Wildlife

If Only in Your Dreams

Matt Hickey, S.O.L. Southern Outdoor Legacy

*Your mind drifts as you boat down river*

            Finally, the end of the season is nearing a close. Your beaten down, your tired, you are consumed with hatred for what has become of a disastrous season. One that will go down in the history books.  One of the worst duck seasons of all time. By now you’ve debated on moving north several times, or just selling all of your gear. What use to be a sad time of the year, is now a sigh of relief. Sick and tired of being sick and tired, if you will.

            Finding the strength and the will to go is now a heavy load in itself. You carry it around with you wherever you go. You get tired of talking about it. Every time someone asks “You been killin’ any ducks?”, your heart sinks, and feel a pain deep inside. Anger has long since left, because who are you going to be mad at? It’s nobody’s fault, we all just blame it on the weather and try to move on. You never really move on from something like this though. This season will forever be in the back of your mind. When things get good again (if they ever do), you’ll look back on this season and reflect on it’s awful misgivings.

            Your mind drifts away to the foreseeable future, a time so close you can almost hear them. Lost are your thoughts of killing limits, as old videos of gobbling thunder bring you excitement now. It may be the last weekend of duck season, but your mind is already on spring. Crappie…oh sweet Lord almighty!! A new beginning filled with excitement and warm sunshine.

            You pull yourself back to reality, as you load the boat onto the trailer for the final time this season. The “Last game of the year, can’t hold anything back now” mentality got you nowhere.  As you unload the gear, you pet your old dog. You stare into her eyes, and see nothing but love. She doesn’t care about any of this, just that she gets to go with you. This reminds you quickly, “Ducks or no ducks, there’s things to be thankful for” you think as you rub her wet ears. Good friends, good memories, and a good dog.  It doesn’t always matter how many ducks you kill if you’re in good company. And that is what will keep this sport alive, not the limits on limits of ducks, but the comradery of it all. A brighter future is on the horizon, if only in your dreams.

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