It was understandably silly of me to simply waltz back into your collective blogging world without explaining my four month writing sabbatical. I almost got away with it, had it not been for one of my sharp readers who rejoiced that I hadn't died or come down with a mysterious, anti-hunting disease.
It was very much unlike any other duck hunt in recent memory. Mike, knowing full well of my nearly-narcoleptic tendencies, always gives me a stern look and sit-down chit chat when faced with an ungodly early wakeup time. We discussed it thoroughly and agreed, we had to be out the door at 5:15AM, not a minute later. I bartered and begged for more time but my husband stood firm in his belief that depriving his wife of well-needed rest was the best way to start of our first duck hunt since relocating from North Dakota two years ago.
Standing still in one place for an extended period of time is something I'm not exactly good at. Case in point: in the last five and a half years, I've moved over 4,000 miles. During these miles, I've seen a lot of places and met a whole spectrum of individuals from the hearty family of friends found in North Carolina to the bitterly cold, yet warm individuals who call North Dakota home. My latest abode is found in Texas, a place that seems so much like every where else I've lived but yet completely different.
There's something about waking up in the desert air in spring that makes life worth living. The flowers have begun to bloom, the coyotes are out in full force, their yodels reverberating around the empty landscape, forcing the country dogs to join in the haunting tune. The sun hadn't shone above the horizon, for I get up far earlier than she, so the only light emitted from my bedroom window was that of my cell phone, merrily jarring me awake from a restful slumber.
A recorded Parks and Rec marathon couldn't have come at a better time. The pipes are frozen, ice has made the roads impossible but I'm warm in bed with the pups, enjoying Ron Swanson and the memories of season's past.
Starting the world’s first and only jackalope guide service was a dream come true for me. I poured over the literature and applicable tax forms to make my business a legitimate one. Unfortunately, the screening process, done after the initial $10,000 application fee, proved to be too much for all of my applicants so I sat, unhappily raking in the cash while the horned daemons ran amok, no hunters in tow. I could see them in my mind’s eye, taunting me with their voracious blood lust for cinnamon toast crunch and destruction. They knew I would be after them, but they also knew I’d have to wait until an applicant deemed themselves worthy for the hunt.
The ringing in of 2015 came with a bang in our desert homestead; literally, as the transformer right outside our back window blew up in a cloud of fire, accompanied by a magnificent BOOM that far surpassed the lesser explosions of the multitudinous fireworks being set off at the same time by a gaggle of the most patriotic West Texans around, for the light show was equal to, if not slightly smaller than those on Fourth of July and Christmas day, celebrating the real reason why we’re all here.
This is an old post, one I wrote when I first began my hunting life, before the passion of the outdoors took over my being, when I wore mascara while hunting and my ill-fitting, bulky camo was all I could find in the children's section.
Although I'd edit a few things here and there, I've chosen to repost it in its entirety simply because it represents one of the most defining moments of my life. Years have passed, many animals have been sent directly to my dinner plate, memories have been stacked alongside the bounty of my deep freeze, and I am a different person than the girl who climbed her first stand and shot her first deer. But in many ways, I'm the same. I still shake uncontrollably at the sight of an animal in the wild, I still morn the loss of life while at the same time thanking the animal for its sacrifice to feed my family. This post, this hunt changed my life forever and for that, I am forever thankful.
Dear Writing Huntress,
I’ve always duck hunted with my dad and brothers, but would like to finally get out and go by myself. I generally stay in the boat while they’re setting up, so I’ve never done any duck spreads. Do you have any pointers for how to set decoy spreads?
Spread Aide in Spokane
We spent all day in a kind of suspended animation, waiting for a friend's call, beckoning us out to the dove fields. Given that we relocated to Texas a mere six months ago, we realized this season wasn’t going to mirror those of yesteryear, especially in North Dakota where the birds were as multitudinous as our neighbors, non-existent.
This year is destined to be a reconstruction year where we get on our feet, establish our surroundings and find places to hunt in the few moments we have to breathe in this, our newest, most south-westerly adventure.
The Writing huntress
I hunt. I write. I wear what some consider an unnecessary amount of camouflage face paint.