Even though I had about 15 posts on this forum, I am fairly new and figured I'd introduce myself to the NY group.
I live just outside of Albany in the town of Sand Lake. I am 34, married and have two boys, one is 23 months old the other, 3 weeks old (getting out hunting has been tough this year). I come from a blue collar family. My dad, a mason that worked 12 hours a day, 6.5 days a week, and mom who sewed til early morning hours after putting us down for the night. I grew up working as a bricklayer, until I sustained a horrible spinal cord injury when I was 17. Thankfully I did ok, although I walk with a limp and still suffer from residual nerve damage, I am walking and manage to do things pretty well. I could no longer work in construction, so I ended up in college, learned a few things (beer & girls), got my Masters and ended up with a nice job working for the Federal Govt' develping and implementing cancer control planning projects. This is exactly what my dad preferred that me to do with my life. He always told me that he'd be disappointed if I ended up retiring with a trowel in my hand. I guess he wanted to see his kids not have to work as hard, day and night, like he did.
My dad and I built our our 3 bedroom ranch on 5 acres 2 years ago, which I am really glad is finally done and we are pretty much settled in. When I am not working at my job, you can usually find me working around the house on my John Deere compact Dieasel (the work never seems to end). I am rarely inside the house, except to eat, sleep and take care of my family. You can also find me in the garage, organizing or maintaining my tractor.
My folks own 60 acreas down in Columbia county where I grew up mostly deer hunting. Growing up, I always wanted to waterfowl hunt, but never seemed to connect with people that were interested, it was always deer hunting. About 6 years ago, I got permission to hunt geese on a farm near our property in Columbia county. I met up with some local guys when I set up, we got to know each other pretty well at the time. I came right out and made a deal with them. They can hunt all the deer they wanted on my family's property, keep and eye on it, kick out strangers etc. if they take me out waterfowl hunting. It worked out great. Not only did I make great friends, but they take me out duck hunting everytime they go. It also seems like everytime I go out w/ these guys, we kill birds. They know the area, the birds, the places to go etc. They also love to make fun of me becasue of all of the gear I aquired as I became addicted to duck hunting (you know how it is). They nick named me Cabela. They still wear canvas jackets, brown marsh camo and rubber waders patched with pieces of tire tubes. Heavy Shot is out of the question way too expensive, a waste of money and for rich people - and yes, they do kill a lot of birds!.
I learned (and continue to) a great deal and absolutely became hooked on duck hunting. Deer hunting really does not cross my mind these days anymore. There is really something unique about duck hunting, it is really hard sometimes to stop thinking about each and every hunt, even if it was a bad day. Even though I let these guys hunt our property, there are still plenty of deer, if not more becasue they threw out all of the strangers that snuck in there over the years, and there are no more 4 wheelers tearing the place up. I am also blessed to be able to hunt a 400 acre private swamp near my house. It is the backside of a lake. It is pretty much a mini Montazuma Wildlife refuge. The guy that owns it did some excavation work for me. I was always nice to him, and importantly, I paid him on time. I pretty much have the entire property to myself. He does not let anyone hunt his lands anymore b/c of people began dumping garbage (people have some nerve). I actually removed some of the junk off his lands for him.
I am still learning a lot, and each year it seems like I am killing more birds. But I feel like I have still more to learn. This forum has also been very helpful and everyone seems real nice. I am looking forward to being part of this group.
"One day before I die, I am going to hunt flooded timber in Arkansas"