My 2008-2009 duck season has finally come to a close. I have to head back to school a day early, so I will be out of here tomorrow.
It was a season that spanned four months and two states. We killed some birds and had some good hunts, but what I will miss the most is the times I spent in the blind with my best friend and my brother. The three of us attend schools in three different states and duck season is about the only time we get together anymore. We grew up together and hunted and fished our whole lives. When duck season rolls around, we pick up right where we left off and I would not trade the times we have together for anything in the world.
I got to watch my dog Jack make his first retrieve back in September. I have never been more proud. It was great to see all those months of training finally come to fruition. It wasnt the prettiest retrieve, but as far as I was concerned it was perfect. Since then he has improved exponentially and I cannot wait to continue working with him in preparation for next season.
We had the opportunity to add to the list of duck species we have harvested. This season allowed us to add Northern Shoveler and Goldeneye to the ticket.
The more that I duck hunt, the more my viewpoint of the sport changes. It is no longer about the killing of ducks and geese. It has progressively become more of a cherished experience shared between three guys and Mother Nature. Frozen ponds, sunrises, and decoys silhouetted against a crisp December sky. It is the solo hunts, just me and my dog, and the bond that exists between us. I am beginning to realize that I duck hunt so that I am able capture these elusive moments. Swinging up on a fat drake mallard is just icing on the cake. Sometimes I would call the shot and not even move my hand toward my gun. From my seated position I was able to take in the whole beautiful scene: my brother and my buddy standing up and bringing their guns to bear, the birds clawing for altitude as they realized their mistake, and finally the acrid smell of burnt gun powder as ducks tumbled to the water. Fluid, raw, and wonderful.
So long, duck season. I will see you next year.