TooTall wrote:Canvasbacks bar none. There's a reason they sold for so much during the market days.
Yup, there is! They rafted close together and allowed for more birds per shot with the punt guns, thus more money per shot in return. Had nothing to do with the taste, but all about how easy they were to kill. It was nothing back in the day to get 100 birds per shot with cans. You ever see 100 mallards/teal/woodies/gadwall/widgeon/pintails grouped tightly together in the middle of a river? They couldnt target those with the punt guns, so they were rare to see in a market setting. Market birds were birds that could be shot in "bulk" and brought to market. The canvasback was the biggest bird that could be effectively shot with the punt guns, which is why they had the most market value and were targeted.
A ruddy duck brought more money than a canvasback back in the day. Figure that one out.
I'm sorry but you are wrong on a number of levels. I know it doesn't matter, but allow me to explain why...
Puddlers, especially teal, widgeon, and pintails, group up in tight rafts numbering in the thousands up in down the Eastern Seaboard on a regular basis.
Ruddy ducks sold for more because they were and are really good eating, the breast meat is too small for me.
So, please, explain to me how it is that Canvasbacks and Ruddy ducks sold for more (per bird) than any other duck during the market days all the while tasting worse than any of the other "puddle ducks" that sift through mud all day?
Have you ever studied a supply and demand curve?
As you said, supply was relatively high for canvasbacks; they are dumb and raft up in large, tight flocks and were easy to kill en masse.
Demand was crazy high (even higher than the supply). Despite their ease of harvest, market hunters still couldn't kill enough to fill the demand for canvasbacks. Thus you get the ridiculously high prices.
By your statement, puddlers were harder to come by. I have a hard time agreeing with this. Several bushels of corn dumped in a marsh, or a rice field on a bright night could easily provide the same volume of dead birds as canvasback killing anywhere. But, let's just say the supply was lower. As you implied, let's say puddlers were, in fact, in higher demand. Also not true, but whatever. According to our handy supply demand curve, puddlers should have brought much higher prices than canvasbacks. But they didn't bring as much money because they weren't nearly as in demand in the restaurants as were canvasbacks.
And as far as size goes, redheads and greater scaup are damn near if not as large as canvasbacks. Like you said, ruddies brought more money and they're tiny. So size has little to do with price.
So, yes, canvasbacks are, by popular opinion, the best eating wild duck in America.
But if you like something more, I won't argue with you that you are wrong.