Everybody's optimistic on opening-day eve. Ask them again the final week of season
Football writers often poke fun at themselves by penning self-deprecating stories comparing their pre-season prognostications to a team's actual results. The main takeaway is that uncountable variables make it almost impossible to accurately predict how the season might go.
Duck hunters do this, too. You might get a feeling for the way a season could play out, based on conditions or circumstances. However, in hindsight, the journey often takes a different path — sometimes with ironic or comical results.
Here's a light-hearted look at some before-and-after-duck-season statements you might hear soon at the boat landing or gun club.
Before: Man, with all the rain this fall, it should be a great year for ducks.
After: It was a terrible year for ducks. With all the water, they spread out on ground we couldn't hunt.
Before: Dude, mallard numbers were up this spring. We are going to pile them up.
After: Hmm, 9.4 million breeding mallards, yet we didn't shoot 20. Guess they just loafed around up North until February.
Before: I shot better than ever during our sporting clays league this summer. Let's just say ducks should be very afraid.
After: No, I can't go fishing. I'm heading to the gun club to work out of this shooting slump.
Before: My dog? After training this off-season, I'll describe him with one word: stud.
After: No, I can't go fishing. I'm heading to the retriever club to work with that goofball dog.
Before: Seriously, this might be the finest waterfowl shotgun I've ever owned.
After: Seriously, $400 and it's yours. I can't hit a pig in the hind end with a coal shovel using this thing.
Before: When in doubt, I'm heading to the Round Hole opening weekend. It always produces.
After: No, I can't go fishing. I'm going to the marsh to find some new spots. I'd rather eat merganser feathers than hunt the Round Hole again this year.
Before: It'll take lots of work to get in there, but I think it's worth it for all the birds I saw.
After: I don't care how many ducks are using that spot. We are never doing that again."
Before: Listen, we need to set up on top. Geese absolutely will not land in valleys or other low spots.
After: I've never seen them land in a hole like that, either.
Before: Nah, 4 a.m. is fine. There's never anyone there opening weekend.
After: Nah, 9 a.m. should work — for breakfast. I quit. I'm not playing bumper-boats in the dark just so some imbecile can set up 35 yards downwind of us.
Before: Have you seen Realtree.com's Duck Blog lately? I'm looking forward to this fall's posts.
After: Well, that's all the space we have for this entry. Good luck this season. And don't let this cynical take deter you from hitting the marsh. Sometimes, you might be pleasantly surprised by what occurs. I'll be out there as much as possible. With all the rain, it should be a great year for ducks.