We finally had a brief spell of truly cold weather, and with that, duck season has been ushered in. When I was younger, I actually hated duck hunting. The cold weather, the preparation of decoys, boats, and warm clothing was just too much for a young fellow with lots of energy and little patience to endure. However, with age, I have come to respect the passion a waterfowler exudes for his quest.
I no longer look at duck hunting as a burden. I see it as a challenge and a thrill. While I know what I could see fly in the area I hunt, I still wait with anticipation for what may come down the flyway. Did I get a drake (male) with vibrant colors, or did I bring down a hen (female).
We did bring in some birds though. One of which has to be classified as one of the most beautiful waterfowl in the world. In fact, a quick Google search of the words beautiful and waterfowl had this one listed in several lists. While most hunters in the know will list the mandarin as the most beautiful duck, the wood duck is listed right there with it. Another fact, the wood duck is so proliferate in North Carolina, it is called the Carolina duck in most of North America. It’s green, black, and white crest and magnificently painted bill of red, yellow, black, and white makes it stand out against most others. They prefer the swampy areas, are congenial, and have a unique call compared to others. A whistler, it has a short, high pitched blast and can be heard from a good distance away. It is not the ‘quack’ most associate with ducks.
Fortunately, as I have come to love the waterfowler’s life, I have been able to experience this creature one on one. Just another reason to participate with nature.