I need to get back out in the duck marsh soon

It’s been a while since I did any serious waterfowl hunting. Part of that is because I haven’t had a good retriever for a while. But even without a dog, it’s time to get out for a duck hunt.

There are a number of reasons I haven’t hunted waterfowl as aggressively as I did when I was younger. The main reason is my lack of a good retriever.

I had a two good retrievers when I was a kid, and Cricket filled that niche for about 10 years. But right now, I am fresh out of retrievers. I have a bead on a new one, but it’ll be a few years before I can make that happen. You know, they rent RVs, boats, and just about everything else you can think of, but nobody rents retrievers. I can understand why that is, but I do wish I could take a good duck dog on loan for a few years until I can get my next Golden Retriever.

The other big reason I haven’t spent as much time as I used to hunting ducks is that I haven’t found the perfect place yet. I grew up on the banks of the Wind River, and my dad’s property had a stretch of river that stayed open year-round, either because the water ran fast enough through there to keep it from freezing, or maybe there was a small hot spring on it.

Sometimes that patch of open water got pretty small, though, and because the water was running pretty fast, the birds weren’t as happy about it as they were other places. And I found one of those places. It was on my friend Pete’s land, and it was a little slough off to the side of the river that was fed by a big hot spring. It was like the waterfowl jacuzzi. It formed a big pond, and that thing was covered with ducks and geese in the coldest weeks of the year.

I’m still searching for my new favorite duck marsh – and I’m also shopping for a new best friend who has a very good Lab or Chesapeake. Even better would be a friend with a dog AND a piece of land with a hot spring on it. If you’re that guy, let me know – I’ll bring the coffee and decoys.