After many years of bragging about the quality of puddle duck hunting in Central Maine I finally enticed my good friend the Duckman (DEDH) to join me on opening day 2008. As we finalized plans a knot began to form in my stomach. While every Sportsman knows that it is called hunting and not finding for a very good reason, I was still feeling the pressure. Throughout the past several seasons, I had told enough tall duck-tales that I was concerned that I had elevated the experience to an unattainable level. In addition to the general packing and preparation associated with just about any water based duck hunt we were also spending the evening out on an island to insure we were able to secure a favorable location in the early mornings “rush” to the prime territories. This entire range of preparation practically caused me to have night sweats . . . items within my control, items beyond my control what was a “guide” to do . . .
As I sat in the living room, my leg jackhammering with nervous energy, I was suddenly gripped with a sense of calm. Looking over my extensive packing list, I realized that all I needed to do to be successful was to break the evening and morning into packing the most critical of components . . . two bottles of alcohol, a can of dip and a thermos of coffee . . . let them eat cake! In all seriousness, I was taking things way to serious when in fact there was no need. This wasn't a “guided” hunt and I am not a guide this outing was simply a chance for two good friends to be able to spend a small part of their limited time together that family, work and more work had squeezed over the last several years. Duck or no duck this was going to be a fun time.
Well, at the designated time on Tuesday evening the Duckman cometh and rolled into my dooryard with high hopes and a car load of dried salted pollock . . . I could immediately see this was to be a time to be remembered. Hours later, I would ponder if a breakfast of dried salted fish and black coffee was a healthy choice or one that would have me worshiping the porcelain gods?!?!
A short drive from the homestead had us at the landing and unloading and organizing last minute gear selections. As I motored up lake with the Duckman I was completely flabbergasted to see that our “primary” spot was already taken by a couple local duck hunters. Without a second though, I motored on to our secondary location and proceeded to unload the boat at our campsite. Trip two in the boat back to the landing was reserved for picking up Onyx (my energetic black lab) and the final supplies.
With everyone unloaded on the island we began preparations for the night ahead . . .