I’m writing this from my living room in South Central Florida, the news tuned to 24/7 coverage of Hurricane Irma . . . I just got off the phone with a buddy, and we planned a scouting trip for the hours before the storm, and, if the roads were clear, immediately after. She shook her head, looked at me, and said “You duck hunters are ridiculous” . . . after giving her words some careful thought, I’m starting to wonder if she might be onto something . . . Case in point:
4:00 AM Wake-up calls seem like sleeping in – For 69 days each year, I’m up 4 minutes before my alarm. Besides the first few days of tarpon season, this is NOT a common occurrence at my house. Except during duck season.
Price per Pound – Wanna know how much duck meat costs per pound at my local butcher? $8.99. For big, fat, Pekings. But I shake my head and say “That’s crazy – I’ll kill my own ducks . . . “ and I march out and spend $20k on a duck boat, $2k on a shotgun, another couple thousand in decoys and calls and waders and decoys and shotgun shells and camo and decoys and bags and marsh stools and dog training devices, oh, and a dog, and don’t forget decoys. It conservatively works out to about $200/pound.
Then – We may not even eat the duck – sure, most ducks at my house are consumed – but the trophies, the trophies gotta go on the wall. At any given time, there is at least one duck in my freezer ready to be taken to my guy. Usually two or three. Because even thought I got a pretty Wood Duck mounted last season, in addition to the pair I killed a couple of years ago, plus the one my son killed in Arkansas, I REALLY need to get this one mounted too, because he’s banded or just so pretty or “insert ridiculous excuse here” . . .
Plus – We have a taxidermist – think about that for a second – we are part of a small subset of people that have a guy (or gal) who’s roll in our life is that they turn dead ducks into works of art to hang on our living room wall . . . I’ve been through good ones and bad ones – my guy is in my “favorites” on my contact list . . .
Are we ridiculous? Maybe. I mean, sure, we like to have conversations with our dogs. But who doesn’t, right?
Is it ridiculous to plan our family vacations around waterfowl hunts – who doesn’t want to spend their two weeks vacation in an Arkansas rice field, or plucking snows in Missouri? If shooting at Harlequins in sub-freezing weather from a metal boat in the Aleutian Islands in the dead of winter doesn’t sound like a good time, maybe you’re the one who’s ridiculous . . .
In fact – maybe that’s really what’s going on here . . . Maybe us duck hunters aren’t the ones who are ridiculous . . . Maybe it’s our wives?
Oh. Wait. Did I just write that out loud sweetheart?
Maybe we are ridiculous.