Make hunting alliances quickly

Kevin Kantack

Kevin Kantack

After shooting my share of big game, a satisfactory number of ducks and geese, and mastering the relatively simple art of pheasant hunting, I consider myself a pretty seasoned hunter. But what I’ve come to realize is that even though I’ve gone home with a bag limit on several occasions, it in no way makes me an expert, especially when it comes to waterfowl.

Unlike USD, I’ve found that SDSU students are rabid waterfowlers. These students make some of the pros on the Outdoor Channel look silly. They have extra trailers for the decoys they never get around to using, gadgets for every fathomable situation, and gear worth more than the dive they are living in. Many have the sport down to such a science that they almost deserve college credit.

Luckily, I’m occasionally able to get out with some of these experts and increase my waterfowl prowess.

My true education has just begun. And these are a few things I’ve learned so far:

Notice that the day before any opener, you can glance around the room and notice lots of extra twitching legs, tapping finger, and camouflaged caps. It will be obvious who is looking forward to a different sort of party that weekend. The usual Friday night at the bars has to be cancelled in lieu of an early Saturday morning in the slough. While these people are your friends or classmates any other time of year, during the season they will become your archrivals. Make your alliances quickly.

Your weekly bag counts better top the next guy’s or you aren’t going to get much respect. Like experienced fishermen discovered long ago, I too quickly learned the value of the secret and a white lie. You don’t tell anyone if or where you had success.

If you do, you might be the bird mafia. And when there’s a leak about the location of your secret hot-spot, chances are it’s gonna get whacked.

I’ve also found it is far too depressing to be in class when you know your friends are killing ducks without you.

Instead, risk missing something important in order to avoid having your nose rubbed in how great the hunt was: the most demoralizing and soul-crushing experience a hunter can endure.

When trying to find out who owns the flooded corn just down the road, don’t tell people you just found 200 mallards. Instead, play it cool.

Avoid blowing your cover by telling everyone but the owner that you are going to pass shooting for coots. They will and should look at you like you are an idiot. But at least the potential honey-hole will be kept on the down low.

And finally, the latest and most frustrating thing that I’ve realized is that when someone shows up late to my 10 a.m. class in a filthy truck, blood on his pants and in muddy boots, it will make me insanely jealous.

All the other hunters and I know that he found exactly what we were scouting for the night before.

#1.884938:2931311942.jpg:kevinmug.jpg:Kevin Kantack, Columnist: