At some point this morning, that line above – serving duty as this post’s title, from an old Beastie Boys song – echoed through my head, challenging the ringing that was already there from a late night – making it 3-4 in a row for me.
I am not still in college. I AM too old for this, they tell me. Yet, after what is traditionally one of the longest and most intense days of the year for us, our Johnson County Ducks Unlimited annual banquet event, we were here, on about 3 hours sleep, in a blind, chasing the white birds. Some of you will call us dedicated, committed, intense, etc. But most of you know, really, we’re just not too bright.
But this was a pond that had been holding birds throughout the week, and, always seeking ways to extend our season, (I can’t explain why, having written a previous post about being glad it’s done… see above: “not too bright”) it was unanimously deemed a perfectly acceptable trade for the sleep and recuperation we’d be missing out on. I will not comment on the impact of any post banquet celebratory adult beverages on our ability to think rationally at that point.
So, fools collected, a considerably motley crew of snow goose decoys assembled, we landed somewhere within an hour of home, put our limited selection of floaters, wind socks, and shells in place, and tried not to fall asleep in the blind.
This is the point at which the story goes a bit like most of the 2011-2012 regular waterfowl season. Not a white bird in the sky. Would have been the grandest day of the season for ducks, but not so much for conservation season snow geese. Expected. In fact, we even brought along fishing poles, despite only going because we knew birds were using the pond. It appeared as if a few small crappie and bass were going to be the highlight of this hunt. crappie on a snow goose conservation hunt. A first for me.
Teased by the mallards, shunned by the geese, and insufficiently stimulated by the inconsistent bite of small pond crappie and bass, we pulled the plug around 10:30am. I can’t speak for the other 2/3, but I was certainly contemplating how different my life may have been with those extra hours of sleep…
Our path home included a quick run down the other side of the property – down a gnarly, rutted out, unimproved muddy road. Just something Nick wanted to check out the next section over. As we crested a hill and headed down into a valley, I saw something. Something I liked.
Somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 white birds lifting, hovering, and settling back down on a pond 200-300 yards off of the road. Target acquired.
This sort of woke us all up from our daze. Instincts took over, gear quickly put in order, and the exercise commenced. Unfortunately for us, we were going to have to come a bit down on them, so no real jump to it. This one would require some old school belly crawling. Not my favorite method, still recovering from surgery, but hey, a Jedi plays to win, right? I wasn’t faking any moves. I came to chase the white ones, and here was a very odd chance to turn things from “bleh” to really cool – just at the expense of 100 yards or so of dragging my tired old arse through a pasture – one well used by cattle, let me add…
With something like 40, maybe 50 yards left between us and quarry, we found it increasingly tough to conceal – and birds started moving into the alert head position, started to chat a bit, etc. Meaning it was about time.
The call was made, shots were fired, and recovery began.
At the yardage we were at, we were pretty happy with the 10 birds, 3 being nice blues.
High fives were in order. These three fools got lucky. The Kansas Outdoorsmen caught a break, executed as best as conditions would allow, and made the most of it. A nice – and unexpected – alternative ending to the waterfowl season. Of course, should another “opportunity to extend our season” come up, well, we’ll probably exercise our duty to remain “not too bright” in defense of one more chance, one more alternative ending to pass the time between now and next season.