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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another Duck Season Comes to a Close

If you have to bag a lot of birds to have a good duck season 2012 was not your kind of year. We didn’t have many good days… unless you consider watching a beautiful Missouri sunrise or grilling sausage & cheese biscuits with friends in a twenty-six year old duck blind a good day.  How about stroking the damp fur of a good Lab who would rather be there with you than any place else on earth and would eagerly leap into ice-cold water to retrieve a duck (if you ever shot one)?   What about an evening sitting by a fire, cradling a cold drink in your gloved hand while hoping to spot a late flight of wood ducks cruising in for the night or a doe getting an early start on her nightly prowl for acorns and left-over field corn?

 If these things float your layout boat then you would have been right at home at the Lone Oak Duck Club this past season.