In the areas of shotguns, dogs or proper duck calling, I suspect you and I may share differing opinions. However, let's agree on one thing: We have never planned a hunt improperly. We always select the best location on every given day; our calling is spot-on both in timing and acoustics; our dogs superbly trained; our shooting techniques spotless. Sure, there are days when we don't shoot any birds. But they're hardly our fault.
You see, sometimes we run into luck outside our control. The unseasoned waterfowler might even call them excuses. All I know is when I return to my wife after a 4 a.m. wakeup and a day afield—duckless—there are plenty of good reasons. Perhaps a few of these will serve you well the next time the duck gods don't cooperate during an otherwise perfectly executed affair.
The sun was too bright.
"The birds flew too high. There was too much sun in hunters' faces. The guns glared. The decoys shined. I doubt anyone shot a bird today."
It was too cloudy.
"Plenty of birds flew over, but they couldn't see the decoys. I doubt anyone shot a bird today."
The dog broke on a seagull.
"He's only steady on ducks."
My gun froze.
"The firing pin completely locked up. I should clean it less."
My gun wouldn't cycle.
"I should clean it more but that means more time away from you."
My shells are no good.
"I shot the ducks square in the chest and they just flew off."
It's those dang skybusters.
"The birds would've worked us if Team Duck Dynasty in the next blind over hadn't flared every last one of them."
The shot caller had a bad day.
"I don't know what was up with Bill. He'd call the shot too late, then too soon. It was a mess."
There was no wind.
"The decoys had no motion."
It was too windy.
"The ducks were hunkered down."
My camo was all wrong.
"I should've gone with a lighter/darker pattern. Heck no I didn't move too much."
I'm too courteous.
"I could've shot plenty of ducks but I let the others shoot first, gentleman that I am."
It was too warm.
"The ducks were all snoozing."
It was too cold.
"Ice floes washed away the spread."
So, you see, it's easy to justify our lack of success, deserving as we may have been. What would you add to the list?