Are you, or a loved one you know, suffering from ODH Syndrome?
We’re taught as children to avoid categorizing people based on first impressions. However, not-so-subtle signs reveal much about folks — especially duck hunters. These observations, none of them especially clinical in nature, might or might not confirm that you’re dealing with an obsessive duck hunter, or ODH.
1. You mention that you’ve taught your dog to shake hands and roll over, and ODH responds by nervously shifting his eyes and mumbling about 300-yard marks.
2. ODH’s freezer has a shelf dedicated to duck and goose jerky and hot sticks, with a sticky note next to it to keep track of possession limits. It dwarfs the space allotted for frozen vegetables.
3. There are twice as many duck mounts as family photos in ODH’s house, and more retrieving bumpers than lawn care equipment in the garage.
4. ODH’s summer social calendar consists mainly of skeet leagues and mud runs. He still has a paper calendar (a duck photo for every month), and every day from the end of turkey season until Oct. 1 is crossed off, as if marking the final days of a prison sentence.
5. There’s no barbed-wire tattoo on ODH’s ankle. But there is a duck band inked in.
7. ODH’s house doesn’t have a gun safe. It has a gun room. And if you can’t identify four out of five shotguns displayed there, you’re not welcomed back.
8. Mentions of fall or winter concerts, weddings or family get-togethers to ODH are met by silence and cold, suspicious stares.
9. Suggestions of fall or winter tropical vacations are followed by explosive laughter and possibly beer spurting out of ODH’s nose.
10. Small talk about jobs and family with ODH can easily escalate into diatribes about the down-range lethality of Tungsten Super Shot, and whether there’s any biological justification for a daily bag limit of one hen mallard.
11. As guests are leaving a party, they whisper to ODH’s wife, “No offense, Mrs. Lovett, but no one cares that your husband improved his shooting average by 7 percent this past fall. He seems to have a one-track mind.”
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Realtree waterfowl editor Brian Lovett has been an obsessive duck and goose hunter for more than 30 years, chasing his passion on the Dakota prairies and the marshes and open water of his home state of Wisconsin. He's been a writer and editor in the outdoors industry since 1991.