Rather than showing you pictures of dead ducks, I thought I’d tell you some tales from working the hunters’ check station tonight. You may have guessed that I’ve enjoyed working with these hunters, and you would be correct.
One of the things that amazes me is that they often arrive very early to get in line for the following day’s hunt. We had one hunter show up at 8:00 this morning so he would be first in line for tomorrow’s hunt. They line up outside the refuge gate along the side of FM 1985. They stay overnight in their trucks for the 4:00 AM opening of the gates. Today, we asked this fellow what he did for food while he waited 20 hours to get in. He said he brought along snacks like chips and such, but also fixed some hot food for supper. Sure enough, as I passed the gate late this afternoon, he was wrapping up a sausage in tin foil to warm up on his truck’s motor block!
Later in the morning, Kay and I asked some hunters how they prepared some of the not as tasty species for consumption. With a smile on his face, one of the guys said, “You cut out the breasts, wrap them in bacon, and then grill them. When they’re done, you throw away the breasts and eat the bacon!” This was a joke, folks, as I’ve found that these hunters do respect the birds they’ve taken.
Along those lines, a reader recently commented that she didn’t think the hunters cared much about the birds that they shoot. It’s been my experience that the opposite is true here. Whenever I ask to take pictures of their birds, you would be amazed how happy they are and what care they take to preen the feathers for the best presentation. Even if I’m not photographing, most of them respectfully groom the birds as I verify their identifications. It’s rather touching to me to see these guys smooth the feathers back into place with their gentle hands, and I’ve had many a discussion with them about the beauty of individual feathers.
The best duck tale of the day came from a Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) while working on our sister refuge, McFadden NWR. As he approached a group of hunters coming out from hunting, one of them had a large naked inflatable doll under his arm! Sounds a little kinky, eh? Well, the LEO just had to ask what they were up to. Here’s the story: It seems every time the hunters were at a certain pond, the ducks always landed at the other side of the pond that was beyond their guns range. So they tried setting up on the other side of the pond. As you might guess, the ducks then landed at the side of the pond where they first set up. That’s where the doll comes in. They planted that naked doll in the reeds on one side of the pond, and set up on the other side. Sorry to say, I don’t know if it worked or not…
After the hunt was over today, I drove in to the Visitors Center in Anahuac to meet up with fellow full-timers and bloggers, Evelyn and Kevin (RV Khronicles of Kevelyn).
They’re staying in the area for a few nights, and I told them I’d give them a tour of the refuge. Evelyn was hoping to see one of the huge flocks of snow geese, but they were hiding somewhere else today.
They’re not big birders, but we were able to find the vermillion flycatcher once again on the Skillern Tract. We spent the afternoon getting to know each other in person as we drove around the refuge. I hope they enjoyed our time together as much as I did. They’ll soon be on their way to take a cruise out of New Orleans with their sons. Good sailing, Kevin and Evelyn!
Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later, Judy