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Marsh Musings
Tis the Season...
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Thanksgiving this year was very special for us. We had friends of many years appear in Hoisington for the holiday. We have watched the kids grow and go to college and have seen gray appear in our hair. It seems like time flies, but the quality moments are so good as we renew the relationships that they slow the pace. The new babies and the rapid evolution of the older kids still take our breath. New people appear as kids start looking for mates. These offspring are learning so many new things with new technology—it is terrific to see their enthusiasm. We are blessed in so many ways.
Our marsh is marching into its fall and winter processes. The fall has been so odd and warm that things have gotten a bit off kilter. Ducks and geese are arriving in more numbers now and shore birds are leaving. The pelicans and cormorants are constant inhabitants of the Bottoms. I’m continually surprised that they find enough to eat—but they obviously do survive very well on shad and bull heads. The raptors are arriving and it won’t be long before Short-eared Owls and Eagles will be here. Watch for the Snowy Owls also—we usually get to see a few of these beauties.
We have a new duck boat. After years of stomping and falling around in the marsh in the process of wading out to our perceived hunting spots—it occurred to my little group that we aren’t what we used to be and would be better served if we could get there without being wet, exhausted and 200 yards short of where we wanted to be. Our maiden voyage last week didn’t go exactly as planned—these Go-Devil long-shafted boats are a bit more tedious and temperamental than expected. They also do not have a reverse. We figured all that out and made our first run—about a mile or so out in the marsh we hit a rock and shattered the propeller. If you pal around with game wardens, the worst thing that can happen is a situation like this where you have to call one of them for help. In their world, there is nothing worse because that incident remains in infamy for eternity. I know about one game warden that got stuck and walked several miles to keep from calling his buddy for help. I have a similar event on my record from being stuck at Quivira and calling one of them—he has retired and moved out of state—but my predicament is still discussed if we start telling stories after dinner. Anyhow, our boat is back on the trailer in the back yard and we have a couple of new props ordered. We will give it another go when the propellers get here. I just read in one of the waterfowl magazines that the average duck hunter kills about 10 birds per year. I am sad to report that I am very average and if I figure the cost per duck—even a conservative estimate indicates that you have to be a idiot to spend that much money to get a few ducks. However—when you are in the marsh before sunrise, and have your decoys set perfectly, and the wind is just right to call the ducks into the landing zone and the sky is orange and your dog is quivering with excitement--price is not a issue. It doesn’t get any better!
Go look at the trucks, boats, motors, decoys, dogs, trailers, etc parked around the Bottoms and see if you can detect any level of sanity or fiscal responsibility in the duck hunting population. My vehicle will be there among them.