I am not a very good hunter. There. I said it. I didn’t want to, but I did. The truth cannot be ignored any longer. I didn’t want to admit it, but reality smacked me straight in the face a few weeks ago when my friend Jenna, upon hearing about a recent hunting excursion of mine, remarked “Of all the times you’ve told me that you’ve gone hunting, I don’t think I’ve once heard you say that you’ve ever shot anything”
“Yeah, ya know, I just like to observe wildlife while holding a gun in my hand.” I responded, in obvious denial of the circumstances. In just 2013 alone I have spent 10 hours pursuing grouse, and 12 hours in the duck marsh and all I have to show for it is one ringneck duck. I have never shot a deer. I end up falling asleep during most Turkey hunting efforts, heck I even have a hard time hunting down the on sale hamburger at the grocery store. Fortunately, my utter lack of hunting success has not deterred my efforts. So when my roommate Lukas asked if I wanted to go duck hunting with him this past Sunday, I jumped at the opportunity hoping that having his experience on my side would lead to a few ducks in the bag.
Unfortunately, things started out for me as they usually do. Just after shooting hours two mallards came buzzing in to our decoys. “Here we go!” I thought. After rising to shoot, we filled the morning air with four bursts from our 12 gauges. And, as usually happens with me, the ducks continued on their southwards migration.
After the morning flight of two birds things went silent. “I thought your buddy said he saw a hundred ducks out here yesterday?” I asked Luke. “Well that was Thursday actually, so who knows.” He rebutted.
Things were not looking promising. By 9:35 the only bird in our bag was a hen mallard the Luke dropped from nearly fifty yards away. Definitely a Hail Mary shot, it appeared that God was answering some prayers this Sunday morning, but clearly not mine. After deciding that there would probably be no more flying on this bluebird day, we started to pack things up around 10:00.
Another day, another skunk story, I thought to myself as we gathered the decoys. Why does this always happen to me? I wondered. Can’t a little good luck come a fellow’s way? Just then, as we began to dismantle the final few decoys we heard a noise coming our direction. Ducks? No. These birds were honking. Dropping the decoys we raced back to shore to grab our guns.
With the geese moving in quickly we made a mad dash towards the beach. Just as we reached the cattails, the geese reached us. Not twenty yards over our heads three geese flew safely by as I threw my hands up in exasperation. So close, yet impossibly far away. Ready to head back to the decoys I heard Lukas order a command “Run!!”
Continuing on felt like a wasted effort but I kicked it into high gear in an attempt to reach the 12 gauge and maybe catch a tail shot at one of the three geese that just buzzed over our heads. As soon as I picked up my gun, Lukas yelled “Left!” After wheeling around I spotted our target. Unbeknownst to me, two geese had been trailing the three geese we just missed. Two shots later and there were two birds on the water.
Finally. Some last minute luck. In an instant we had quadrupled our meat quantity. After celebrating with some cheering and hollering, we retrieved the geese and tossed them into the boat. And while I knew the effort by no means changed my status as a poor hunter, I felt a little better about myself knowing that when we got back to shore, I would have at least one story to tell Jenna that ended with meat in the bag.