Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Why I'm crazy, but committed...

There's a book aptly titled, “All Duck Hunters are Crazy” by Ron Koch of Wisconsin, and the title speaks volumes to how I must honestly be or act from time to time. I had started a journal about one of these times and to be honest, never ever continued it. Nevertheless, here is the submittal with some recent editing, and an opportunity for some reflection. All is took was a little unfavorable weather and a few minutes to think.

December 3, 2007

On the first major winter storm of the season, I thought my odds of getting a black duck or mallard below the waterfront property would be fairly decent. In the past, I have had success decoying blacks during a storm utilizing a wooden mallard call and a string of carry lite black duck dekes. They seem to toller very well and might be the only time a black duck can be tricked. The opportunity seemed flawless, except that the tide was just turning back onto the flats.

From the waterfront cape with a set of binoculars, I spotted two feeders far out by the picked rock near the tides edge. These two presented an excellent opportunity for a sneak attack. I would need to take my time and approach these ducks with caution, they were at least several hundred feet away.

At 12:30 p.m. and increasing snow, I hit the shore via the north side of the wharf. To my surprise, well maybe not, two mallards took flight into a high southeast wind with driving horizontal snow. Talk about frustration, if I had known they were there, it would have been an easy double.

Upon this blunder, I continued towards this square rock behind a ledge out towards the picked rock and again was pinned by two more ducks. They promptly lifted into the high wind and flew in the head of Cranberry Cove. Taking a shot are either of these would have been futile and would have erased any possibility of my original strategy.

At this point, I felt uneasy about the ducks I had spotted out by the picked rock for they could have been alerted by two consecutive pairs taking flight. I continued hand and knee, moving towards the picked rock and reached the ledge prior to the rock. In all the wind, snow, and cold, the remaining pair rose into the wind, suspended making no headway at all. I sprung up, anticipated and acted on the mallards with three straight shots of failure. The pair turned to the west, then veered into the wind only to turn with a tailwind back by me at a fairly high clip. I offered no additional fire at them as they cheated towards the shoreline. This was not a favorable shot and I opted not to cast steel in that direction.

I immediately ran back up to the house and garnered four black duck decoys out of the bed of my pickup. While setting them out across the drain my father came down with a line of six more and he placed them in the drain below my string so that they took a “T” formation with the bottom of that “T” directed windward. Dad wished me good luck and he sped towards the cape. I chose to set up next to the rock by the wharf where the new extension ended, unfinished but near completion. Here I could tuck in to the lee and quietly watch the dekes behind two old traps laid by the rock.

It was here I would remain for the next three hours with snow gathering on my nose, my fingers reasonably frozen, and the circulation of my behind down to my toes creating that prickly feeling which I assume will drive any person to a wit's end. My thoughts focused on how my earlier failure had transpired and how I may proceed in the future if a similar opportunity presented itself. But again, I clinically was freezing...

While out there, I asked myself why am I here? After another half hour of witnessing the never ending horizontal frozen precipitation, it occurred to me: I have a passion for duck hunting and to be passionate about something you must endure the difficulties that may arise in pursuit of that passion.

This is what our younger generation lacks, passion. There exists this short term memory persona to our teenagers today that doesn't allow a passion to be developed. When any difficulty occurs, they're done. Simple as that and they're on to the next convenient thing that will curb the boredom.

If my father intended for me to learn anything from my upbringing, it must be the value of hard work and the commitment to what you have before you. To give 100 percent for one person isn't the same as 100 percent for someone else and in a culture that seems to become increasingly more lax in this slipping ideology of 100 percent, I question how our world can improve. My father is the hardest worker I've ever seen and even though I don't want to be him, I always aspire to be like him. He exemplifies hard work and what 100 percent stands for... and maybe that's why I stayed there.

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