I have to admit, I didn't put my time in this year. I lost my permission to a few duck places, and I didn't want to slog it out on the Platte River with the others. I've been spoiled by having access to great private land in the past. Those days are over. The thing about private land is that it changes hands, and people change their minds. Hunters think people are losing interest in the sport due to what kids are learning in the classroom, or they blame soccer and cell phones. But it's neither of those things. It's the lack of decent places to hunt that has made the sport dwindle. You can't build a duck marsh or an abandoned farm. Everytime you see and No Trespassing sign, view it as what it is, another kid lost to Facebook and e-cigs. Meanwhile, over in Nevada, Cliven Bundy has become a hero in his crusade against public land and public access. If it were up to him and his ilk, there would be no public lands at all. And then what would you do with your elk calls, your backpacks, your GPS? Pay attention to those extreme right-winders when they talk about Public Lands Transfer; they are serious. Below is a photo of your future.
Duck season ends today. We went out a few times this week. The ducks are around but I don't have permission to hunt the places I used to. Henry is a handful. He's very alert, but his whining is hard to take. He's very vocal. But his enthusiasm is a good sign. Rocket is stoic; doesn't say a thing, just looks at the sky and waits for ducks to appear.
This time of year is hard on us. The shotguns are cleaned and put away. The duck season never really got off the ground. Rocket doesn't think much of ski towns. Henderson chases snow machines so snow-shoeing is out. Rocket breaks free from time to time to troll for scraps: English muffins, the rinds of long-gone pumpkins, eggshells people have tossed out for compost. Yesterday he was ensnared in a web of Christmas what-nots. He didn't struggle as much as I would have. I freed him and he trotted into the alleys where the wind had knocked over trash cans. I can't wait for Tax Season.