The Secret Off-Season Life of a Duck Dog

The Duck Blog

The Secret Off-Season Life of a Duck Dog

Posted 2018-03-08T23:29:00Z

Hunting's Finished, Yet Your Retriever is Still Scheming

Hunters aren't the only ones longing for duck season. Your retriever is dreaming about it, too. Photo © Tori Landsverk

6:11 a.m.: Hmm. No movement. Funny how he can sleep in when he wants but I have to get up at 2:30 a.m. to sit on a frozen bog when he gets the itch.

6:23 a.m.: Pretty sure that's snoring. Not good. I am starving. Perhaps a subtle hint is in order. I'll start by pacing the hallway and throw in some soft whining. That usually does the trick.

6:25 a.m.: Bingo. Now let's get cracking.

6:37 a.m.: Um, coffee can wait, dude. I'm patiently sitting here, per my training, waiting for high-quality nutrients. Please note the drool on the tile floor. There we go. Yes. Yes. Come on, bring that bowl over. Finally.

6:38 a.m.: Ah, sweet satisfaction. Now I can commence with my day's agenda … like taking a nap.

10:53 a.m.: What? Outside? Man, the morning flew by. Hey, it's not too bad out here. I can sniff around the four corners of the yard and search for rabbit poop under the picnic table. Life is great. Oh, what's that I hear? Come? Come? What is this come command of which you speak? I'll pretend I don't hear it, just like when we're in South Dakota. Ha!

11:15 a.m.: Looks like Mr. Great White Hunter is sizzling up a mallard for lunch. Just guessing he won't be sharing any. Of course, I won't mention that he wouldn't have collected said mallard if not for my excellent mark and keen nose. Still, there he is in the photo, holding it high and proud while I'm forced to sit in the face of a howling prairie wind. I'll tell ya, gratitude is a thing of the past.

11:52 a.m.: I've suspected for a while that he's hiding something. Now, a quick glance when he opened the freezer has confirmed it. I saw at least one package marked shoveler and another marked bufflehead. Those would make tasty dog treats. Anyone? Anyone? Grr.

1:33 p.m.: Ah, the mighty duck blogger is working. Birdie, he says to me. Remember that day at Bill's when the wood ducks swarmed like bees at first light? Of course I remember. Apparently the three-shot whiff and subsequent cursing has been edited from the story, but that's OK.

2:11 p.m.: Now he's nostalgic. Birdie, he says. Remember chasing down that big bull pintail at the old man's slough? And all those wigeon whistling that day? Again, how could I forget? And had we set up where I wanted to that morning — you know, where the ducks wanted to land — we'd have been done a lot sooner. Oh, no, don't listen to me. There's a blog for you: How I set up in the wrong spot but my dog bailed me out anyway.

2:12 p.m.: Nap No. 2 dead ahead. Been a long day.

4:47 p.m.: Time to stretch and go outside again. Note to self: The Duck Blogger has carelessly left a loaf of bread within easy reach on the kitchen counter. I will revisit that late tonight when human supervision is absent.

6:01 p.m.: Dinner. Delish. Still, some choices might be nice. The food's good and all, but again, a little shoveler or bufflehead enhancement would add some much-needed sizzle to the dish.

6:44 p.m.: Hey, movement in the gun safe. And my nose tells me he's taken his upland vest out of the closet downstairs. I think we're going pheasant hunting tomorrow. Oh, sweet. I'm going to run, chase birds and get a mouth full of feathers. And yeah, every now and then, I'll swing back by the old man to see what he's up to. But mostly, I'm going to run.

9:07 p.m.: In for the night. I cannot wait for morning. Yeah, it's not duck hunting, but it's still awesome. Life's pretty great. (But I'm still going after that bread when he goes to sleep.)

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