Yes. The sights, sounds, and smells of fall are finally here. Living within a stones throw of the 40th parallel, the weather can change here pretty quick. Not nearly as quick as our fellow hunter’s experience in the northwest part of the good ole USA, where a foot of snow can get stacked up in just a few hours. A mere eleven days ago the mercury hit 90 degrees, and this morning as I trod off to seek my fortune, the indicator on my dash that shows the outdoor temperature had a three for the first number. Number one son made the comment that he turned his heater on in his pickup for the first time and the smells reminded him of duck season.
For some, the economic climate we are in is just a bump in the road For others, it brings on some real challenges. I heard a comment at a recent sporting event that was a little unsettling to me. A veteran duck hunter made the comment that it might be a little too expensive to duck hunt this year and might have to find a different activity to occupy his time. To that, I wanted to scream “KEEP HUNTING!” Keep the traditions going. Keep doing what you always do in the fall.
I have now entered the fourth score of my life, and I encourage all those hunters out there that are on the fence about hunting this year to do like we have done with the earlier parts our lives – figure it out. Figure out how to put yourself in the swamp again this year. In a climate where two cases of duck loads are more valuable that a midlevel repeater, figure it out. If this means working a Saturday shift for a few weeks, or picking up a side hustle, figure it out. There is no shame in doing more to gain more. It’s been my experience in life that once you give up a tradition, it never seems to return. There are too many experiences and memories to be made to give up the ship for one season.
Maybe this year will be an opportunity to really learn how to patch your waders instead of buying a new pair. Or how to paint your older blocks instead of buying two or three more new dozen decoys. Look at this year as an opportunity to learn instead of giving up. Not seeing the guy that parks next to you on the hill but hunts three swamps down or the guy you usually stand in the draw line with at a public hunting area is as big a part of your tradition as theirs. And in some cases, this is the only time of the year that contact is made with these buddies.
If the economic cloud we are under doesn’t affect your duck season, congratulations. But think about taking the time to encourage someone that might not have the same financial success that you have enjoyed to keep hunting. Figure it out and stay in the swamp.
At the penning of this article, there are just a few days left until duck season starts for our swamp partners in the northern part of the country. For the rest of us who reside a little farther south, it will be weeks. Here’s to hoping you have a great season and stay safe. And please for the future of hunting, figure it out.
This is a short blurb from our father. We are all getting geared up for duck hunting this year, and we cannot wait for cool mornings and the sound of wings overhead!
Find the Ducks!