Here's a conundrum:

Deer hunters often sleep with other deer hunters in deer hunting shacks. Yet they hunt alone.

Bird hunters, conversely, usually sleep at home or in motel rooms, sans other bird hunters. Yet most bird hunters hunt with other bird hunters.

Furthering this minor bit of irony, deer slayers and would-be deer slayers often celebrate the many benefits of hunkering unaccompanied in the woods ostensibly to fell a whitetail, but also to meditate deeply about nature and politics, religion and family — the whole metaphysical enchilada.

Bird hunters by contrast — those solo sleepers — usually hunt in groups, and happily so, chattering among one another mindlessly about the beauty of the day, the work of the dogs and the relative merits of pump vs. semi-auto vs. over-and-under.

Here's the point (finally):

To dial up the satisfaction quotient of bird hunting, do like deer hunters do: Hunt alone. Meaning, in most instances, alone with your dog.

Whether the quarry is ducks over decoys or woodcock over a setter, when you're alone, your senses are more acute, your ratio of good decisions to bad improves markedly and, importantly, your aim is truer.

Also, like your deer hunting pals, at day's end, you, the bird hunter, will find yourself waxing poetically (if endlessly), about the benefits of going afield alone.

Dennis Anderson