Saturday, January 19, 2008

Stupid is as Stupid Wades

Stupid. That's what it is. Just plain stupid.

No, I'm not referring to the pedantic punditry surrounding the current political liars' club personality contests (cauci and primaries). I'm talking about the exercise in idiocy I succumb to this time each year--duck hunting.

Case in stupidity point: This morning my alarm woke me at a few minutes past four. 0400. 4 A.M. Dark, and going to be that way for several more hours. By 5, #2 son and I have donned 4 layers of clothing, swilled two cups of coffee (an act we will regret three hours later encased in chest waders) and prepped his boat. Although the boat ramp is less than five minutes from the house, and the slough to which we are heading is only a five minute boat ride upriver, we calculate that we need to be at the boat ramp way before anyone else in order to beat the boat launch gaggle and any other hunters who may intend to hunt our favorite spot. This means that we will wait in total darkness in knee deep water for nearly an hour waiting for sunrise and legal shooting time. Did I mention the two cups of coffee?

The boat ride itself is a windchill adventure. The river is shallow, and the most expedient way to prevent the boat motor from dragging the bottom in places is to ram the throttle forward and plane the boat out at top speed. Narrow river. Twisty river. Stump-filled river. Did I mention it was dark? #2 son claims to know this river like the back of his hand. Comforting, until you realize he is wearing gloves.

Just before I succumb to hypothermic sleep (not easy to do while fearing for your life), we reach the stretch of river adjacent to our slough and #2 noses the boat into the bank. We clamber out, climb into chest waders, sling shotguns, enough ammunition to wage an insurgency, and two tons of decoys over our shoulders and push into the brush. Walking through the woods carrying heavy loads in chest waders is second in difficulty only to the next phase of the trek--wading though thigh deep water carrying heavy loads.

We were duck hunting this morning, but it was more like bird-watching. All of the ducks we saw were flying at an altitude for which oxygen masks are normally required. The plaintive quacks, chuckles and highballs from our duck calls made little impression, and evidently the two tons of decoys we hauled in on our backs and scattered on the water around us made even less of an impression. We stayed in the swamp for 5 hours and never even fired a shot.

The most incriminating evidence to our insanity--we went back this afternoon.
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