Most Waterfowlers Can Relate to This Muddy Dilemma
Editor's note: This is a guest blog from Realtree.com contributor James Buice.
About three weeks into waterfowl season, the cab of my trucks looks like it belongs to a vagrant that has taken quarter.
Currently, identifiable objects include one Canon camera with a telephoto lens in the passenger side floorboard, along with a camo rain jacket, a fleece vest, four empty energy-drink cans, miscellaneous protein bar wrappers and a couple of Chick-fil-A bags, all nestled on a mat of dirty cattail reeds and dried mud. In the seat: binoculars, two hats, Gatorade bottles, another fleece vest, a bottle of Texas Pete, one broken e-collar, one e-collar in working condition and a Nalgene bottle that looks like it's being used to cultivate penicillin. I won't even get into the back seat, because that's my dog's territory. There's enough dog hair to flock two full-body Labrador models, and I'm afraid to look under the seats.
There are two dog kennels in the back of my truck — very nice ones, in fact. Both are comfortable, or seem to be, and perfectly suited for transporting 80 pounds of retriever each. Despite the adjunct canine accommodations, I often succumb to pouty eyes and let Beau ride shotgun in the back seat, unless he's wearing a dripping armor of Delta mud, in which case, an assessment is made as to the cleanliness of my truck and an expression that says, Hey man, you let me ride up there on the way here.
Today, we hunted specklebelly geese in a soggy, recently plowed bean field. I sank up to my shins and my dog to his belly. By the time he'd picked up a few geese in the slop, he looked more like a black and tan coonhound than a yellow Lab. The last bird of the morning decided he'd lock wings and sail about 300 yards across the bean field before collapsing with a wet thwack. Beau had marked the goose and shot out of his dog blind like a steer in a roping contest, leaving an aerial debris field of sticky mud in his wake. The goose was on the move, and 80 pounds of broad-chested yellow dog hit 8 pounds of confused speck at Mach 1, the duo somersaulting twice in a hail of mud and feathers. Beau recovered without losing hold of the goose and nonchalantly trotted back.
Back at the truck, decoys stowed, and my own muddy mess of clothes tossed in the bed to save whatever vestige of hygiene that was left in the cab, I was met with two sad eyes peering at me through a muddy façade. I looked at the kennel in the truck bed and then at a big ball of fur caked in muck, and then opened the truck door.