I have always been drawn to waterfowl hunting. I have been doing it going on 40 years now. I have hunted in a lot of places and I have shot a variety of exotic birds. I have had a bunch of skunks, and on more than a few occasions I have “stacked them up.”  Some years ago, that was a huge priority for me. I wanted to shoot big piles, and I did. Then years later, I wanted to shoot more exotic birds, things I could not shoot at home. Ducks like Cinnamon teal, sea ducks, and Ashey-headed geese. Over the years I shot most everything I was interested in, and more.  These days I have lost my zest to try new places. I don’t want to be the tip of duck hunting’s spear. I want to go back to where I have been before, and I want to remember those places again. I love to hunt in Argentina with Charlie….at Jacana. Sure the hunting is awesome, but I know many of the ponds that we’ll hunt over a four or five day period are the same ones we hunted on years ago. I remember one pond where my son killed his first South American duck with a single shot. He was just a little guy. Now he’s a high schooler, and last season we went back to the same spot and he made a cracking double on widgeon. Going back again makes me feel like I’m wearing a watch that keeps time in years rather than in hours.

I love going back to Canada too. Not only to shoot ducks in barley fields, I like that a lot. But I like Canada for the people. I can’t remember the last time I met an unkind person in Canada. I love to talk about hockey and lacrosse, and they know about both up there. You can learn more about ice hockey in the aisle of a grocery store in Canada then you can watching a season of NHL games. I like Timmy Horton’s. It’s like Starbucks, but without the hipster attitude.  Many morning hunts go so fast in Canada, you can be back at your truck with a limit of ducks before your Timmy’s gets cold.

I also love to hunt close to home. About ten of us get together each year on the evening before opening day. We sit in a shed and have some food and drinks, and we watch the ducks fly at dusk. The dogs run loose, and they know what day it is. We talk about the season to come and think about the seasons that are gone. If things turn out, we shoot some ducks and tell each other about our luck at breakfast the next day. We have done it for a long time.

I look at my watch, and I smile when I see all the years that have gone by.