Thursday, October 16, 2008
The Opener with the Rabid Outdoorsman: Part Three
After furnishing the blind with the essentials for tomorrow (guns, ammo, camouflage clothing, and everything else we would NOT need for the rest of the night), Steve quickly set out the decoys as I used a spotlight to assess the distance necessary for what we would call quality gunning. I found myself trying to say good night to my little girls via cell phone while racing against a sun that had already set. Once the “I love you” and “see you tomorrow” and “be good for mommy” were shared, I tossed the phone into my pocket and watched Steve throw out the last wood duck decoy.
My take: Steve, talking strategy and distance of the dekes, myself, just the same, all good, but getting hungry
We paddled along the east side of the island for a suitable access point to the center of the island and tied the boat to a sturdy oak tree. From there, we moved to the center of the island which was only about 120 feet from the “Quack Head” blind. Steve then did mention there was a fire pit, that got my pyromaniacal side going quite well. The race against time had been finished, setting up camp was now the current procedure.
My take: Steve, focused on readiness, myself, I'm building a fire, hell yeah!!!
Set up didn't take long, Steve, an experienced and knowledgeable mountain climber, outdoorsman, and collector of all equipment cool and multi-useful popped up a tent in 4 seconds while proudly introducing me to this single person mummy bag and tent. Not that I”m claustrophobic, well maybe a little bit, but I'm not an avid tenter. Actually, it's something that I don't usually do, the last tenting excursion was with my 4 year old this summer and we were four feet from the house, in aerobeds, and enjoying a movie with some popcorn.
You see it's like this, Steve likes mountains, world travel, sky diving, near death experiences, frostbite, pain, and adrenaline whereas I have never climbed a mountain, would rather stay in Maine unless someone leads the way out of state, find water and land just fine since I'm not meant to fly, damn it... I must be getting timid in my old age.
My take: Steve, loving the fact I'm pondering the mummy bag, myself, “This is going to be a sucky nights sleep”...
Steve fired up the stove and got the canned pasta ready, I played boy scout and tried to get a blaze going with some fairly wet amenities... As a true testament to Steve, he gave me a half-spent book of matches. With maple and oak leaves amongst some pine needles as tinder, the fire seemed sluggish getting to the smaller sticks as my dismay continued. After some continued failed attempts, Steve promptly handed me a lighter and suggested that this would help. To be honest, I thought, “Classic”, but then continued with my efforts. Eventually the fire caught on and with some help of Steve's cooking napalm and an increasing breeze. Once camp was settled, we sat down in some folding cushions provided by the bearer of all things cool and awesome. Then began some dialogue over two bottles of wine fashioned in the cellar of Steve's abode. And yeah, my fire croaked and the Maine Outdoorsman had to save the day. Whatever, I wish I hadn't even messed with the idea and I could see that crap eating grin bubble under Steve's facial scruff.
My take: Steve, relishing the survival test and my utter failure, myself, he's going to write about that damn fire!!!
Steve and I talk hunting, fishing, and the outdoors; but our conversations have become much more than just the size of the deer or the number of fish. We engage in a dialogue that often finds ourselves comparing notes, suggesting better practices, and how does our efforts result in the betterment of our lifestyles. More often than not we talk about our future in the outdoors with our children, Steve has two boys while I have two girls. A concern for both of us is that with changing attitudes towards our lifestyle, how can we maintain our “sport” while preserving so much of what we love for our children?
The night went from how Steve made the wine and whether or not his time invested actually offset the costs to go to a supermarket for something similar, a discussion about our blogs and the direction we want them to go, dialogue about whether or not cell phones have improved society or created even more problems for us to deal with, how we influence our children to make our world better against how our world will influence our children, and our hopes for the future. Not once did we talk about politics or the sewage that disperses with every lie, promise, and action. The time we spend together is about enjoying life, improving our world with our efforts, and the experiences generated from our different but connected worlds.
My take: Steve, in his element doing what he does best, myself, appreciating this time with my buddy and feeling that our sporting community is better for our discussions
We turned in about 11 p.m. and I knew tomorrow was going to be tough as our alarms were set for 4:30...
That's right, the alarm clock was set for 4:30 a.m., I wished I could have slept until then, by 3:30 I had been bombarded with falling acorns, the need to relieve myself, and a variety of sounds that including paddles, outboard engines, and talk amongst those hunters in the boats. There were thousands of dollars worth of equipment in that blind, I just couldn't get back in the sleeping bag and I demanded that Steve get ready. However, he seemed not as anxious about the potential crisis that loomed before daylight. Things weren't cool with me.
With my spotlight I ran towards the blind crashing through brush and trees shinning towards any fellow duck hunters to alert them of our “squatting”. I did get near the blind, but couldn't reach it as the water, muck, and a pair of boots (not waders, I hunt out of a boat, on the coast, and in trees) prohibited an easy access to our blind. Meanwhile, geese were honking in alarm and taking off into the darkness.
I figured that since things were going so well, I called Steve on the cell phone to announce that the hunting parties were heading elsewhere as if I hadn't already scared every duck out of the lake. I at best, meandered back up to the campsite,sort of on edge with the events of my pre-dawn mayhem. But honestly, I'm not sure Steve was worried at all. He is optimistic about life, myself slightly pessimistic with optimism as reason to function. When I got back, he seemed all ready for some hunting and suggested that the camp site could be broken after hunting.
My take: Steve, going with the flow, myself, panic button, wishing I could trust strangers more...
We arrived in the blind about 5 a.m., readied what we could, and then got into the coffee, Steve's heart attack blend should be renamed to “what the %$## (insert any four letter word you would like) is that?”. Oh god, wasn't that nasty, if anybody took a drink of that they would agree, now I'm not a latte fan but I do like a moderately strong cup of joe with a hit of sugar. If there is some cream available then I'll add a bit, but if none is available then I'm fine. The only reason I dared drink it was that I didn't sleep well at all, caffeine and duck hunting work well together, but this stuff seemed comparative to the coffee you get at a convienence store in the afternoon after it had been brewed at 4 a.m. and sat there all day long. Actually, this was worse.
Steve was so proud about his efforts, he boiled water and tempered the thermos, double brewed the coffee, boiled it, then put it in the thermos. He did a good job, it was piping hot straight out the thermos. Other than that, that was the worst coffee I have ever put to my lips. Think of the person that you like the least, I'd give it to them on your behalf...
My take: Steve, a master brewer of coffee, myself, I should have had a tester to die before I put my lips to the joe.
Check out the Rabid Outdoorsman's version which isn't so favorable for the Downeast Duckhunter at
The Maine Outdoorsman