Dick Pinney's Guide Lines: Fall memories of waterfowl huntingBy DICK PINNEY October 15. 2017 2:35AM
SEPTEMBER BRINGS the good memories and some not too good back like an old movie, but those memories produce both a more sensible approach to our outdoor activities and also the urge to try some new angles on our hunting and fishing this time of year.
One of the special joys of September is to be able to waterfowl hunt in shirt sleeves, unlike the teeth chattering cold and often wet conditions that later in the fall make you wonder, "Are we really having fun out here?"
Some of the comical events of early fall waterfowl hunting didn't seem that comical at the time. But it was a good thing that we were in the warmer part of fall and not those cold and bone-chilling later hunts.
One hunt that really sticks in my mind and causes the Dickster to break into a smile was a Saturday morning when we had make plans to swing by our buddy Brad Conner's home to meet him and then we'd launch our duck boat blind filled with our decoys and set out on Great Bay amid our huge set of fakes, knowing that we'd at least get a few chances at ducks or geese and hopefully both.
Well, all good plans don't always come to good conclusions and this plan had the good news and the bad news. Waking up well beyond my 5:30 a.m. meeting time for Brad, we weren't surprised that he had already left without me and that if we hustled we might catch him before he left the shore.
But that was not to be. Viewing the Eastern shoreline of Great Bay, we could make out where he had set out our big set of duck and goose decoys and we could just see his head above the heavily camouflaged, low lying blind.
What we didn't notice was the steam that was no doubt coming up from his head, as Brad didn't have much of a comedy approach to waterfowling. In fact he bordered on the fanatical!
Paddling a small, one-man canoe, we were pushing our physical limits to join him. But one misplaced stroke with my paddled went sideward and the canoe tipped over and the Dickster was swimming alongside! Try as I could, we couldn't get back in 'er so we half swam and half paddled out to where he was anchored. Did I mention steam coming off his head?
He never said a word or had offered help to get me out of the water and get the canoe secured! Managing to get me and my wet clothes up into the blind, we found silence was golden, especially from him! But eventually he softened a bit and, with me still shivering from my dunking, we enjoyed some pretty good duck shooting. The first words he uttered were: "Looks like the flight is over. Let's pick up the decoys and call it a day."
As the Dickster was still half in shock from the cold wet clothes, that was the best news yet.
Brad was tough. Tougher than anyone we knew - but spoiled rotten by his parents, who would take care of any ducks and geese he came home with, clean and dry his hunting clothes and boots, and his dad would actually clean his gun and have it sitting next to the door complete with enough ammo for a hunt the next day.
And that's how it was back in the 1950s. And how I long for those days!
Drop us a line at DoDuckInn@aol.com and get out there and get you some.
Dick Pinney 's column appears weekly in the New Hampshire Sunday News. Email him at DoDuckInn@aol.com.