Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I had the unique pleasure of having a big bunch of my buds in the duck blind all at once. There was George and Little George. My son Adam and George’s son-in-law, who asked not to be named in these potentially libelous writeups. And there was Bear, my old hunting Buddy who has to live out of state now because of various active warrants and bad loans. But that’s another story. We used to have a big blind in Wham Brake that even had a commode, a fish fryer and a big drum of fresh water to drink or wash our hands if we had to actually pick up a duck out of Wham.
But this was the first time ever we’d been all together in the duck blind.
We had a blast. There were so many stories to be told and so little time. It started in typical Kinny/George/Bear fashion. Little George requested that we all sit quietly while he called the ducks. So we did. As soon as it turned legal shooting hours, Little George turned to us and said, “Guys, they are going to be real spooky this morning, so we’ll have to really cover up good.”
Splash. Splash. Two ducks immediately landed six feet in front of us in the decoys. Gee, L.G., those ducks were so spooky they tried to hide in the decoys!
It got worse, fast, and lasted longer than a bad set of onion rings from the Dairy Queen. But it was all in good fun. We killed some ducks. Made some new memories and all proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that we were not nearly as good a shot as we think. The morning also proved something else.
I guess I’m guilty of one of the most heinous of outdoor crimes: Wanton Waste. Now for you non-duck hunters, that isn’t about throwing away good Chinese food. That’s wonton waste. This is about not doing the best you can to get the ducks you shoot. I must be guilty. Some of my best friends, hunting partners and even family members as much as said it. It even goes so far as this. When sitting in the blind, I have actually turned to look just in time to see the retriever giving me a sad, long, questioning look.
When you duck hunt, the law says “all migratory game birds shall be retrieved, if possible, and retained in the custody of the hunter in the field.”
My buddies tell me that is a problem. For starters, they say, if I should get lucky enough to actually hit a duck with one of the 100 little pellets in my No. 4
steel shotshell, said pellet will probably only hit the duck in the foot or the rear end, causing needless pain to the duck, but giving us no chance for fresh gumbo meat. And retrieval is impossible with those kind of injuries. Thus the look from the dog.
They say that for me to even pull the trigger is a waste of a $2 Black Cloud shotgun shell (in case you are wondering why those Phil Robertson duck shells are so expensive, I think each one of those little shot must have a little custom, gray beard on it). To make it worse, they even question why I even get up at 4 a.m., make the long drive to the duck hunting grounds, trudge through the mud, sit in a cold duck blind and put up with their harassment when I don’t even drink their coffee. They mumble something about waste-ing my time.
Oh, it gets worse. It is also against the law to harass migratory waterfowl. Do I have to tell you what they say when I blow the duck call? Yep. Duck Harassment. Hey, anybody can make a feed call or a hail call. It takes special skill to master the “Fly the Other Way” call or the “Head back North call”.
I rest my case.
I guess I should just go fishing. At least when I miss a fish, it doesn’t make a loud noise or cost me $2 a cast. And the dog doesn’t look at me funny.