All good things ...

When we started this thing we called the Duck Trek, our premise was duck hunters from north to south are all about sharing.

We share in so many things that a trip like this promised so much good stuff it would be hard to ignore. The thing we didn't count on were the day-to-day weird things we would come across.

As just an example, James Oversteet and I were headed to the final stop of the Duck Trek, and as we headed south of Jackson, Miss., toward Venice, La., we were greeted with a winter wonderland.

Never mind that a lot of thought went into the planning of the Trek in order for it not to stall in your typical Northern wintery wonderland, but here we were, headed into the extreme South, and there's snow lining the road from central Mississippi to central Louisiana.

Add to that the monster full moon of the last week that not only plagued hunts in Arkansas and Louisiana, but at times also provided an amazing backdrop. Then there were was the howling wind in Mississippi that at any other time in history would have brought throngs of ducks down the flyway, but barely made a dent in duck numbers.

Any hardcore duck hunter starts every day believing that by the time it's over, a limit will be brought to hand. We were no different.

But we knew limits of ducks on a daily basis anywhere is difficult. I have hunted some of the best places in the country, and I know of none that can produce a limit on a daily basis.

Some come close, but for the most part, you deal with spurts of days of great hunting tied together with ebbs that can dwindle to nothing.

It's just the way of the migration. Our Duck Trek was no different.

It seemed as if we started our trek in between the first push of ducks and certainly before the next. That position, though, didn't change the outlook each day.

That's just the way of a duck hunter always optimistic, never satisfied.

After this little trip was over, Overstreet and I counted up the birds to get a tally on what was produced.

It looked like this:

  • Mallards: 52

  • Gadwall: 14

  • Teal: 13

  • Shoveler: 12

  • Wood duck: 7

  • Goldeneye: 4

  • Pintail: 2

  • Mottled duck: 1

  • Scaup: 1

  • Canada geese: 3

A grand total of 109 waterfowl. On one hand a great hunt, on another, we wish it could have been more. But numbers aren't the measure of success on this trip.

Success was revealed early on and carried throughout. It was measured by the hunters from Minnesota to Louisiana, who still go hunting every chance they get and are so open to sharing what they do with others, no matter what number is ultimately produced.

That goes for the guys who show up at St. Clair Flats in Michigan with nothing more than the hope they will be drawn early enough for hunt, to the guys in Illinois, who own their own property all the way down to the Louisiana Marsh.

Every one of them wake up each day with the same hope we shared with them. When measured in terms of numbers, some days are good and some not so good.

More than anything, the Duck Trek revealed of all the things we share as duck hunters  that's the one thing we will never be able to escape.