Sunday afternoon was going to be the day. My daughter has been able to experience one so-called hunt this season, but that giant debacle was more of an exercise in managing my temperament than having anything to do with hunting (see my post titled The 870 lives on). No, this time around it was going to be her first hunt with just Papa & Timber, and she was ready.
We had the afternoon all to ourselves, so after running an errand or two we returned home to start loading up the truck, gathering snacks, and layering up our clothes in preparation for a few hours of sitting vigilantly along the water's edge in the steady drizzle. She was certainly excited to be going out despite the conditions, and worked right along my side, carrying gear to the truck, jumping up in the truck's bed to pull bags of decoys around, and making sure there was room for Timber to lay down.
In terms of waterfowl hunting success, we had a completely uneventful afternoon watching the empty skies pass by, but the abundance of snacks she stuffed into the blind bag managed to keep us busy nonetheless. Conversations varied across so many different topics that it's hard to keep them all straight, sitting still for more than 2 to 3 seconds was a daunting challenge at times, and with about 45 minutes left to hunt the winds & temperature both took a turn against us. Despite it all, she hung right in there, still had fun, stayed fairly dry, and kept warm all the while. I think she even got somewhat annoyed with my frequent questioning of her level of comfort, "Yes, Daddy, I jus toll you Um warm enuff. Why do you keep askin' me da same quwestions?"
A lone Rudy duck (of all the things) even provided the opportunity for a spot & stalk jump shot to be taken, allowed Timber to make a very nice blind retrieve across the water, and gave my little girl her first duck in hand. She proudly carried the little diver back to the truck at the end of legal shooting light, and requested that we hang it on the wall rather than have it for dinner. We were both proud that day.