Duck Hunting With Murray

header-mallard_edited-2He said it would be fun. He said we would get in the marsh before daylight and leave early because we would have our limit. I told Julius Murray he would have his limit because I had quit hunting a long time ago. Since I had never been duck hunting I seized the opportunity to get in the swamp with my camera. I would be shooting a different way.

On a cold December morning in 1987 we tromped through the high grasses of the northern Ross Barnett Reservoir. Most of these stalks of weed were taller than me by two feet. Some were tough to push over and in some cases so thick we had to machete them down to get through. The ground became wet bog in some areas but we continued through the mire. Arriving at a small opening I saw an area that was like a small pond. Shining my flashlight revealed fallen trees. Upon our presence, I could hear, but not see, turtles scampering into the water. Clunk, clunk, clunk drew apprehensive nerves toward their departure. Was it really turtles, or something else? Little did they know I would capture them later when they thought we were gone.

The sun was not up. There was faint light from a toenail moon setting in the west. We waited in the dark of morning with a flashlight, a cup of coffee and whispered conversation. Our hands tightened around our thermos bringing a hint of warmth. Quiet broke in shards of stress when movement here-or-there tuned our heart to any strange noise around us. The thought of gators was constant, but I trusted Julius’s skills to keep us safe.

Google Photo

Twilight revealed a light fog encompassed our blind. The long sacred wail of a Loon said a good morning to his mate asking. “Where are you?” Moments later a higher pitched wail lets him know, “I am over here.” Evocative sounds, never be forgotten, will forever establish the tranquility of the swamp and deminish fear.

As the fog lifted we hunkered behind tall reeds and watched hundreds of duck and geese fly above and around us. Julius raised his gun and followed each bird in his gun site. When he didn’t shoot I questioned him. “We cannot fire until 6:00 o’clock, it’s the law,” he said. Hearing others fire their guns reminded me I was proud to be his friend, and of his integrity to remain silent until time. I continued to snap photos of the wonders around us, including the turtles.

a_mixed_flock_of_ducks_and_geese_fly_from_a_wetland_area_edited-1Did these birds have a Timex, or what? The big hand struck twelve and they vanished. There were one or two honks from Canadian Geese in the distance, but in a gun site looked like tiny fragments of dirt blowing through the air. Being the patient man that he was, Julius waited another hour only to be disappointed. There were no birds close enough to bring home for dinner.

Julius was right. I did have fun, but he did not get his limit. I got better shots with my camera. We went home with no duck and the promise of beautiful morning photos waiting to be developed.

If  you’d like to hear the sound of a loon check this out:


24 thoughts on “Duck Hunting With Murray

  1. I have no problem with duck hunting, just–like you say–not for me. It doesn’t seem a fair fight. I use Oregon Trail in my 3/4th grade classrooms and one parent refused to allow her child to participate in the simulation because it ‘murdered animals’. Even though gun vs. buffalo isn’t a fair fight, settler vs. starvation is so I don’t have a problem with it. But, I did allow the child to opt out, simply answer some questions.

    • Thanks so much! I appreciate the compliment on the pictures. I have to admit they are not mine. I got them from google. I can’t find the ones I took from long ago. I thank God for the digital age and the ability to know where my photos are now, lol. I appreciate you!

  2. I hunted many years before I quit. It was not until Dad told his story of his Elk hunting that I even considered their beauty. It was then that I quit even still I love wildlife and being in the woods, God’s peaceful beauty. I just wonder a parents think about not allowing a child to participate in the Oregon Trail. How will they ever learn to appreciate hardship, hard work, and what they have now if they never learn what others had to go through to give this to them! As always, I appreciate you Jacqui!

    • Thanks Marylou! I have not shot an animal in over 30 years. I have become a lover of nature too. Still, when I have the opportunity to join a friend who still hunts I take advantage of his invitation and shoot with my camera. As the story says, I usually get the best shots. Blessings!

  3. So beautifully written. I’ve never held a gun, let alone gone hunting, and have never understood why people find killing animals fun. (I also don’t eat any meat other than chicken and turkey, so at least I am not a complete hypocrite!) I am glad you’ve decided that a camera is the better way of “capturing” wildlife.

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