Duck hunting has always had a special place in my heart and has played a major role in shaping who I am today. I still remember my very first duck hunt as if it were yesterday. I was ten years old, didn’t own a shotgun or any hunting gear or much less have any clue as to what I was doing. I remember not getting any sleep the night before, like a kid on Christmas Eve eagerly awaiting the morning. It was a cold, crisp morning as one of my father’s friends put me on his shoulders and waded me out to the blind. That first flight of ducks that cupped into the pond at first light had me mesmerized and I knew right then and there that this was going to be a life-long passion of mine.
Fast forward 4 years and several thousand dollars later, I had acquired all the gear that I needed as well as a Jon boat with a 1980’s 15 hp Johnson outboard motor. I thought I was the king of the ocean in that little boat on Houston County Lake where I was raised. My dad and I would hunt together several times a week before school and before he had to leave for work. We lived about one hundred and fifty yards from the water’s edge and one of our neighbors was kind enough to let us keep my duck rig in his boat house. We could wake up an hour before shooting light and stroll down to the boat dock, fire up that old Johnson, and head to the duck hole for the morning.
We hunted several different private properties as well as the lake that were all a twenty minute or less drive from the house. Hunting became a way of life for me and I was completely obsessed. When I was in high-school, I would put my waders on over my school clothes and hunt ponds along my route to the community college where I was taking dual credit courses. Those are some of my fondest memories, and the time I spent with my father on the water is irreplaceable.
I am 28years old now, and I still make time to hunt with my dad just like old times. Many things have changed but one thing remains the same, and that is our passion for the great outdoors. In 18 years we have learned many techniques and tactics but are still learning new tricks of the trade every duck season. My wife and I have a two year old daughter that I am planning on corrupting with my love of duck hunting. I look forward to the day she is old enough to bring to the duck blind for her very first hunt.
One of my favorite things about the sport is that it brings people together and can help build relationships that will last a lifetime. To me, duck hunting is not about killing limits, but rather about spending quality time with friends and family in God’s great outdoors.
- Konrad Meinardus