Opening Day Ducks...

T. Fanning

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It seems that for the last few years I am always finding myself looking for some more sun block during the duck hunting season. I can't keep enough of that SPF-100 around. Last fall I sat on top of my pit over looking my decoys like a weathered lifeguard, it was miserable. Obviously not killing birds wasn't enough torture, so I let a large group of mosquitoes drop into the deks and consume my face.

But last year was an artic blast compared to the 2001 fall-winter hunting season. I remember sitting on a truck tailgate in the first week of December, after sweating cold cuts in a deer stand, I crouched under a self made shower of some luke-warm Dasani. That year we all prayed we didn't shoot a big deer fearing that if we did the bruiser would be bloated before the arrow pasted through it. The last few years have brought us some really mild winters. Hunting patterns have been less active or frequent, game numbers have been down, and we as outdoorsman have almost accepted this terrible fate. I have a great opportunity to hunt some of the best waterfowling ground in my area, but every opening day for the past few hunting seasons those several hundred acres of flooded corn went unhunted for that first morning.

The whole family would trek out into the swap and hunt the only ducks around, Woodies. It was really depressing to not be able to hunt greenheads, but there was nothing we could do. It is understandable to lose hope after so much disappointment. However, as my grandpa always used to say, “We only achieve great victory after eating so much crap”. I think those last few years were a meal and a half of crapola and this fall will be the great hunting season. I came to this conclusion this afternoon as just like hunting seasons before I sat on my pit, over looking my decoys. This time though, I was not a weary lifeguard watching over a beach of deks. No, I was definitely bundled up tight as possible while the cold 40 mph north wind cut into my back like an unexpected blade. My eyes, not on the spread, strained the wind to look over-head at five thousand ducks funneling down from the stratosphere right on top of me. Being the day before the season, there was no gun, nor call to reach for. I simply sat dumb founded as fat wads of mallards banked down in the wind and not making a pass, literally fell into my decoys. Behind them, several different species of ducks and geese were trailing from the river to join this function. By the time I crawled back to my truck, there were over ten thousand birds circling and haunting the air above our 4 lakes coming in not committed, but possessed. Next morning I will load my gun, not to put it aside for a nap or to freshen my coat of Banana Boat, but to put steel to beak, for this hunting season there will be ducks on opening day.

Posted by T. Fanning under Field Journals on October 28, 06 11:00 AM | Permalink

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