Uniquely Wisconsin: Wood Duck House Builder

Published 02/20 2014 04:28PM

Updated 02/20 2014 04:56PM

Manitowoc County (WFRV)  The sound of a saw isn't what you expect to hear in a dark work shop. 


"It really doesn't pay for me to turn the lights on," says Bob Schuh, Manitowoc County.


Bob Schuh doesn't need to see where the saw teeth are chewing through wood. 


"I'm totally blind.  I was in a hunting accident back when I was 18 years old," explained Bob.


Bob can set his saw to guide his fingers while cutting. "It's dangerous, but you just have to be conscious where your hands are all the time.  I've got measuring equipment for the blind," explained Bob.


Which helps him keep doing the things he loves  "Woodworking has always been my hobby.  I liked to do it in high school and I just continued after I was blind," said Bob.


And bob is putting his talents to work to help one of  Wisconsin's most beautiful birds, the Wood Duck.


"They're real sharp looking ducks.  I remember when I could see, you know, I just liked them and they needed help years ago," said Bob.


Since 1990 Bob has been making Wood Duck houses with the Maribel Sportsman's Club.


"It's to enhance the nesting capability of the birds if you give them a place to nest, they'll show up and take it," explained Bob.


The club joined with Packerland Delta Waterfowl to pool their resources for a common cause .


"With conservation groups all over Wisconsin, we've built these nesting structures," explained Eric Johnson, Packerland Delta Waterfowl.


It's bob's job to cut the pieces of pine, "It's better I do all the cutting on my own.  That way no ones in the way," joked Bob.


Bob drills the screw holes, cuts the opening and fits in a screen.


Then members from several clubs help put them together, "Then we have a work night and we assemble," said Bob.


"Bob is the hub or the wheel, we're just the spokes.  If it were not for Bob Schuh, this project wouldn't be what it is," said Eric.


The houses are placed all over Brown and Manitowoc Counties. Including at the Baybeach Wildlife Sanctuary.


"So hopefully, anyone who goes visits the wildlife sanctuary will be able to get a glimpse of those beautiful ducks," said Eric.


With federal laws and efforts like this "The Wood Ducks have come back very strong.  They are actually the third most populous duck in Wisconsin," explained Eric.


And they need more homes.  So, lights out,  Bob still has a lot of wood to cut.


"Like I said, you always have to be conscious of where your fingers are.  That's why I still have all ten" joked Bob.


You can buy one of the Wood Duck houses February 21st- 23rd at the Wisconsin State Hunting Expo at Shopko Hall.  Look for the Delta Waterfowl Booth.  Kids can build a Wood Duck house. For a ten dollar donation  they can keep it with all the money going to building more houses.  Or the club will place the house in the wild.


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