One & Only Duck Hunt?
While we were living on Haddam Neck, the house next door was owned by people from New York. The Engstrom's had relatives on the Neck and used the house for a weekend retreat, or an occasional week's vacation. Brent, our nice big Chesapeak Retriever became a frequent visitor - looking for handouts whenever they were "in house", as they kept her favorite Dog Snacks on hand.
One time, Paul brought an inflatable boat when they came up for a week, and asked if I'd go Duck hunting down on the Salmon River with that great Retriever. Brent had a pedigree a yard long, Championship Maryland line of Duck hunting retrievers, she was a wonderful companion for the family. I 'd never done any Duck hunting, had no idea whether Brent would know a Duck from one of our chickens, but thought it might be nice to find out about that and agreed to go with Paul.
Late November and pretty chilly, we toted the uninflated inflatable down thru the woods to a spot where we could launch. Brent went swimming while we pumped up the boat, and inflated it was not very large to hold both of us and a big wet dog. Had to coax Brent out of the water, and first thing in the boat, she shook that cold water all over both of us. Oh well, maybe thats part of Duck hunting.
I'd picked this spot cause it was a wide place in the river, with fairly tall weeds to give us some cover. No oars - we had two short paddles, and between trying to keep Brent in the boat, and keeping our guns safe, the "paddling" was no piece of cake.
Once hidden in the weeds, we settled down to wait for Ducks. And we waited - and Brent got restless - it got colder and windy - and we waited - Brent tried to go back swimming - and I was wet and cold - and there just weren't no Ducks flying overhead. Finally Paul said "maybe it's not a good day for Ducks". I'd been more than ready to get back on shore for a long time, but didn't want to spoil the fun, so I agreed to pack it in - for another good day.
As soon as we cleared the weeds, Brent abandoned ship to enjoy that nice cold water again. That made it a lot better for us paddling back to shore. And, back on shore, Brent shook all over us again as we deflated the boat. Some champeenship duck hunter she !! The trek back up to the house seemed a lot longer - we were ready for a hot toddy to close out the day.
Paul never did ask us to go Ducking with him again-- and once was enough for me. Brent did have a good time tho, and she still rated those goodie handouts when the Engstrom's were in town.
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