Crossing: oak-studded ridges to yet another brake. Listening to the winter woods awaken: a beaver slapping his tail on the water just around the bend, raucously vocal barred owls sounding off their mating season, a few ducks flushing blindly out of our way, a buck's antlers clashing brush as he departs the thicket.
Decoys deployed, we wait. Watching: silouettes of a few ducks trading, the stars fading, a pair of bluebirds feeding on mistletoe, two black labs exhaling frosty plumes of steam as they also search the brightening sky intently.
Then: a whir of wings, a splash of water as a pair of wood ducks land a few feet away, another pair darting through the tall snags. Finally: shooting time arrives and a single shot fells the lone greenhead that came in hell-bent on landing in the small hole enshrouded with buck brush.
Other ducks trickle in. The rest is history. It beat a day at the office, or anywhere else for that matter, by 3/4 mile. Maybe more.
Ramsey Russell's GetDucks.com