by Bret “T-Bone” Amundson
Ah, home sweet home.
I’m starting to forget what that looks like. Lately it looks a lot like a pick up truck with a yellow lab for a co-pilot. Not that I’m complaining. At all.
After two days of rooster busting in Marshall for the Governor’s Pheasant Opener, I trekked northbound on Highway 59 and for my second trip to Watson’s Hunting Camp.
I was able to do a little “Me and Mika” solo hunting, then joined Chuck at WHC for another duck shoot. This was the intermediary that led up to my annual family pheasant trip.
Traditional trips that occur year after year can be the best part of each hunting season. Seeing old friends and family, some for the first time since last year’s trip.
For our 5th entry into the captain’s log we’d be spending 3 days and 4 nights in Southwestern Minnesota instead of South Central North Dakota. Time and budget constraints, plus the 39,000 acres of public hunting land whispered sweetly into our ears and convinced us to change locales.
Resident licenses allowed for a duck/rooster combo platter and we took full advantage. Just because ringnecks get a pass until 9am in the North Star State doesn’t mean you should sleep in. Mallards, gadwall, green wing teal, blue wing teal and of course the majestic Minnesota favorite, the wood duck, all fell from the skies much to the delight of those in attendance.
Decoys would be picked up and green camo would be exchanged for the bright blaze orange and many miles of grass, cattails and corn would be stalked as we searched earnestly for imported wild chickens.
Many brown birds would be flushed, followed by a loud “HEN”. Discussion would follow with some wondering if a young rooster from a late hatch escaped unharmed. Talk would heat up as fully plumed roosters became more sparse as the days dragged on. We didn’t slaughter birds, but we cleaned enough to keep us busy while the eyelids started to dip and bottles of ibuprofen rattled.
Each year as we’re two-thirds of the way through an afternoon walk we realize that we’re not getting any younger. Which makes these family trips that much more special. Most of my favorite memories revolve around a hunting or fishing trip with the family.
As this trip drew to a close, once again much sooner than any of us wanted, we started to plan next years excursion into the semi-wild. That means I’ll get to spend another year blasting holes in the sky with the guys, making excuses for why I missed. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.
by Bret “T-Bone” Amundson