This season started with a bang! The pun is intended. As a member of the RedHead Field Staff hunting team, I look forward to waterfowl season all year long. As much as I love to fish, watching geese and/or ducks commit to your spread and zero in on a place to land is something I dream about.
This season is off to a good start. Living in Central Illinois, opening day was a crisp, windy morning that brought some beautiful wood ducks into our decoys. My first shot of the year took a magnificent drake wood duck with all the colors that God so beautifully painted on that duck.
That night, I clean the “woodie,” dipped him into Uncle Buck’s Hot and Spicy Fish Batter and deep fried along with some other ducks we managed on that hunt. Uncle Buck’s fish breading is a great way to prepare any duck and is a mouthwatering treat.
The second weekend of the season, we were filming for my Internet show, www.hookandhunttv.com, and we shared some time with some of our wounded veterans on a hunt specifically for them. Operation RED, WHITE & BLUE BILL was held in Oconto, Wisc. We had a great time with some of our veterans as we smiled, laughed and hunted the entire weekend from layout boats on Green Bay. Bluebills and redheads filled the air as they flew in and out of our decoys. It is a truly wonderful experience that is fast, furious and adrenaline packed, any way you look at it.
More recently, I was asked to be part of a celebrity goose hunt to help raise money for Cystic Fibrosis. Liv’s Hunt for a Cure (www.livforacure.org) invites some of the world’s top waterfowlers (and guys like me) to an event held in Northern Illinois to bring awareness to Cystic Fibrosis. It’s a wonderful event that raises not only awareness of this dreaded disease, but also money and outreach to fight it.
Waterfowling is more than tradition, and it’s more than passion. It’s all that and more.
Waterfowlers are a compassionate and resourceful group. They love, laugh and want not only for their sport to grow, but also for it to mean something. Pack a room full of duck and goose guys and gals, and tell them something needs to be done. A vet wants to go on a hunt, money needs to be raised for a child, and one of their own needs help, and see what happens. We come together, we pray, we plan and then we act.
This season is off to an incredible start. It’s always been about so much more than killing ducks: It about the time with friends, the experience and the adventure. As I pull up my waders for another day in the field, I have a song in my heart and I look skyward, thanking God on a wing and a prayer.
by Jim Crowley