Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Closing Out the Year, and Perhaps a Career

In a sometimes-vain attempt to avoid the plague of newly-minted Duck Commanders who have infested the places I used to share with no one but my thoughts, Tess and I have taken a different path this season, rejecting our normal spots and times and instead hunting oddball places at oddball times. Middle-of-the-day hunts, evening hunts over stock tanks, tiny creeks, puddles, even: overlooked places at overlooked times. It's a strategy that offers few chances at limits of glory and glamour ducks, but decent chances at limits of solitude, which is what I'm mostly gunning for these days. A duck or two at the end of the day, whether they be a pair of gadwall or a single drake mallard or a wigeon or even a shoveler, is merely a bonus.

A few hours spent over a few decoys, alone but for a dog who's served me well for ten years now, is a pretty damn good way to spend the waning days of 2013, regardless of what we end up with on our strap.

It remains to be seen whether Tess will be able to go another season and pose for another end-of-year picture over a pair of well-earned ducks to send out 2014. We'll just have to play that one by ear. But for now she's still kicking, albeit a little more slowly, and once the ball drops tonight we've still got two good weeks of duck season left before we need to start worrying about the future.

Happy New Year's, everyone.

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