For What Cost?

The search for these tiny feathery specimens can make a man's actions so foreign to the common ground that they border the lines of insanity. No not every man nor every duck hunter but those who are truly passionate for duck hunting. Passion is a strong word if you look at the actual meaning and if you actually realize the rarity of it. Passion is a word that's thrown around pretty loosely in today's society. However, in the case of passionate duck hunters it is a word that is not just thrown around, but rather a word used to explain the course of ridiculous actions. In certain cases the word might not be adequate enough to even suffice these actions as they might better fall under the category of pure insanity. Trudging through muck with heavy waders and forty pounds of shells, shotguns, chairs, and decoys on your back at 4 in the morning is how a regular hike to the hole starts. For Florida duck hunters, it is regularly no less than 70 degrees, in some cases no less than 90 and in even worse cases no less than 95. It is often humid and the pants under your waders become discolored from sweat by the time you get back to the truck. From about the time you get out of the boat to walk in the marsh in the morning you are greeted by the hum of a thousand mosquitos that stay around at least until the sun begins to rise. On occasion I have stumbled upon balls of water moccasins as well as gators, though it is also very common to shew away the gators in whatever canal you may cross or hole you may be hunting. There are times I've returned without firing a shot and there have even been times I've returned without seeing a single duck. Besides being great preparation for Navy Seal training, what one will put himself through for some duck hunts can only be understood in the context of passion, if understood at all. What I find to be most unusual about it all is that though I have put myself through this extreme voluntary pain once without killing ducks, I will do it again and again and again until I die. To me, passion can only describe actions like that. It is true that not all hunts are met with hysterical pain, and I have also had hundreds of duck hunts that have ended with piles of birds. In fact when most non-hunters think about duck hunting they think of the pictures and stories of those great days, the ones that end with a pile of ducks stacked on a flipped canoe, the beautiful sunrise gleaming over the marsh in the morning, the smiles on the hunter's faces upon their return. But they don't ever hear about the many hunts that have gone on before that were not so great at all, and for the truly passionate duck hunters the ones that will continue after.

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