Playin' on Purple — Duck hunting

This past Saturday may have been just the first Saturday in October to some people. But to me and my family, it was the opening day of the hunting season.

My family has been avid hunters for as long as I can remember. I never really got into it. When I was 18, I completed my hunter’s safety course and got my blue card. Last year, the hunting season was the first time I was able to legally shoot ducks.

Between my three jobs, school and homework, hunting was not a priority last year. I went out twice last year. The first time I ever went out was the most epic day of hunting.  It was right before Thanksgiving, and it was during the big blizzard that had a huge hype surrounding it.

My brother takes me out to Harold Crane, and it’s so windy and snowy that we could barely see, but, man, were the birds flying. My brother shot down like three in the first 10 minutes we were out there. I shot at a few, but my shot sucked (it still does, but I’m improving), so I did not get anything. Let’s just say that was an epic day.

This year was my very first opening day. It was well worth waking up at 3:45 am to be out in the swamps by 5. I can say that trudging through the weeds in neoprene waders is not something I enjoy, but I continued to do so with much complaining.

It was super dark when we finally posted up in a nice blind. We sat there and chilled. We stargazed and watched the sun come up. Honestly, I now think the best sunrises are the ones viewed out in the bird refuges.

Shooting doesn’t start until 7:30 a.m. Between 7:00 and 7:30 were the longest 30 minutes of our lives. My brother (who should have his own professional duck-hunting show) was throwing a temper tantrum. There were birds flying everywhere in that half hour. North, south, east, west and everywhere in between, there would be a flock of ducks or a huge gaggle. It was insane, and we couldn’t shoot them. That was why we got to view the tantrum.

Once the shooting started, the birds were flying, but not as thick. My eldest brother got the first kill. It landed way out in the middle of the water. My dad waded out to get it. While he was out there, a huge flock of geese flew right over his head. All it took was one shot, and then a goose came dropping out of the sky.

Hunting ducks is a sport. It’s the best sport come this time of year. First of all, the hike in waders is a work out. Second of all, there is a lot of strategizing that goes into it, just like any other sport. You have to decide where to post up and how to lay out decoys. Shooting a gun that kicks will make anybody’s arm sore. Quickly popping up and shooting at a small target takes a massive amount of hand-eye coordination.

Saturday morning was awesome. After we left with our six ducks and one goose, all I wanted to do was go back and keep shooting. It’s official. Corie Holmes, duck hunter, is here to stay.