by Bret “T-Bone” Amundson

*UPDATED 10/25/12 

Here it is:  the top-secret tip that will ensure success every time you strap ‘em up.

You’re skilled in the ways of the wing shooter.  You’ve scouted better than an entire legion of Eagle Scouts.   The decoys are buffed, painted and polished and look so realistic your buddy just blasted a fully flocked head clean off.

I wish we could find some geese.

But one thing is missing.   The key ingredient, the missing element that veteran hunters know, but hesitate to share.

The one thing that allows them to come home with a shiny new band, a toothy wall hanger, or antlered beast with tines the size of telephone poles.

Are you ready for it?  Get out the notebook and write this down:


There are so many captions for this picture that I couldn’t decide on the best one.

Yep, luck.

You can have the best in electronics, the tightest patterning shotgun, and the highest FPS’ing bow but if you’re not carrying a four-leaf clover in your shell bag, you might just be…out of luck.

Sure experienced woodsmen will generally do better in the long run.  But look in any of their back of tricks and you’ll find a stash of luck hidden away.

Heather and one half of her puppy patrol, “Steel”. “Shot” was back at camp.

I had the chance to hunt recently with a group of hunters visiting from Illinois.    Not wanting to crash the party, I opted for a solo hunt.  I had scouted a new area that held mallards a couple of days before and thought I might get “lucky”.

I never pulled the trigger.  In fact I had two great opportunities to knock down birds and I happened to be looking the wrong way.  In the right place (sort of), doing the right things (mostly) and just didn’t see them coming.  Bad luck.

When I returned to camp, I was greeted with not one, but two banded wood ducks and a pile of other winged trophies-all mocking me for my ineptitude.

I was invited to hunt with them the next morning on a slough that was full of ducks the day before.  What luck!  I’d get some redemption.

We never pulled the trigger.

As expected, I was the target of some decidedly negative comments about being “a curse” and bringing…you guessed it “bad luck”.  Not the first time I’ve been accused of that.  Probably won’t be the last either.

Fortunately my blind partners, Wayne, Brian, and Heather were only half-joking while lobbing insult after insult.  At least I think they were half-joking anyway.  After spending a few hours with them I realized that everyone is the target, regardless of any actual curse.   I kinda liked that about them.

Who caused that? Probably Brian. I’m blaming him.

They’ll be slough stalking for greenheads again tomorrow morning while I pack for a bow hunting trip to the Badlands.  There is NO question in my mind that they will hammer the ducks.

Maybe it is me.   Although I’m more apt to believe that they’ll throw the secret ingredient in the back the truck next to the decoys before they go.

**UPDATE:  Just as I expected, they limited out the next day.  See pictures here. 

Bret “T-Bone” Amundson

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