Not enough sense to come in from rain
By the time we arrived back at the lodge from an afternoon of goose and duck hunting, it was beginning to rain. During our dinner of Cajun pork chops, potatoes and green beans, the wind was blowing and lightening was flashing every few seconds. T...
By the time we arrived back at the lodge from an afternoon of goose and duck hunting, it was beginning to rain.
During our dinner of Cajun pork chops, potatoes and green beans, the wind was blowing and lightening was flashing every few seconds. The worse the weather got, the more excited the guides became.
"By morning, the weather will be awful and the hunting will be great," was the most often heard refrain.
At 4:30 a.m., the heavy rain was coming down sideways. I was glad it is not hurricane season or I would have sworn we were in one. Even the dogs were excited. They apparently knew a good thing when they saw it. All I saw was a great chance to get wet.
Our guide for the morning hunt was Bart. He pulled up towing a two-wheeled trailer behind his four-wheeler with trusty dog, Dixie, already on the luggage rack. With only our shotguns, a few hundred rounds of shells, bottled water and deer jerky, we mounted the trailer and headed into the teeth of the storm with the darkness being occasionally lit by flashes of lightening.
It is times like this a person becomes concerned about mortality. I wonder how many people have ridden behind this madman on a two-wheeled cart into the darkness, never to be seen again.
We stopped and disembarked near the edge of the earth. From there, we set out on foot, following Dixie and Bart along a soggy levee to the middle of a rice field. Since Bart does not believe in artificial lights, we slogged along in darkness, first the dog, who seemed to know where she was going, followed by Bart, who trusted the dog enough to follow her. Coty was next in line, who I followed at a safe distance. Since we were carrying improvised lightening rods (shotguns), I did not want to be close enough that one strike would get us all. I was being followed by my eldest son, who at that time was thinking about the last unfortunate time we got together to jump off mountains with a para-glider.
I had slipped off the top of the levee a few times, so when Coty walked down the side of the levee I thought nothing of it. I stayed on top and fell into our ground level blind like a cartoon character going down a man hole. Walter was again convinced he had killed his father. By shooting light, the pain had pretty much subsided.
When the geese started flying, a warm rain driven by a fresh breeze was rather pleasant. When the shooting started, I never felt better and the weather could not have been more perfect.
With rain driving into her face, Dixie knew it was going to be a great day. She loves nothing better than to retrieve ducks and geese. She can only retrieve when she is told she can.
We had one goose down and Bart thought more were coming. He did not want Dixie out among the decoys when the next flight arrived, so he made her wait. Dixie would look at Bart and back to the goose. This did not get the response she was wanting. She would then nudge Bart and look at the goose. Several times of doing this did not elicit a retrieve command.
Finally she poked Bart with her nose, looked at the goose, and a person could read her mind saying, "There is a goose there that I really need to get before it gets away or something awful."
She exploded with joy and enthusiasm when she was at last told she could do her job. When we came in for lunch, we were all soaking wet but happy with a great morning of hunting. None of us were happier than Dixie, who is probably the best hunting dog I have ever seen. She enjoyed her morning, and just like the hunters, she does not want come in out of the rain, and with good reason.
Walter Scott is an outdoors enthusiast and freelance writer from Bloomfield, Iowa.