This past weekend I found myself in a zombie-like state that is all too common for many people during the fall: Awake at 3AM and running on a mixture of caffeine, cookies and optimism. All the while, wondering why the majority of my hobbies involve waking up at obscene hours. Nonetheless, I wouldn’t have it any other way and I kept reminding myself of this as I neared my destination. Waterfowl was on tap that morning and I had high hopes of ducks moving through Rice County.
That particular Sunday morning was just like any other, and a calm lake and clear skies made setting up decoys easy and enjoyable. Even better was the fact that my friend and I had gotten on the water early enough to stake claim to the coveted reed island. With our decoys set and being satisfied with a job well done, we took a moment to stand and soak in the light shining brightly from Orion’s Belt.
Without warning, everything suddenly went from being serene to surreal - the earthquake of 2009 hit (at least that’s what I’m calling it). My hunting partner had just accidently back-flopped into 4 feet of water and almost flipped my 14 foot V-bow while doing so.
It was 5:30AM and my friend finally regained his footing enough to climb back into the boat. Shocked at what had just happened, all I said was “I’m guessing we should probably head back to the truck, huh?” The layer of frost that covered all of our equipment (and his freshly-drenched hunting jacket) made it quite obvious we should go back to the boat landing, but being naïve young men, we didn’t.
Looking past a few squeaky duck calls and one bruised ego, we enjoyed the action that came with the first rays of sunshine. After that, we quickly packed up before his feet turned too dark a shade of blue and tried to figure out how he ended up in the drink. I blamed clumsiness, he faulted the frost. Either way, I’m now picking up a pair of gunwale clamps and some long wooden dowels to keep my boat steady in even the most severe earthquakes.
Oh, to be a duck hunter. We are a strange breed indeed.