Even though you know what you are about to see as you open the freezer, the sight of your last delicious duck making its final flight from its frozen tomb to your countertop is bittersweet. The little bird will dance in your cast-iron skillet soon enough, but it still doesn't feel right. The freezer that was once dominated by the coveted protein is now ceding space to frozen peas and flavorless chicken. It's a sad sight, but one you mean to right, and soon. Summer is over, your true calling is about to begin again. Your last meal is delicious.
Shotguns get the last of the Hoppe's 9. Gear is packed and then packed again leaving nothing to chance. The night before is restless, you spend it tossing and turning like a kid on Christmas Eve regardless of the fact that you know what gifts await you in the morning. You've been waiting for this day for the last six months, when it was still cold outside. Now it's hot, and you're in luck because it's September, the start of teal season.
Your mind races with thoughts of what this early season will indicate for the remainder of the year. Will the ducks show? What about numbers? You know the immediate answer to most of these questions already due to your diligent Internet scouting. You've checked the breeding reports. The reassuring phone calls to friends up North tell you what you want to hear—the birds are on the move.
You trek to the blind on autopilot. You could've made it blindfolded, and would have if the instance had called for it. Nothing will keep you from today. Your hunting partner knew it too and didn't hesitate to jump from the truck and disappear into the marsh. You allowed him this freedom, a gift for the opener. As you step up into the blind he gives you a look as if to say, "Where have you been? Don't you know what day it is?"… You know.
You planned to put out a small but effective spread, its shape determined days ago. Each deke has a home and must be placed precisely. That all goes out the window as you hear the first whistle of wings overhead. No time for precision, they must go out now!
Your eyes focus on two spots—the sky and your watch—waiting for the moment when the two align beneath the fading stars and creeping sunlight. Shadows zoom by overhead like missiles, splashes sound off deep in the spread. You look down … five more minutes.
Guns are loaded with the least-rusted of last year's 3-inch mags. You adjust the lanyard around your neck. Taking one last sip of coffee, you look to your watch and then to your partner as a crooked smile engulfs your face. It's shooting time.
Did You Know?
Set up active decoys where you don't want geese to land. Use sleeping and resting decoys to signal the area has been checked out and it's safe enough to drop in and nap.
Introducing the Laramie Longhorn —The 2011 Ram Laramie Longhorn sets a new standard for luxury trucks. From high-end exterior treatments to rich, well-appointed interiors, experience the ultimate in truck craftsmanship and comfort. To find out more about the Ram Laramie Longhorn visit www.ramtruck.com/longhorn.
Check out your favorite rodeo star and the latest Ram trucks at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Dec. 2-11. Ram has been a proud sponsor of NFR for 30 years and we expect this year to be another exciting finals competition.
Ram continues "Letters for Lyrics"and its quest to send 1 million letters to soldiers. You can now write your letter electronically at www.ramtrucks.com/lettersforlyrics, and in return you can receive a free CD, "Breaking Southern Ground." This exclusive compilation, not sold in stores, features Southern Ground Artists Zac Brown Band, Sonia Leigh, Nic Cowan and Levi.
1EPA est. 14 city/20 hwy mpg for Ram 4x2. Ram, HEMI, and RamBox are registered trademarks of Chrysler Group LLC.
Like the fossilized skeletons of its ancestors displayed in the Smithsonian, a 12-foot alligator can be scary even when it's dead—something that Shooting Illustrated's Adam Heggenstaller learned in person during a gator hunt in Florida. Read More »
The 2011 Ram Laramie Longhorn sets a new standard for luxury trucks. From high-end exterior treatments to rich... Read More »
Price of nonresident sheep tags-
Record-high winning bid for 2013 Montana special bighorn permit
U.S. states with native bighorn sheep seasons—Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming
NRA conducts metallic reloading training courses across the country. Go to nrainstructors.org to find one.