing?’ Then they drove away saying, ‘What an idiot!’ Thirty-five years later, they’re saying, ‘The sucker’s a genius!’ Took me 35 years to go from idiot to genius.”
He saw what others didn’t see. Then he took action.
And then, in 1972, he got tired of his store-bought duck calls not sounding like real ducks and decided he could do better. After a good bit of tinkering, he came up with a call that used two reeds instead of one, with its other genius innovation being a little dimple in one of the reeds, to keep them separated, a touch that Si still does by hand. Once sales took off, he began producing a series of duck-hunting videos known as The Duckmen, featuring background music by Lynyrd Skynyrd and Pink Floyd, as well as wild stuff that you would never see on A&E, like ducks being blown out of the sky in slo-mo and Phil biting off their heads. He sold a bunch of them. He also became a popular public speaker, taking his duck-call know-how on the road, talking to hunters everywhere, and preaching the good news of the gospel while he had their attention.
Happy, happy, happy.