How I Learned to Hunt
Learning new things can be exciting, intimidating, and frustrating. All of those adjectives describe my first-time duck hunting. But after a few short years, I plan my life around waterfowl season. How’d I get there? Great mentors! The story of how I learned to hunt.
A New Experience
I have experience with outdoor activities and hunting, but waterfowl hunting was a new experience. I did not know about blinds, migration, calls, or shooting light. My husband and son guided me through an unfamiliar swamp in the dark and gave me entry-level gear, thinking it would be a one-time hunt. They’d given me details on how the morning should unfold, explaining the importance of quietly setting up the decoy spread and being situated in the hunting blind before sunrise. I was instructed to keep my head down while keeping an eye out for the birds. Indeed, my sneak peeking at the sky flared more birds that first season than I care to admit. I was just tickled to have a chance to see what the fuss was all about. A stickler for rules, I waited for the app on my phone to silently alert me to “legal shooting light. I realized that ducks can tell time. The biggest takeaway from my first trip was that I needed good gear, and watching the sun rise over the decoy spread could be my church. I can’t remember the number of ducks we harvested, but I remember the joy I felt. This experience sparked an addiction in me.
Learning from Experienced Hunters
Having experienced hunters to guide me made a significant difference in having a safe and enjoyable first hunt. I hope to share my passion for waterfowl with others. It’s not just about hunting, but watching the sunrise from the solitude of a duck blind, seeing birds work above the decoy spread, camaraderie at duck camp, cultivating habitat and preserving traditions. I would love to share more with anyone interested.
Since my first duck hunt in a Virginia swamp about seven years ago, I’ve been able to hunt in various locations and environments. I’ve learned something new from each site but still have much to learn. I enjoy sharing my knowledge with others. I believe in giving back to keep the tradition alive.
Giving Back to Others
I’ve been able to hunt in boats, blinds, flooded timber, marshes, rivers, wetlands, layout blinds, pit blinds, and fields. We’ve hunted outside Virginia in Arkansas, Missouri, North Carolina, and Canada. And I’ve learned something new at each place. I still have much to learn, but I love sharing what I know so far with anyone interested. And since the guys in my life always had guys hunts, I didn’t particularly appreciate being left out. So last year, I hosted a ladies-only hunt, a new annual tradition. My mentors quickly realized that the first hunt was one of many.
That duck hunting is a “new thing…. who knew”. Give it away to keep it!
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