Looking out the window the fog covers, like a thick blanket, the surface of Collins Pond. Rain is falling and the temperature is rising while I reflect on the end of this hunting season.
Delaware's youth waterfowl hunt brought the waterfowl season to a close today. My 8 year old son Atticus (AJ) and I hunted this morning. We were provided an opportunity at a pair of wood ducks but as luck would have it, they were too close! As we sat in a tussock, just off the edge of the pond, the pair of woodies darted in and landed not 10 feet from us. There's no doubt a mere blink of our eye would have flushed them so an 8 year old, teeming with adrenaline, was certainly not going to be disguised. As AJ raised the single shot 20 gauge, screeching pierced our ears and they were gone. AJ slowly pulled his hat over his face and began to cry.
I knew those tears, I had been there before. Emotions were mixed for me. AJ and I had rowed the canoe out in the dark, we threw out decoys, we listened to whistling wings as shooting time neared, and had two ducks pitch perfectly into our spread. I was overjoyed with the experience, but had to console my son. The term, "that's why they call it hunting and not killing" was on the tip of my tongue, but I refrained.
While i'm eager to see my son holding his first duck, part of me is satisfied that he was not successful. I reflect on my early hunts which were plagued with failure. Those failures early in my hunting pursuits only made my successes even more gratifying. The tears didn't last long and soon we were on to looking for more birds.
We wrapped up this waterfowl season with a memory and while it cannot be mounted on a wall, the memory is a treasure for me and I hope AJ as well.