Photos: An Early Day in the Duck Blind

Written by: Phoebe Bean

Jess proudly poses with her ducks.
Photos by Phoebe Bean

On Saturday, my recent good luck with Eastern duck hunting continued; Dave Perkins, Nancy Mackinnon, Charley Perkins, Jess (Dave and Nancy’s lab from Wildrose Kennels), and I trundled off in the pre-dawn darkness to set up decoys and find a place to hunker down. The first few minutes after shooting time came around were slow, but there were soon ducks coming in from all angles.

This was the hunters’ view as they waited for the ducks to come in.

Side note: The first time I ever went duck hunting was with Nancy, Dave, and my dad in Wyoming. (I believe I was around six or seven years old.) The night before, I was so excited that I set out my outfit for the next morning in a life-like figurine on the chair in my bedroom. I slept on a dog bed with Tyler, Nancy and Dave’s lab at the time, and hardly slept a wink. Nancy recalls being a bit apprehensive about exposing a wee young’un to the aftermath of shooting an animal, but I begged to come along. In the blind, I took my job of spotting incoming birds very seriously and made sure to yell at Nancy to “Shoot the duck!” whenever one flew past. Needless to say, her concern about how I would handle death wasn’t necessary.

Upon returning to first grade after the duck hunting trip, I made a book about my experience with Tyler,
the lab. The book now lives in Nancy and Dave’s house in Ketchum, Idaho.

Now, some 14 or so years later, I still get the same adrenaline rush as I did back then. On Saturday, when yelling “Mark!” as birds appeared on the horizon, I continuously confused my companions when describing exactly where the ducks were coming from. Completely caught up in the excitement of it all, I would yell “12 o’clock” because, of course, the birds were at 12 o’clock to me, but on our pre-defined clock, they were at 6 o’clock. Sometimes, I couldn’t even describe where they were at all and instead yelled, “Ducks!” Luckily, my excitement didn’t affect our success, and we brought home plenty of birds for the freezer. Happy hunting!

Jess perches on a log as she waits for her next retrieve.

Phoebe Bean is an intern for Orvis Adventures.

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