Reach Outdoors: Sharing the Hunt

Reach Outdoors is a weekly blog by MUCC Education Director, Shaun McKeon
SDC15686Passing it on and sharing it with people that are important to you.  That is what hunting heritage and tradition are all about.  Over this past Halloween weekend I had the opportunity to share in these special aspects.
I spent this past weekend on a waterfowl hunting trip with my cousin.  Although he is a few years older than I, we grew up fishing and exploring the outdoors together and both pursued conservation fields at different universities in Michigan.  Growing up, Clint always seemed to have the answer for where the best fish were biting and what to use for bait. He even had me use Doritos once and to my disbelief it worked and we landed several Lake St. Clair perch!  I have spent a lot of my life looking up to Clint and have been lucky to have someone close in age as a role model in my life getting me out in the outdoors.
Clint has been trying to get me out to the west side of the state to go duck hunting with him and his hunting partner Cass the entire season.  Unfortunately the life of working and fulltime graduate school has been quite unforgiving on my free time lately.  After rescheduling 2 previous hunting trips we were finally able to nail down a date November 1st.
It has been a few years since I had the opportunity to go waterfowl hunting and I was really looking forward to the opportunity.  Since it has been awhile I didn’t have much camo in the closet or even a hunting license for this year.  As usual Clint was patient with me Friday night as I scrambled around a sporting goods store scooping up my license, and ammo.  He let me borrow a camo turtleneck to go over my other 5 layers of clothing and Cass loaned me a camo winter jacket as the morning temperature was supposed to be just above freezing.
Saturday rolled around we were on the road at 5:30 and on the water shortly after.  I was the youngest of the 3 of us and also have the shortest legs which means I got to sit on the decoy bag at the front of the boat as we bounced over the waves to our spot.  Nothing like late fall Lake Michigan water in your face at 6:00AM to wake you up.
We got set up and the “experts” Clint and Cass set the decoys out while I unpacked them from the bags and SDC15684we were lucky enough to find some cover among reeds that had a convenient log sticking just above the water for us to sit on.  We settled in and lots of birds were moving but all were out of range.  Finally around 10:30 a few buffleheads came into the decoys and we made sure they didn’t leave.
Around 12:30 we decided to call it and head back in for the day. With a few birds in the boat and a lunch on our minds we headed back home. We cleaned the birds and cooked them up to serve as an appetizer for a cold pizza lunch.  Not too bad of a morning, ducks on the water at 10:30AM and ducks in our stomach by 1:00PM is what I would call a success!
On my commute back to Lansing later that day I spent some time reflecting on how lucky I was not only to have the opportunity to get outdoors and do some hunting, but also to spend some time with family and people who are important in my life.  This opportunity is what it is all about.  Sharing the hunt and the comradery is for me and many hunters and anglers what makes these trips so special.

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