Well there are days that you remember and then there is that day you will never forget. I took my 9-year-old, Cohen, on his first duck hunt this morning. See I grew up without a father. I had some great men in my life that took me hunting and stirred up my passion. My grandfather, Pappy, who raised me like his son. My uncle, Tator, who never hunted himself but took me duck hunting on the farm that he worked on, and Mr. Fontenot who was my high school ag teacher who taught me how to call. These men had a profound impact on my life but I always yearned for the father-son hunting time that I never had.
So I planned this hunt meticulously. I woke up 30 minutes earlier than normal and instead of filling the thermos with coffee I made hot chocolate. I packed extra flashlights, hot hands, and my warmest hunting jacket to make sure that his experience was as positive as it could be. Next stop was McDonald's for an egg mc muffin with bacon.
My good hunting buddy, Bobby, was nice enough to take us to one of his places that Cohen and I had helped to build the blind. He helped me set up the decoys then we hunkered down excited to watch the earth wake up. Then 5 minutes after shooting light it happens. Three mallards buzz us but try to land on the other side of the pond. I hit them with a fast comeback call but the front two land. The drake that was following decides he likes the call and the decoys better and swings right in the hole. My boy raises up with his 410 and covers him but he flies off.
He looks at me and says dad what happened did I mess up? I say that's why they call it hunting and not killing. I can see his disappointment. Katy (our lab) is locked on to something at the other side of the pond but I pay no attention because we clearly saw the bird fly off. A Few more ducks come but nothing lands for him to get a shot. After about an hour he says dad I can't feel my toes so we start walking back to the truck. As we walk Katy will not stay at heal so I call her back and she is focused. I send her and she hauls it straight to the other side of the pond and goes in the brush. Before I know it here she comes with his First Duck hanging out of her mouth.
The look on his face was something I will never forget. We celebrated like there was no tomorrow. Then as he was holding his trophy I lost it. I couldn't hold back the tears. The greatest moment of my duck hunting career.
As we are driving home he looks at me and says. So dad we going tomorrow?
"Labs are like women. They all have there quirks you just learn to live with them."