My First Duck

It’s been some time ago; however, I remember the first duck I shot.

I also recall the first time I hunted ducks with my dad, my first duck boat, the first time I hunted by myself and my first dozen decoys. At some point, I began to consider myself a duck hunter. These “firsts” were key parts of the process of initially being infected with the duck-hunting bug and ultimately having it develop into a chronic disease.

Last weekend, I believe my 11-year-old grandson caught it as well. He’s been exposed for several years. Early outings were more boat rides than hunting trips. After that, earlier mornings, overnights, BB gun, duck calling and his first mallard characterized a gradual aging in waterfowl hunting. Last weekend, however, we had an opportunity to permanently burn the visual image of mallards over the decoys into his young memory. And the result was a limit of mallards with a pintail and a redhead as exclamation points to a memorable morning.

He certainly was impressed with shooting a limit of ducks. However, I was impressed with his comments about the sunrise, the dog work, how good the hot chocolate was, him poling the duck boat a half-mile back to shore and his desire to continue watching ducks work even after he was done shooting.

However, this note is not so much about my grandson and his first limit of ducks – well, maybe a little – but more so about how “duck hunters” are made.

What is the difference between someone who shoots ducks and someone who considers themselves a “duck hunter?” What were the events, the turning points, or the associations that led you to now consider yourself a “duck hunter?” How important was who you hunted with, where you hunted or how successful the hunting was?

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1 Response to “My First Duck”


  1. 1 Bob Grady December 3, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    Every father vividly remembers his son’s first duck hunt! At 8 years, my guy hunted from a water blind @ lake Anna ( VA ).He had to stand on top of an ammo carrier to see over the edge, and looked like a radar dome scanning the sky. my partner & I agreed to let him have first try on every incoming bird, and after 3 or 4 trys, connected on a nice mallard. As my partner retrieved it, Pat just stood there, mouth open, and after a minute or two, looked at me w/ an ear to ear grin and said ” I did it , Dad !!”
    Has been hard to go since then; he wants to be in on every hunt, no matter the weather.
    It is true ( whomever said it) that if you take your son hunting, you’ll never have to hunt for him ,,,,,


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