These lines typically guarantee a bad outcome to your hunt
Editor's note:This blog originally appeared on May 11, 2017, on Realtree.com.
Call me a grouch, but some statements make me cringe or roll my eyes. Many of those are uttered in a duck blind or goose field.
I try to be polite and open-minded, of course, especially when chatting with fellow hunters. But when you’ve heard a few of these lines more than once, you can almost predict a poor outcome. Here are some common examples of cringe-worthy waterfowl hunting quotes.
‘Thought I’d Try a New Gun’
Hey, cool. Using various shotguns is part of waterfowling’s appeal. But unless I have great confidence in the guy who uttered that line, I usually suspect that he hasn’t shot that gun much … or at all. I start grinding my teeth while expecting the shells to fly — and many ducks to keep flying.
‘These Shells Should Work’
Should work? There’s no “should work.” Shoot what you like, but make sure those loads have been proven lethal with your gun and choke. There’s little worse than pounding through your shells on cripples after Mr. Should-Work wing-tips duck after duck with steel No. 7s.
‘Well, I Gotta Run’
You’ll usually hear this right before it’s time to pick up the 150 full-bodied honker fakes or diver blocks you set out at dark-thirty. Big no-no. It’s one thing to ask a buddy once in a while whether it’s OK to leave early and stick him with the cleanup. It’s another to expect the favor.
‘I Can’t Stay That Long’
Translation: “I want to enjoy the good shooting during the first hour and will then refer to statement No. 3 before taking my birds and leaving you to pick up the decoys and clean the boat. Again, this is OK in small doses, but it can’t become a habit. Otherwise, you might find yourself swimming to shore while your friends continue to hunt.
‘What’s the Limit On (Fill in the Blank)?’
Oh boy. This guy hasn’t read the regs, and I’m just guessing he probably isn’t very adept at identifying ducks in flight — or even in hand. Every hunter shoulders the responsibility of being able to identify waterfowl before shooting and staying within legal bag and possession limits. State hunting rulebooks provide easy resources to become proficient at this. If you have to ask, you’re already in trouble.
The guy who asked about the limit of certain ducks usually shouts this when cranes, swans, cormorants or even seagulls appear on the horizon. Polite silence or awkward laughter follows.
It ain’t that difficult. Learn to identify birds in flight. Until you can, rely on experienced folks, and hold fire until they say it’s OK. And if you shoot a swan, you’re on your own.
‘Do You Want These?’
Some guys seemingly never have time to clean their ducks or didn’t intend to keep and eat them. No way, buddy. There’s no group bagging in waterfowl hunting. You killed them, you clean them. And I don’t want to hear about them showing up in the trash bin, either. Hey, if a friend sincerely wants some birds for whatever reason, it’s cool to gift those to him. Otherwise, personal responsibility must carry the day.
‘I Have to Take This Call’
Or text. Or Instagram post. Or Facebook message.
Sheesh. Put the stupid phone down and hunt. We’re slaves to those things, and waterfowl hunting offers an escape from that dreary reality. Look at the rising sun or the wind-whipped waves of grass across the prairie. Those images last longer than the latest “urgent” phone call.
‘Did I Show You … ?’
Maybe it’s a pile shot from Arkansas. Perhaps it's your buddy’s big buck. Sharing success photos is cool, but I prefer to look at them after the trip. Again, if you don’t want to pay attention to the day’s adventures and your surroundings, don’t bother pretending to hunt.
After reading this, I’m pretty sure I’m a grouch. But in my defense, many of these blithe statements contributed to that bad attitude. Sigh. I guess I need to lighten up. But I still don’t want to see your Arkansas pictures before you leave abruptly and I spend 90 minutes packing up the decoys.
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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.