By Prois Staffer Kara Jo Lorenz
It’s easy to feel disappointed when things don’t turn out that way we want them to. But when you truly LOVE what you do, you find things turn out the way they need to. Take for instance the last day of duck season. I woke up at 3 A.M.- an hour before my alarm was set to go off. I knew I had to assemble the breakfast burritos I promised my hunting buddies and needed to get on the road by 4:45 to be there on time. At 5:00 I arrived, loaded my waders, gun and blind bag in their truck and hopped in the back seat, coffee in hand. As we drove to the lake we talked about the usual stuff, and tried to decide where to set up for the morning hunt. The day before, they were out with my husband and didn’t have much luck so we weren’t really sure what to expect.
We put the boat in the water and there was no wind but the air was bitter cold while we cruised across the lake. The water was so calm you could see the reflections of the few stars that peeked through the early morning haze. I wish I had a better camera other than my phone to capture the dark sky over the lake. It was a cold, dark gray/blue color with the crisp black of the shore line cutting through- separating the sky and water. I wish I could describe it better. I tried to snap a picture and hoped that there would be just enough light so I could share this beautiful sight with others. Unfortunately all I got was a photo of pitch black nothingness. Naturally, to guard myself from looking completely stupid (the one friend saw me take a picture with no flash) I quickly turned the flash on and snapped one of our other friend.
We pulled in to the decided area and the guys put out decoys. Thankfully this was an area with little to no ice so set up wasn’t bad. We still had about 20 minutes till shooting time so we just sat in the boat, ate breakfast burritos, pondered over our spot, decoy set up, and questioned our weather man with his “light and variable wind” forecast when there was no wind whatsoever. While waiting, and sipping more hot coffee, I couldn’t help but tune in to the sounds of the woods beyond the shoreline. This is a sound that every hunter is familiar with. The harmonious sound of Mother Nature waking her children. You can laugh if you want, but that’s what it sounds like to me. All kinds of birds chirping and critters wrestling in the leaves when not much earlier, the silence was almost deafening.
A group of widgeon flew overhead about 5 minutes till first light. Then another small group of mallards flew. I was getting pretty excited because it seemed we just might have a good day of hunting after all. Then that was it. We sat for almost an hour with nothing else flying. A single came towards us but changed course due to something he didn’t seem to like with our set up so we made a small change but nothing else came even close enough to look. Shortly after 9:00 we made the difficult decision to quit. None of us really wanted to- we all know that we have a 0% chance of getting anything if we aren’t out trying. However it just seemed that the birds were not flying that day.
Now here is the part where your love of the sport makes a difference. I woke up at 3 A.M. on a Sunday, rode on an aluminum boat across a lake by 5:45 while it was 30 degrees out, waded out in icey cold water, sat in said boat for two hours with two other people, watched birds fly that I couldn’t shoot, and came home with the same amount of shells I went out with and no ducks on the last day of the season. Oh and my breakfast burritos were totally cold. This could be considered a major disappointment. But as we drove back to the boat ramp, the beauty of the day filled me with appreciation of the opportunity to be out with friends. Again, the water was so calm it was like a mirror reflecting the gorgeous blue sky and white clouds. This time, I was able to snap a few pictures. (I say a few but it was really about 20) Had I not made the choice to go out hunting that morning, I wouldn’t have seen how gorgeous this lake was on that day, I wouldn’t have heard the joyous sounds of the woods, nor would I have enjoyed the time spent with friends. I’m thankful for moments like these because I may have come home empty handed, but my heart was full. I couldn’t be disappointed with that.