My brother was visiting for our annual duck camp during the full moon in October. It was an abbreviated version of our usual week, but a lot of fun, all the same.
Warm weather kept waterfowl away, but it was more than suitable for fishing and small game hunting. We ended up spending more time catching pike and shooting squirrels than we spent setting decoys and watching migrating waterfowl. We were left wondering if duck camp would become something else. October Camp? Perhaps we should focus more on fishing rods and small game loads.
Shortly after he went home, an old photo of mine from a duck camp several years earlier popped up in our Facebook “Memories.” The photo, and his description of it, reminded us of why duck camp will always be duck camp, even if we’re not shooting many ducks.
The shot is of some sort of sandpiper, I believe. We see them every season, and their three-noted call is easy to duplicate. The birds come right up to the blind when they hear it. I was lucky to get this shot while we waited for ducks to show themselves.
Gerry Pink can explain it all better than I can:
“This photo gives me goose bumps, not only for its dramatic capture/content, but also for what is happening.
“This bird is migrating hundreds/thousands of miles and it pitched over our little fake island. Shame on us for making him burn calories looking for his brethren, but we needed this closer look!
“The squall in the background is one of a number that pass over just after your outerwear dries from the previous squall.
“It is sometimes uncomfortable/unpleasant/borderline painful to drag your butt out of bed at 4:30 a.m. to deploy decoys, get the boat camouflage adjusted, and steel oneself for a day of duck hunting.
“Just a few days ago, we debated the chances of success should we decide to cross the channel (and associated bank of fog) and attempt to find the exact area in the bay where we saw a number of mallards flying the evening before.
“My vote was no and a pleasant walk in the woods occupied our time instead. But shots like this are not achieved on a sunny trail in the woods! They are happened upon between miserable squalls while you wait for ducks to show…or not.
“This is duck hunting to me, warts and all. In fact, without the warts, I’m not sure its duck hunting.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.