Remembering Bruce Cochran

Edward (Bruce) Cochran
October 9, 1935 – d. August 22, 2022

Edward (Bruce) Cochran crossed the finish line on Monday, August 22 in Jacksonville, Florida. He built a lifelong career in cartoons and humor, and he was a loyal and loving husband, father, grandfather, and lifelong friend to many.

Bruce in the Duck Blind, Photo by Jon Blumb

Bruce was born October 9, 1935 to Paul Sr. and Fannie Mae Cochran, and grew up in Oklahoma City from the age of six months. He is an alumnus of Classen High School, class of 1953. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1960 with a BA in Design after serving in the Army Security Agency from 1954 to 1957.

Bruce & Carol With Their Sprite

He married Carol Duer in 1958. Together they raised their two children, Holly and Wes, in Prairie Village, Kansas. 

Bruce Cochran With Kids Wes & Holly
Bruce with his children, Wes and Holly

Bruce spent most of his remarkable 63-year career as an independent professional cartoonist, illustrator, humorist and writer based in Kansas City, getting his start as a writer and illustrator for Hallmark Cards, Inc. in 1960.

Kansas City Cartoonist Bruce Cochran at the Drawing BoardBruce at the Drawing Board

He went on to become a trailblazer in outdoor sports humor. With a fine-tuned appreciation for the absurd, his brilliantly funny cartoons reminded us all not to take life too seriously. His cartoons have been published in USA TODAY, Playboy, Field & Stream, WILDFOWL Magazine, On Wisconsin Outdoors, and dozens of other publications. He was also an award-winning lifetime member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. In 2017 he earned the OWAA’s most prestigious honor of Excellence in Craft. He also authored 15 books

Bruce Watercolor Painting in His Outdoor Trip Journal

He truly loved the great outdoors, happiest when he was fishing with his friends and family or hunting alongside one of his black labrador retrievers. He was also passionate about conserving our natural resources, which he championed through lifelong contributions to organizations like Ducks Unlimited and The Nature Conservancy

Bruce with His Black Lab, Maggie

At the end, he reflected on his 86 years and his great career, marriage, life and family. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Carol, and his two children, Holly (Nick) and Wes (Rachel). He is also survived by five grandkids, Heather (Luke), Cody, Nick (Emeline), Silas and Lydia.

Bruce & Carol, His Wife of 64 Years

A remembrance service will be held Saturday, October 8 at 10:30 a.m. ET at Riverside Avenue Christian Church, 2841 Riverside Ave, Jacksonville, FL 32205. The remembrance service can also be streamed online at Facebook.com/RiversideAvenueCC. Instead of sending flowers or food, please consider donating in Bruce’s name to Ducks Unlimited or The Nature Conservancy



Think of this blog as a comfy room in an old hunting shack. A bunch of pot-bellied guys are sitting around a big pot-bellied stove shooting the breeze about our outdoor exploits, some of which may have actually happened. Several dogs of indeterminate lineage are lying around under our feet, and we’re probably having a drink or two.

How was your duck season? Where’d you shoot that big buck? (besides in the shoulder). Got any hero pictures of the monster trout you caught recently? How’s that new dog working out? Got any good turkey or pheasant stories? Any fly patterns you’d like to share? Read any good books about the outdoors lately? Planning any trips to the San Juan? The White? Canada?

That’s what this blog is all about. What this blog is NOT about is POLITICS unless it pertains directly to outdoor sports. I’m sure you’re not interested in my political opinions and I’m not interested in yours.

So pull up a chair. What’s on your mind?

An afternoon snack

Everywhere you look in Jacksonville you see Canada geese. They saunter leisurely across the street right in front of your car. Honk at them and they pay no attention.

There are also alligators in Jacksonville but we don’t see nearly as many of them as Canada geese. When a gator does wander into an urban area it’s rare enough to make the evening news.

My friend John took this photo as he was leaving Victory Lutheran Church. Geese were feeding on the grass nearby and one got a little too close to the water. John heard a splash and saw this huge gator lunge up and grab the goose. Look closely and you can see goose parts dangling from the gator’s jaws.

John called whoever you’re supposed to call when you see a gator in an urban area and they came and trapped it. They told him it was eleven feet long.

John said later he found two goose wings floating on the water.










A memorable Kansas goose hunt

Since this is my blog I felt obligated to add my own comments to this post but my friend Michael Pearce has done such a perfect job describing and photographing it that no further comment is necessary. I’m grateful to Michael for allowing me to use his text and excellent photos.

My young friends/cousins, Isaac, 17, and Caleb, 14, spent a lot of time building “Duckingham Palace” with their grandfather last summer. It’s on land that’s been in their family for decades past, and will be in the future, as well. ­­­­­­­­

         Having waterfowl hunted the pond every way from laying on frozen ground to making a nice blind of livestock panels and grass, we agreed it was time for something that offered enough room to move about comfortably and with enough room for guests, like their parents and grandparents and, hopefully, someday children. I’d teased the boys long enough with stories of blinds with heaters and a nice camp stove for meals.

         When they were done, we had all of that and more. What we didn’t have was good hunting from the new blind, at least compared to past years when we did very well on ducks and took the occasional goose.

         Then, Tuesday happened. We pulled an all-day hunt, with warm donuts, delicious beef stew and snacks…and a far better goose hunt than we could have hoped for. The Canadas were big and worked like the flocks seen on hunting shows. We had sizable flocks hovering over the decoys like giant hummingbirds.

         All of us had our jobs, on which the others depended for such success. Cade, my Lab, made some long retrieves, including one blind with hand signals of about 200 yards and another that required squeaking under a tight livestock fence with an uncooperative goose in his face.

         We ended with 16 geese. Four had been our previous best.  

The boys had both lacked one from their first-ever limit of six, yet they didn’t shoot when a flock slowly drifted by just three minutes after legal shooting time. That was my favorite part of the hunt.

         Nobody except us would have known had they each taken a bird. Game wardens usually grant hunters several minutes of “grace time,” when it comes to legal hours. But to the boys, time to quit was time to quit, no matter if it was a second or an hour past. Many times we’d talked about how once bad habitats start, it’s very hard to get them stopped.  

The guys will make many pounds of delicious pastrami, jerky and snack sticks from the meat. Parts of the birds they didn’t use were quickly returned to the prairie, where things like migrating eagles, hawks and coyotes can get nutrition in Mother Nature’s circle of life.

Isaac will head to K-State next fall to study wildlife-related fields. I’d like to think he’s better equipped because of all the time he’s spent waterfowl hunting. Caleb has probably matured more in just the past year than any young man I’ve met. We will do fine, together, and I can have total trust in him as per safety and holding up his end of a hunt.

         Hopefully he’s got more cousins getting old enough to go. Isaac will obviously be the guest of honor when he comes home on breaks from school.

         When that happens we’ll no doubt kick back in “The Palace,” and remember this week’s very special hunt.


Ducks ducks ducks and more ducks

Clouds of ducks taking off from the Lone Oak Duck Club in western Missouri. Probably mostly mallards with a few shovelers, gadwalls and teal. But this video was taken in FEBRUARY! Where were they in November and December??

The guys worked hard all summer creating good  waterfowl habitat and I’m glad the birds can use it on their way  north. But the least the little bastards could do is allow the folks who did all the hard work a little action.



More big Kansas white tail bucks

My friend Dave lives just outside Shawnee Mission Park in Shawnee, KS which is home to a huge white tail deer population. Sometimes the deer wander over onto Dave’s property to get their pictures taken.

These two ten pointers and…I think the other is a twelve… wandered right in front of Dave’s trail cam. That’s a lot of venison on the hoof.



Kansas Wildlife & Parks magazine

This is my first Way Outside cartoon for Kansas Wildlife & Parks magazine. July/August 1998. If my math is right…and it sometimes isn’t…2022 will start my twenty-fourth year working with this wonderful publication.

I’m thankful that then-Editor Mike Miller took a chance on me and did something goofy and I’m blessed that when current Editor Nadia Reimer took the reins she chose to keep me on.

This magazine has made great strides since ’98 and I feel blessed to have been a part of it.






Another year of Marsh Madness

2022 will be the start of my 18th year drawing the Marsh Madness cartoon for Wildfowl magazine. I’m grateful to editor Jay Strangis for taking a chance on me. Skip Knowles followed Jay as editor and chose to keep the cartoons coming so I have Skip to thank as well.

For those of you who don’t see the magazine, here are the six 2021 Marsh Madness cartoons.




Say you were a duck…

Say you were a duck… flying along… just looking for a nice place to eat… and you saw a place like this, wouldn’t you lock up and cruise right in?

That’s apparently what this mallard drake did when he spotted the Lone Oak Duck Club.

Maybe the guys down below in the duck blind should have let him go so he could go back and tell all his buddies about it.








Opening Weekend at the Lone Oak Duck Club

If done right, owning a duck club is an all-year job and the guys at the Lone Oak Duck Club do it right.  That hot sweaty work all summer starts to pay off and by November  the  place is a duck cafeteria.

There’s a long season ahead, but first… the traditional night-before-opening-day bonfire.

We always eat well at the Lone Oak Duck Club
Chuck, ducks and golden retriever Zoe
 Zoe threading her way through the decoys to bring in a nice fat greenhead