Jet-Ski Bullies Attack Mother Duck and Ducklings

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The assaults by two muscled and possibly drunk jet-skiing brothers went on and on.

Were it not for the screams from my 11-year-old daughter and my 11-year-old niece, no doubt the assault would have continued with dire consequences.

The three of us had gone to Shasta Lake to swim off the shore, play with driftwood, and paint our faces native-style with the colorful Shasta mud. The invasive shock and awe that ensued scared the living daylights out of two little girls, but it also propelled us into a proud counter-action.

It was as if these two tough and tattooed guys saw themselves as hyper-focused, elite soldiers on a mission to seek and destroy the enemy. One of the men seemed to have what looked like military tattoos on one bicep. At every unmerciful chance to push their targets under, the tenacious “water warriors” turned and churned their prey.

Their enemy? A steadfast mother duck and her 10 babies.

Loud drag boats, speeding jet skis and party boats were vast, fast and furious for the small ducks trying to avoid the noise and foul smoke that was accumulating at Centimudi boat ramp on an otherwise beautiful Sunday evening at about 7:30 p.m.

What seemed like a defensive move for her family to relocate from one side of enormous Shasta Dam to the lesser-populated opposite side, the mother duck must have had enough of the noise and insanity. Even the slow-boating fishermen seemed annoyed by the speeders, who frequently violated safe distances and the posted speed limits at the congested boat ramp area.

In retrospect, the momma duck’s repeated tactic of flying slowly away to draw her enemy away from her babies was amazing to watch. But the attackers only fell for it a couple of times, then simply pummeled the less maneuverable babies under their marauding machines. Again and again. Literally, the tiny ducklings were sitting ducks.

It wasn’t until the pair of jet-skiers saw me taking pictures and heard me yelling at them at the top of my old lungs to stop that the men locked their sights on me for a scary confrontation. They came closer to me while my daughter and niece swam themselves between the big boys and their destructive toys so the girls could escort the mother duck and babies to the safety of a cove, while I drew the marauders away from my babies.

Shooting his craft up to the shoreline, the larger “soldier” came at me first and fast with slurred speech and red eyes, demanding, “Who the f… do you think you are taking pictures of my little brother without permission?!”

The seemingly drunken little brother darted up to the shoreline in his bright orange board shorts. That’s when the hostile threats and false accusations of violating “their” privacy came at me rapid fire without a chance for me to try to explain.

“We ought to come up there and rip that piece of shit camera right out of your f…ing hands, old man!”

The threat was frightening and felt imminent. I stood my ground, and they stayed on their watercraft, yelling at me.

My cell phone would not connect in the low cove for back-up 911. Not a ranger or sheriff in sight. I told them my name, asked who they were and where they were from. No answer, other than to continue drunkenly cussing and yelling about their rights being violated.

When I loudly asked, “Permission to speak freely, sir!” they went into conversational shock and both shut up for a second. I quickly said that what they were doing was a much bigger assault on the privacy of the defenseless wildlife. They grew louder and more angry.

“We would much rather shoot ducks than run them over on a f…ing jet ski!”

For their excuse, they said ducks have a natural defense mechanism whereby a duck under the assault of a jet ski attack always dives under the craft.

“They never get hurt, stupid!”

Noticing again what looked like military tattoos, I decided to address only the bigger brother. I told him it was illegal to harm wildlife in our national parks, and said many soldiers fought for the laws that protect our great nation, and that includes our wildlife.

I remembered one of the first rules of conflict management training (as a chemical dependency counselor): never try to rationalize with an angry drunk. I validated their “feelings” about how awful it must have felt to have a reporter taking their pictures in a public place. I went on to say that my biggest concern was how two big, strapping, smart guys would get such a thrill from scaring such small creatures, while also scaring two little girls with their violent displays.

The younger one flipped me off and jet-skied into the sunset. The bigger brother had “won” his little brother’s battle a hero. It was off to the pretty young ladies on the opposite shore awaiting their men’s valiant return from “war” with a mother duck and her ducklings.

Did the bullies want blood? No doubt in my mind.

Did my kids want to feel threatened on our otherwise beautiful Lake Shasta? No doubt they just wanted a pleasant end to our otherwise peaceful day, in peace.

After the satisfied skiers left to resume their spoils of belligerence, beer and babes, we walked away, up the long ramp without looking back.

We sang, “We are the Champions” by Queen.

When my daughter asked why we were the champions,  I said it was because she and her cousin saved the lives of a whole family, and her dad used words instead of fists to defeat the enemy.

If you want to see what the enemy looks like from within our own borders, look at and share my pics.

I couldn’t feel more proud of these brave north state girls who swam that frantic momma duck and her surviving nine babies off to the safety of a smaller cove after such a horrible trauma.

We’d do it again in a heartbeat!

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Alan Ernesto Phillips is a proud son of Shasta County, a proud father of two daughters, and a local musician. He is a parenting educator, chemical-dependency counselor, victim-awareness counselor and developmental-asset builder and trainer. He also is a Clio and Telly award-winning filmmaker who produced and directed political campaigns for congressmen, senators, governors and one president (Ronald Reagan). His clients also included Coca-Cola, NIKE, CBS News and NOVA documentaries. He is a current board member and public affairs officer for the Northern California Hispanic Latino Coalition.

Alan Ernesto Phillips
Alan Ernesto Phillips is a son of Shasta County and proud father of two daughters. He is a Clio and multi-Telly award-winning filmmaker who produced and directed political campaigns for congressmen, senators, governors and one president (Ronald Reagan). His national clients also included Coca-Cola, NIKE, CBS News and NOVA documentaries. He is a former Board Chairman and Public Affairs Officer for the Northern California Hispanic Latino Coalition. Alan currently serves as Director of the 27th District Agricultural Association and as a north state liaison to the Hate Crimes Task Force under the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento.
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38 Responses

  1. Avatar Curtis Chipley says:

    Have they located these 2 jerks? I hope they do and they have to at least do some community service or something…….. this is just so sad that 2 grown men felt the need to do this…….

    • Avatar Not So Common Sense says:

      Hey folks…..What about the judgement of Phillips sending the 11 year old girls in the water during this so called… chaotic and dangerous situation, that he felt he was in danger from the military assault style attack by these 2 commandos!
      To all of you that keep attacking these brothers for poor judgement and stupidity, how ’bout some toward the grown adult sending 2 little girls in harms way…
      This doesn’t excuse the 2 guys if they actually did the things Phillips accuses them of doing, but the one thing we know happened (according to Phillips own account) below…

      The brothers approached him while the girls still watched, screaming at him to put his camera away, swearing at him and taunting him for caring about the ducks.
      Phillips motioned to his girls to swim out and direct the ducks to safety while he tried to reason with the Sims brothers, he said.
      “These guys appeared to be psychotic and they appeared to me to be under the influence of alcohol,” Phillips said.
      Phillips said he felt afraid that the men were going to attack him, and he was unable to call 911 because he had no cell phone service.
      “My hands are shaking because these guys are coming at me at the shoreline,” Phillips said.

      If the niece was your child, how would you feel….? Just worried about the ducks still, or hopefully, more worried about how your child was put in danger by a trusted adult, that was supervising a precious family member…

      Maybe Mr Phillips could write a WAY better and descriptive story (as he has shown he can do with his updated and imaginative blogs the last week or so about the situation)…than I, about the dangers an adult put preteen girls in.

      But I think anyone, that has any common sense, can see the problem with the appropriate focus on this story…

      HELLO out there…to you who can only focus on the ducks…and not the human beings, that were left in this DANGEROUS SITUATION (according to Phillips)…

      Clue up folks!!!

      Start using your own brain and common sense, and quit following the crowd, without REALLY thinking it through on your own….A lot of people are jumping on the bandwagon, without having all the information to make an educated thought and or comment…

  2. Avatar Hal Johnson says:

    Assholes like that tarnish the reputation of good beer.

    And bad beer, for that matter.

  3. Avatar Ron says:

    I would pass these pics on to the sheriff’s office boat safety office on the lake and the US wildlife rangers as well as dept. fish and game.

    They may be able to I’d these ummm “soilders” ( yes I said that right). Did u get the registration numbers on the vessel?

    Any rate good for u to stand up to them!

  4. Avatar Ron says:

    I would turn them in to CalTip as well and submit all your info

  5. Avatar Melinda Van Doren says:

    I’m guessing these two guys would find throwing kittens from car windows a real “hoot” as well.
    Thank you and your girls for distracting these thugs from their sport of terrorizing defenseless ducklings. You ARE champions!

  6. Avatar Shawna says:

    Unbelievable! What a couple of Adam Henry losers. Thank you Mr. Phillips for standing up to them! I agree with the comments about getting to photos to the sheriff’s office and fish and game, etc.

  7. Avatar Richard Douse says:

    Sometimes strands of deoxiriboneuclic acid do not devide properly, as is the case with these two. What should have helped in brain development just went into making a couple of pricks.

  8. Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

    I’m not going to lie. When I was 10 or 11 years old I did some bad things to birds and frogs with my BB gun and homemade rockets, respectively. The unformed brains of juveniles, flooded with hormones at the onset of puberty, can be cruel. Assuming that these guys get caught, and that they’re less than 13 years old, I’m prepared to cut them some slack.

    If they’re adults, I wish them the best of luck living the remainder of their lives as mouth-breathing morons.

    Also, the threat by two young meatheads of attacking an older, smaller guy who is accompanied by two young girls is almost equal in cowardliness to trying to run over baby ducks with a watercraft. Is it just me who thinks that?

  9. AJacoby AJacoby says:

    AMEN AND AMEN AGAIN, TO YOUR LAST PARAGRAPH, STEVE. Thank you, Alan, for posting this. I hope some prosecutorial consequence comes of this post!

  10. Avatar C Amanda Stamps says:

    What asshats. What are they trying to compensate for? Insecurity? Can’t maintain a relationship? These are not men, they are little boys who need their asses kicked.

  11. Avatar Wm. Arnold says:

    Several laws come into play here; Criminal Assault[in a Federal controlled area]*
    Penal Code 597 Animal Cruelty, as well as federal charges for birds protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act,”

  12. I fully admit that this story struck a major nerve with me. I felt extremely angry at the men Alan wrote about. The thought of a couple of strong guys chasing little ducks around the lake with a jet ski really ticked me off.

    Like many of you, I wanted justice. In my wildest imagination I’d settle for having the guys dumped in the lake and then have a couple of people chase the brothers around the lake with a jet ski, just to give them the full appreciation of how the ducks felt.

    But that’s not how a civilized society works.

    It’s true that the names of the men in question here are all over Facebook, as well as on various north state online forums. Their identities are pretty much an open secret. Likewise, it looks like, judging by one of the guy’s replies on some FB screen grabs, as well as the tone of his private FB reply to me when I sought comment, that these are the same guys about whom Alan wrote.

    Even so ….

    On the one hand, as one person on our ANC team put it, the horse has left the barn with regard to the guys’ identities.

    On the other hand, as another ANC team member put it, we don’t want a witch hunt on our hands.

    Both are true statements.

    By tomorrow a.m., the proper regulatory agencies will have been contacted about this case. After that, it will be up to law enforcement to investigate and, if necessary, dole out punishments if it’s determined laws were broken.

    When that happens, we’ll report on it, and the names will probably be included at that time.

    Until then, we’ve removed a number of the comments that name the brothers.

    Although I’m taking the high road, I come to this path late in the day, after I’d already been on the low, rock-slinging road.

    That low road felt good while it lasted.

    But the higher road is a better place.

    Thanks for understanding.

  13. AJacoby AJacoby says:

    How sad these two brother find it necessary to advertise their penile inadequacies publicly!

  14. Avatar Derral Campbell says:

    Thanks for standing up, Alan! Creepy situation, handled well. Hats off.

  15. Avatar Roy says:

    Wow, what a pity these “men” (I use that term loosely here) have no conception of why hunting ducks is allowed. My punishment would be a ban on hunting license for life is in order.
    But then maybe they never use a legal means to hunt, their attitude certainly demonstrates that.
    Culling wild game is more about preserving a healthy population than anything else.

  16. Avatar Cheri Davis says:

    Thank you Alan and daughter and niece for protecting those wonderful creatures. So many blessings to all of you for your stand.
    And may the men who you stood up to be blessed in their hearts with as much peace and love you each have in yours. Thank you..thank you…

  17. I agree the acts of they two individual are vile and disgusting, and they need to be questioned by authorities. But I am curious about all the military references in your article…

  18. Avatar name says:

    Good for you!!!

    This happened to us when two stupid young ladies were jet skiing around 3 deer that were trying to cross the main channel a half mile west of Bridge Bay. They kept circling the deer until the point the deer were about to drown. It takes a while for a deer to swim the main channel. We yelled at them and they flipped us off, cut our fishing line (we were trolling), and left after we bounced a beer bottle off of them. Then 10 mins later 3 huge drunk guys came up wanting a fight, they obviously were not going to back down, even though we explained what their girls had done. They backed off really quick once we pulled the lake gun out. 20 mins later the sheriff boat came by and we flagged him down, gave a description, and told him that they had better not be back near our boat again…

  19. Avatar Noel Schnaible says:

    I am very happy there are kindhearted people out there to stick up for the little guy (or ducks in this case) so for that I applaud you. However, I do not understand the need to continuously refer to these Jerks as’ soldiers’ and the need to say ‘military tattoo’ what exactly is a ‘military tattoo’ as there are many men and women in the military that do not have any. The constant references seem pretty disrespectful to actual soldiers.

  20. Avatar Jesse sims says:

    My brother and I didn’t “terrorize” ducks as portrayed on Facebook. My brother, Jason jumped a wake from behind a boat and landed close to the mama because he didn’t see her. When he noticed there were babies, he circled back and tried to direct her to them because she flew off pretty far. He was “chasing” them into a cove so they wouldn’t get hit by other water craft. Then, I saw what was happening and thought he was trying to move them toward the shore. We weren’t even going fast. Whoever saw and thought we were trying to “kill” them, didn’t know what was going on. Some guy started taking photos of me and my brother got upset. When he questioned the guy, the guy started yelling at us trying to say we were killing the ducks. Jason explained that none of the ducks were killed or even close to being hurt. They just swim underwater when you get close to them so it took a few tries to get them out of the area we were riding. We weren’t drunk and we weren’t hurting animals.

    • Avatar Nice guy says:

      I am glad u luv the little baby ducks sooooooo much : )

    • Avatar Nice girl says:

      The pictures are worth a thousand words. They were not herding ducks to a safe zone, they were running them over. You can even see one of the babies being plowed over in one of the pictures.

      Nice try on attempting to change the story up be we all know better.

    • Avatar Davey says:

      What ever happened to innocent until proven guilty…WOW

      Doesn’t anybody else wonder that if these guys were so out of control why this GREAT guy and maker of a better world would sent the 2, 11 year old girls out into the water where these terrible crimes were taking place…?
      -with 2 guys described and explained by Phillipps:
      * “I witnessed them pummeling these ducks with military precision,”
      * The brothers approached him while the girls still watched, screaming at him to put his camera away, swearing at him and taunting him for caring about the ducks.
      *“These guys appeared to be psychotic and they appeared to me to be under the influence of alcohol,” Phillips said.
      *Phillips said he felt afraid that the men were going to attack him…
      Would you send your girls out into the water or ????
      This story has some stench and without all the facts how can we hang these guys off these pictures…

    • Jesse: This may come is a big surprise to you, many of us
      around these parts grew up on these lakes. Shasta, Whiskeytown,
      Trinity and others. Personally, I’ve been on it with nearly every
      type of vessel you can imagine. I’ve had paid mo-rage at Bridge
      Bay, and Lakehead.

      Now, go back up to the top of this page, not sure if the picture
      of the Jet Ski is you, or our brother, you are either an Ass wipe
      or a liar. Notice the wake around and behind the jet ski and the mother duck leaving the water in fear. I’ve seen mother ducks, just like this one take the full brunt of a car bumper rather than leave their ducklings. That’s just how brave and caring they are for their young. These are levels of respect I hope you and your brother rise too some day, but frankly I don’t see much hope for it, based on your actions.

      • Avatar Truly Concerned says:

        This is CRAZY, SERIOUSLY CRAZY….Nobody is questioning the fact these 2 young girls were put in danger if in fact these guys were as Mr Phillips describes…in his own words below..

        “These guys appeared to be psychotic and they
        appeared to me to be under the influence of alcohol,” Phillips said.
        Phillips said he felt afraid that the men were going to attack him, and he was unable to call 911 because he had no cell phone service.
        “My hands are shaking because these guys are coming at me at the shoreline,” Phillips said.

        Yet he sends these girls into the water to save the ducks…REALLY..!!!

        These 2 guys were sooooo out of control that Mr Phillips not only “didn’t get the girls out of there” because these 2 supposed crazed bullies were out for blood (see other creative stories Mr Phillips is writing since the incident), but in his creative words:
        ==>Motioned to his girls to swim out and direct the ducks to safety while he tried to reason with the Sims brothers.
        I think Mr Phillips and all those going after these 2 guys need to look at the real problem here:
        1:Either this story is totally exaggerated, the facts are not true or stretched, or Mr Phillips misread the situation.
        2: or this is all true, these 2 guys were out of control and the 2 young girls were put in danger due to bad judgement by the adult in charge…

        Bottom line is which one of these are worse….
        Ducks being harassed by 2 knuckleheads or a grown adult not getting these 11 year olds separated from this situation (and even further, not sending them into danger as it seems happened)….

        Lets put this into perspective and maybe have the proper discussion here.

        He (Mr Phillips) said he only wanted to alert people to potential dangers on the lake heading into the holiday weekend.


        Self Promotion comes to mind Mr Phillips…..

  21. Avatar Dustin Copeland says:

    I know both of them and my little brother was at the lake that day with them, this is very misleading and false. After jumping a wake one of the boys landed by the mama duck that he hadn’t seen and it flew off pretty far and what was misconstrued as attacking the babies by someone who wasn’t involved and not knowing what was going on was actually them attempting to guide the mom back to the babies at which point they were trying to heard the family towards shore and away from the area where the skis and boats were flying by.

    This got turned around from an American soldier and his little brother doing a good thing by getting these ducks out of harms way into two “drunk” evil bullies who hate and abuse animals all because someone who wasn’t involved decided to butt in to something that didn’t concern him and write a load of hokum that everyone just believed.

    Mr. Phillips wasn’t even right there when it started. He went out of his way to get involved and wrote the article just to get attention for himself. Shame on you Alan Ernesto Phillips and shame on everyone who believed him.

    • Avatar Nice guy says:

      U Jesse n Jason sound like real nice guys.

    • Avatar David Armstrong says:

      Tell you what…you come at me angrily over words, or even my right to record a crime in progress,…I don’t give a shit if your a god damn retired general, YOU SIR ARE CATCHING LEAD. Quit throwing around “American soldier” like you’re throwing a title at everyone. It’s fucking insulting. Just because this ass-clown served, doesn’t give him or ANYONE and excuse to be a bully. Just the opposite in fact. What a Lilly Livered Panty Waist. Has his friends come online and get them to “hide” the princess behind his “love of country”. Take care out there boys, it’s a rough world for bullies.

  22. Steven Towers Steven Towers says:

    Most of us weren’t there, so it’s hart to dismiss out of hand what Jesse and Dustin have to say — in particular Jesse’s account of he and his brother just trying to herd the ducks out of harms way. Are the pictures damning. I have to admit that, upon reflection, it doesn’t appear that the ducks were being chased at full speed.

    But I happened to have read Jesse’s Facebook comments that he posted following the incident, and let’s just say that they don’t lend to his credibility.

    Also, I don’t see a denial that Mr. Phillips was threatened. I still maintain that threatening him, if that occurred, is inexcusable.

    The repeated references to one of the guys on the watercraft as a military man has struck me as immaterial, and unfortunate, from the very beginning.

  23. Avatar Pamela says:

    I want to thank Alan for his courage to write about this, confront these two men and take photos. It does take courage and heart to defend the defenseless.

  24. Avatar Barbara Nicoson says:

    I really don’t want to touch this with a ten foot pole. Glad to see the ducks and the girls made it out of this safely. Just really want to say it was a very well written article and the photos were incredible!

  25. David Armstrong, thanks for cutting through the hemming and hawing about disrespecting the military to speak the truth about these meatheads. People who don’t want to think there are a few soldiers coming home with bully issues haven’t been paying attention and are in for more shocks. Obviously, the majority of those who serve would be as disgusted by this guy and his brother as the rest of us, but they wouldn’t be as surprised. Thanks for reminding us that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. Happy Birthday America!

  26. Avatar Rick Nixon says:

    Large muscles and even larger, fragile egos fueled by pitifully-low self-esteem. Sadly,and disturbingly, this behavior is rampant among young military males and athletes (many of whom are regular users of steroids). Only those who live in the darkness of fear feel the need to control, threaten, abuse and terrorize lovers, family, friends, children and small, defenseless animals. Bullies are all the same. If only they understood themselves, they might seek help to deal with their feelings of inferiority which drives them to such displays of false bravado and then they might become the responsible, honorable, even heroic persons they so desperately would like be.

    Al, what you and the girls did was, in my book, an act of heroism. When tyranny is fought anywhere, it is fought everywhere! “Photos, Not Fists”. I hope those two brothers are ashamed of their actions.