The Canvasback has long been regarded as "The King of Ducks," the gold standard to which all other ducks are compared. No species of waterfowl stirs the memories of sportsman like the lordy can. Even the Indians prized the duck; the oldest decoys ever discovered in North America were Canvasbacks.
Market hunters did their best to satisfy the demand for Canvasback. On Chesapeake Bay, the cradle of American waterfowling, these hunters, believing the resourse of waterfowl was inexhaustable, shot from sinkboxes or swept down on the big ducks in sail-driven boats, unleashing at the last moment a tremendous volley of shot.
According to old-time accounts, a market hunter could kill one hundred and fifty canvasbacks on a good day. Some took as many as seven thousand cans a season.
In recent years, it has been sportsmen who seek the fast-flying canvasback. No thrill in wildfowling can compare with the wild rush of canvasbacks coming into the decoys.
And so it happened that a canvasback has come to epitomize all that a duck should be. Just as a mystique exists with respect to waterfowling generally, there is a special mystique surrounding the can. It has become symbolic of all ducks.
The wingbeats of the can are strong and steady, and because it is the largest of all ducks, weighing over three pounds on occasion, its speed is deceptive. The canvasback is the fastest flier of all waterfowl, capable of seventy miles per hour on a good day.
Paraphrased from, "The Duck-Huntingest Gentlemen." Keith C. Russell
"It is not the function of our Government to keep the citizen from falling
into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the Government from
falling into error."