Even in the oddest of seasons, there always seems to be a few things that stand as interesting, unique or as a 'first'. After decades of hunting you would think that you've pretty much seen it all, but it never fails that each and every year there is something that causes you to pause, tilt your head to the side and give a verbal "hmm".
Here are a few of the things that made the 2008-09 duck season memorable.
One of the early firsts was the duck with a $100 reward band. Hunting can pay! That was the same day as out limits of greenheads on opening weekend. Special for sure.
That was cool, but then myself, The Hunting Partner and Uncle rented an airplane to scout a hunting area. I think we've really lost our minds.
There was also a special interview with one of my favorite wild game chefs, Scott Leysath. It was cool to hob-nob with the rich and famous. At least I pretended to hob-nob. It was actually just hanging out in his living room interviewing him.
Scott has some great recipes in his cookbook, one of which I used to cook my first scotch double on mallards. Pan seared duck with bourbon cream sauce. Yummm. That's not to be confused with the special recipe he made just for Hunt, Eat, Live!, which also included bourbon. I'm beginning to see a trend here.
There was also the first time that I was able to introduce hunting to an adult, and he then went on to shoot a Eurasian Wigeon as his third bird of his short hunting career. See if I ever take him out again.
The weather, or lack thereof, tops the list as the most interesting aspect of the season. We've experienced years of weather extremes in the past, but this had to be one of the oddest weather years ever. Frustrating one minute, wonderful the next. But mostly just frustrating.
It is these interesting aspects of the waterfowl season that will keep me coming back next fall. That plus the good fellowship, time connecting with my food source, time with friends and Max the dog. It is the accumulation of these wonderul memories and reliable firsts that are the reasons why I hunt, eat, and live!