We were raised to be hunters.
I always enjoyed hunting but for some reason I wasn’t passionate about it. I am not sure why I didn’t take to it. It could have been a number of other hobbies; motocross, skate/snowboarding or playing in bands that were getting in the way. But it also could have been stuff that I shouldn’t have been doing. I was a bad kid, but we will get into that in another post…
I bought my first home when I was 20 years old. Then the market crashed 4 months later when I turned 21. My world took a turn. We were planning a tour for the last band I was in and had to tell the guys that they need to find my replacement, I was not going to be able to afford the tour. After that I started hanging out with some old friends (Mike the guy from the bear post). One night we were talking about hunting and he started to talk about duck hunting. I had never gone duck hunting before and wanted to try it after he told some of the stories of birds buzzing by and old dogs making great retrieves.
Fast forward to October of 2006. We were duck hunting opening morning, but not the kind of duck hunting normal people do… Mike showed up still feeling it from the night before or hour before I am not really sure. We had no decoys, no calls and 1 pair of waders between the two of us. We were hunting a very small pond that my dad told us about.
We waited to approach the pond until it was light so we could jump the first group of ducks that came in. Once it got light we put the sneak on until in range then yelled to get the birds up. We fired all 6 shots for one bird. Bam I was now a duck hunter! That day we ended up with three birds by jumping, then standing in the woods until another duck showed up and jumping them again. I loved the experience of duck hunting. It is such a social sport and a great one to enjoy with good company.
The rest of that year I think I hunted ducks 15 times and even got some decoys and a call. 2007 I started really getting into it even more and if I remember right I hunted over 30 days that year. The better I got at it the more I enjoyed.
I am not sure what it is about duck hunting but it brought me back full circle. Eventually I started deer hunting again and then everything seemed to fall back into place. My passion now is more for Big Game but the ducks still intrigue me and every spring I get giddy when I start to see the birds coming back. They are one of the most spectacular animals to watch. Nothing moves like a duck. Nothing sounds like the wing beat of a duck and to me nothing is prettier then a drake duck in the early spring. My wife gives me grief because everytime we go anywhere I am pointing out birds, “There’s a duck! Oh look we are doing 45 mph and that mallard is keeping up! Wooh did you see that flock fly over 3 hours ago when we first got here??!!” Those are just a few examples of my duckisms .
I have some wonderful memories of duck hunts. One of my favorites. A friend and I were hunting a small lake one day out of my 10 foot jon boat. When we decided to call it a day. We wrapped up decoys and got in the boat to make our paddle out. Nate had to relieve himself before the trip. Now this jon boat was VERY tippy. Nate knows how I like to have fun with people and even if it may be dangerous or borderline stupid. So when he stood on the front of the boat he said “Don’t f*@$ around”. Naturally that sounded like an invitation to f*@$ around. So I began to act like I was going to start paddling in a very unnatural way. Well my paddle caught some reeds on accident and jerked the boat so hard that I fell on the gunwale and water instantly starting rushing in the boat ( I am laughing so hard writing this right now that I am actually crying). It didn’t take long for that little 10 ft boat to sink! Luckily we were in 3 ft deep water and all of our important stuff was in floating cases and bags. We were able to get the boat to shore and get it emptied out for our paddle out. We laughed so hard that day and still do every time we tell that story.
There have been a lot of days that I can look back on that really stick out to me. The day I decided I was going to marry my wife was in a duck blind. The first time I took my dad duck hunting it was a slow day, but I will never forget the walk out. The woods were lit up just right and the floor was covered in the color of fire from the oak leaves falling at just the right time. I have made a lot of friends and a lot of memories in a duck blind and can’t wait to make more.
The other big thing that duck hunting has given me is a love for cooking, especially for other people. Cooking ducks takes practice. I played with a lot of different recipes until I started to find some good ways to cook ducks. With all the different recipes I started to figure out what ingredients blend and what ones don’t. Eventually we started doing “Game Feeds” at our house. We would do a couple big feeds each fall. Now that we are settled in our new home I really hope we will be able to continue these this fall.
This taught me that the meat is just as good as the trophy (I don’t side with either party, I believe hunting is hunting and we need to be on the same team). I started hunting with purpose. Hunting was now about which animal tastes the best!
If you or someone you know has gone away from their hunting roots, take them duck hunting. If you know someone who says hunting is boring, take them duck hunting. I believe duck hunting is the ultimate gateway drug to the addiction of hunting.