Sitting close to the point of exhaustion, I slowly sip on a MGD and contemplate the first day of 2008 Duck Camp.
Like many days it began innocently enough when I awoke at 3:30 AM to a drab starless morning. Digging myself out from under the thick covers and stumbling over to the coffee pot, I give my brother a lackadaisical high five for his forethought in having the coffee already brewing. As is standard family operating procedure, the rapidly filling pot contains a near lethal dose of his potent blend of liquid heart paddles. As I choke back the thick black mud I force my mind into gear and begin struggling through the routine of extensive before hunt preparations.
The ritual of duck hunting has many strange and bizarre initiations but none more interesting than a dog tired waterfowler attempting to make his way into the field without forgetting some crucial element. Over the years, I can tell you multiple stories of men (myself certainly no exception) crying like little school girls because they forgot firearms, shells, wet weather gear, Redman chaw or other crucial items. Years of waterfowl hunting eventually hones these rookies into hard core “duckers”, men who through skill, luck or possibly a combination of both know how to operate with very little sleep and understand the complexities of packing crucial items the night before.
This time things work out in my favor and two hours into the hunt I near a limit of common eiders and hold in my hand one of only two duck bands I have ever managed to harvest. In a strange twist of fate, the only other band I have taken was harvested during 2007 Duck Camp!
Hours into duck camp 2008 and it is already turning out to be complete success. A smile stretches across my face as we land the boat and begin the drive back to my brothers house for a supper of fresh caught lobsters and deer tenderloins.