When someone describes what draws them to waterfowl hunting, their answer usually contains something to the effect of building camaraderie with good friends, early mornings with their favorite pup and cupped wings. Apparently "quack addicts" should add "spending copious amounts of money" to that list as well. Simply put, as a recent college graduate who's working to pay off living expenses and a college education, I feel like I'm being priced out of the world of waterfowl hunting.

I've had the good fortune of being grandfathered a reliable 14' boat with an old Johnson 9.9, a few bags of duck decoys and a healthy set of field goose decoys. But what if this wasn't the case? I could hardly imagine starting from scratch.

A good pair of waders will run a person anywhere from $150-$275; 6 to 12 duck/goose decoys will set you back $50-$199+ and the "must have" duck and goose calls are hovering around the $100 range. Don't forget that you'll probably want wetland-pattern camo outerwear, neoprene gloves, a couple of lanyards and a decent blind bag. Then there's steel and non-toxic shot to get the job done. And as any quack addict knows, this is just the beginning.

In order for these expenditures to be validated, a person has to have at least a marginal amount of success, and although possible, it's hard for someone to bag any birds without spending this type of money. It's like being stuck between a rock and a bank vault.

Unfortunately for myself and the many other duck and goose hunters of the world, I don't foresee the creation of an economic stimulus plan aimed at getting more decoys in the fields and waders in the water. Therefore, I'll continue to do the same thing I've done since I was a kid: Stand and gawk at the new shiny toys in the store window, shoot an 870 Express, quack on an old wooden Olt and wait for Christmas.

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