A duck hunter is born

My baptism into the awesome sport of duck hunting took place when I was twenty-nine years old and should’ve known better.

My “John The Baptist” was long-time buddy Ned who had duck hunted since high school.  Before dawn we waded into the shallow waters of John Redmond reservoir in eastern Kansas. I could hear the gentle whisper of wings overhead, and  though I had never heard that sound, I knew what it was. As daylight approached we saw ducks flying far out over the reservoir and I remember how I thought, with their speed, their outstretched necks, they resembled little fighter planes like the P-51 Mustang my brother Paul had flown in World War Two.

Ned and I never fired a shot that morning but I was mesmerized by watching the birds fly. I loved seeing the sun slowly creep up over the horizon. And because it wasn’t very cold , I didn’t mind standing in muddy, waist-deep water as it seeped into my borrowed chest waders.

I had become a duck hunter.

Fast forward to now, when my friend Jay and his fourteen year-old son Chuck – or Charlie – depending on the moniker he chooses at the moment, are hunkered in a blind at the Lone Oak Duck Club in western Missouri. Fourteen-year-old Chuck has been doing this since he was old enough to walk. Surely he feels the same emotions I felt that morning long ago as I stood in the muddy waters of Redmond reservoir.

He’ll be a duck hunter all his life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About BruceCochran

Bruce Cochran graduated from Oklahoma University in 1960 with a B.A. in design. He worked as a humor writer/illustrator for Hallmark Cards from 1960 – 1962 and has freelanced as a writer, cartoonist and illustrator since then. Cochran drew daily sports cartoon for USA Today from 1983 – 1991. He has 10 humor/cartoon books published by Willow Creek Press and his work appears regularly in Wyoming Wildlife, Outdoor News, On Wisconsin Outdoors, Pheasants Forever Journal, Wildfowl, Gundog, Ducks Unlimited magazine, Delta Waterfowl and other publications. He also writes and illustrates a regular humor column for Wyoming Wildlife News. Bruce won first place in the magazine humor category of OWAA’s EIC contest in 2000, 2004, 2008, 2009, and 2010. Life Sponsor: Ducks Unlimited. Life member: NRA. Member: Pheasants Forever, Trout Unlimited, OWAA and Outdoor Writers of Kansas.

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