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Those of us who have lived within families of generational duck hunters know that there is always something to learn when going duck hunting. But others who have never stepped into a marsh need to read this. It will make your hunt a much more pleasant experience. And it is already a fantastic sport!
When you are on a hunt, you know it’s going to be foul and dirty, but in a good way. Leave your shoes behind. When you’re out there crawling, act like a duck hunter because if you have shoes on you are going to make things messier. Those who hunt ducks come from all different professions. But when you are all together the only thing that matters is what’s flying high.
As funny as it may seem, duck hunting is a sport made up of people who are terrible at judging distance. When you are told that you are not far, prepare yourself mentally to go very far. Or it could be right up ahead, but be weary, it might not. Do not get frustrated; you have already been warned.
The music you hear when hunting has been refined and practiced for generations. Before you make that duck call, be certain (if you are around old-timers) that you can and you know how. If not, chaos may follow. It’s better to listen than to talk. Reach out to those who know better and accept it. You, too, will be an old-timer with years of practice who will know the art of luring ducks to the decoys.
The host shoots first. It is set in stone. If the host gives the okay, then you let it loose. The thrill of any hunt is shooting, but it’s like having a conversation. Listen first, learn, and finally act. And don’t ever criticize a hosts shooting. Enemies can’t be acquired faster!
The memories made on the marsh are just that; stories that will be told over and over. Do not try and tell a better story. It’s just not done. The feeling when out there with other hunters is that of a respectful family. Respect and family.
Do not bring your dog if it is not invited. Again, it’s just not done. You can ask if you can bring it, but remember the host has his own dog which, even if a mutt, is the best dog to do the job. Yours just might get in the way and ruin your purpose. Cards must always be put on the table before the hunt.
Lastly, a duck hunt might not go as expected. Actually not going as expected is expected. So many things could go wrong: unpleasant weather, lots of falling in cold muddy water, shots intended for ducks that never reached them as well as countless of other scenarios. Duck hunting is made up of all of these and many more. A great sport it is!
And, always remember, that getting dirty is part of the fun. Whether it’s a wet dog shaking itself near you or just a muddy and cold scenario, it’s a piece of the duck hunting puzzle.
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