Hunting > Upland & Waterfowl

Diver Follies (Page 2)

For every strap filled with diving ducks, the author returns home empty-handed and broken three times over, yet he doggedly does it again and again. Is he insane? You decide.

We did the best we could to sort things out, but when the sun’s rays danced over the horizon, the realization that Wintersteen still needed to be ferried in was all the persuasion we needed to give up. At least we had a few blocks in the water. So we picked him up (he’d been enjoying his coffee on the dock) and delivered him to the blind when he asked if we should “fix the decoys.”

As I quietly contemplated his demise, Eric’s timely shout—“Just get in the damn blind!”—seemed to extend my friend’s life. We sat silent in the blind, shoulders hunched low, eyes scanning with dismal hope until Wintersteen fired and cart-wheeled a bufflehead into our “spaghetti á la bluebill” spread.

“Good thing we ain’t hunting mallards,” he said with a guilty-dog grin. Indeed it was.

As a duck hunter I’ve learned to take the good with the bad. For every strap I’ve filled, I’ve returned home broken and empty-handed three times over. I know that even on the remote chance the weather plays out like it’s supposed to, bad days afield are intrinsic to our sport. No one can control the ducks. And with so many variables involved in the pursuit of waterfowl, bad days can be as varied as the types of ducks we hunt. Every different style, region and setup invites a different set of tribulations. And while I’m not normally one to argue over who stepped in the bigger pile of muck, when things don’t go according to plan the fowler in pursuit of diver ducks has it particularly bad. But as all duck hunters know, the worst days on the water often become warm tales in the blind after the coffee’s gone cold and the birds don’t show. So I keep hunting, hoping they do.

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