Much like our list of Fishing Partners, here’s a list of 7 People you’ll run across in the duck blind . . .
The Loud Talker – In a previous life, this guy was a golf commentator. Let me set it up for you: It’s 6:47. 2 minutes ’til legal shoot time. A pod of Bluewings dump into your decoys. The decoys you set up at 5:30. The decoys you’ve been straining your eyes to see since the first wisps of daylight began to creep in at 6:20. The decoys you’re watching as intently as the 4th quarter of Game 7. Then the Loud Talker decides that he should alert you to the fact that ducks, yes ducks, that’s right DUCKS HAVE LANDED IN THE DECOYS GET READY IT’S ALMOST TIME TO SHOOT DO YOU SEE THEM RIGHT – OH – MAN – SOMETHING MUST’VE SPOOKED ‘EM. OH. WAIT. HERE COME SOME MORE – NOPE – WEIRD – THEY FLARED . . .
Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
There is little hope for the Loud Talker in the duck blind. This relationship is almost always destined for an “it’s not me, it’s you” type resolution . . .
The Cook – Bacon. Eggs. Sausage gravy and biscuits. Toast. Coffee.
When the cook is in the blind, hunting ducks is ancillary to eating breakfast. His culinary meaning in life is confined to a Coleman stove and a duck blind. He passes on shots to fill the limit because he wants the bacon cooked just perfectly. He prepares eggs to order, and magically produces a thermos filled with, what’s this, piping hot grits.
The Cook won’t kill many ducks over the course of the season, but he’s a specialist who definitely has a place in my blind. So long as he’s not . . .
The Flarer – Is the Flarer the same hunter as the Loud Talker? Maybe yes. But maybe no.
I have hunted with functional mutes that can’t sit still for a nano second. Head scratches. Moving their guns. Shifting in their seat. Fidgeting with their hat. Coughing. Sneezing. The Macarena.
These are the guys, who, at the end of the hunt, make remarks like “man, I don’t know why they always skirted the outer edge of the decoys – that’s so weird, huh?”
The Duck Dynasteer – Duck Commander ball cap. 3 weeks worth of scraggly beard growth. An unopened box of Canvasback decoys (for teal season). $600 waders. A Benelli. 16 different toned mallard calls (for teal season).
The waterfowler’s version of a “Concrete Cowboy,” the only way to avoid the Duck Dynasteer is 3 consecutive bad hunts (think mosquitos, cottonmouths, snow, rain, boat trouble, and zero ducks). If he returns for a fourth try, he is instantly promoted to “Reformed Duck Dynasteer” . . .
The Human Duck Call – He starts calling at 6. He ends at 10:30. He doesn’t speak to you – only to the ducks, and only through his RNT. Best case scenario is the ducks come in, he’s good, and you kill a limit. Worst case scenario is a fist fight breaks out wherein you forcibly remove his call lanyard and deposit it at the bottom of whatever wetland you happen to be hunting.
The Old-Timer – Blessed is the man who is privileged enough to spend a morning with the Old Timer.
He’s seen more ducks than the Mississippi River. He carries 10 shells in an LL Bean Hunting Vest he bought in 1961. He shoot 2 3/4 shells in a Browning Sweet 16 Humpback. He has his limit, somehow, by 7:30 every. Time. You’ve seen two ducks; he’s sitting 4 feet away and has a Greenhead, a Can, a Wigeon, 2 Greenwings and a Pintail. All drakes, and he has 4 shells left when he lights up his pipe.
Picasso with a paintbrush. Jordan with a basketball. A Clinton with a scandal . You’re watching a legend. Enjoy it.
The Kid – She fell asleep in the car, and again during the wait for shooting time.
Her dad brought powdered donuts, and twizzlers, and a 12 pack of Mountain Dew.
She has a BB gun, or a single-shot .410. Her dad looks on with trepidation the whole morning – he wants her to feel the wonder and excitement he feels when the mallards drop in from the treetops. To see her eyes widen as the Bluebills come in, inches above the water, F-15’s buzzing the decoys.
With a little luck, a little caffeine, and a lot of processed sugars, she’ll get a shot off. She may even be close enough for her to be awarded the bird.
She’ll fall asleep on the way to iHop, and again before you get home. She’ll be grumpy all afternoon from the lack of sleep. You’ll wonder if it was all worth it. You won’t bring it up again for fear of pushing her too hard.
Until Friday night, when she walks into the garage where you’re loading the truck and asks, “Daddy, are we going duck hunting again in the morning?
The Kid is my favorite. Unfortunately, she’s the only one on the list with an expiration date. Make sure you enjoy some time with her in the blind before it’s too late!
Who did we leave off the list? Who is in your duck blind? Tag a friend who fits in one of these buckets . . .