I would rather leave my gun home than my dog.
If you have never hunted with a "trained" retriever, you are missing out on one of the greatest parts of hunting waterfowl. i used to hunt years and years ago without one and thought it was a luxury to have a retriever but now days i don't go if i cant bring my dog. Even if you dont "need" a dog to retrieve the ducks, having a good bird dog with you makes the hunt even more memorable, especially when you can take pride in saying you trained that dog yourself. For me, hunting is more than just pulling the trigger, its about the "experience" and having a dog will add to that experience like nothing else can. Plus, if your wife packed you a ham ham sandwich and you wanted turkey, you can always feed it to the dog the dog will never say a word.