Jennifer Metzker ~ The Beginning of an Addiction

Jamey and Boone with their ducks. Photo: Jennifer Metzker

Jamey and Boone with their ducks. Photo: Jennifer Metzker

I can tell you when it started, almost to the day! I can tell you how it started, with some friends I had met on Facebook. And I can also tell you, that once I started doing it, it has been impossible to stop. I am talking about Duck Hunting and nearly everyone that has tried Duck Hunting, has an addiction to it. I would like to share with you how mine started.
I made a connection on Facebook with Becky, a huntress from a small town in Georgia, not far from where Bryan and I hunt. Becky and I hit it off immediately, we talked hunting, every chance we got. Becky would share her pictures of duck hunting on Facebook, always standing waist deep in the swamp somewhere with ducks hanging from her hands. “You have to try it, it is so much fun”, Becky would say. “I’ll try anything once, I just don’t know if I have enough ducks on our property”, I would say. At the time, Bryan and I leased a piece of property with a huge wet head on it and we had always heard the whistling of wood ducks in the wet head while deer hunting. It wasn’t until the day I walked through it looking for deer sign, I realized just how many ducks where in that wet head. While easing through the woods, I jumped up at least a hundred ducks. I called Becky immediately and said, “I need you guys (her and her husband, Jamey) to come out here and show us how to hunt these ducks.” So the next weekend, Becky and Jamey made plans to come hunt with us. Throughout the week before, Becky and I would talk about items I needed to get for the duck hunt. I purchased all the permits required and one box of steel shot ammo. “I only bought one box of ammo”, I said. “You are going to need more that”, she would reply. At the time, I thought one box would be sufficient, boy was I wrong!
Saturday morning came and armed with my grandfather’s Smith and Wesson model 1000 12 gauge semi auto shotgun, snake chaps and one box of ammo, I was ready. Bryan decided he was going to deer hunt some property down the road. So, Becky, Jamey, Boone (our youngest son) and I loaded up and headed out to the woods for our first duck hunt. Jamey and Boone went around to one side of the wet head and Becky and I went to the opposite side. We found a spot in some tall grass and got comfortable. The weather was cold and the sky was clear. We sat in the dark, listening to the whistling wings and the calls of the ducks flying over. As daylight approached, the ducks started flying in and out of the swampy woods. Not just one or two ducks, but groups of six and eight ducks, one after the other flying around looking for a place to land. It was Jamey and Boone that shot first as the ducks flew over them and then circled to us. I raised my gun and took aim… Boom, boom, boom! No birds! “Holy cow”, I exclaimed “these birds are fast!” I missed every bird I shot at that morning and expended my ammo in about thirty minutes after the hunt began. Thankfully, Becky and Jamey brought extra ammo and shared. Becky ended up with a duck or two as did Boone and Jamey. It was a mixed bag of Hooded Merganser’s and Wood Ducks that they ended up with that morning. We met Bryan back at camp and as we talked of the hunt, Bryan could see the excitement within us. Bryan could hear the shooting from the property he was hunting and said “It sounded like a war with all the shooting going on, I might have to go with you guys in the morning and check it out.”
We breasted the ducks and cut the meat into chunks, then placed the chunks in marinade to soak while we headed to Augusta for more ammo. On the ride up, Jamey explained how important the “follow through” of wing shooting was to be successful. That was why I kept missing, I was not “following through” with the shot, therefore the pellets where going behind the ducks, instead of hitting them. Jamey and Becky shared a lot of duck hunting tips with us that day. Advice that we still reflect upon to this day. We deer hunted that evening and ate our bacon wrapped duck bites, a recipe that I am very thankful Jamey shared!
The next morning we all went out to our newly found duck hole. Bryan opted to film our duck hunt, instead of hunting. The weather had changed though, it was cloudy and warmer. The ducks flew sporadically, unlike the previous morning. We all lined up on the same side of the swamp about 30 yards from each other. Jamey made some calls and as the ducks prepared their approach, I raised my shotgun and squeezed off. I watched as the duck fell from the sky I yelled, “I got one!” I couldn’t contain my excitement. “Shhh, don’t talk they can hear you”, Jamey said in a hushed voice. I remember grinning as Bryan whispered, “Good job Hun!” I offered my gun to Bryan but he politely declined and continued to film. I can tell you, that as soon as I connect with that first duck, my confidence level rose. As the next group of ducks flew in, I shot again and connected with another duck. I was on top of the world, with two ducks! We each ended up with a duck, or two as we wrapped up the morning hunt. We have never harvested an abundance of ducks, but it is the thrill that keeps us coming back for more. And that is when my addiction to duck hunting started. After that weekend, Bryan and I bought waders, more ammo and a call or two. We had our sons and friends out in that swamp for years after, sharing the pleasure of duck hunting with anyone that would give it a try. So here’s to you, Jamey and Becky, for introducing us to the wonderful world of Duck Hunting!

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