you're reading...
Duck hunting

My Saturdays

I bet your Friday nights are spent having dinner with friends. Tipping back a few drinks? Maybe a movie with your sweetheart? I have 10 months a year for that shit.

This is my duck season.

My Friday nights are short. Spent loading the truck. Skipping dinner. Counting 18 shells and packing-up my waders. Charging the mojo. Cleaning decoys. Feeding Zeus. My head is on a pillow about the same time most people leave the house to kick-off their weekends.

When flight ducks press on the edge of the Canadian freeze, intercepting them at Harsen’s Island is a matter of early mornings and luck of the draw. I get up at 3 am. Get the boat on the hitch by 3:30. 4:45 we’re in line for the ferry. Cross the channel and to the DNR shack by 5:15. The bingo is at 5:30. Get picked in the top 20 and you’ll have a good hunt. Get picked later than that and you’ll put in some work to pull the trigger.

These Saturdays are sacred. Fleeting moments trapped between 5 days of work and watching the weather. Each hunt is different yet it’s the same. Great shots. Great retrieves. Cigars at sunrise. Uncle Mike’s Chocolate Coffee. The stories I’ve heard a million times and I’ll hear a million more. The sweetness of the time spent on this island with my friends, family and great dogs isn’t lost on me. I need to remember each hunt. The memories fill the void in my brain from the last day of the season to the first of the next.

I feel at home on these Saturdays. Surrounded by people I’ve never met.  Yet they understand me as well as anyone. Duck hunting is about passion. It’s about punishment. It’s about adrenaline, gear and skill. Every camo-clad decoy jockey is there for the same reason. It’s like a huge duck club but it’s public land. And it comes with the usual annoyances of packing a bunch of hunters into close proximity. Still, for it’s good parts and it’s bad, there’s nothing like it.

Now my season is done. My Friday nights are back to normal and my weekends don’t start at 3 am. I’ll be home in time for dinner with my wife on Saturday nights without paint on my face and duck blood under my fingernails. My knees should ache less. My shoulder should be unbruised on Monday mornings.

Damn it. I miss it already.

Good Morning

Good Morning

Dusty and Tug

Dusty and Tug

Jim and Zeus

Jim and Zeus

Widgeon, Gadwalls and Greenheads.

Widgeon, Gadwalls and Greenheads.

Dusty and I at the Bingo Board

Dusty and I at the Bingo Board

Jim Waiting on Another Shot

Jim Waiting on Another Shot

Zeus Watches a Flock of Mallards

Zeus Watches a Flock of Mallards

The Refuge

The Refuge

Uncle Mike and a Heavy Strap

Uncle Mike and a Heavy Strap

Sundown over Flooded Corn

Sundown over Flooded Corn

The Drake Black Duck: At the Taxidermist

The Drake Black Duck: At the Taxidermist

Advertisements

Discussion

2 thoughts on “My Saturdays

  1. Pete,

    GREAT Piece. Super writing! And what a great season hunting with you, Zeus, Dusty, Tug, your Dad and Jim. It all goes by so quickly and I sure do miss it now that it’s over.

    I have been having on ongoing email conversation with Lydia Lohrer, the new Free Press outdoor writer. I took her to task on a couple things she said and especially about her timing in her Sunday, December 2 article on duck hunting. And because I busted her chops so badly, I ended up inviting her to hunt ducks with us next season – if she’s still around – at Harsens. I’ll keep you posted.

    Mike

    Posted by Mike Birg | December 7, 2012, 4:56 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: