The alarm sounds after what feels like and probably is, minutes of sleep. As soon as your feet hit the bedroom floor, a Labrador retriever one house level below stirs as he seems to sense, or maybe even smell hunting gear being tossed around. What follows next is a well-rehearsed mental checklist of hunt necessities made easier only by coffee. That same checklist started out many years ago as “license, gun and shells” but has grown and matured with the items’ owner.
After meeting the guys at a local rendezvous, the truck can almost drive itself to the spot as the Johnny Cash CD skips in the same place every trip. Many other friends ask the same question over and over: "Its November (or insert any winter month), what’s with ducks and geese when so many other things are in season?" Here's one attempt at an explanation.
Waterfowling is a Social Sport. There are times to be quiet, but the other 95% can be spent having fun, out loud. The more the merrier, especially in regards to setting up decoys and brushing blinds. There is never a shortage of work to do, so bring a friend...or four.
It may just be the reflection, but Sunrises and Sunsets are twice as good over water.
The Gear. A lot has changed since grandpa’s days of wearing flannel and sitting on buckets but, there will always be something nostalgic and collectable about waterfowl history. Modern waterfowling gear is some of the most state-of-the-art equipment out there. A storage unit will be in your future.
Species Diversity. There is no close second to duck hunting in this category. Waterfowlers get a kick out of identifying their target not only for fun, but also as a necessity for identifying a legal bag limit. There are numerous species to pursue, most flaunting some of the more vibrant colors in nature.
The Migration is simply amazing. Where else can you see hundreds, thousands or hundreds of thousands of the game you pursue all in one day? And they come to you! There is an unmatched anticipation when birds get closer instead of flush and fly away. Duck and Goose hunters have a great sense of achievement when calling and setup have something to do with fooling birds.
Sure, we lunge at opportunities to hunt big game, turkey, or do anything outside for that matter. For a lot of us, waterfowl is where we started. With a 90+ day season and some of the reasons mentioned above, it's where a lot of us stayed.